Research Studies – Advanced Web Ranking Blog https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog Join our SEO Blog for tips, strategies and case studies on getting improved results from search marketing. Wed, 02 Aug 2023 13:03:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.3.2 Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q2 2023 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2023-q2/ Wed, 02 Aug 2023 13:01:12 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=20277 Google consistently conducts experiments with diverse presentations of featured snippets and organic listings, potentially prompting users to click on alternative search results. As a consequence, these shifts in user behavior inevitably impact the clickthrough rate of each listing.

This quarter it’s the industry-level data, as well as some search intent and query length segments that reveal abundant opportunities for the CTR evolution discovery.

On the other hand, the CTR values remained stable on a global scale. Even when the data was split into branded and unbranded queries, no variations exceeding one percentage point were registered.

So let’s dive in and have a look at how user behavior shaped the CTR values in the second quarter of the year compared to the previous one.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q2 2023 (April-June interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q1 2023 (January-March). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

Search intent

The websites ranked first for location queries (containing words such as near, from, nearby, directions, maps, etc.) were affected on both mobile and desktop. On mobile, the increase in CTR equaled 1.54 pp, while on desktop, the ascending trend was even higher, recording a 2.31 pp growth.

In contrast, websites ranked first on commercial queries (containing words such as buy, price, etc.) were negatively impacted this time. More precisely, the drop equaled almost an entire percentage point in CTR on desktop (0.97 pp), while on mobile the decline was 1.75 pp

Keyword length

Desktop searches for single-word queries showed notable changes only, wherein the websites ranked first experienced a decrease of 1.30 percentage points in their CTR values.

Industries 

Moving forward, let’s shift our focus to the industries section. As we’ve done in previous quarterly studies, we will analyze the correlation between changes in clickthrough rate and search demand. This analysis will help us make more accurate estimations of potential traffic fluctuations.

The CTR report will consist of two distinct sections, each based on the evolution of search demand.

A. Industries where the search demand increased

It’s been a year already since the Technology & Computing market last recorded fluctuations in clickthrough rate and it was about time for it to make it into this quarter’s report. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.88 pp decrease in CTR, while those ranked in the second position recorded a 1.18 pp drop. On the other hand, the industry’s overall impressions grew, by +6.46%.

The websites ranked first in the Science industry experienced a 1.45 pp increase in CTR on desktop searches. Coupled with a growth of +30.36% in search demand, it’s highly probable that these websites noticed a boost in organic traffic.

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest decrease in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Personal Finance one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices dropped, on average, by 7.07 pp.

On the other hand, the decline affected the websites ranked in the second position on desktop, as well, which recorded a 1.78 pp drop in CTR.

Websites ranked in the first two positions on mobile searches were also affected, seeing a combined 6.72 pp drop (4.81 pp for those ranked first, and 1.91 pp for those ranked second). On a more positive note, this market registered a +44.06% growth in search demand.

The highest increase in impressions (+65.19%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Pets market. Nevertheless, the CTR values went in the opposite direction, with the top four websites registering a combined 9.50 pp drop on mobile and an even more impressive 10.55 pp decline on desktop.

With no major changes since Q4 2022, the websites ranked first in the Sports industry recorded a 1.58 pp drop in CTR on desktop and a 1.18 pp decline on mobile devices. However, the total number of impressions grew slightly, by +1.74%.

Good news for the websites in the News sector, which recorded growth on all fronts. With a global +2.74% increase in search demand, websites ranked first registered almost similar increase rates in CTR: a 1.04 pp boost on desktop and a 1.02 pp growth on searches made from mobile devices.

Gladly, people’s interest in Education grew, being translated into a +28.23% increase in impressions. Simultaneously, the websites ranked first for desktop searches registered a 1.84 pp decrease in CTR, while for those ranked in the second position, the drop equaled 1.15 pp

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all seven industries mentioned above:

Clickthrough rate, Search demand increase

B. Industries that experienced a drop in search demand

The websites ranked in the first three positions in the Family & Parenting market experienced a combined 4.83 pp loss in CTR on desktop (1.45 pp for those ranked first, 2.07 pp for those ranked second, and 1.31 pp for those ranked in the third position). As for the mobile queries, the changes affected the websites ranked third only, which witnessed a 1.37 pp drop in CTR. 

At the same time, the industry’s search demand dropped in this second quarter of the year compared to Q1 (-16.62%).

Being the industry to record the highest increase in clickthrough rate in the previous quarter, Law, Government, & Politics experienced contrasting changes this time. Here, on desktop, the websites ranked first witnessed a 1.10 pp loss, while those ranked in the second position experienced a 1.89 pp growth. Surprisingly, on mobile, the websites ranked first weren’t influenced by the changes, while those ranked in the second position registered a 1.27 pp increase in CTR. Simultaneously, during this second quarter, the search demand decreased by -7.75%.

Despite recording the highest decrease in search demand of the quarter (-20.08%), there’s still a glimmer of hope for the websites in the Careers industry. Or, at least for the websites ranked first on mobile searches, which recorded a 2.25 pp increase in clickthrough rate.

It’s time to turn our attention to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: Real Estate. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices grew, on average, by a remarkable 5.56 pp. However, the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -5.67% in Q2 compared to Q1.

The clickthrough rate and search demand values went in opposite directions this time around in the Automotive industry. The CTR for the websites ranked first increased by 1.98 pp on mobile, while on desktop, the growth affected both the websites ranked first (a 1.35 pp increase), and those ranked in the second position (a 1.01 pp boost). 

Nevertheless, the industry’s overall search demand went in the opposite direction, decreasing by -11.86%.

A similar trend occurred in the Hobbies & Interests industry, where just like in the Automotive market, the very same websites were affected positively, while the impressions dropped. Here, the websites ranked first on mobile recorded a 1.79 pp increase in CTR, while the first two positions on desktop witnessed a combined 2.80 pp boost (1.55 pp for those ranked first, and 1.25 pp for those ranked second).

In reverse, the market’s search demand registered an overall -11.66% drop.

The websites ranked first in the Health & Fitness industry experienced a 1.76 pp loss in CTR on desktop. Coupled with a drop of -13.65% in search demand, it’s highly probable that these websites noticed a slight loss in organic traffic.

Here’s a visual round-up of the CTR evolution for the industries mentioned above:

Clickthrough rate, search demand decrease

That’s it for…the second quarter

During the second quarter of 2023, notable fluctuations in clickthrough rate were observed across various industries, as well as impacting commercial, location, and 1-word queries. These shifts could impact website traffic, emphasizing the importance of regularly assessing CTR metrics. 

By comparing your website’s performance to industry benchmarks, you can uncover areas where improvements can be made to boost your clickthrough rates effectively.

You can use Advanced Web Ranking to compare your website’s CTR values against up-to-date industry benchmarks. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can give it a try for free.

See you with the analysis of the third quarter of the year compiled against this one. Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q1 2023 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2023-q1/ Wed, 17 May 2023 12:39:47 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=20197 The first quarter of the year brings steadiness for the CTR values at a global level. Even when splitting the data by branded and unbranded queries, no changes higher than one percentage point were recorded.

Nevertheless, there is a lot more to discover when examining the industry-level data and segmenting it based on search intent and query length. Google continually experiments with different ways of displaying featured snippets and organic results, which can influence users to click on a different search result. Such changes in user behavior inevitably affect the clickthrough rate of each listing.

Let’s now analyze the impact of user behavior on click-through rate figures in Q1 2023, in contrast to Q4 2022.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q1 2023 (January-March interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q4 2022 (October-December). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

Search intent

Websites ranked first for informational queries (containing words such as what, when, where, how, etc.) recorded a 2.86 pp loss in CTR on desktop, while on mobile, the drop was even higher, equalling 3.53 pp.

As for commercial queries (those containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.), the clickthrough rate changes went in the opposite direction. Here, the websites ranked in the first three positions on mobile recorded a combined 4.76 pp increase in CTR (1.74 pp for those ranked first, 1.82 pp for those ranked second, and 1.19 pp for those ranked in the third position). 

On desktop, the growth affected the websites ranked first only, which witnessed a 1.02 pp boost in clickthrough rate.

Growth in clickthrough rate values was recorded for location queries as well, with websites ranked first gaining 1.61 pp on mobile queries.

Keyword length

Significant changes were recorded on desktop searches for 1-word queries only, with the websites ranked first witnessing a 1.27 pp loss in CTR.

Industries

As you may already be familiar with, we will link the variations in CTR with changes in search demand. Our objective is to identify the reasons behind the potential fluctuations in traffic for each industry when the rankings remain steady.

The CTR report will be divided into two distinct sections based on the evolution of search demand.

A. Industries that experienced an increase in search demand

After the previous quarter’s growth in CTR, the Real Estate industry got on the falling slope this time. Here, the websites ranked first experienced a 1.01 pp decrease in CTR on desktop searches and a 2.57 pp decline on mobile. On a more positive note, this market registered a +33.21% growth in search demand.

With people spending more time at home during the cold season, their desire to make the house cozier became more prominent. This led the search demand for the Home & Garden industry to record a spectacular increase of +85.77%. One can assume this growth also meant a spike in traffic, especially for the websites ranked first on desktop, which also got a boost of 1.48 pp in clickthrough rate.

A similar trend occurred in the Health & Fitness, with growth in CTR only for the websites ranked first on desktop (1.23 pp), while the industry’s search demand increased by +19.05%.

With no major changes since Q2 2022, the websites ranked first in the Automotive industry recorded a 1.08 pp increase in CTR on desktop. At the same time, the impressions for this industry recorded an increment of +16.28%.

It’s time to turn our attention to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: Law, Government, & Politics. While the websites ranked in the first position weren’t quite affected by the changes, those ranked second experienced an impressive 2.60 pp boost in CTR on desktop devices and a 1.20 pp boost on mobile. Simultaneously, the industry’s overall search demand recorded a consistent increase of +35.57%.

In the Arts & Entertainment industry, the websites ranked first recorded a 1.18 pp drop in CTR on mobile queries and an even more steep decline (2.56 pp) on desktop. However, the total number of impressions grew slightly, by +7.32%.

