December 2, 2016Kasem Bajwa

SEO Case Study 2016 – Click Through Rate

At iFlex Studios we are constantly doing SEO testing to ensure we stay ahead of the curve and maintain best practices to rank our clients on Google. So today we’ve decided to publish our first public SEO case study. This particular case study is about the effect of CTR (click through rate) on rankings. Click through rate is the rate at which people click on your organic listing compared to how many people search the keyword that you are ranking for. An example of this is if 10 people per month search the term “deer hunting” and 3 people click on your site’s organic listing, then your click through rate would be 30%. Google has stated that CTR is a ranking factor, so we set out to see if this is truly the case, and if so how much would it affect our rankings. It’s important to note that we got real clicks from real people, and we did not use any software, service or proxies. Now let’s get into the nitty gritty details.

The case study took place from November 19th to November 28th. In this time we received 30 to 40 unique clicks through to our website. The term we tested this with was “Knoxville SEO” which gets about 170 searches per month according to SEMrush. It’s also noteworthy that we made sure to not send any links to our Knoxville SEO page to ensure our results were from the CTR and not another ranking factor. Now the question on everyone’s mind is “did CTR increase the rankings or not?” Well take a look below.

Results

 CTR case study rankings

Red box indicates timeline of case study

As you can see our rankings did improve during the case study, and have maintained in the days after. Previously we were fluctuating between spots 7-8 for about a month prior, but now are sitting comfortably at spot 5. We also noticed an uptick in the ranking of “SEO Knoxville” from position 12 to 9 which was a pleasant surprise. Below is another screenshot where we searched the keyword in google itself. We used isearchfrom.com to see the results from the city of Knoxville and also to use desktop and mobile search.

CTR top 5 ranking

As you can see this also shows that we are on spot 5, so we know that our rank tracker is showing the correct results. Also when searched from mobile, we rank on spot 4.

Also see: What is AMP and Why You Need It

What does this mean for you?

Click through rate definitely helps increase your Google search engine rankings (not just the main keyword, but also related keywords). But you may be asking “how can we replicate this naturally?” Well it’s pretty simple. What you need to do is optimize your Meta title and description tags for CTR. If you create an enticing Meta title and Meta description; chances are more people will feel the need to click on your listing over another that may be ranked above you, but have a generic title and/or description.

Summary

As stated above click through rate does help in ranking, however it’s not the only ranking factor and definitely not the most important. Before your CTR even matters it needs to hit page one. How to hit page one is a whole different topic that we plan to write about in the future. We hope you enjoyed this case study, and we plan to continually publish more valuable content.

Update January 12th 2017: We now rank #1 for “Knoxville SEO” on both mobile and desktop.

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