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How do positions in search results affect the number of clicks?

6 minutes of reading
How do positions in search results affect the number of clicks?
Category SEO

The higher your position in search results, the better. It is a statement that is both true and debatable. Let’s dig more into this. 


Position in Google and the number of clicks

Every company that cares about its development or is looking for new markets for goods or services dreams of reaching the top of Google search results. Fulfilling these dreams is what we do in our everyday life! That is why we decided that although it is worth bragging about the results, it is also good to contribute to the deepening of knowledge of all SEO / SEM interested parties. What is the result of being in the TOP search results? The obvious benefits are commonly heard of, but hard data often seems to go unnoticed.

The visible benefits include increased traffic, income and competitiveness, and sometimes also brand recognition. These are undeniable facts, the validation of which can be found in dependency analyzes that directly affect the click-through rate (CTR). The latest trend data clearly shows how clicks are distributed among the top 3 search results. You can also see a huge disproportion in CTR between TOP 3 and subsequent positions in their example.

Keywords: branded or not?

If we have at least some basic SEO knowledge, it should not be surprising that branded phrases have a higher CTR. This is because they simply refer to the sought product or service of a given producer or service provider. Unfortunately for sellers of goods, and unfortunately for the SEO industry, they do not translate significantly into increased traffic, because they are directly related to the brand’s strength.

Unbranded phrases are much more important than brand-based phrases and these are the focus of SEO specialists’ attention. The presence of these types of keywords in the TOP 3 search results translates directly into increased traffic on the website. In the long term – to increase the income of a given company. What is the CTR when searching for these types of phrases? Well, the first 3 places collect the vast majority of all clicks, as illustrated by the data below.

1st place on the list generates an average of 30% of traffic, while a place outside the TOP 3 can count on an average of 7%. Pages positioned in TOP 3 aggregate more than half of all clicks in a given search. This comparison shows clearly that sites outside the TOP 10 scores practically do not count in the fight for favorable CTR, generating illusory traffic, compared to the 3 most popular positions.

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Choose a long tail

Looking at the popularity list of short phrases, which are single words or composed of 2 words, and comparing it to the condition of long-tail phrases, we can see that Google focuses on content, quality, and narration. Long-tail phrases generate between 3 and 5 per cent, this is higher CTR as compared to short keywords. On the one hand, it shows the importance attached by the Mountain View giant to high-quality content published on the web. On the other hand, it is a consequence of the specificity of inquiries for extended phrases.

Multi-word keywords are not very popular in online advertising. Why? Internet users simply use them less often when searching for information on the Internet. When we are already looking for something through long-tail phrases, we know perfectly well or assume in advance what information we want to obtain and what product or service to find. Therefore, they convert better than short phrases, because there are fewer of them, they are less popular and refer us straight to a specific answer to a specific query.

Different intentions, different industries

The general disproportions in popularity are very similar in short and long key phrases – the first 5 positions aggregate most of the traffic, and TOP 3 are the places to which all companies that want to position themselves on a given query should strive. At this point, it is worth mentioning the intent of individual queries. The highest CTR is for those searches with purchasing intentions, although the search queries for reference are in 3rd place. The difference between the answers in TOP 3 and the rest of the results is similar to the relationship in the previous paragraphs of this text.

The list of clicks on the search results in various industries is also interesting. How to explain these dependencies? Certainly, the specificity of a particular industry has an impact on the popularity of given items on the list. When choosing certain airlines, which we want to fly, or when looking for an insurance company to which we want to entrust the protection of our property, health and even life – we choose proven brands. The strength of the brand is that usually, due to local conditions, these companies are at the top of the list.

When we are looking for information, news about events in the world around us, we are more open to alternatives. Then we are also interested in less popular opinions, and this mechanic also applies when searching for software or computer hardware. In other words, where we are looking for proven solutions, the 3 most popular results dominate, and the 1st position aggregates the vast majority of clicks.

What affects CTR? Everything!

The popularity of websites on the Internet is influenced by many factors, the calculation of which was not the purpose of this article. It is important to realize how important it is to be in one of the top 3 positions in search results due to an interesting keyword. The differences in the CTR ratio between the individual TOP 3 positions are significant, and in addition, they increase tremendously as you go down the list of results. CTR from the exemplary 30 per cent. for 1 position it drops to 2 per cent. for the first closing position 10.

As a summary, let’s consider why you should make every effort to find your site in the TOP 3 searches for a given phrase. The proverbial podium aggregates over 50 per cent. Clicks and the positions at the end of the top 10 are marginal compared to those at the head of the table. These facts clearly illustrate that competitive advantage is gained by being in the TOP 3. Of course, each high position increases the traffic on the website, but the leaders – colloquially speaking – win over half of the entire cake.

You can also ask about what key phrases to bet on? Companies with a strong, widely recognizable brand will benefit from the promotion of branded phrases. Nevertheless, it does not apply to enterprises with low recognition, most often operating in fewer media industries. The best solution is to focus on empowering your unbranded phrases and include some long-tail keywords on your list. These words must relate well to specific words and take into account the purchasing or informational intentions of Internet users. The implementation of these changes in the scenario of publishing content on the website will help in the fight for the highest positions in Google, and over time may turn out to be a decisive procedure for gaining an advantage over the competition.

iCEA Group

As a leading international digital marketing agency established in 2007, we have consistently set the standards for traffic acquisition and conversion. We proudly host Poland's largest technical department, staffed with highly skilled SEO, SEM, and UX specialists with years of experience. Our offer knows no borders! As evidenced by our successful campaigns in not only the Polish market but also in India and the United States. Driven by our dedication and expertise, we empower our clients to achieve online success.

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