After a quiet quarter (the latest changes date back to Q3 2022) there was quite some activity at the top of the SERPs in the Personal Finance industry with changes in CTR as follows:

  • for the website ranked first, the increase in CTR was 2.00 pp on desktop and 1.03 pp on mobile
  • the websites ranked second lost, on average, 1.13 pp in CTR on desktop only
  • the websites ranked in the third position on mobile recorded a 2.20 pp drop in clickthrough rate

Concurrently, the number of impressions for this industry grew steeply, by a massive +303.76%.

The clickthrough rate and search demand values went in opposite directions for the Food & Drink industry: while the CTR for the websites ranked first on mobile dropped by 1.40 pp, the impressions grew by +44.04%.

The highest increase in impressions (+331.20%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Education industry. As for the CTR values, the changes affected the desktop queries exclusively. The websites ranked first on desktop recorded a 1.18 pp drop, while those ranked in the second position registered a 1.56 pp drop in CTR.

As for the Society category, websites ranked first recorded a 1.29 pp drop in CTR on mobile, while the industry’s search demand increased by +51.24%.

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest decrease in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Pets one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from mobile devices dropped, on average, by 3.89 pp.

On the other hand, the decline affected the websites ranked in the second position on mobile, as well, which recorded a 2.12 pp drop in CTR. However, the industry’s overall impressions increased by +50.25% in Q1 2023 compared to Q4 2022.

The websites ranked in the first two positions in the Science industry recorded a combined 4.87 pp loss in CTR on desktop (1.61 p for those ranked first, and 3.26 pp for those ranked second). On the other hand, the search demand grew for this industry, by +35.57%.

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the Careers market, which recorded a drop in CTR on mobile devices only. For these queries, the websites ranked first witnessed a 1.02 pp drop, while this industry’s overall search demand increased by +3.01%.

Here’s a visual recap of the changes mentioned above:

Clickthrough rate, Industries that experienced changes in search demand

B. Industries where the search demand dropped

In the Family & Parenting industry, surprisingly, the websites ranked first weren’t quite influenced by the changes. However, those ranked in the second position registered a 1.17 pp drop in CTR on desktop and a 1.27 pp decline on mobile, while for those ranked in the third position the loss affected the mobile queries only (1.07 pp). Here, the search demand decreased by -26.60%.

Without events such as Black Friday and the holiday season, similar to the previous quarter, a decrease in search demand in the Shopping industry was anticipated, and that expectation was met as our search demand tool observed a decline of -40.16% in impressions. In terms of clickthrough rate, the websites ranked first on mobile experienced a decrease of 1.92 percentage points.

The websites ranked in the first two positions in the News industry experienced a combined 3.72 pp loss in CTR on desktop (2.58 pp for those ranked first, and 1.15 pp for those ranked second). The declining trend was reflected on mobile, as well, where the website ranked in the first two positions witnessed a combined 3.24 pp loss in CTR (2.01 pp for those ranked first, and 1.22 pp for those ranked in the second position).

Coupled with a drop of -8.92% in search demand, it’s highly probable that the websites ranked in those two positions noticed a slight loss in organic traffic.

The Travel category experienced a similar pattern, at least on mobile queries, with the websites ranked in the first two positions recording a combined decrease of 3.91 pp in CTR values (2.62 pp for those ranked first, and 1.29 pp for those ranked in the second position). As for the desktop queries, the CTR values went in opposite directions for the websites ranked in the first two positions, with the websites ranked first losing 2.80 pp, while those ranked second gaining 1.75 pp.

At the same time,  people’s interest in traveling dropped in this first quarter of the year compared to Q4 2022 (-2.04%).

After an entire dormant year, the clickthrough rate values in the Style & Fashion industry experienced changes once again. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop recorded a drop of 1.04 pp in CTR, while the industry’s global number of impressions decreased by -20.25%.

One last market where the search demand dropped slightly (by -0.76%) is Business. As for the CTR values, the websites ranked first on mobile devices registered an increase of 1.14 pp.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in the six industries mentioned above:

Clickthrough rate, Industries where the search demand dropped

That’s it for…the first quarter

The first quarter of 2023 saw some significant changes in clickthrough rates across various industries, for commercial, informational, and location queries, as well as for 1-word queries. This evolution might translate into ups and downs in website traffic, which makes it makes it crucial to continuously evaluate the CTR metrics. 

By benchmarking your website against industry standards, you can gain valuable insights into areas where you can enhance your click rates. Moreover, since the anatomy of results pages varies for each keyword, you can conduct an in-depth analysis and measure your organic CTR for SERP features

See you with the analysis of the second quarter of the year compiled against Q1. Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q4 2022 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2022-q4/ Wed, 08 Feb 2023 11:50:28 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=20062 Before we analyze the changes in clickthrough rate during the fourth quarter, I am happy to announce you that our free CTR tool has been updated to include a new filtering option for the ‘Direct Answer’ result type, as well as search intent categories in the SERP Features view. 

The search intent categories include Navigational, Informational, Commercial, and Transactional, and this feature is now available for the US market on both desktop and mobile queries.

Search intent categories include Navigational, Informational, Commercial, and Transactional
Google Organic CTR tool
SERP Features menu – CTR evolution data segmented by SERP Features

Navigational searches are made by users who are searching for a specific brand or service. They are aware of the specific webpage or website they want to access (such as Facebook login or Youtube), but they require assistance in finding the correct URL.

Users often engage in informational searches during the discovery phase when they wish to gain knowledge on a specific subject, such as news, restaurants, flights, education, etc. These types of searches are the most frequent and have the highest search volume as people are always seeking information. 

Commercial searches are conducted during the consideration phase by users who are seeking to gather information before making a purchase decision. In this stage, users are looking for information such as reviews, alternatives, and top/best products to aid them in making an informed choice.

Last but not least, transactional searches are performed by users who have already completed the research and consideration phases and are ready to take action. These types of queries are not limited to purchases only, they may also include actions such as signing up for a newsletter, starting a trial, downloading software, etc.

Clickthrough rate in 2022 vs. 2021

With the data for the entire year 2022 now available, we can compare the average CTR values for each position in 2022 to those in 2021. 

We can see that the CTR values for websites ranked first on both desktop and mobile devices were significantly impacted. Specifically, the websites ranked first on desktop saw a decrease of 1.49 percentage points (pp) in CTR in 2022 compared to 2021, while on mobile the decrease was even greater at 1.61 pp.

Clickthrough rate in 2022 vs. 2021

Now let’s examine how user behavior affected click-through rate values during the fourth quarter of 2022 in comparison to the third quarter of the same year.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q4 2022 (October-December interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q3 2022 (July-September). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

All searches

At a global level, the changes affected only the desktop queries, where the websites ranked first registered a 1.11 pp decrease in CTR.

Branded vs. Unbranded queries

Significant changes were recorded for the branded queries on mobile searches only. More precisely, for those searches containing specific brand or business names, the websites ranked in the first position on mobile experienced a 1.38 pp decline in CTR, while those in the second position witnessed a 1.05 pp drop.

Search intent

Websites ranked in the first two positions for commercial queries (those containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.) recorded a combined 3.28 pp loss in CTR on mobile (2.21 pp for those ranked first and 1.07 pp for those ranked second). On desktop, the loss affected the websites ranked first only, which witnessed a 1.06 pp decline in clickthrough rate.

Drops in clickthrough rate values were recorded for informational queries (containing words such as what, when, where, how, etc.) as well, with websites ranked first, losing 1.01 pp on desktop queries.

As for location queries (containing words such as near, from, nearby, directions, maps, etc.), the websites ranked in the first three positions recorded drops in CTR on both desktop (3.39 pp combined) and mobile queries (5.01 pp combined). 

Keyword length

The websites ranked first on desktop recorded different percentages of decline in CTR as follows:

  • for 2-word queries, the decrease in CTR was 1.37 pp
  • for queries containing 3 words, the drop was 1.14 pp

As for the mobile results, only the CTR values for the websites ranked first on queries containing one word were affected, registering a 1.04 pp drop.

Industries

This is where we’ll be adding search demand data to the study and correlating click-through rate values with the search demand trend for industries that experienced CTR changes.

To make it easier to follow, I’ll just divide the CTR changes analysis into two sections, based on search demand evolution (either positive or negative):

A. Industries where the search demand increased

The websites ranked in the first two positions in the Careers market recorded a combined 3.12 pp loss in CTR on desktop (2.01 pp for those ranked first, and 1.12 pp for those ranked second). The declining trend was reflected on mobile, as well, where the website ranked in the first two positions witnessed a combined 2.43 pp loss in CTR (1 pp for those ranked first, and 1.43 pp for those ranked in the second position). On the other hand, the search demand grew slightly for this industry, by +0.39%.

It was anticipated that the Shopping industry would see an increase in search demand during the fourth quarter due to events like Black Friday and the holiday season, and this was confirmed by a +23.37% increase in impressions recorded by our search-demand tool. As for the CTR values, the websites ranked first on desktop registered about a 2.24 pp decrease.

Being the industry to record the highest increase in clickthrough rate in the previous quarter, Business experienced a drop this time. Here, the websites ranked first witnessed a 1.38 pp loss on desktop and a 1.29 pp drop on mobile devices, while the industry’s overall impressions increased by +1.03%. 

Now let’s have a look at the industry with the highest increase in search demand: Sports. With an impressive growth of +47.84% in impressions, the CTR values went in the opposite direction, with the websites ranked in the first three positions witnessing a combined 5.04 pp loss on desktop and a 5.00 pp decline on mobile devices. 

One last market where the search demand grew (with +1.31%) is Society. Nevertheless, the CTR values went in the opposite direction, at least on desktop, where the websites ranked first registered a drop of 1.92 pp.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all five industries mentioned above:

Clickthrough rate,  CTR evolution different industries

B. Industries that experienced a drop in search demand

Despite the drop in search demand (-18.28%), the websites ranked first in the Real Estate industry recorded a 2.38 pp increase in CTR on desktop, while on mobile, these websites witnessed an even greater boost, of 4.40 pp.

Family & Parenting recorded a decline of -26.27% in search demand. At the same time, the websites ranked first registered a 2.53 pp decrease in CTR in desktop searches, and a 1.09 pp drop in mobile results. Coupled with the industry’s search demand drop, these websites might expect a significant loss in organic traffic.

