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CTR Manipulation : That Number 1 spot on Google

It has been debated for several years now.  Is it possible to manipulate the CTR and get yourself a Number 1 ranking within Google?

While Google has denied that CTR is a popular ranking metric for SEO there have been some case studies  performed in more recent years that would suggest that Google is indeed ranking pages based on their Click-through rate.

It is said that a Number 1 result in Google should be getting at least a 33% CTR and around 40% or higher for a “buy product keyword” specific to a niche market.

Number 1 ranking Google

Above is the Imec Lab CTR Test in Google

 

Imec Lab conducted a test where they used Twitter users to manipulate the CTR of the keyword IMEC Lab and push it from #7 to #1 in Google.  It took 3 hours to get there.

The Case Studies into CTR manipulation have tested out different scenarios of sending traffic to a domain based on searching for a specific keyword in Google and then finding the website down the list of Google Results and clicking on it.

Some of these case studies were done with small amounts of traffic of say 200-500 clicks and had significant changes in the search engine results.  We all know that it isn’t as simple as being on the “First Page of Google“. For example spots 6-10 on the first page generally don’t get a great deal of traffic unless that specific keyword has 100,000 to a Million searches per month and then just making it to the first page of one of those is pretty much a pipedream without heavy backlinking and other SEO.

Another thing that is worth mentioning on the case study into CTR manipulation is that where CTR bots were used with the help of proxies, proxy scrapers and other software they were as successful changing the results within Google.  Google knows fake traffic and is very good at detecting it.  Afterall their advertising network Adwords which brings Google in a lot of money each year depends on it!

The CTR Manipulation case study also looked at how long you had to spend on a website.  If you click through to the website and then back out straight away then the bounce rate increases for that site and Google figures that if the bounce rate is too high then the content must not be relative to the Title Description that you have seen in the search engine and is just being used as Clickbait.

You can check out your CTR on your websites by installing Google Search Console and looking at the CTR Data for the individual landing pages of each of your sites and also checking the search query data.  Anything with a Google position of 1-4 should be getting a bare minimum of 10% CTR, more for a Top Page Google Ranking. If you aren’t getting that then it is time to change your Titles to make your posts stand out more, keeping in mind that you still keep your Title Description completely relative to your post otherwise you will be penalised by Google.

Google Organic Search Click-Through Rates in 2016

The Google CTR in 2016 has changed a little bit, especially since the introduction of the 2 separate search engine listings for desktop and mobile/tablets.  This was introduced so that the mobile-friendly websites show up first on the mobiles.  If you haven’t optimised your website for mobile traffic you could be missing out on a lot of traffic and business!

With over 3.5 billion searches per day and 50% of those coming from users who are on a tablet or mobile this is so very important to your website.

Also the first 5 Google results on a search query account for over 67% of all CTR.  Longtail with 5 or more words the first result on page one of Google for a query is over 65% alone so you really want your page to be mobile friendly.

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