The general assumption goes that if your website is the first organic listing on Google, then great! Just watch all the customers flock to your ecommerce website. However, things are not all that simple.
After analysing over 80 million keywords and billions of search results, Sistrix found that the first organic listing on a Google listing has an average click through rate of just 28.5%. Unsurprisingly, the click through rate tapers off the lower down the listings you go.
Sistrix also noted that the second position has an average click through rate of 15%, whilst the third position gets 11% of clicks. Listings all the way down in tenth position get 2.5% of all clicks. Once you start venturing off the first page, the click through rates get even lower.
This is to be expected. What is interesting are the substantial differences in clicks of these first ten positions. For first positions in particular, there are massive variations, with some website designs in first position getting 13.7% of clicks while other first positions receive a massive 46.9%.
Why the variation?
Why is there is such a big difference in click through rates of some industries and environments in comparison to each other? Well, the biggest factor that affects click through rate is the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) layout.
During the early years of the internet, you would be presented with the same style of listings, regardless of what you’re looking for. Now, Google analyses your intent, and you will be presented with a different layout depending on the search that you make. This layout plays a major part in how users interact with listings, and what they click on.
SERPs with sitelinks
While most search queries will get the standard 10 listing layout with blue links, a SERP with sitelinks performs the best. This kind of layout is shown when a specific website is searched for and shows the internal navigation links of a website that lead to subpages.
This makes sense since the user has very strong intent and is most probably looking for a particular ecommerce website that entails certain products – and this is reflected in the average click through rate of 46.9%.
Organic results which are highlighted are known as featured snippets. SERPs with featured snippets have an average click through rate of just 23.3%, which is surprising but logical, when you consider that they are supposed to retrieve a quick answer to a question. If users already have an answer, they will be less inclined to click on the link.
It shows that there is no real benefit of having a featured section of your website in the search results. In fact, the second and third positions had higher clicks when the first listing had a featured snippet. This could be down to people looking to confirm and validate the answers to their questions.
SERPS with Google Ads
Google Ads are the classic style of adverts which appear at the top of search listings and show a short text snippet. Recent changes by Google mean that ads have increased from three to four and are much more indistinguishable from organic listings. This contributes to a click through rate of 18.9% for first position listings.
Knowledge panels are the information boxes populated by Google that appear when you search for people, places and things. The intention is to quickly provide you with the information you need. Similar to featured snippets, these first position listings don’t perform too well and have an average click through rate of just 16.8%. Many people are searching for a quick answer, and when provided with one, do not need to click through to the actual website design for more information.
SERPS with Google Shopping
Google Shopping is a ‘product discovery experience’, where advertisers and companies can advertise their products to users. When Google Shopping image adverts cover the top of the search listing, this has a dramatic impact on the click through rate of first positions.
Google doesn’t get paid when people start clicking on organic listings – unlike Google Shopping. This is reflected in the click through rate of SERP layouts with Google Shopping, which plummets to a paltry 13.7%. The other positions are much lower as a result too.
What does this mean for SEO?
What this shows is that search volume is too basic of a metric. If you want to get really serious about SEO, it is also important to look at the SERP layout of the keywords you want to focus on.
The intention of the user also plays a part. Someone asking a historical question about the Vietnam War will get a very different SERP layout and resulting click through rate, compared to someone looking for the best iPhone 11 prices.
Of course, this is all down to the fact that someone looking for phones is in town to spend money, unlike someone who wants to know cake recipes or who shot Abraham Lincoln.
It is interesting looking at how Google encourages and directs traffic to the platforms it owns – whether it’s Google Ads, Google Shopping or Google itself, by quickly giving the user the information they seek through Google Snippets and knowledge panels.
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