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Law, Government, & Politics one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices grew, on average, by a remarkable 7.05 pp, while on mobile, the changes reached a 2.88 pp growth. Websites ranked in the second position on desktop searches were also affected, seeing a 2.27 pp boost. However, the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -28.80% in Q4 compared to Q3.

In the Hobbies & Interests industry, websites ranked first recorded a 1.67 pp drop in CTR on desktop, while on mobile the decline equaled 1.01 pp. At the same time, the total number of impressions decreased, by -7.05%.

With no major changes since Q2 2022, the websites ranked in the first two positions in the Health & Fitness industry recorded a combined 3.40 pp loss in CTR on desktop and a 2.75 pp drop on mobile devices. At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions decreased almost insignificantly, by -0.37%.

A similar trend occurred in the Home & Garden industry, where just like in the Health & Fitness market, but after two dormant quarters this time, the clickthrough rate values experienced changes once again. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop recorded a drop of 1.79 pp in CTR, while the industry’s global number of impressions decreased by -17.71%.

People’s interest in travel declined after the end of the summer holidays in Q3, as shown by a decrease of -38.86% in impressions on our search demand tool. At the same time, the CTR for the websites ranked first in the Travel industry decreased by 1.77 pp on desktop, while on mobile, the drop affected both the websites ranked first (a 1.52 pp drop), and those ranked in the second position (a 1.48 pp decline).

As for the Arts & Entertainment industry, surprisingly, the websites ranked first weren’t quite influenced by the changes. However, those ranked in the second position registered a 3.01 pp drop in CTR on desktop and a 2.41 pp decline on mobile, while for those ranked in the third position lost, on average 1.02 pp on desktop and 1.44 pp on mobile. Here, the search demand decreased by -8.34%.

It’s time to turn our attention to the fourth quarter’s most significant steep decline in clickthrough rate: the Science market. Here, the websites ranked in the first three positions recorded a combined 22.38 pp loss in CTR on desktop (8.03 pp for those ranked first, 12.74 pp for those ranked second, and 1.61 pp for those ranked in the third position). 

On mobile, the loss affected the websites ranked second only, which witnessed a 1.09 pp decline, while those ranked first and in the third position recorded growth in CTR (3.11 pp and 1.41 pp respectively). At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions decreased by -13.85%.

One last market where the search demand dropped (with -36.18%) is Pets. Here, the CTR values for the websites ranked in the second position on mobile devices registered a decrease of 1.59 pp.

Here’s a visual round-up of the CTR evolution for the industries mentioned above:

Clickthrough rate,  CTR evolution different industries

That’s it for…the fourth quarter

It has been quite an eventful quarter! We analyzed the year-over-year comparison and identified the areas and industries affected by the changes.

And our next report on changes in click-through rate might be even more intriguing as it will likely provide insights into Google’s implementation of ‘Continuous Scrolling’ on desktop, which started at the end of this quarter at the beginning of December.

But we’ll have to wait until the next quarterly analysis CTR report to learn more. Until then, stay safe and healthy! 

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q3 2022 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2022-q3/ Tue, 08 Nov 2022 12:56:17 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19994 For the first time this year, the CTR values can be considered quite steady at a global level.

Branded or unbranded queries, 1 or more than 4-word keywords, you name it, there were no significant spikes in CTR when comparing Q3 to Q2 values.

However, there’s definitely more than meets the eye when drilling down to the industry level and when segmenting the data from the search intent perspective.

Google is constantly testing new ways of distributing featured snippets and organic results, which determine users to click on a different listing. This shift in users’ behavior when searching translates into inevitable changes in each listing’s clickthrough rate.

Btw, we’re covering the subject of how SERP features affect your CTR in Google organic search at SMX Next, online November 15-16. So, make sure you grab your free pass to deepen your knowledge about this topic.

And now let’s focus on the outcome, by looking at how the CTR values shaped in the third quarter of the year compared to the previous one.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q3 2022 (July-September interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q2 2022 (April-June). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

Search intent

After the previous quarter’s drop in CTR, the clickthrough rate for commercial queries (containing words such as buy, price, etc.) got on the rising slope this time. Here, the websites ranked first experienced a 1.97 pp increase in CTR on desktop searches. 

As for informational queries (containing words such as what, when, where, how, etc.), the websites ranked first gained 1.38 pp in CTR on desktop queries.

Industries

Now let’s jump to the industries section, where, just like in the previous quarterly studies, we’ll correlate the changes in CTR to the ones in search demand to better estimate the potential traffic fluctuations.

This CTR report will contain two separate sections, based on the search demand’s evolution.

A. Industries that experienced an increase in search demand

For the second quarter in a row, the highest decrease in clickthrough rate for a single position was recorded in the Law, Government, & Politics market. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop recorded a 3.47 pp drop in CTR

On mobile, the loss affected the websites ranked first also, which witnessed a 2.37 pp decline in clickthrough rate. At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions increased by +2.96%.

With no real change for desktop queries, the websites ranked first in the News industry witnessed a 1.11 pp growth in clickthrough rates on mobile. Surprisingly, the fluctuations were higher at the bottom of the SERPs, with the websites ranked between the 17th and 20th positions losing a combined 6.74 pp in CTR. On the other hand, the search demand grew slightly for this industry, by +7.51%.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in the two industries mentioned above:

CTR, Law, Government and politics CTR changes, News industry CTR changes

B. Industries where the search demand dropped

After two consecutive quarters with declining CTR values on mobile devices, the Careers industry got on the rising slope this time. Here, the websites ranked first on mobile devices experienced a 1.41 pp increase in CTR, while the total number of impressions decreased by -12.63% in Q3 compared to Q2.

The last time the Personal Finance industry made it into the quarterly CTR report, it was associated with the highest decrease in clickthrough rate of that period. Tables turn and the industry managed to record an increase of 1.07 pp in CTR for the websites ranked first on desktop. In reverse, the market’s search demand registered an overall -8.71% drop.

As for the Real Estate category, the search demand decreased on a small scale (-2.93%) and the CTR values fluctuated only on mobile devices. More precisely, websites ranked second in mobile SERPs registered a 0.93 pp drop in clickthrough rate.

Despite the drop in search demand (-17.84%), the websites ranked first in the Family & Parenting industry recorded a 2.08 pp increase in CTR on queries made from desktop devices. 

While the search demand dropped in the Hobbies & Interests market (-44.16%), websites ranked first on desktop devices registered almost an entire percentage point growth in CTR (0.90 pp to be more precise).

A similar trend occurred in the Food & Drink category, where the CTR values for the websites ranked first registered an increase of 0.93 pp on desktop and 0.88 pp on mobile devices. Nevertheless, the total number of impressions for this industry went in the opposite direction, recording a -5.52% drop.

With no major changes since Q4 2021, the websites ranked first in the Shopping industry recorded a growth of 0.96 pp in CTR on desktop queries. On the other hand, the search demand for this industry registered losses when compared to the previous quarter (-9.39% to be more precise).

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Business one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices grew, on average, by 1.91 pp, while on mobile, the changes reached a remarkable 2.24 pp growth. However, the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -3.15% in Q3 compared to Q2.

The highest decrease in impressions (-50.36%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Travel industry. As for the CTR values, after two dormant quarters, they experienced changes once again. Surprisingly, websites ranked first weren’t influenced by the changes, while those ranked in the second position in desktop SERPs registered a 2.90 pp drop in CTR.

The Science industry continued its CTR decline, which began in the previous quarter, for the websites ranked in the first two positions on mobile devices, and even more, the drop extended to desktop devices, as well, during Q3. Therefore, websites ranking in these first two positions on mobile got a combined decrease in clickthrough rate of 5.26 pp (2.26 pp for those ranked first, and 2.99 pp for those ranked in the second position), while on desktop, the combined drop equaled 5.00 pp (1.83 pp for those ranked first, and 3.17 pp for those ranked in the second position). The industry’s overall impressions decreased a bit, by -1.13%.

It’s been a year already since the Education market last recorded fluctuations in clickthrough rate and it was about time for it to make it into this quarter’s report. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.85 pp decrease in clickthrough rate, while the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -11.42%.

The first four positions in the Pets market experienced a combined 4.46 pp decrease in CTR on desktop and no less than a 9.88 pp drop on mobile devices. Coupled with a decline of -14.47% in search demand, it’s highly probable that the websites ranked in those four positions noticed some loss in organic traffic.

Sports is the last one to make it into this quarter’s group of industries where clickthrough rate variations were recorded, and the search demand declined. The number of impressions decreased by -12.30%, while the CTR for websites ranked first on desktop queries increased by 1.39 pp.

Here’s a visual recap of the changes mentioned above:

CTR, all industries CTR changes

That’s it for…the third quarter

In what might have seemed a quiet quarter from the clickthrough rate perspective, we found out that there still were winning and losing industries, in the end. The websites ranked first on desktop for commercial and informational queries were also affected by the CTR changes, so make sure to reassess this metric regularly to discover if the traffic changes are tied to it.

See you with the analysis of the last quarter of the year compiled against this one. Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q2 2022 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2022-q2/ Wed, 10 Aug 2022 10:11:13 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19948 Google’s SERP anatomy is in continuous change, which inevitably leads to changes in the clickthrough rate values. ‘Visual Stories’ result type was a hot topic when we put together the previous quarter’s CTR analysis, recently it seems that Google’s continuing to squeeze organic results out, and who knows what will happen next?

Not to mention the way searchers are interacting with these new search engine result pages. For example, recent studies show that about 40% of young people (Gen Z) use TikTok or Instagram as search engines, instead of Google for some discovery purposes. It should come as no surprise that zoomers (that’s how Generation Z is colloquially known) might behave differently when searching on Google.

So let’s best focus on effects, on how user behavior shaped the CTR values in the second quarter of the year when compared to the previous one.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q2 2022 (April-June interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q1 2022 (January-March). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

All searches

At a global level, the changes affected only the mobile queries, where the websites ranked first registered a 1.45 pp decrease in CTR.

Branded vs. Unbranded

The declining trend in CTR for the websites ranked first on mobile queries was reflected in both the branded and unbranded queries.

More precisely, for those searches containing specific brand or business names, websites ranked in the first position experienced a 1.27 pp decline in CTR.

