New Findings Show Google Organic Clicks Shifting to Paid
Posted by Brian_W
On the Wayfair SEO team, we keep track of our non-branded click curves: the average click-through rate (CTR) for each ranking position. This helps us accurately evaluate the potential opportunity of keyword clusters.
Over the last two years, the total share of organic clicks on page one of our e-commerce SERPs has dropped 25% on desktop and 55% on mobile.
For the ad-heavy non-local SERPs that we work in, paid ads are likely now earning nearly the same percentage of clicks as organic results — a staggering change from most of the history of Google.
Organic CTR loses 25% of click share on desktop, 55% on mobile
Looking at 2015 vs 2017 data for all keywords ranking organically on the first page, we’ve seen a dramatic change in CTR. Below we’ve normalized our actual CTR on a 1–10 scale, representing a total drop of 25% of click share on desktop and 55% on mobile.
Organic receives 25% less desktop CTR and 55% less mobile CTR compared to two years ago.
The much larger drop on mobile is particularly relevant because we’ve seen large traffic shifts to mobile over the last two years as well. The overall percentage drop plays out somewhat similarly across the first page of results; however, the top four were most heavily impacted.
The first four organic results were most heavily impacted by the CTR shift from organic to paid.
About the data
It’s important to note that this type of CTR change is not true for every SERP. This data is only applicable to e-commerce intent search queries, where ads and PLAs are on nearly every query.
We gather the impression, click, and rank data from Search Console. While Search Console data isn’t quantitatively correct, it does appear to be directionally correct for us (if we see clicks double in Search Console, we also see organic Google traffic double in our analytics), site improvements that lead to meaningful CTR gains appear to be reflected in Search Console, we can roughly verify impressions via ad data, and we can confirm the accuracy of rank. For purposes of this data pull, we excluded any keywords that Search Console reported as a non-integer rank (such as ranking 1.2). We have thousands of page one keywords, including many large head terms comprising millions of combined clicks, which gives us a lot of data for each ranking position.
We remove all branded queries from the data, which hugely skews click curves.
It’s important to note that paid ads are not getting all the clicks that organic is not. In addition to the small number …
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