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Impact of SERP features on clicks: the % Clicks and CTR metrics
Impact of SERP features on clicks: the % Clicks and CTR metrics

How we calculate and quantify the impact of the SERP Features on CTR, and how it can improve your SEO strategy and Forecast estimations.

Updated over a week ago

The % Clicks metric

On all tracked keywords, when we provide their ranks, we also provide their SERP feature data โ€“ daily, on both devices. Based on each keyword's unique mix of Top 10 SERP features, we calculate the fraction of clicks consumed by SERP features and the remaining percentage that ends up on organic results.

Let's consider a keyword with 40.5K searches with 70% clicks on organic results, for instance. 70% of the total clicks the keyword gets, end up on organic results. So if we take search volume as a reference, only 70% of the search volume (roughly 28.3K searches) is available to be influenced by SEO.

The % Clicks metric tells you what percentage of the total clicks for a keyword end up on organic results, and helps you calibrate your expectations on how much search volume is available to be influenced by SEO.

SERP features and CTR

Along with organic results, Google Search shows SERP features such as featured snippets, image packs, video carousels, questions, etc., based on the search intent. These, when they are present on the first page of the results, occupy a significant portion of it, leaving less room for organic results. When users get their answers through the SERP features, they might no longer click on the organic links. So, the organic links end up getting fewer clicks in the presence of SERP features.

We analyzed this impact and quantified it through our CTR research to determine what percentage of the overall clicks on the Top 10 ranks each unique combination of SERP features consumes.

Our CTR Research

Our data

We selected 4 million non-branded UK & US keywords with high search volumes for a specific month. We enriched them with SERP features and their positions from our rank tracker, and also impressions, clicks, and average positions from Google Search Console, for that selected month. We aggregated close variants for these keywords (just like Google) and segmented the data by device so we could calculate the impact for both desktop and mobile.

Our process

  1. For the keywords with no SERP features, we calculated the percentage of organic results that lead to clicks (CTR for organic results alone).

  2. For keywords with SERP features, we first determined the percentage of clicks by dividing the number of clicks by their search volume for each device and converted it into a percentage. This gave us the percentage of clicks for different combinations of SERP features.

  3. These combinations were a system of equations, and we solved them to calculate the impact of each individual type of SERP Feature.

This gave the percentage of clicks impacted by each SERP feature for each of the top 10 ranks.

Our results

The results provide a precise percentage of clicks that each unique mix of SERP Features consumes, for each top 10 rank. To give you a keyword-level perspective, we sum up these percentages of clicks of the top 10 ranks and provide an overall % Clicks metric for each keyword. We calculate this as an average for both devices for each keyword based on its search volume, its unique mix of SERP features on desktop and mobile, and the SERP feature positions.

Although the SERP feature data is updated daily, the % Clicks metric is updated on a monthly basis, when the search volume data is updated.

% Clicks in the Rank Tracker

You can see % Clicks as a keyword-level metric in the Rank Tracker, along with the SERP features that appear on the keyword:

It is also processed at a group level as an average weighted by search volume and is shown in the SERP data section in the top stats, as % Clicks on organic results:

It is also a key metric we take into account in our Forecast algorithm, being a powerful factor in estimating additional non-brand organic traffic.

Visibility and % Clicks

How can we relate % Clicks with other metrics to analyze the potential of the keywords?

Visibility is a group-level metric that takes into account the ranks of the keywords weighted by search volume (it doesn't differentiate between organic ranks and SERP feature positions). However, the % Clicks metric takes into account the SERP features and measures how much CTR is left for organic results on a keyword level.

If the % Clicks of a keyword is 100%, it means there are no SERP features consuming clicks, so you can fully rely on the Visibility, as its entire value for that keyword is derived from the organic rank. With % Clicks less than 100%, even if the keyword ranks first, as SERP features take away some of the clicks, it is not as visible to clicks as keywords with higher % Clicks.

For instance, if the CTR for position 1 is 20%, but the % Clicks is 50%, only 50% of that 20% CTR (so 10%) is accessible to organic clicks, contributing less to the overall Visibility.

Therefore, analyzing your website's Visibility on a group of keywords in combination with the % Clicks at the keyword level, will give you the full picture, helping you make better decisions on which keywords to focus on.


Can I see different values for % Clicks between desktop and mobile?

No, the metric is currently blended between desktop and mobile.

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