As for the unbranded queries, the drop in CTR equaled 1.56 pp for the websites ranked first for the searches made from mobile devices.

Search intent

Websites ranked in the first two positions for informational queries recorded a combined 2.57 pp loss in CTR on mobile (1.53 pp for those ranked first and 1.04 for those ranked second). On desktop, nevertheless, the changes went in the opposite direction, affecting the websites ranked first only, which witnessed almost 1.26 pp growth in clickthrough rate.

Drops in clickthrough rate values were recorded for commercial queries (those containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.) as well, with websites ranked first, losing 1.27 pp on desktop queries.

As for location queries (containing words such as near, from, nearby, directions, maps, etc.), the websites ranked first lost on average 1.65 pp in CTR on desktop searches.

Keyword length

Regardless of the number of words a keyword has, our CTR tool recorded drops on almost all fronts on mobile queries as follows:

  • for 1-word queries, the change wasn’t quite visible for those websites ranked first, while for those in the second position, the loss equaled 1.09 pp
  • for queries containing more than 2 words, the most significant changes occurred for the websites ranked first. More precisely, for 2-word searches, the loss equaled 1.37 pp, for 3-word queries, the registered loss accounted for 1.42 pp, and for searches containing four or more keywords, the decline was 1.67 pp.

Industries

Now let’s jump to the industries section, where, just like in the previous quarterly studies, we’ll correlate the changes in CTR to the ones in search demand to better estimate the potential traffic fluctuations.

This CTR report will contain two separate sections, based on the search demand’s evolution.

A. Industries where the search demand increased

With no major changes since Q4 2021, the websites ranked first in the Technology & Computing industry recorded a drop of 1.07 pp in CTR on mobile queries. On the other hand, the search demand for this industry recorded growth when compared to the previous quarter (+20.66% to be more precise).

Being the industry to record the highest increase in CTR in the previous quarter, Family & Parenting got on the falling slope this time. 

On desktop, the websites affected were the ones ranked first, which witnessed a 1.34 pp loss. The decline was even steeper on mobile, with the websites ranked in the first five positions experiencing a combined 9.94 pp decrease in CTR (3.28 pp for those ranked in the first position, 2.26 pp for those ranked second, 1.56 pp for those ranked third, 1.66 pp for those ranked fourth, and 1.18 pp for the ones in the fifth spot).

At the same time, the industry’s overall search demand went in the opposite direction, increasing by +11.75%.

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest decrease in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Law, Government, & Politics one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices dropped, on average, by 3.33 pp

On the other hand, on mobile, the decline affected the first 4 positions, which recorded a combined 6.66 pp drop. However, the industry’s overall impressions increased by +5.39% in Q2 compared to Q1.

With no major changes since Q3 2021, the websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices in the Business industry, grew, on average, by 1.04 pp. Combined with a +4.76% increase in search demand, it’s highly probable that these websites recorded an increased amount of organic traffic.

A similar trend occurred in the Hobbies & Interests industry, where just like in the Business market, after two dormant quarters, the clickthrough rate values experienced changes once again. Here, the websites ranked in the first two positions recorded drops in CTR on both desktop (3.24 pp combined) and mobile queries (3.72 pp combined). On a more positive note, this market registered the highest growth in search demand of the quarter: no less than +21.26%.

With no real change for desktop queries, the first two websites ranked in the Shopping industry witnessed a combined 2.40 pp loss in clickthrough rates on mobile (1.35 pp for those ranked first and 1.05 for those ranked second). However, the total number of impressions slightly increased, by +9.93%.

The websites ranked in the first two positions in the Science industry recorded a combined 3.48 pp loss in CTR on mobile (1.88 pp for those ranked first, and 1.60 pp for those ranked in the second position). On desktop, the changes affected the websites ranked third only, which witnessed a 1.14 pp growth in clickthrough rate. The industry’s overall impressions increased a bit, by +2.10%.

As for the Society industry, the clickthrough rates for the websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.75 pp decline, while on mobile, only the websites ranked in the second position were influenced by the changes, recording a 1.26 drop. Nevertheless, the industry’s overall search demand went in the opposite direction, increasing by +17.91%.

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the Sports market, which recorded a drop in CTR on mobile devices only. For these queries, the websites ranked first witnessed a 1.07 pp drop, while this industry’s overall search demand increased by +7.61%.

Here’s a visual round-up of the CTR evolution for the industries mentioned above:

CTR, search demand increase

B. Industries that experienced a drop in search demand

The first five positions in the Real Estate industry experienced a combined 9.77 pp decrease in CTR on mobile (3.21 pp for those ranked in the first position, 2.22 pp for those ranked second, 1.67 pp for those ranked third, 1.55 pp for and 1.11 pp for the ones in the fifth spot). Coupled with a decrease of -12.66% in search demand, it’s highly probable that the websites ranked in those five positions noticed some loss in organic traffic.

The decline that started during the previous quarter deepened in the Careers industry, affecting not only the websites ranked first on mobile queries but also those ranked between second and fourth positions. Strictly speaking, the websites ranked in the first four positions on mobile lost a combined 5.54 pp in CTR as follows: 1.66 pp for those ranked in the first position, 1.24 pp for those ranked second, 1.54 pp for those ranked third, and 1.10 pp for the ones in the fourth spot.

On the other hand, but on desktop this time, only the websites ranked first were affected, experiencing a 1.19 pp drop in CTR, while the industry’s global number of impressions decreased by -10.14%.

The Health & Fitness market recorded losses, especially on mobile devices: 1.94 pp for websites ranked first and 5.73 pp for the top four websites combined. On desktop, the change could be observed, especially for the websites ranked first as they lost, on average, 1.93 pp in CTR. As for the search demand, the industry’s overall number of impressions decreased by -4.92%.

The Food & Drink market was also affected at the top of the SERP, where the websites ranked first registered a 1.55 pp drop in CTR on desktop and 1.83 pp decline on mobile. Here, the search demand decreased by -20.45%.

It’s time to turn our attention to the highest growth for a single position in CTR: the Arts & Entertainment market. Websites ranked in the first position experienced a 1.96 pp boost in CTR on desktop devices. 

On the other hand, still on desktop queries, those ranked second experienced a 1.03 pp drop, while those in the third spot registered a 1.24 pp decline. In contrast to the growth record achieved this quarter, this industry’s search demand decreased by -30.11%.

Desktop and mobile CTR values went in opposite directions this time around in the Education market, for the websites ranked first as follows: on desktop, the growth in clickthrough rate was 1.67 pp, while on mobile, the drop equaled 1.10 pp. Concurrently, the number of impressions for this industry declined steeply, by -24.51%.

The highest decrease in impressions (-36.18%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Pets industry. As for the CTR values, interestingly, the websites’ positions influenced by the changes were quite atypical. Those ranked second in SERPs registered a 1.70 pp drop in CTR on desktop, while on mobile, the changes in CTR affected the websites ranked fourth, which witnessed a 1.13 pp drop.

One last market where the search demand dropped (by -6.42%) is Automotive. At the same time, the CTR values went in the same direction, at least for the websites ranked first, which registered a 1.32 pp drop on desktop and a 2.71 pp decrease on mobile queries.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all eight industries mentioned above:

CTR, search demand decrease

That’s it for…the second quarter

As you might have noticed, most of the changes occurred on mobile devices, and in most cases, they translated into drops in clickthrough rate. Quite contrary to the popular opinion that Google’s continuous scrolling on mobile searches would automatically bring more traffic to the websites, we noticed that in reality, it’s quite the opposite, which stresses the importance of assessing the CTR values regularly.

Only this way you can try and understand scenarios such as drops in traffic, although the rankings remained unchanged, and going further, you can even make some forecasts on how much traffic you can expect, based on the most recent CTR values evolution.

I’ll see you with the analysis of the third quarter of the year compiled against this one. Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q1 2022 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2022-q1/ Tue, 17 May 2022 10:42:07 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19857 Since SERPs composition is subject to continuous change, this translates into changes in users’ behavior when searching. That’s why it’s fundamental to regularly check the CTR evolution and, when possible, try to find correlations and understand what triggered these decisions in searchers’ habits. 

Visual Stories

Speaking of changes in SERPs anatomy, a new feature called ‘Visual Stories’ is now available on Google Mobile results. After a long period of testing, it looks like Google is now displaying this feature more prominently in mobile results from the US.

We treated the impact of Visual Stories in a dedicated blog post, and as expected, we made this new result type available for tracking in the free organic CTR tool.

Google Organic CTR tool
SERP Features menu – CTR evolution data segmented by SERP Features
Google Organic CTR tool
SERP Features menu – CTR evolution data segmented by SERP Features

Now let’s look at how user behavior shaped the CTR values in the first quarter of the year compared to the last quarter of 2021.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q1 2022 (January-March interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q4 2021 (October-December). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

Branded vs. Unbranded queries

The websites ranked first for the searches mentioning a specific brand or business name were affected on both desktop and mobile queries. On desktop, the increase in CTR equaled 0.68 pp, while on mobile, the ascending trend recorded a 0.97 pp growth.

On the other hand, but for unbranded queries this time, the CTR changes went the other way round. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop witnessed a drop in CTR by 0.59 pp, while on mobile the recorded decline was 0.30 pp.

Search intent

When looking at either commercial, location, or informational queries, the highest variations in CTR were registered on desktop, and surprisingly for the websites ranked in the second position.

More precisely, the CTR grew by 1.04 pp for commercial queries (those containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.) and by 0.89 pp for location searches (containing words such as near, nearby, from, directions, route, maps, etc.).

However, the highest change in clickthrough rate occurred for informational queries, where the websites ranked second on desktop witnessed a 1.60 pp decrease.

Industries

Now let’s move on to the industries section, where, just like in our previous quarterly CTR studies, we’ll correlate the changes in CTR to the ones in search demand. Presuming the rankings remain steady, this section is aimed at better estimating the potential traffic fluctuations.

This chapter will be divided into two separate sections, based on the search demand’s evolution.

A. Industries that experienced an increase in search demand

The Law, Government, & Politics industry starts the year in force, with growth on all fronts. With a global +12.69% increase in search demand, websites ranked first recorded a 1.82 pp boost on desktop and a 1.46 pp growth on searches made from mobile devices.

