Google knows our CTR’s

A fairly recent update to Google webmaster tools allows us to see click through rates for our pages. This seemed to excite the SEO community in that it’s the first data available that gives us Googles real CTR figures for the top 10 results.

The past CTR figures came from AOL search data from 2006, not even Google. The top position got something like 42% of all clicks, and the second position receiving about 11%…

Regardless of what CTR figures Google is giving us, it doesn’t matter. In December 2009 I wrote an SEO guide for 2010, and in it I wrote about “user experience as an SEO metric” – One thing I did neglect to cover was organic results click through rates effecting SEO.

Since Google knows what your click through rates are, do you think they might decide this info is relevant to SEO rankings?

Google struggles to provide the best SEO results based on mechanical metrics – SEO’s have historically enjoyed exploiting these technical aspects of SEO to great gain. It makes complete sense that Google listens to its searchers.

It stands to reason that a person who searched for phrase X and clicked on site Y made a conscious assessment of the results and decided site Y was the most relevant for phrase X.

The only real way to meddle with this metric (other than page titles and meta descriptions) is mass, automated, searching and clicking. Not impossible, but a new kind of spam maybe?

Google also recently said Meta Descriptions don’t really factor into the SEO metrics Google uses to rank sites, and instead suggested you use these to sell the click – putting two and two together, no a meta description might no longer be a technical SEO metric, but it modifies user experience and hence, potentially also your rankings.

Why has the SEO community focused so hard on the data, and not the implications? SEO is still far too much about ego, and not about logic.

5 thoughts on “Google knows our CTR’s

  1. I was thinking Nathan Ridley, king of web automation (Domainface, Traffic Android, Clicktoris, Email Android etc) would be more useful than mechanical turk :-) I can see it now “CTR Android”

  2. I really like the new options of CTR of Google Webmaster tools. I think that it can go a bit deeper as the clicks,exposures and percentage also can include some local results, for example clicks in Google.com or Google.co.uk. However the information is very useful and combined with Google Analytics map overlay and Bounce rate every SEO practitioner can see a bigger part of the whole picture. Actually yesterday I saw that Google have change some of their local results home pages. For example Google.de is not showing international results and all the results are in German which I think will lead to drop in traffic of many websites. I believe that this will hit many SEO companies that are seeking international traffic, for example travel & hospitality companies.

  3. The experience I’ve had with CTRs is similar, almost quite strange to think that around 60% of searches don’t result in users clicking the number one position. It’s going to be interesting to see the issues highlighted in SEO develop over the coming years. Personally I can see quite a lot of SEO ‘specialists’ and ‘experts’ becoming unemployed or losing clients when current techniques used to manipulate search engines fail.

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