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Test points to likely influence of click-through rate on search rankings
Columnist Brian Patterson shares the results of a click-through rate test performed on one of the test websites he maintains.
Reading articles, experiments and case studies is great, but we’re always eager to test things out for ourselves. We maintain a bunch of test websites for just that purpose. And so we decided to run a CTR test on one of the websites we hadn’t touched in a long while. The hope was to gather some evidence of our own.
If you’re looking for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled test, this ain’t it. But if you’re looking for more anecdotal evidence suggesting how the algorithm might react to clicks based on an experiment of n=1, this is it.
We started by selecting a site that hadn’t had a lot of work done to it. In fact, it was one of our more neglected test sites, which made it ideal for a click-through rate test, as we could attribute most movement (or lack thereof) to the test itself.
We chose nine keywords based on the following parameters:
- Our site currently ranked between positions 5 and 25 for each keyword.
- Those rankings hadn’t recently experienced much ranking fluctuation.
- The keywords received more than 50 searches per month, according to Google Keyword Planner.
- The organic competition was low or medium.
These ended up all being e-commerce product category keyword phrases between two and four words.
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