The Careers industry continued its CTR decline, which began in the previous quarter, for the websites ranked first on mobile devices. Therefore, websites ranking first on mobile got an average decrease in clickthrough rate of 1.54 pp. At the same time, the search demand stopped from falling and seemed to recover, since it recorded a slight increment of +9.44%.

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Family & Parenting one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices grew, on average, by 1.95 pp, while on mobile, the changes reached a 1.13 pp growth. At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions increased by +14.25%.

Being the industry to record the highest increase in CTR in the previous quarter, Automotive got on the falling slope this time. The websites affected were the ones ranked first, which witnessed a 2.20 pp loss on mobile queries only, while the industry’s overall search demand went in the opposite direction, increasing by +16.76%.

As for the Real Estate industry, websites ranked first on desktop queries recorded a 1.37 pp growth in CTR on desktop, while those ranked in the second position experienced a 1.30 pp boost in clickthrough rate. At the same time, the total number of impressions increased by +2.23%.

Despite the slight growth in search demand (+6.90%), the websites ranked first in the Society industry recorded a 1.41 pp drop in CTR on desktop devices and a 2.85 pp decrease for the queries made from mobile devices.

It’s time to turn our attention to the first quarter’s highest decline in clickthrough rate: the Personal Finance market. Here, the websites ranked first recorded a 3.60 pp loss in CTR on desktop, while on mobile, the loss in clickthrough rate equaled almost 2 pp (1.99 pp more precisely). At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions increased by +10.25%.

The highest increase in impressions (+26.85%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the News market. Nevertheless, the CTR values went in the opposite direction, and interestingly, the websites ranked for queries made from mobile devices weren’t influenced by the changes. However, the top two websites in desktop SERPs registered a combined 4.14 pp drop in CTR (1.96 pp for those ranked first and 2.18 pp for those ranked in the second position).

As for the Science industry, the clickthrough rates for the top two websites registered a combined growth of 3.73 pp on mobile, while on desktop, only the websites ranked in the second position were influenced by the changes, recording a 1.46 pp growth. These changes in CTR coupled with a growth of +25.59% in this industry’s overall search demand might translate into a boost in traffic for those websites affected by the changes.

Health & Fitness is the last one to make it into this quarter’s group of industries where clickthrough rate variations were recorded, and the search demand increased. The number of impressions increased by +15.99%, while the CTR for the websites ranked second decreased only on desktop devices by 1.49 pp, while on mobile the values remained quite steady.

Here’s a visual recap of all the changes mentioned above:

Google Organic CTR, Different industries CTR changes

B. Industries where the search demand dropped

In the absence of events such as Black Friday and the holiday season, like in the previous quarter, it was expected that the search demand would decrease in the Shopping industry, and so it did: our search demand tool recorded a -30.14% drop in impressions. As for the CTR values, websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.59 pp decrease.

With no major changes since Q3 2021, the websites ranked in the first two positions in the Style & Fashion industry recorded a combined 2.43 pp growth in CTR on desktop (1.22 pp for those ranked first and 1.21 pp for those ranked in the second position). At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions decreased by -19.93%.

A similar trend occurred in the Pets industry, where just like in the Style & Fashion market, after a dormant quarter, the clickthrough rate values experienced changes once again.

Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on mobile devices decreased by 1.87 pp, while no significant changes were recorded on desktop. At the same time, this industry’s overall search demand decreased by -17.10%.

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the Home & Garden market, which recorded a drop in CTR on mobile devices only. For these queries, the websites ranked in the second position witnessed a 1.23 pp drop, while this industry’s overall search demand decreased by -6.70%.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all four industries mentioned above:

CTR changes shopping, style and fashion, pets, home and gardening industries

That’s it for…the first quarter

As we’ve seen, recently it’s been the Visual Stories feature that appeared in search engine results, and who knows what Google holds in store in the future? This continuous reshaping of SERPs leads to shifts in users’ behavior and today’s ‘guaranteed’ traffic might be different than the actual received one.

So make sure to include checking the organic click share values’ evolution into your routine to better calibrate your expectations.

And I’ll see you with the analysis of the second quarter of the year compiled against this one. Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Core Web Vitals Study 2022 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/core-web-vitals-study/ Tue, 10 May 2022 14:07:10 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19795 We analyzed 3 million web pages from the top 20 Google search results to answer the following questions:

  • Does web page performance matter for ranking in Google organic search?
  • Which of the Core Web Vitals metrics correlate with first page search engine rankings?

In March 2022, Google announced that the page experience update for Desktop has been fully rolled out so we thought it would be interesting to see its impact compared to the Mobile update that happened in May 2021.

With the help of our free tool Wattspeed, we uncovered some interesting findings that I’m about to share with you today.

Summary of Our Most Interesting Findings

  1. The higher the ranking in Google, the lower the LCP metric is.
  2. 39% of analyzed web pages passed the Core Web Vitals metrics, while the other 61% were below the threshold.
  3. 80% of the pages that pass Core Web Vitals on Desktop also pass them on Mobile.
  4. The Core Web Vitals is a ranking factor, but it’s not as important as links, content, or search intent.

The above data is based on more than 3 million pages analyzed by this study. Read on to find out all the details about each of our findings.

You can also check out the entire Core Web Vitals Study on the Wattspeed website.

What are Core Web Vitals?

The Core Web Vitals, or CWV in short, is a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a web page.

They are a subset of the page experience signals, which measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page.  

The data that Google uses to rank websites in organic search comes from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) which is a public dataset of real user experience data on millions of websites.

It measures three Core Web Vitals metrics:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
  • First Input Delay (FID)
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)

These metrics focus on three aspects of the user experience: loading, interactivity, and visual stability:

core web vitals

In May 2021, page experience for mobile devices became a ranking signal. Almost a year later, in March 2022, Google announced that the page experience update for Desktop has been fully rolled out.

For more news about Google updates that affect search and rankings, I recommend you watch the amazing Google Search News channel. Here’s a link to the latest episode in which John talks about this latest update, which rolled out in March 2022.

This Desktop update includes all the current signals of the mobile version of the page experience update, except the mobile-friendliness part:

Google Page Experience, desktop vs mobile

Google has also compiled a set of answers for anyone who has questions about these metrics in this comprehensive Core Web Vitals FAQ.

How Many Sites pass the Core Web Vitals metrics?

We analyzed around 3 million web pages and found that for both mobile and desktop pages, about 39% passed the Core Web Vitals metrics, while the other 61% were below the threshold.

What is interesting though is that the percentage of the websites that pass the CWV is higher for the highest ranking positions in Google organic search.

Percentage of pages that pass the Core Web Vitals metrics
Percentage of pages that pass the Core Web Vitals metrics

The CrUX report does not show CWV scores for pages that have not met minimum traffic thresholds. Thus we found a lot of pages in Google’s top 10 results that did not have any CrUX data associated with them.

CrUX report
Percentage of pages that have no CWV scores shown by ranking position

Are the Core Web Vitals correlated with the ranking position in Google search results?

It is important to start by saying that some of the studies that we do in the SEO industry try to correlate certain factors with the actual Google rankings. However, most of the time, “correlation is not causation”, which means that just because two things correlate does not necessarily mean that one causes the other. So take the data below with a grain of salt and don’t jump to conclusions immediately.

That being said, there are some interesting charts below, so let’s dive right in.

Let’s look at each of the three Core Web Vitals and see if there is any correlation between them and ranking in organic google search:

Largest Contentful Paint

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) measures loading performance. For a good user experience, LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds since the page first starts loading.

It looks like none of the 3 million pages that were part of this study (which were found in the top 20 results of Google) have an average LCP lower than 2.5 seconds:

Largest Contentful Paint Mobile
Largest Contentful Paint – Mobile
Largest Contentful Paint Desktop
Largest Contentful Paint – Desktop

However, what is interesting, is that the charts above clearly show that, the higher the ranking in Google, the lower the LCP metric is.

First Input Delay

First Input Delay (FID): measures interactivity. To provide a good user experience, pages should have an FID of 100 milliseconds or less.

The good news is that all the pages that we tested (which are also in the top 20 results) have an FID that is less than 100 ms. However, the difference in FID values between the Top 20 rankings isn’t that great and there is no clear correlation between FID and ranking positions:

First Input Delay Mobile
First Input Delay – Mobile
First Input Delay Desktop
First Input Delay – Desktop
Cumulative Layout Shift

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): measures visual stability. To provide a good user experience, pages should maintain a CLS of 0.1 or less. There is a slight visual trend here that shows rankings in top positions have a lower CLS, but the difference between the CLS values isn’t that great to justify a clear correlation.

Cumulative Layout Shift Mobile
Cumulative Layout Shift – Mobile
Cumulative Layout Shift Desktop
Cumulative Layout Shift – Desktop

Core Web Vitals by Industry

Not all web pages are created equal. Most of them use different technologies and they also have different features. For this reason, the Core Web Vitals metrics differ a lot for different pages.

When looking at the average results of the entire set of 3 million web pages that were analyzed in this study, it’s hard to get the whole story. So we decided to break down the entire set of pages by industry, to see how these pages perform with regard to Core Web Vitals for each industry.

Here’s the percentage of pages that pass the Core Web Vitals on Desktop broken down by industry:

Percentage of pages that pass Core Web Vitals on Desktop (by industry)
Percentage of pages that pass Core Web Vitals on Desktop (by industry)

And here’s the percentage of pages that pass the Core Web Vitals on Mobile broken down by industry:

Percentage of pages that pass Core Web Vitals on Mobile (by industry)
Percentage of pages that pass Core Web Vitals on Mobile (by industry)

The “Arts & Entertainment” section seems interesting because 74% of the pages that belong to this industry pass the Core Web Vitals on Mobile, but only 23% of these pages pass the Core Web Vitals on Desktop.

This is probably due to the fact that on Desktop, especially in the “Arts & Entertainment” industry, most pages display videos that take a longer time to load. On mobile, the same pages might scale down this video to an image instead.

When we look at each Core Web Vital metric separately, we can see that the LCP (Largest Contentful Paint) is the metric that most of these pages fail at:

LCP by Industry
LCP by Industry

And if we look at the LCP metric broken down by search result type, we can see that Video is the one responsible for the largest LCP score for most websites:

LCP by search result type
LCP by search result type

Check out the entire Core Web Vitals Study on the Wattspeed website for more detailed charts of Core Web Vitals broken down by industry, device and search result type.

