Organic Click Through Rate - Brand vs Intent vs Research keyphrases
Tuesday, 01 June 2010
The recent updates to the Google Webmaster Tools Top Searches report have offered new data to SEOs on clickthrough rates from natural search positions.
The types of keyphrases I have chosen to look at are Brand, Intent and Research keyphrases.
Three Different Types of Searches
Brand are all those phrases looking for a specific website, including navigational phrases (like ACME and www.acme.com )
Intent I classed as those phrases that signalled intent to purchase - these are phrases that usually include "cheapest", "deals" or "compare" (like "compare blue widgets")
Research I classed as those phrases that were more general information queries with no intent to buy seen (like "what are blue widgets")
The data found that these queries do exhibit different click through rates and user behaviour.
Summary of Results
- Brand queries had a high click through at number 1, as expected, with number 1 taking 46% of clicks.
- Intent queries were lower, showing 31% clicking through to number one.
- Research queries showed an even higher clickthrough rate at number 1, getting 51% of click throughs, but also showing a higher clickthrough rate overall throughout the SERP
Organic Click Through Rate (CTR) Charts
Data was gathered from 630 keyphrases that had CTRs included within the Google Top Search reports. Websites were a mix of ecommerce based websites varying in size and sectors. Data and trendlines compiled in Excel2007.
A chart detailing the trend lines is shown below - Blue for Brand, Green for Research and Red for Intent.
(Click on charts for bigger version)
- Research - 0.55
- Intent - 0.75
- Brand - 0.76
Head terms verses Long tail keyphrases
The increased CTR for research phrases seems to hold for head and log tail terms - limiting to keyphrases of phrase length 3 or more produces:
Restricting to head terms of two or less keywords produces:
Taking an average of all keyphrases in a keyword type:
- Brand - 1.96
- Inent - 3.14
- Research - 3.57
Click Through Rate - keyword type
- Brand - 25%
- Intent - 16%
- Research - 26%
Based on the above data...
Research keyphrases have an even greater clickthrough rate at the number one position than brand searches, with 51% of users clicking the top spot in the data gathered. However browsers in this mode are using more long tail phrases - typical length of keyphrase was 4.4 Click through rates were also generally higher throughout the SERP, with a user more likely to click on other results.
Users looking to buy seem more cautious clicking through from the SERPs, but still heavily favoured to the top results - CTR for #1 in this section was 31% dropping to 7% by postion #5. These figures are in general agreement with the recent Chitika study and AOL click through data.
Brand searches are typically two keywords or less, and obviously heavily favoured to the top results. If you are not ranking number one for your brand, you are losing a lot of traffic.
Let me know in the comments any criticisims and other areas we could look at, if you blog about or use a similar approach to the above let me know via @GuavaUK or email mark.edmondson @ guava.com and I will link to it from this post. Over time I hope to gather more data to make more accurate predicitions on other factors that may play into behavioual factors in search, such as bounce rates and page view depth.
Other posts looking into organic click through rates in the past include:
Redcardinal AOL data analysis
SEObook CTR post
SEO Scientist looks at Organic CTR and eyetracking studies
More on eyetracking studies