The More Actionable Metric: CTR Trumps PageRank for Top Google Results

“Why does my site have a low PageRank? Why does a competitor site have a higher PR? How do I get a higher PR?” It’s amazing how many people still ask these questions about Google PageRank on a regular basis—despite PageRank distribution data being removed from Webmaster Tools five years ago. In October 2014, John Mueller even said, “We’ll probably not…be updating it [PageRank] moving forward.” There are also numerous articles online claiming PageRank is dead. SERP PageRank Dead

It’s understandable to want a higher PageRank; it is, after all, nice to see that green bar show an 8, 9 or 10. And the fact that people are still writing about PageRank even up to this day drives home how much it has become a go-to metric for marketers and businesses.

Google PageRank Explained

Image Source: https://searchengineland.com/search-illustrated-google-pagerank-explained-11167
  But it seems it really is the time to scrap PR as a ranking metric and graduate to a more actionable one: click-through rates or CTRs. According to a number of CTR studies, including one conducted by NetBooster, CTR might beat PR for Google’s top search results.

Graduating to CTR, the More Actionable Metric

Click through rate or CTR is the rate at which users “click through” to your website in the search results. Having a low CTR means that users aren’t clicking through your site no matter how well it performs in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The SEO community has long been speculating that CTR affects the way Google ranks sites in the SERPs. This has never been confirmed by Google, but industry experts and researchers, for years, have been trying to prove that CTR is used as one of Google’s search ranking factors. And it seems that majority of the studies show an overwhelming majority of clicks on listings landing on positions one to ten.

Examining the Proof

A 2014 study even found out that over 70% of searches account for a page one click on Google, while the second and third pages only get nearly 6% of the clicks. The researchers found out that on page one alone, the first five results account for 67% of all the clicks. A separate study by NetBooster zoomed in on the top three results, with position 1 receiving 19% of the total traffic, position 2 with 15%, and position 3 with 11.45%. NetBooster Top Three Results  
Image Source: https://moz.com/blog/mission-imposserpble-3-we-need-to-think-beyond-the-top-10
 

Increasing Your Click-Through Rate

So what does this mean for marketers and businesses? It means that when optimizing your site, don’t focus on keywords and PageRank alone. Because Google is presumably using CTR data in its ranking algorithm, it’s important to find ways to increase your CTR. And how do you do that?

From Spammy to Relevant Results

Don’t offer spammy results that probably won’t get clicks—offer end users relevant results. In particular, find which keywords your brand is showing up for the most, and then tweak your meta title and description to make the listing stand out. Remember, a well-written snippet (e.g. relevant, descriptive, and uses compelling language) is extremely important, because that’s how a searcher can evaluate the relevance of your link. How To Use HTML Meta Tags  
Image Source: https://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2067564/how-to-use-html-meta-tags
 

From Unfamiliarity to Brand Awareness and Recognition

In addition, note that brand recognition is a vital part of your efforts to increase CTR for your organic listings. This means you need to put on your more traditional marketing hats, incorporate modern strategies, and then integrate brand awareness and positioning techniques in your SEO campaigns. Use social media to build brand awareness and create a personality behind your brand. This allows users to easily click over your listing and view your site. While it’s important to focus more on conversion rather than your click-through rate, the point here is to put the name of your brand out there so that when a user needs your products or services a year down the road, and are doing an informational or commercial keyword search, they’ll recognize your brand and click on your listing. The bottom-line here is pay attention to what matters. If you’ve been spending hours for backlinks and PageRank and just can’t seem to get your ranking to budge, step back and look at the big picture. Look at your site like a customer would—or better yet hire an SEO company for an expert diagnosis. Let C1 Partners, one of the leading Denver SEO companies, take a look at your site and help you claim your rightful spot in the SERPs.