Are the Core Web Vitals a major ranking signal?

The short answer is no. However, they become important when competing pages in search score well for all the other important factors. Read below for the long answer.

Page experience and Core Web Vitals are just some of the many factors that affect how Google ranks web pages in organic search. Some of them are more important than others and the formula was not made public.

John Mueller, Search Advocate at Google, while talking about the May 2021 update said that, even though these performance factors will be used for ranking, they will not catapult your website from page ten to number one position. And that content relevance is more important than Core Web Vitals scores:

John Mueler profile picture
John Mueller

Search Advocate at Google

So just because your website is faster with regards to Core Web Vitals than some competitors doesn’t necessarily mean that come May you will jump to position number one in the search results.

We still require that relevance is something that should be kind of available on the site. It should make sense for us to show the site in the search results because, as you can imagine, a really fast website might be one that’s completely empty. But that’s not very useful for users.

It’s useful to keep that in mind when it comes to Core Web Vitals. It is something that users notice. It is something that we will start using for ranking. But it’s not going to change everything completely.

John Mueller, Google SEO office-hours – Feb 26, 2021

Some people from Reddit were skeptical about Core Web Vitals and their power over how Google ranks web pages in organic search results:

“Anyone else not buying Core Web Vitals? I just find it hard to believe that this actually becomes a greater part of the ranking algo. Has anyone seen dramatic gains or decreases based on it so far?

If two pieces of content are equally high quality and relevant to the search term and all the other ranking factors are equal, but one site has better core web vitals, it will rank higher.

I imagine it’s quite rare for two articles to be equal on all other factors so I think that’s why we don’t see much impact from it.”

And here’s the answer from John Mueller:

John Mueler profile picture
John Mueller

Search Advocate at Google

It is a ranking factor, and it’s more than a tie-breaker, but it also doesn’t replace relevance.

Depending on the sites you work on, you might notice it more, or you might notice it less. As an SEO, a part of your role is to take all of the possible optimizations and figure out which ones are worth spending time on. Any SEO tool will spit out 10s or 100s of “recommendations”, most of those are going to be irrelevant to your site’s visibility in search. Finding the items that make sense to work on takes experience.

The other thing to keep in mind with core web vitals is that it’s more than a random ranking factor, it’s also something that affects your site’s usability after it ranks (when people actually visit). If you get more traffic (from other SEO efforts) and your conversion rate is low, that traffic is not going to be as useful as when you have a higher conversion rate (assuming UX/speed affects your conversion rate, which it usually does). CWV is a great way of recognizing and quantifying common user annoyances.

Page experience is just one of many signals that are used to rank pages. Keep in mind that intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page with a subpar page experience may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

John Mueller, Reddit

Are the Core Web Vitals scored for each URL or the entire website?

The Core Web Vitals scores are assessed for each individual page, and it is very clear in our study results that some pages are above and others below these thresholds.

Is CWV a pass/fail score?

As you can see in the images above, Google Search Console shows three states for Core Web Vitals: poor, needs improvement, and good. This is a clear indication that pages either pass (good) or fail (poor or need improvement). PageSpeed Insights also indicates that pages either pass or do not pass so a safe bet is that Core Web Vitals is a pass or fail score.

How can I check the Core Web Vitals for my own pages?

PageSpeed Insights

If you’re curious to see the CWV scores for your own pages, the quickest way is to use PageSpeed Insights. Just enter your URL and you can see the results for both Desktop and Mobile.

PageSpeed Insights

Wattspeed

If you’re not looking for a one-time check, but rather to monitor your Core Web Vitals in time, take a look at Wattspeed. It’s a free tool that provides multiple page speed metrics and their evolution in time. You also get in-depth information about what the problem is and how you can improve your scores. You can then set up alerts that notify you every time your scores reach a certain threshold.

Wattspeed tool, monitor Core Web Vitals in time

One interesting aspect of Wattspeed is that it lets you compare two pages. This allows you to see how a single page evolved in time and what problems had been fixed. But it also allows you to compare your page with a competitor’s page to see why the page experience scores are different.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console has a dedicated section for Desktop in the Page Experience report. It tells you how many of your URLs pass or fail the Core Web Vitals and the total number of impressions you get from these URLs.

Google Search Console

It’s important to remember though that Google Search Console data comes from the Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX), which does not show CWV scores for pages that have not met minimum traffic thresholds.

Conclusion

I’d like to thank the Wattspeed team for providing the raw data that made this study possible.

Now it’s time to hear what you think.

Were any of these findings surprising? Have you seen any significant position shifts after the Desktop rollout?

Tweet me and let me know your thoughts.

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https://www.youtube.com/embed/PQrnhpNTOtE English Google SEO office-hours from February 26, 2021 nonadult
Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q4 2021 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2021-q4/ https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2021-q4/#comments Tue, 08 Feb 2022 16:01:16 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19545 A useful addition to kick off with: besides the new polished design our free CTR tool got, you can now compare the SERP features’ incidence side-by-side for desktop and mobile, for the US market as shown in the screenshot below:

Google Organic CTR tool, SERP Features menu – CTR evolution data segmented by SERP Features (Desktop vs Mobile, US market)
Google Organic CTR tool
SERP Features menu – CTR evolution data segmented by SERP Features (Desktop vs Mobile, US market)

Clickthrough rate in 2021 vs. 2020

And since the data for the entire 2021 is now available, let’s have a glance at the Year over Year changes by comparing the average CTR values for each position in 2021 vs. the ones in 2020.

The CTR values were significantly impacted on both desktop and mobile devices at the top. Specifically, websites ranked first on desktop recorded a 1.40 pp percentage points (pp) decrease in CTR in 2021 vs. 2020, while on mobile, the drop was even higher (2.40 pp).

Google’s continuous scrolling impact on CTR

We can’t move forward without having a look at what happened to Google’s continuous scrolling on US mobile searches and its impact on CTR. The assumption was that by encouraging users to look beyond the first few results and scroll more, the websites ranked below the top ten results might get some additional clicks.

Well, in reality, this wasn’t quite the case: websites ranked below the 10th position on US mobile queries, witnessed an increase in clickthrough rate, just that this change was barely noticeable (between 0.01 pp and 0.07 pp). Only time could tell if searches will adopt this new behavior of searching past the first page using the continuous scrolling feature or they will stick to the first 10 results.

Now let’s look at how user behavior shaped the CTR values in the fourth quarter of the year compared to the previous one.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q4 2021 (October-December interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q3 2021 (July-September). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

All searches

At a global level, the change affected only the websites ranked first on desktop queries, which registered an almost 1 percentage point increase in CTR (0.87 pp more precisely).

Branded vs. Unbranded queries

While the websites ranked for branded queries didn’t notice any significant changes in CTR, those ranked first on desktop for unbranded queries witnessed a boost close to a round percentage point (0.90 pp).

Keyword length

Significant changes were recorded on desktop searches only, with the websites ranked first for queries containing two words witnessing a 1.07 pp growth, while for the ones containing three words, the increase equaled 1.04 pp.

Search intent

After the previous quarter’s drop in clickthrough rate, the CTR for location queries (containing words such as near, from, nearby, directions, maps, etc.) got on the rising slope this time. Here, the websites ranked first experienced a 2.22 pp increase in CTR on desktop and no less than 3.54 pp on mobile searches. At the same time, websites ranked second recorded a 1.08 pp increase on desktop and a boost of 1.41 pp on mobile devices.

As for commercial queries (containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.), the websites ranked first gained 1.31 pp in CTR on desktop searches.

Industries

Now let’s jump to the industries section, where, just like in the previous quarterly studies, we’ll correlate the changes in CTR to the ones in search demand to better estimate the potential traffic fluctuations.

This CTR report will contain two separate sections, based on the search demand’s evolution.

A. Industries where the search demand increased

After two consecutive quarters marked by drops in CTR, the Technology & Computing seems to be recovering, on mobile, at least. More precisely, websites ranked first on mobile devices registered a 1.24 pp growth, while the overall industry’s search demand increased by +22.35%.

The highest increase in impressions (+119.08%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Family & Parenting market. One can assume this growth also meant a spike in traffic, especially for the websites ranked first on desktop, which also got a boost in clickthrough rate by 1.24 pp.

As for the Travel industry, the clickthrough rates for the top two websites registered a combined growth of 4.10 pp on desktop, while on mobile, only the websites ranked first were influenced by the changes, recording a 1.79 pp growth. At the same time, people’s desire to travel also increased in this final quarter of the year compared to Q3 2021 (+22.77%).

The Law, Government & Politics market was also affected at the top of the SERPs, where the websites ranked first registered 3.21 pp growth in CTR on desktop and 1.07 pp on mobile. Here, the search demand decreased by +13.76%.

With events such as Black Friday and the holiday season taking place in this fourth quarter, it was expected that the search demand would increase in the Shopping industry, and so it did: our search-demand tool recorded a +41.45% increase in impressions. As for the CTR values, websites ranked first on desktop registered about a percentage point increase.

It’s time to turn our attention to the fourth quarter’s highest decline in clickthrough rate: the Science market. Here, the websites ranked in the first three positions recorded a combined 16.12 pp loss in CTR on desktop (7.77 pp for those ranked first, 6.70 pp for those ranked second, and 1.64 pp for those ranked in the third position). On mobile, the loss affected the websites ranked second only, which witnessed a 2.34 pp decline in clickthrough rate. At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions increased by +48.62%.

While the search demand grew in the Home & Garden market (+3.73%), websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.78 pp increase in CTR.

A similar trend occurred in the Food & Drink category, where the CTR values for the websites ranked first on desktop grew by 1.59 pp. Be that as it may, people’s interest in this industry grew in this final quarter of the year compared to Q3 (+26.67%).

The first two positions in the Arts & Entertainment industry experienced a combined 3.80 pp increase in CTR on desktop searches and a 3.83 pp boost on mobile. Surprisingly, the growth was higher for the websites ranked second than for the ones ranked first on both desktop (2.58 pp vs. 1.22 pp) and mobile (2.04 pp vs. 1.79 pp). These changes in CTR coupled with a growth of +53.52% in this industry’s overall search demand might translate into a boost in traffic for those websites affected by the changes.

