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Google SERP Click-Through Rates

Thanks to AOL, SEO’s and other marketers now have access to the search records of over 500,000 users collected over a 3 month period after AOL accidentally released massive amounts of data.   This dataset contained over 36 million search queries and tracked 19 million clickthroughs.   We know that AOL search is a repackaging of Google’s Search, so we can assume most of this data applies to how users behave with Google’s search as well.

The real benefit here is that we now have data that allows us to view the clickthrough percentages of users on each search engine result.   The guys over at RedCardinal crunched the numbers, and have provided the following charts which we can use to make more educated decisions in our search engine optimization efforts.

As everyone expected, the top 5 results get nearly 75% of the clickthrough traffic (73.55%).  The top 10 results get nearly 90% of the traffic (89.69%).   This only confirms our prior assumptions that “all the action” takes place on the front page of results, and that you need be able to hit top 10 rankings in order to see a true return on investment. An interesting fact is the 10th result seems to get more traffic than the 9th result.

The great data to see here is that there is a 450% increase in the amount of traffic you can receive from a ranking result by moving from position 11 to position 10.  This sort of increase really emphasizes the importance of using a technique such as Second Page Poaching.

This chart is a more comprehensive breakdown of the traffic for each result, and how it compares to the ranking above it, as well as the the #1 ranking.  It is interesting to see the types of shifts that bring about the greatest and least returns.  For example, moving from position #16 to position #15 is a substantial jump versus the minuscule growth of 3.4% you see moving from position #15 to #14.    Overall, this signifies the milestones for rankings to be moving from #11 to #12, and moving into the top 5.

While you are most likely interested in the click-through data above, there has also been some other “random” knowledge gleaned from this data.  Markus Friend of The Plenty of Fish Blog also mined some really cool information from the AOL dataset.  Some of his findings include, AOL Users are planning to commit murder, Myspace is really growing because of SEO SPAM, and Myspace is stealing traffic from dating sites…  Markus was obviously interested in the last finding, as he is the CEO of the popular dating site PlentyofFish.

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