To Boost Organic Clickthrough Rate, Look to Paid Search CPC - eMarketer

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To Boost Organic Clickthrough Rate, Look to Paid Search CPC

Increased organic listing rank on cheaper AdWords terms leads to higher clickthrough rate

May 12, 2011

Search marketing objectives may vary, but all search marketers share a common goal: top placements on page 1 of search engine results.

Unlike paid search, which lets advertisers simply buy top position, search engine optimization (SEO) earns marketers premium page rank through careful website optimization on select keywords. Because SEO can take days or even months to increase natural page rank, marketers must be more selective and deliberate in choosing which keywords to optimize.

Findings from Optify suggest one way for marketers to prioritize SEO efforts is by considering the value of each keyword in Google AdWords, then using the average CPC to determine potential organic listing clickthrough rate.

The study looked at terms that were both expensive (keyword phrases costing more than $1.50 per click) and cheap (phrases with CPCs less than $0.25) for Google AdWords advertisers to determine whether paid search CPC had an impact on organic listing clickthrough rate.

For terms that had low paid-search prices, the organic clickthrough rate for page 1 placement on Google was 87.5%, compared to only 37.3% for organic results tied to more expensive keywords.

Average Organic Clickthrough Rate for First Page of Google Results for US-Based Searches, by Keyword Price, Dec 2010

In fact, the average rank 1 clickthrough rate for organic results tied to cheaper terms was 31.8%, almost double the 17.1% clickthrough rate at rank 1 for natural results tied to more expensive paid search CPCs.

The disparity in organic clickthrough widens even further as listing rank decreases; it more than triples at rank 2 for cheap (13.8%) and expensive terms (4.3%).

Expensive CPCs are often the result of increased advertiser competition for a given keyword. For such keywords, Google typically displays up to three paid listing ads in the top center of the search engine results page. Inevitably, this forces natural listings further down the page. Lower-CPC keywords often have fewer advertisers, allowing natural results to move up the page and capture more clicks.

Marketers most concerned with increasing clickthrough rate who are unable to secure rank 1 position organically for more expensive keywords would be wise to shift their efforts to optimizing organic listing positions for cheaper keywords, even at lower ranks.

Average Organic Clickthrough Rate on First Page of Google Results for US-Based Searches, by Keyword Price and Rank, Dec 2010

Although increased clickthrough rate often suggests higher relevancy, which often leads to an increase in website traffic, marketers should not mistake clickthrough rate with traffic volume. SEO marketers should estimate potential traffic gains for each keyword to determine the optimal listing position for increased traffic and clickthrough rate.

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Check out today’s other article, “Brands Shift Focus of Mobile Outreach.”


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