News is the last one to make it into this quarter’s group of industries where clickthrough rate variations were recorded, and the search demand increased. The number of impressions increased by +37.37%, while the CTR for websites ranked first on mobile queries decreased by 1.65 pp.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all ten industries mentioned above:

CTR changes table

B. Industries that experienced a drop in search demand

With no major changes since Q2 2021, the websites ranked first in the Real Estate industry recorded a growth of 1.40 pp in CTR on mobile queries. On the other hand, the search demand for this industry registered losses when compared against the previous quarter (-9.07% to be more precise).

A slight change in CTR at the top was registered in the Careers industry, as well, just that this time, for the desktop queries. Therefore, websites ranked first lost, on average, 0.95 pp in this fourth quarter, while the overall industry’s number of impressions decreased by -4.62%.

And now let’s jump to the industry with the highest increase in clickthrough rate for a single position: the Automotive one. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on queries made from desktop devices grew, on average, by 2.66 pp, while on mobile, the changes reached a remarkable 3.65 pp growth. However, the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -6.27% in Q4 compared to Q3.

The Personal Finance industry continued its CTR decline, which began two quarters ago, for the websites ranked first but only on mobile devices this time. Therefore, websites ranking first on mobile got an average decrease in clickthrough rate of 0.92 pp. At the same time, the impressions for this industry recorded a slight drop of -5.62%.

Good news for the websites in the Education sector, where we need to look back exactly one year ago to find the last time the industry recorded an increase in CTR. Here, the websites ranked first on desktop registered a 1.38 pp increase in clickthrough rate, while the industry’s overall impressions dropped by -52.02%.

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the Society category, which recorded a boost in CTR on both desktop and mobile devices. On desktop, the websites ranked first witnessed a round 1.00 pp growth, while on mobile, the increase was even bigger, equaling 1.34 pp. Here, the industry’s overall search demand decreased by -17.16%.

Here’s a visual recap of all the changes mentioned above:

CTR changes table

That’s it for…the fourth quarter

It’s been quite an eventful quarter! We found out what was the impact on the CTR of Google’s continuous scrolling for the US market, we had a look at the YoY comparison and discovered the segments and industries impacted by changes.

Up next, let’s find out what the new year holds in store from a clickthrough rate perspective. But all this in our next quarterly analysis CTR report.

Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q3 2021 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2021-q3/ https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2021-q3/#comments Tue, 07 Dec 2021 13:45:52 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19405 Just before we dive into the third quarter’s CTR changes analysis, I’m happy to announce the addition of a new filtering option to our free CTR tool. The clickthrough rate US values in the SERP Features view can now be filtered by the newly added ‘Recipes’ result type, besides the other ten existing ones.

CTR stats, Google Organic CTR tool
Google Organic CTR tool
SERP Features menu – CTR evolution data segmented by SERP Features

Since SERPs anatomy is under continuous development which leads to changes in searches’ behavior, it’s fundamental to assess the CTR evolution regularly to be able to pinpoint changes in traffic to these external factors.

That being said, let’s look at how user behavior shaped the CTR values in the third quarter of the year compared to the previous one.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q3 2021 (July-September interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q2 2021 (April-June). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

All searches

At a global level, the changes affected only the desktop queries, where the websites ranked first registered a 2.22 pp decrease in CTR, while the decline equaled 1.11 for those ranked in the second position.

Branded vs unbranded

The declining trend in CTR for the first two positions on desktop queries was reflected in both the branded and unbranded queries.

More precisely, for those searches containing specific brand or business names, websites ranked first experienced a 2.46 pp decline in CTR, while those ranked second lost, on average, 1.70 pp.

As for the unbranded queries, the drop in CTR equaled 2.18 pp for the websites ranked first, while for those ranked second, the negative trend recorded a 1.03 pp drop.

Keyword length

Here, while there was no real change for the searches made from mobile devices, the CTR values for the websites ranked first on desktop dropped, regardless of the queries’ length.

More exactly, for 1-word searches, the loss equaled 2.39 pp, for 2-word queries, the registered loss accounted for 2.27 pp, for 3-word queries, the registered drop was 2.30 pp, and for searches containing four or more keywords, the decline was 1.89 pp.

Search intent

Websites ranked in the first two positions for commercial queries (those containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.) recorded a combined 2.70 pp loss in CTR on desktop (1.85 pp for those ranked first and 0.85 for those ranked second). On mobile, the loss affected the websites ranked first only, which witnessed almost an entire percentage point decline in clickthrough rate.

Significant changes were also recorded for the websites ranked in the first two positions for location queries on both desktop and mobile. Therefore, for queries containing words such as near, nearby, from, directions, route, maps, etc., websites ranked first on desktop experienced a 1.24 pp drop in CTR, while those in the second spot recorded a 1.76 pp decrease.

The combined decline was even steeper on mobile, with the websites ranked first witnessing a 3 pp drop in CTR, while those ranked in the second position registering a 1.31 pp decrease.

Industries

Let’s move on to the industries section, where, just like in the previous quarterly studies, we’ll correlate the changes in CTR to the ones in search demand. This way, we’re attempting to point out the causes for the potential traffic ups and downs in each industry.

An increase in clickthrough rate for a website’s positions correlated with a growth in search demand for a given industry will most likely result in a spike in traffic. The same goes when both the CTR values and search demand decrease, resulting in a drop in traffic.

This part will be divided into two separate sections, based on the search demand’s evolution.

A. Industries that experienced an increase in search demand

The Technology & Computing industry continued its CTR decline, which began in the previous quarter, for the websites ranked first but only on desktop devices. This time, websites ranking first on desktop got a decrease in clickthrough rate of 1.74 pp. At the same time, the search demand stopped from falling and seemed to recover, since it recorded a slight increment of +5.37%.

Although its search demand registered a spectacular +68.01% growth, the CTR values remained quite steady in the Careers industry. The only significant change registered here affected the websites ranked first on desktop, who lost, on average 1.10 pp in CTR from Q2 to Q3.

In what might be considered as one of the most significant steep declines in clickthrough rates for a single position, the websites ranked first on desktop in the Family & Parenting category recorded a 4.65 pp loss, while those ranked second registered a remarkably lower decline rate (1.26 pp). The drop in CTR was consistent on mobile, as well, where websites ranked first lost, on average, 3.61 pp, while those in the second position registered a 1.45 pp loss.

On a more positive note, the search demand increased by +21.40% for this industry.

With some of the COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted in most countries around the World, and during people’s preferred vacation season, the Travel market registered this quarter’s highest growth in search-demand: no less than +145.46%. As for the clickthrough rate values in this industry, only the desktop queries were affected, with the websites ranked first losing 1.81 pp, while those in the second position registering a 1.45 pp loss.

People’s interest in the Automotive industry grew sharply, by +68.21%, while the CTR values went in the opposite direction, at least for the top two positions on desktop. Websites ranked first registered a 1.78 pp drop, while those ranked second witnessed a decrease in clickthrough rate of 1.07 pp.

Despite the slight growth in search demand (+11.39%), the websites ranked first in the Personal Finance industry recorded a 2.30 pp drop in CTR on desktop devices and a 1.27 pp loss for the queries made from mobile devices.

Now let’s have a look at the Hobbies & Interests industry, where drops have been recorded for the websites ranked first on both desktop and mobile searches. More exactly, on desktop, the loss was 2.17 pp, while on mobile, it equaled 1.58 pp. On the other hand, the search demand grew remarkably for this industry, by +37.51%.

In the Shopping industry, websites ranked first recorded a 1.92 pp drop in CTR on desktop. At the same time, the total number of impressions increased substantially, by +39.41%.

With no major changes since Q4 2020, the websites ranked first in the Health & Fitness industry recorded drops in CTR on both desktop (1.53 pp) and mobile queries (1.92 pp). Nevertheless, the search demand for this industry recorded growth when compared against the previous quarter (+19.50% to be more precise).

Desktop and mobile CTR values went in opposite directions this time around in the Arts & Entertainment market, for websites ranked first and second, as follows:

  • on desktop, for the websites ranked first, the drop in CTR was 1.72 pp, while for those ranked second, the decrease equaled 1.05 pp
  • on mobile, websites ranked first recorded growth in clickthrough rate of 1.40 pp, while for those in the second position, the increase was even higher, of 1.83 pp

Concurrently, the number of impressions for this industry grew steeply, by +64.84%.

It’s been a year already since the Home & Garden market last recorded fluctuations in clickthrough rate and it didn’t fail to impress. Unfortunately, there were drops recorded for the websites ranked first, on both desktop (4.07 pp) and mobile devices (1.56 pp). However, the industry’s search demand was on the rise, by +16.76%.

A similar situation occurred for the Business category, where websites ranked first registered a 3.58 pp drop on desktop and a smoother decline on mobile, by 1.58 pp. At the same time, the overall industry’s impressions increased by +48.56%.

Pets market had an asymmetrical evolution in CTR in regards to the devices and positions affected in the third quarter of the year. Surprisingly, while the websites ranked first on desktop lost, on average, 2.48 pp in CTR, those in the second position but on mobile this time, experienced a 1.30 pp boost in clickthrough rate. Simultaneously, the industry’s overall search demand recorded a consistent increase of +23.81%.

Society is the last one to make it into this quarter’s group of industries where clickthrough rate variations were recorded, and the search demand increased. The number of impressions increased at a small scale (+1.03%), while the CTR for websites ranked first decreased on both desktop (1.57 pp) and mobile devices (2.12 pp).

Here’s a visual round-up of the CTR evolution for the industries mentioned above:

CTR stats, visual round-up of the CTR evolution for different industries

B. Industries where the search demand dropped

The first three positions in the Sports industry experienced a combined 6.27 pp decrease in CTR on desktop (3.47 pp for those ranked in the first position, 1.69 pp for those ranked second, and 1.11 pp for the ones in the third spot). Coupled with a decrease of -5.54% in search demand, it’s highly probable that the websites ranked in those three positions noticed some loss in organic traffic.

