What CTR means to SEO

While digging through my Google webmaster tools accounts a couple months back I found an updated “Search Queries” feature with way more data and a chart. I noticed things like impressions, clicks, click through rate (CTR), average position and more.

Impressions – This is an estimate of how many times in the past month your website appeared when someone used a particular keyword to find your website.

Clicks – A round number of how many times your website listing that appeared in search results is clicked.

Click Through Rate – A percentage of clicks from impressions.

Average Position – Like it says, your keyword’s average position that month in Google.

This is all great data but what does it mean for website owners or SEOs?

Impressions – These are great to see but if your keyword is generating thousands of impressions but few clicks (or 0% CTR) this could mean a few things. One, your are targting the wrong keywords in your website’s content. Two, your search result page title and description is very poor. Three, the keyword is an unintended target and should just be ignored from an SEO point of view.

Clicks – The more clicks the better, right? Keep an eye on your CTR, which leads us to…

Click Through Rate – Ahhh, a great metric that marketers love to see when evaluating the performance of a campaign. CTR is very helpful in determining how effective your web page “call-to-action” or keyword is performing in the SERPs (search engine results page). Generally the higher the better. You will also notice that CTR goes up as your keywords move up the search results page. Position 1-3 will get the lion’s share of clicks with 4 through 10 gradually receiving fewer clicks. It all looks like the down slope of a rollar coaster going from 1-10.

I’m starting to use this data to project everything from gains in impressions/clicks by improvements in CTR. I’m also using it to help determine which pages/keywords to target with links. Gotta high CTR keyword underperforming in a less competitive niche?

How are you using Google Webmaster Tools new keyword performance data to plan your SEO activities?