SEOs work super hard to rank high in the search engines, so that when the searcher types in their query, your website is listed among the first results. Then, we assume, the middle part of the SEO conversion funnel — the click, or site visit — will automatically happen. But will it?
Logically, the higher you rank, the more clicks you get. But while there definitely is a connection, it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. Granted, a top 5 result will, on average, get more clicks than result #6, but you will be surprised at just how diverse the ranges these averages are drawn from are.
You can see this judging on your own site and its rankings if you log in to Google Search Console account. When I did this myself, I saw a whole lot of results that rank #1 in Google, but their CTR ranged all the way from 6.7% to 90%. Granted, there’s a number of factors in play: search volume, type of query (branded vs. non-branded, informational vs. transactional), and — ta-da — how well the search result is optimized for clicks in the context of the query that it ranks for. So I hope we can agree that the ranking is far from the only thing that determines the result’s CTR.
In fact — bear with me for a minute — there’s also a different kind of correlation between rankings and clicks. You may already know that I’m a strong believer that user behavior signals have a massive impact on rankings; and SERP clicks are one of those signals. Simply put, if a certain search result gets significantly more clicks than it’s expected to, based on its position and type of query, the result is likely to be up-ranked. The opposite is also true: a search result that receives fewer clicks than expected can get down-ranked in the SERP.