It’s time to turn our attention to the highest drop for a single position in CTR: the Law, Government & Politics market. Websites ranked in the first position experienced a 9.20 pp decline in CTR on desktop devices. On the other hand, on mobile, for the very same position, the decline recorded was 2.77 pp.  At the same time, the impressions for this industry recorded a decline of -9.01%.

The highest decrease in impressions (-22.19%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the News market. Here, the CTR values for the websites ranked on the first two positions experienced a combined 4.70 pp decline in CTR on desktop devices and a round 2 pp drop on mobile.

After a quiet quarter (the latest changes date back to Q1), the Food & Drink industry experienced a slight change in CTR, and only for the websites ranked first on desktop, which lost about 1.10 pp of their estimated clicks. At the same time, the industry’s search demand dropped by -11.24%.

With a decrease in search demand of -17.02%, the Style & Fashion industry recorded drops in CTR on desktop queries only: websites ranked first lost 1.68 pp and for those in the second position, the loss equaled 1.22 pp.

In what might seem surprising from the low number of CTR percentage points gained, this quarter’s winner comes from the Science industry. Here, both the websites ranked first and second on desktop went head-to-head with 2.43 pp gained and 2.47 pp, respectively. On the other hand, on mobile, the changes affected the websites ranked first only, who lost 2.14 pp. The industry’s overall impressions decreased a bit, by -3.79%.

Last but not least, let’s have a look at the Education market, which recorded a drop in CTR on both desktop and mobile devices. On desktop, the websites ranked first witnessed a 2.88 pp drop, while on mobile, the loss almost halved, equaling 1.42 pp. Here, the industry’s overall search demand slightly decreased by -1.46%.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all seven industries mentioned above:

CTR stats, ctr changes for different industries

That’s it for…the third quarter

As you might have noticed, the majority of CTR ups and downs in this quarter occurred on desktop, so our next changes report analysis becomes even more interesting since it could shed some light on Google’s continuous scrolling on mobile.

The assumption is that by encouraging searchers to look beyond the first few results and scroll more, the websites ranked below the first page might get some additional clicks.

This remains to be found out soon, so make sure to subscribe to be the first to find out the results of our coming study.

Until then, stay safe and healthy!

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Google CTR Stats – Changes Report for Q2 2021 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2021-q2/ https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/ctr-google-2021-q2/#comments Tue, 24 Aug 2021 10:50:56 +0000 https://www.advancedwebranking.com/blog/?p=19155 In our regular changes report analysis based on the data provided by the free CTR tool, we take a look at what’s happened in Q2 2021.

A growth in clickthrough rate combined with an increase in impressions for a given industry could translate into a spike in traffic for those websites affected by these changes. The same goes for simultaneous drops in both CTR values and search demand, which leads to a decrease in traffic. 

These scenarios can provide a logical explanation for changes in the number of visitors when the rankings remain perfectly steady.

If you find yourself in any of these cases, this analysis is just for you, so let’s dive into the clickthrough rate changes analysis of the second quarter of the year.

We calculated the CTR averages for each position for Q2 2021 (April-June interval) and compared them against the ones retrieved for Q1 2021 (January-March). All significant changes were included in this analysis and expressed as percentage points (pp).

The data set is international and comprises all the available markets such as the US, UK, etc.

Since clicks and impressions go hand in hand when projecting estimated traffic, we also correlated these CTR changes with search demand data at an industry level.

All searches

At a global level, websites ranked first registered a 1.03 pp decrease in CTR on desktop, while the decline equaled 1.32 pp on mobile devices.

Branded vs. unbranded

The websites ranked first for the searches mentioning a specific brand or business name were affected on both desktop and mobile queries. On desktop, the drop in CTR equaled 1.70 pp, while on mobile, the negative trend recorded a 1.25 pp drop.

On the other hand, but for unbranded queries this time, the CTR changes affected the mobile queries only. Here, websites ranked first witnessed a drop in CTR by 1.30 pp.

Keyword length

Regardless of the number of words a keyword has, our CTR tool recorded drops on almost all fronts for websites ranked first as follows:

  • On desktop, for 1-word queries, the change wasn’t quite visible, while for 2-word queries, the loss equaled 0.99 pp, for 3-word searches, the drop was 1.18 pp, and for searches containing four or more keywords, the decline recorded 1.28 pp.
  • On mobile, the changes occurred for all keyword length types. More precisely, for 1-word searches, the loss equaled 1.23 pp, for 2-word queries, the registered loss accounted for 1.52 pp, for 3-word queries, the registered drop was 1.32 pp, and for searches containing four or more keywords, the decline was 1.19 pp.

Here’s a quick graphical round-up of how the CTR value changes look like for websites ranked first based on the number of words each query has:

keyword length table
CTR changes for the websites ranked first based on the number of words a keyword has on both desktop and mobile devices

Search type

In the absence of external factors such as COVID-19 travel restrictions in almost all areas across the globe, the CTR values for location queries were still consistently affected by changes. Therefore, websites ranked in the first two positions for queries containing words such as “near, from, nearby, directions, maps, etc.” recorded a 4.23 pp loss in CTR on desktop and a 2.52 pp decline for queries made from mobile devices.

Drops in clickthrough rate values were recorded for commercial queries (those containing words such as price, pay, buy, etc.) as well, with websites ranked first, losing 1.39 pp on desktop and 1.46 pp on mobile.

Industries

Now let’s move on to the industries section, where, just like in our previous quarterly CTR studies, we’ll correlate the changes in CTR to the ones in search demand. Presuming the rankings remain steady, this section is aimed at better estimating the potential traffic fluctuations.

This part will be divided into two separate sections, based on the search demand’s evolution.

A. Industries where the search demand increased

After the previous quarter’s growth in CTR on both desktop and mobile searches, the Family & Parenting industry took a small step back. More precisely, websites ranked in the first position on mobile queries lost, on average, 1.22 pp in clickthrough rate, while the search demand for this industry slightly increased, by +0.94%.

As for the Sports industry, surprisingly, websites ranked first weren’t quite influenced by the changes. However, those ranked in the second position registered a 1.54 pp increase in CTR in desktop SERPs, while on mobile, the growth equaled 1.05 pp. Combined with a +22.78% increase in search demand, it’s highly probable that these websites recorded an increased amount of organic traffic.

With no real changes since Q4 2020, the News industry experienced some movement at the top, with the first two rank websites gaining a combined 2.02 pp in CTR on desktop and 1.09 pp on mobile queries. At the same time, the total number of impressions increased slightly, by 4.51%.

Style & Fashion is the last one to make it into this quarter’s group of industries where clickthrough rate variations were recorded, and the search demand increased. The number of impressions increased at a small scale (+1.34%), while the CTR for websites ranked first on mobile queries decreased by 1.24 pp.

Here’s a graphical representation of the changes in all four industries mentioned above:

search-demand-increase

B. Industries that experienced a drop in search demand

With drops in both CTR and search demand, there is a high probability that the websites ranked first in the Technology & Computing industry noticed a decline in organic traffic. While the industry’s global search demand dropped no less than -22.71%, websites ranked first experienced a 1.14 pp decrease in CTR on desktop and a 1.05 pp loss on mobile queries.

The websites ranked first on mobile results in the Real Estate industry continued their drop in CTR, witnessing a 2.97 loss. More than that, this quarter, the market saw a decline in CTR for websites ranked first on desktop, as well, who lost, on average, 2.54 pp. At the same time, the total number of impressions decreased considerably, with -21.17%.

Although its search demand registered a -6.77% loss, the Arts & Entertainment industry made it again into the quarterly CTR report thanks to its growth in clickthrough rate values. Here, the CTR for websites ranked first on desktop devices increased by 1.10 pp, while no significant changes were recorded on mobile.

After starting the year in force, with growth on all fronts, the Pets market went the other way around during this second quarter. With an overall industry drop of -12.05% in search demand, the websites ranked first and second on desktop registered a 1.87 pp and, respectively, a 1.24 pp drop in CTR.

It’s time to turn our attention to the highest growth in Q2: the Science market. While the websites ranked in the first position weren’t quite affected by the changes, those ranked second experienced a 4.64 pp boost in CTR on desktop devices and an entire percentage point on mobile. In contrast, this industry’s search demand decreased by -18.97%.

The first two positions in the Careers industry experienced a combined 3.20 pp decrease in CTR on desktop searches. Coupled with a drop of -16.98% in search demand, it’s highly probable that the websites ranked in those two positions noticed a decrease in organic traffic.

With a decrease in search demand of -2.70%, the Automotive industry recorded a drop in CTR for the websites ranked first and second: a combined 4.26 pp on desktop searches and 4.58 pp on mobile.

The highest decrease in impressions (-43.07%) recorded by our search demand tool was for the Law, Government, & Politics market. Nevertheless, the CTR values went in the opposite direction, and interestingly, the websites ranked first weren’t influenced by the changes. However, those ranked second in SERPs registered a 2.34 pp boost in CTR on desktop, while the increase on mobile equaled 1.80 pp.

Now let’s have a look at the Personal Finance industry, where drops have been recorded for the websites ranked first on both desktop and mobile searches. More exactly, on desktop, the loss was 1.45 pp, while on mobile, it equaled 1.53 pp. The search demand also dropped for this industry by -15.93%.

With no major changes since Q4 2020, the websites ranked first in the Shopping industry recorded drops in CTR on both desktop (2.18 pp) and mobile queries (2.11 pp). The search demand for this industry also recorded losses when compared against the previous quarter (-8.99% to be more precise).

One last market where the search demand dropped (by -27.48%) is Hobbies & Interests. At the same time, the CTR values went in the same direction, at least for the websites ranked first, which registered a 1.18 pp drop on desktop and a 1.33 pp decrease on mobile queries.

Here’s a visual recap of all the changes mentioned above:

search-demand-decrease

That’s it for…the second quarter

It’s time to conclude another eventful quarter’s analysis, with significant CTR changes for most industries.

So how about you? Have you noticed any changes in traffic which might be correlated with the clickthrough rates and search demand evolution in Q2?

If so, make sure to keep an eye on the average CTR values regularly since this metric evolves rapidly, affecting your website’s traffic. 

Advanced Web Ranking can help you benchmark your website’s CTR values against the industry ones, and if you haven’t already, you can give it a go for free.

See you with the analysis of the third quarter of the year compiled against this one. Stay safe and healthy!

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