Congratulations! You did some nifty work optimizing your site for search, and now you’re on the front page of Google search results for all your most important keywords. Now what? Click-through rate should be next on your radar.
According to Woody Allen, your SEO job is finished because “99% of success is showing up.”
That may be true for him, but you’re not casting a wry romantic comedy. You build the best products in your field, you’ve got the research and customer testimonials to prove it, and your website hums like a finely-tuned engine.
Click-Through Rate Success
Just ask your sales team about their definition of success, and you will hear one word repeated more than any other: “conversion.” They made the pitch, the client loves them like mom’s meat loaf, and the contract is on the table. Time to sign on the dotted line.
Conversion in the world of organic search is also known as “click-through rate” (CTR), and it is a gross measurement of how many people clicked the link to your site from a search results page.
The next step in SEO is determining the CTR from your search results. What is a good click-through rate? The answer is not so simple. It depends in part on what keywords you’re using.
If you sell high definition televisions, and your the keyword “HDTV,” a very general, unrefined search term that would yield millions of search results.
As of this writing, searching for “HDTV” on Google yielded about 64 million results, including suggestions for “HGTV,” the home decorating and do-it-yourself TV network. Try it yourself.
Now let’s say you target a specific brand and model for key search terms, like “Vizio 32 inch plasma tv”. That phrase brings the results down to about 102,000, with Vizio’s product site ranking first.
If your CTR on “HDTV” is 2%, that would be considered a high number for such a vague search term. If your CTR on “vizio 32 inch plasma tv” is 10%, that might also be considered very good unless you compare it to Vizio’s corporate site.
Make Your Click-Through Rate Work for You
Clear as mud? You bet.
The key here is to measure your own CTRs against themselves, and make it your mission to constantly improve these numbers. If your CTR is on a downward slide, you know you’re not getting as many sales. If it’s increasing, you can be assured that more people are coming to you for your product, and not someone else selling the same thing.
Next we’ll examine a pair of related concepts, cost-per-click (CPC) and return on investment (ROI).