The first publicly available insight into click through rate data was the leaked AOL click through data. Following that, there have been studies and research into click through rates by Chitika, Slingshot, Optify, and Rosetta. All of these yielding different insights into how many people click on each result.
*Note: The Rosetta data is a blend of the data form the other studies
Concerns With The Data
Looking at the data there are some immediate and significant concerns. The first is the lack of consistency while the Optify and Chitika studies and Enquiro and Rosetta studies are close to each other, nothing is really close enough for me to feel like we have arrived at a good CTR that we can use to estimate traffic increases for my clients. That said there are a lot of factors that can have an impact on Google click through rates beyond the simple ranking; a few of these are:
- Influence of brands and branding in the page titles
- Inclusion of Google’s properties/vertical search in the SERPs
- Query intent
- G+ influence and personalized search
Another concern presented by the data (not with the data itself) is their appears to be a downward trend in the number of people clicking on search results, though this could simply be the final study being erroneous.
Regardless, we don’t have a lot of options if we want to show clients their potential gains. This means it comes down to picking which model you like the most to show your client how much traffic they can gain by improving their rankings.
AOL Data: http://www.redcardinal.ie/google/12-08-2006/clickthrough-analysis-of-aol-datatgz/
Optify Data: http://www.optify.net/inbound-marketing-resources/new-study-how-the-new-face-of-serps-has-altered-the-ctr-curve
Chitika Data: http://insights.chitika.com/2010/the-value-of-google-result-positioning/
Slingshot Data: http://www.slingshotseo.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Google-vs-Bing-CTR-Study-2012.pdf
Enquiro Data: http://web.archive.org/web/20120131103323/http://www.enquiroresearch.com/campaigns/Business%20to%20Business%20Survey%202007.pdf
Rosetta Data: http://www.rosetta.com/about/thought-leadership/Click-Through-Rate-Establishing-a-Standard-for-SERP-Visibility.html