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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.

There have been various posts recently looking at the accuracy of the data and on click through rates which I'd like to add to with a look at how different types of searchers interact with the SERPs.

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)

Ctr-brand-intent-research
Log trendlines were used as they give the best R2 values:

  • 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:

Ctr-brand-intent-research-longtail

Restricting to head terms of two or less keywords produces:

Ctr-brand-intent-research-headterms
Overall average CTR and keyphrase length

Taking an average of all keyphrases in a keyword type:

Keyphrase length

  • Brand - 1.96
  • Inent - 3.14
  • Research - 3.57

Ctr-brand-intent-research-pie-wordcount



Click Through Rate - keyword type

  • Brand - 25%
  • Intent - 16%
  • Research - 26%

Ctr-brand-intent-research-ctr-total

Conclusions

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.

More info

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

Comments

Hema

Thanks for sharing this information, i truly love your weblog. Keep this good work & enlighten us with your new post. Thanks.

Richard Hearne

Very nice analysis.

I imagine that Sponsored Listings may also affect the CTR. You'd expect slightly more ads on branded and intent terms than research terms, and it his is true then that may also impact CTR.

Interesting post though.

MarkeD

Good point Richard, I'd guess that CTR for organic must be affected by Adwords, that may be a nice segmentation for a future post.

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Hey,
Nice post i really like the concept of your post, i think you have done very good home work before posting that kind of post.
And please keep it up with your these kind of posts.
Thanks

Emm Jay

II think that the results of your research validates the other previous SEO experiments/researches.

First, buyers would want to compare the brands of a specific product that they want and that's why the "research" search terms are high...
Then, buyers would then want to find out if there are "cheaper" prices of the specific brand of product from different stores online -- this accounts for the "intent" search terms...

Kudos and let's keep on searching for possible ways to enhance our web experience.

---
EmmJay
http://adsenseblogtoolbox.com

MarkeD

Thanks EmmJay, I agree it is nice to see the seperate validation of other bloggers research, including the AOL click through rate figures.

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Interesting 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.

MarkeD

Hi Nursing Tank, yes I have looked at bounce rate and page view depth during research for this post, but found I did not have enough data to make any useful predictions - I think you'll need Google type scale to get enough data to make the confidence intervals small enough.

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Keesjan Deelstra  | SEO Effect

Interesting results. We over at SEO Effect tools use the SEO KPI ‘traffic share’ to monitor keywords. You find a full explanation of ‘traffic share’ in this blog post: http://www.seoeffect.com/blog/Two-New-Features-of-the-SEO-Effect-Keyword-Tool-SEO-KPIsBlog-title/ We only segment ‘traffic share’ by brand (brand and product names) and non brand keywords. To be conservative we use a 50% max CTR’s for nr 1 position for branded and a 20% CTR’s for non-branded keywords. Do you have segmented data of CTR for listings with or without Adwords/text advertisements? This will also influence the organic CTR’s. We maybe consider to segemt deeper by search intention (buy, kin dof contetn), places and as you researched, length of keyword phrases. IS N=500 significant enough in your test? with all the segments its a kind of small?

MarkeD

Hi Keesjan, thanks for the link, looks interesting. I've played around with similar mind share metrics in the past with varying successes - one limitation is the Google Keyword tool is so horribly inaccurate and skews results badly, evenon exact match - although I have heard recently it has improved in its data so this may become more accurate as a result. Thanks for dropping by though, I have subscribed to your blog.

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The objective of eye tracking studies is gaining insight into how users browse the presented abstracts and select links to click. The results of eye tracking research provide Internet marketers with information on clickthrough rates, thus allowing them to make correct predictions on traffic changes as their rankings are gained or lost. For SE engineers the results provide a basis for improving the interfaces of search engines and metrics to evaluate the relevancy of the presented search results.

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Interesting 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.

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You find a full explanation of ‘traffic share’ in this blog post: http://www.seoeffect.com/blog/Two-New-Features-of-the-SEO-Effect-Keyword-Tool-SEO-KPIsBlog-title/ We only segment ‘traffic share’ by brand (brand and product names) and non brand keywords

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Good information for the Organic Click Through Rate - Brand vs Intent vs Research keyphrases and Google Webmaster Tools Top Searches report have offered new data to SEOs on clickthrough rates from natural search positions and its helpful to the beginner seo and Three Different Types of Searches are also helpful and if you want to know more information visit site: http://www.hexainfosoft.in

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