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Higher CTR With #1 Position

Site moved to #1 and CTR has shot up



5:50 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I recently had a site move to the #1 position in the SERPs at a major engine (it had been #5 for months). It's the first time I've ever had a site hit #1 for a good search phrase, but the difference in traffic and Adsense CTR has really taken me by surprise. I would not have believed that such a relatively minor move (#5 to #1) would matter this much. Traffic is up about 40% and Adsense CTR about 30%.

I've got a working theory that I'd like to run by you guys for comments. I think a lot of searchers click on the first result almost as a reflex, without even paying attention to the description below the link. If they get to that site and it isn't quite what they wanted, they then click an Adsense ad (or the back button). It probably isn't a coincidence that my CTR on that site shot up about 30% relative to its prior CTR. Not that I'm complaining, as it is a site that has one affiliate product in addition to Adsense. I don't sell anything directly on that site - it's more of an information and tips site. So, any other theories to explain the much higher CTR from the move to #1?


5:54 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Sweet! Being ranked #1 will get you a lot more traffic. I'm ranked #1 on google search engine if i type in my domain name...lol

Andrew Bassett

6:15 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Join the club... In fact, the domain name is the ONLY thing that turns up my site on a Google search.


7:16 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

there are eyetracking studies that show how favorable the top search results are, in terms of how much time the user spends looking at the page... anything beneath the top 3 takes a big hit, the further down the page you rank, the worse it is.

so if your site is in the top 3, it'll drive more traffic, but the question is, how does that increase up the ctr on your site? could it be a function of relevance to the term being searched? is it specific to your niche? etc.


11:52 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thank you danimal. That's very interesting about the top 3 positions. My site used to be #5, so that would put it at a level where you say those studies show a drop off in traffic. I'm certainly seeing that now! Huge difference. The CTR is even higher today, even though I've not changed anything. After thinking about it some more, I think the search term is sufficiently vague that it could cover a lot of ground in terms of what the searcher is truly looking for when he types it in at a search engine. Of course, this very fact is what contributes to it being such a heavily searched phrase (top 300 of all searches). I suppose it could be that more people are clicking through to the site now from a wider range of reasons than before. Good theory!


1:00 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Probably because with the higher SERP you are now seeing more REAL ad-clicking people to that page as opposed to spiders, robots and yourself. Check your logs, eliminate the percentage before and after coming from bots, yourself and spiders and then compare the adjusted CTRs.


1:05 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Other theory: you moved to position #1, but this is just a symptom of a more general phenomenon: Google has promoted your site and you rank better.

So, the "big" keyword makes more traffic, but (more important) you also get more traffic for "small" keywords.

1: Being promoted from #5 to #1 of "widgets" gets you A LOT more traffic (it's a strong keyword) but an ordinary CTR

2: But also, being promoted from #5 to #1 of "hand-operated widget rentals" gets you A LITTLE more traffic (it's a very small keyword) but a LOT more clicks (those visitors are very targetted and motivated)

Repeat 2 above for N times and you can have a very good CTR.

Just a theory!


3:03 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've seen this happen to a few of my sites. Here is my theory on the CTR bump for first serp.

1. more likely that the user has just begun their search for the term
2. they believe that the very, very smart search engine said that your site is the best for their search.
3. your site is the first one the user clicked on the SERP.

Given all of the above, a user is more likely to give your site more of their time and thus click more of your ads.

if your site were the 5th clicked in the SERP, the user is now a bit more educated and frustrated because they haven't found what they are looking for. The user is likely to spend less time browsing your site looking for what they want. this leads to lower CTR.


3:50 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

leapforward: or the user is even more desperate (at search engine position 5) to finally find what he's looking for and clicks more ads in the pages ranking lower in SER ;)


4:38 am on Mar 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Not to mention that if I type in that keyword and hit enter on firefox it'll take me to your site! So for some - that page is the luckiest! :-D

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