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Is CTR a ranking factor?
But one of the disputed parameters is CTR (Click Through Rate). Disputed due to the fact that Google does not recognize it as a ranking factor, and yet by simple logic it seems that it must be. CTR is a metric that compares the number of people who see your page on SERPs with the number of people who click on your page. Whether Google uses CTR as an organic ranking factor has been debated in the SEO community for years, although Google has repeatedly said that CTR is not a ranking factor.
What exactly is CTR and how is it measured?
CTR measures the number of people who click on a link in relation to the total number of people who had the opportunity to do so, ie. who saw the link in the search results. So, if a link to your website appears in the search results (SERP), and 20% of people who view that SERP click on your link, then your CTR in that case is 20%.
Everyone knows that ranking is very important, and you don't have to be a genius to conclude that being ranked first is much better than, say, tenth. These positions certainly affect the CTR, that is, the number of visits to the site. The main factor that affects CTR is organic search results and its position in the SERP.
CTR can be checked at Google Search Console-i, and it's the most common and easiest way to determine your site's performance.
How to improve CTR?
Optimizing for CTR really just means using SEO best practices to make your page more attractive to users. A good CTR is the result of a well-tailored SEO campaign, not the cause. Crafting catchy headlines, quality meta descriptions, and URLs that encourage users to click through to your page should be the goal of any SEO campaign, regardless of what ranking factors Google uses.
Is it a ranking factor though?
One of the most popular case studies was that of Rand Fishkin (then of Moz), where he published a blog and asked people to search for a specific term and then click on his link in the SERPs. The blog post had 228 hits and was ranked #XNUMX on Google that evening.
He then said that this is by no means proof that CTR is a ranking factor, but it is still its own article titled "Queries and clicks may affect Google results more directly than previously thought". That CTR is one of the many factors that Google takes into account is simply common sense. In other words, higher CTR = higher position in Google.
Unfortunately, there is no clear evidence that CTR plays a role in Google's ranking algorithm, and Google representatives have officially stated several times that it is not a ranking signal. The argument is this: If CTR drove search rankings, all results would be clickbait.
CTR may not be a direct signal for Google search ranking, but tracking and improving it is still vital because it's a metric you can use to determine if your content is successful. Although it won't be a direct ranking factor in the end, getting more organic traffic to your website is always important.
Made by Nebojsa Radovanovic - SEO Expert @Digitizer