3 Top Organic Results get 75% of the Clicks

Does being in the first organic SERP still guarantees traffic? How many clicks can you expect from the third position? And the tenth? How to the meta title, description and URL impact organic click through rate (CTR)? A new research conducted by Backlinko in collaboration with ClickFlow answered these questions and others.

Here are some of the most interesting findings:

Do organic rankings still matter?

The short answer is yes. The number 1 position’s CTR is about 30% on average; the second position gets only 25% of the clicks and the third about 19%. It means that the three top organic results receive about 75% of the clicks. Traffic drops significantly from the fourth position and below (despite some spike in the fifth position), and from the second page and on, the CTR is lower than one percent.

Google Organic CTR by position
credit: backlinko.com

The research also found that moving even one position up could increase CTR in 30% on average. But not all advancement were created equal: the desirable advance from the second to the first position increases the CTR in 28.4%, while a skip from no. 6 to the no. 5 result can increase CTR in 53.2%! On the other hand, advancing from the 10th to the 9th position would result in a 3.8% drop in CTR.


CTR when moving up on Google
credit: backlinko.com

How meta tags impact CTR?

  • Title tags that are composed of questions (contain a question mark or any of the most common question words) increase CTR in about 14% comparing to other titles.
  • Titles with 15-40 characters have the highest CTR.
  • The use of Power Words such as Best, Perfect, Ultimate and so on has a negative effect on the CTR.
  • Emotional titles, whether positive or negative, increase CTR in 7% comparing to neutral titles.
  • Pages with meta descriptions have higher CTR than pages without meta descriptions.
  • Keywords in the URL increase CTR in about 45%.


Summary and Conclusions

  • The top 3 organic positions are still a worthy SEO goal, but advancing to the first page won’t necessarily increase traffic.
  • Shorter titles work better than longer ones.
  • Questions work better than declarations.
  • The “Power Words” titles should be left on Facebook; Google users prefer more objective (yet emotional) titles.
  • Don’t forget to write unique meta descriptions to every page.