What Is a CTR. Why Is Click-Through-Rate Important?

What Is a CTR. Why Is Click-Through-Rate Important?

In this article, we will talk about what CTR is and the impact it has on SEO. This metric is used in almost all marketing campaigns. We will explain what this indicator means, what is a good result, and what to do for improvement.

What Is CTR?

CTR is a metric that indicates how many impressions in search results resulted in clicks. For example, if a thousand users saw your site in Google results and only one of them clicked on the link, then the click rate would be 0.1%.

CTR is calculated using this formula:

CTR =(the number of clicks/ the number of impressions)*100%

This metric helps to understand how well the landing page was optimized. Let’s explain with some examples. There are two types of CTR:

  1. High. In other words, users consider the resulting search result to be relevant to them. 
  2. Low. The results are not relevant.

An analogy can be drawn with traffic generation and the conversion rate. If you convert hundreds of impressions but users do not click through, it is a waste of effort.

In addition to SEO, the CTR indicator is also used to evaluate the effectiveness of an advertising campaign in PPC. The main purpose of contextual advertising is to attract targeted users to the site to perform the desired action, such as making a purchase, filling out a contact form, or subscribing to updates. 

This metric shows the relevance of your paid ad. A good performance can improve or maintain an ad’s position at a lower financial cost. 

Some platforms, including Google AdWords, offer discounts on advertising campaigns in case of high click rates. Also, a large number of click-throughs on an ad can save the budget on other promotion channels. 

CTR in advertising affects the quality score. This metric is used to determine the cost per click and is multiplied by the maximum bid to determine the ad’s rating in search results. The higher the position, the more relevant your proposal is for the target audience. 

What Is the Difference Between Clicks and Impressions?

Let’s look at the difference between clicks and impressions:

Impressions are the number of users who saw a link and to the site’s landing page in the search results or an ad, it is the number of views.

Clicks are the transitions from the snippet to the site, they show the number of visitors to the site.

Impressions will not always be unique, for example, if the information has been shown to the same user several times, but the analytics system will still count these occurrences equally.

An impression will be counted if the user viewed the output page where the offer is located. It does not matter whether they scrolled to the desired position– the result is counted.

A click is defined by perfect transitions. A high rate of clicks does not always mean they are relevant to the user. For example, when clickbait titles are used, but the content itself does not comply with this reality. 

What Is a Good CTR?

‘What is a good CTR?’ is a rather controversial question. WordStream conducted a study on what this metric depends on, there are three factors:

  1. The business niche;
  2. Keywords;
  3. The relevance of the information.


In other words, it is the average indicators that can be considered positive will vary depending on the usefulness and relevance of your offer. 

Based on the research results, the average click-through-rate in all areas of business in AdWords is 3.17% for search results, and the highest CTR being slightly more than 6% for dating agencies. Travel companies and hotels are slightly lower in rate, the middle and lower positions are occupied by the B2B segment.

This indicator will be different for SEO. Backlinko conducted a study in which 15,000 queries were processed using the Search Console:

  1. The highest CTR for brand queries is 25%-62%, depending on the rate of the company itself. They will be able to generate about 40% of the traffic themselves. 
  2. Geo-dependent queries have an average score of 17%-19%
  3. Informational ones that included the words “what”, “where”, “when”- 6.9%-27% depending on the relevance of the topic.
  4. If “review” or “compare” are the keywords, the click rate can reach 16.35%. Product requests depend on the niche, their average CTR ranges from 6.9% to 27%. If a number is added to the keyword, such as the name of the phone model “iPhone11”, then the value can increase significantly.

The click-through-rate also depends strongly on the site’s position in the search results, the top 10 sites get the most clicks.

The results listed on the second page received only 0.78%.


Therefore, the concept of a good CTR is vague and depends on the aforementioned factors. You should begin tracking the indicators with the current situation and continue as the resource is optimized.

Why Is a High CTR not Always a Good Thing?

According to a MOZ survey, many users instinctively click on the top link on the first page of the search results, which explains why the sites in the second place receive fewer clicks.

Therefore, a high CTR metric does not always indicate the quality of SEO-optimization and the relevance of the offer. They need to be considered in conjunction with other factors like failure rates, the business industry, request frequency, and user behavioral responses.

