Adnan123
Adnan123 asked
Member (5 upvotes)

Is CTR (Click Through Rate) a ranking factor?

Click through rates is obviously important for traffic, more clicks you get the more traffic you get. But does it directly affect your performance in the SERPs?

#ctr#seo
Avatar for member Chedders
Chedders
Moderator (202 upvotes)

Oh the good old CTR question. This has been hotly debated for years.  

A little while ago I ran a series of tests to gradually increase the CTR on a page using a few custom bots I wrote. I ran these tests over a period of 3 months and during this time turned up the CTR so that google thought it was increasing. Analytics showed the increase so I can only assume it was fooled it was users doing this and not a bot. I used proxies, different browsers, also different computers on different networks etc to hide the true identity so I am as sure as I can be Google did not know it was myself.  

The target website never increased in SERPS for the chosen keywords so the test failed to show any improvement. 

I set up this test as it was being reported at the time that you could negatively target a competitors site by clicking on the other listings around the target. This would make Google think their site was not appropriate for that keyword.  I doubted this so did my own tests. 

I grant you I took the premise that if you could negatively affect a site you could also positively one but the conclusion I came to was that although CTR is a really useful score to test if your page title and meta description is working it won't affect your position. 

Feel free to post any results you have that prove differently but despite me posting my results at the time I have only heard about theories and not proper tests being run. 

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Avatar for member Matt1966
Matt1966
Moderator (229 upvotes)

In a court case with the Federal Trade Commission, Google said the following: 

"The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and only 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we'll switch it."

 

A Google search quality employee, Edmond Lau, said something along these lines also:

"It's pretty clear that any reasonable search engine would use click data on their own results to feed back into ranking to improve the quality of search results. Infrequently clicked results should drop toward the bottom because they're less relevant, and frequently clicked results bubble toward the top."

 

There are also businesses that make your CTR higher through actual humans clicking on your result. Supposedly, it does indeed work -- but when you stop the service and your CTR decreases, you drop back pretty quickly.


So these reasons, I do believe CTR is a ranking factor, yes.

A great article on the topic which is definitely worth a read: https://www.link-assistant.com/news/user-behavior-and-seo.html?__c=1

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Avatar for member Matt1966
Matt1966
Moderator (229 upvotes)

In a court case with the Federal Trade Commission, Google said the following: 

"The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and only 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we'll switch it."

 

A Google search quality employee, Edmond Lau, said something along these lines also:

"It's pretty clear that any reasonable search engine would use click data on their own results to feed back into ranking to improve the quality of search results. Infrequently clicked results should drop toward the bottom because they're less relevant, and frequently clicked results bubble toward the top."

 

There are also businesses that make your CTR higher through actual humans clicking on your result. Supposedly, it does indeed work -- but when you stop the service and your CTR decreases, you drop back pretty quickly.


So these reasons, I do believe CTR is a ranking factor, yes.

A great article on the topic which is definitely worth a read: https://www.link-assistant.com/news/user-behavior-and-seo.html?__c=1

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Avatar for member tstolber
tstolber
Moderator (99 upvotes)

Yes

I honestly don't know why this one is still so hotly contested.

I have tested it, there have been numerous other tests - it has been the case for years. It has evolved to a much more complex animal now but yes CTR effects rankings.

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Avatar for member Claybaker2233
Claybaker2233
Member (-1 upvotes)

In Internet marketing, CTR stands for click-through rate: a metric that measures the number of clicks advertisers receive on their ads per number of impressions.

Achieving a high click-through rate is essential to your PPC success, because it directly affects both your Quality Score and how much you pay every time someone clicks your search ad. Are your click-through rates holding you back, or are they high enough?

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Avatar for member nikitacod
nikitacod
Banned (-6 upvotes)

If CTR is a ranking factor indeed, then manipulating it will also influence a website’s position in Google rankings

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Avatar for member aarticod
aarticod
Banned (-3 upvotes)

 click-through rate is the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing your ad. (In mathematical terms: CTR = Clicks/Impressions.)

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