How Important Is the CTR for SEO?

In 2014, the CTR was one of the most important metrics in SEO. It was believed that the pages with high CTR indicators were ranked better for certain queries. This metric was even included in the list of main factors for getting into the top 10 of the search results.

This theory was then supported by research that was conducted by MOZ. In 2014, it was posted on the company’s website that an experiment was being conducted. As of April 30th, 2014 the page was in the seventh position of the search results for ‘imec lab’:


On April 30th, 2014 at 6:30 pm Rand Fishkin, the company’s founder, tweeted about the research and asked for help from the audience. 


Within a few hours, users actively retweeted the post. According to the preliminary estimates, the target action was carried out by 175-250 people, and at the end of the day, the blog received 228 visits from the Google search results. For comparison, statistics for April 29th were presented, which was equivalent to only seven page visits.


At 9:01 pm the target page moved to the top position in the US search results.

According to Rand Fishkin himself, this experiment is not 100% proof that the CTR is one of the main indicators for Google.

‘We cannot say with certainty that the click rate played a crucial role in the ranking. There may have been other factors involved. For example, a page might get more clicks as a result of a high number of reposts. Or the search robot received other signals to raise its position compared to the previous week. There is a possibility that the rate will decline over time.’

The main problem with determining the relationship between the ranking results and CTR is related to the presence of other factors. For example, if the quality of content increases, and then the brand works on recognition in the network, then, consequently, the authority of the domain increases. And this automatically leads to an improved delivery position and high CTR. In this case, the ranking result does not depend on the click rate. 

The CEO of Elephante, Bartosz Goralovich, conducted an experiment that showed the opposite results. The main goal of the research is to eliminate the “human factor” and focus exclusively on CTR indicators and their impact on the ranking result.

Goralovich’s article ‘Negative SEO’ was chosen as an experimental page. At the time of the launch, the results were as follows:

Within a month, the site was visited by specially configured bots, so that Google’s algorithms did not filter out fake traffic. As a result, the key phrase ‘Negative SEO’ received 1,600 requests, and traffic increased by 3,781%.

But the position in the search results remained the same:

The result from SEMrush before the experiment:

The indicators after the completion of the study.

Over the next two months, the search results remained constant, and after June 1st, they fell abruptly:

Search Engine Land

There are three potential explanations for why the two experiments produced opposite results:

  1. The click rate has ceased to be a ranking factor since 2015.
  2. One of the experiments was configured incorrectly.
  3. This was due to other factors that affected the ranking results; such as, the bots and simulated traffic in the second, which could have a negative impact. 

CTR in digital marketing is one of the most important metrics and it should be taken into account when evaluating the results of any campaign. Improving the indicators of this click-through-rate will directly affect the increase in traffic. But, there is not a 100% guarantee that this will improve the site’s position in the search results.

Instructions on How to Improve CTR

1. Optimize the Titles

Use concise sentences and keywords. A good way to draw attention is with the presence of numbers, for example, ’15 Ways to Optimize Your Site.’

2. Optimize Meta-tags

Although the title and description are not factors that improve ranking results, they can increase CTR. 

3. Optimize the URL

Here are several recommendations based on a MOZ publication:

  1. The presence of keywords.
  2. It is preferred that the URL matches the headers on the page.
  3. The shorter the link, the more convenient it is for the user.
  4. You do not have to use stop-words.

Here is an example of a good URL:

Search Engine Journal

The click rate is extremely important for SEO, but it is not a ranking factor. A good CTR indicator combined with a low bounce rate indicates the relevance of a page’s information. Therefore, we recommend that you try to increase it.

In any case, optimizing the click-through-rate will have a positive impact on the platform’s promotion. When evaluating the results, you should take into account the specifics of the site and the business niche. It is impossible to say exactly which indicator would be good for you, consider the data in conjunction with other metrics.

About author
Anna is a content manager and copywriter since 2013. In 2017, she started working as a copywriter and editor at a digital agency. In 2019, she began to cooperate with a SERM agency. The main responsibility is writing of the corporate blog. In 2020, she completed courses in SEO-optimizer and began cooperation with SeoQuake as a content manager.