09 Aug 2006

Click Rate for Top 10 Search Results

Donna at SEO Scoop catches a post on Earnersforum where they used the recently released AOL Search Data to figure out click through rates for the the top 10 positions in search results.

For ages people have been guessing at these figurures – now we really know!

Results in:
Total Searches:9,038,794
Total Clicks: 4,926,623

Click Rank1: 2,075,765
Click Rank2: 586,100 = 3.5x less
Click Rank3: 418,643 = 4.9x less
Click Rank4: 298,532 = 6.9x less
Click Rank5: 242,169 = 8.5x less
Click Rank6: 199,541 = 10.4x less
Click Rank7: 168,080 = 12.3x less
Click Rank8: 148,489 = 14.0x less
Click Rank9: 140,356 = 14.8x less
Click Rank10: 147,551 = 14.1x less

Click Rank1: 2,075,765
Click Rank2: 586,100 = 3.5x less than ^
Click Rank3: 418,643 = 1.4x less than ^
Click Rank4: 298,532 = 1.4x less than ^
Click Rank5: 242,169 = 1.2x less than ^
Click Rank6: 199,541 = 1.2x less than ^
Click Rank7: 168,080 = 1.2x less than ^
Click Rank8: 148,489 = 1.1x less than ^
Click Rank9: 140,356 = 1.05x less than ^
Click Rank10: 147,551 = 1.05x more than ^

I believe that people who think it’s better to be anything other than #1 are just fooling themselves….click through rates and conversions aside, The fact lies that you’ll get 3 1/2 times more traffic being #1 as opposed to #2, and the numbers keep sliding from there.


  1. Gordon Tebbutt August 10, 2006 at 11:39 AM

    I think the people who are talking about not being #1 are referring to the quality of the traffic and not necessarily the quanitity. That is something more easily done with paid rather than free search.

    I sincerely hope they wouldn’t try to avoid top spot with SEO anyway!

  2. WilliamC August 10, 2006 at 1:48 PM

    I personally think the people that say stay away from #1 in organic listings are saying it because they realize they can not put the client there to begin with.

    The figures above do show what many of us have said for quite some time however, my thanks go to AOl for bundering this dataset to the public view 🙂

  3. SEO for Everyone » SEOcritique.com’s SEO-SEM Blogroll 08-09-06 August 10, 2006 at 2:30 PM

    […] One benefit to SEO professionals from the release of the AOL data is that we are now able to use an actual sample data set to calculate some important search related statistics. Jim Boykin notes a post on Earnersforum where they used the AOL Data to figure out click through rates for the the top 10 positions. […]

  4. Earl August 11, 2006 at 9:51 AM

    Why did you provide same information two times?

  5. Gordon Tebbutt August 11, 2006 at 11:54 AM

    Or in another form:

    Results in:
    Total Searches: 9,038,794
    Total Clicks: 4,926,623

    % of clicks
    Click Rank1: 2,075,765 42.13%
    Click Rank2: 586,100 11.90%
    Click Rank3: 418,643 8.50%
    Click Rank4: 298,532 6.06%
    Click Rank5: 242,169 4.92%
    Click Rank6: 199,541 4.05%
    Click Rank7: 168,080 3.41%
    Click Rank8: 148,489 3.01%
    Click Rank9: 140,356 2.85%
    Click Rank10: 147,551 2.99%

    1st page: 4,425,226 89.82%
    2nd page: 501,397 10.18%

    It’s interesting that 10% of clicks are targeted at scond page… Big it up for aol for accidentally providing this info!!


  6. Tool: What it’s Worth to Rank in Google, Yahoo and MSN SEO Black Hat: SEO Blog August 11, 2006 at 2:21 PM

    […] The AOL user search data has been harvested to determine the CTR (Click Through Rate) for ranking number 1 vs. number 2-10. The sample size is large enough and broad enough that we can infer that this average holds true across many verticals: […]

  7. other jim August 11, 2006 at 2:58 PM

    Earl – The first list is how clicks compare with the #1 spot, the second list is how the click compares with the spot preceding it (#2 vs #1, #3 vs #2, etc).

  8. SERP Rankings and CTR -- Macalua.com August 12, 2006 at 3:47 AM

    […] Gordon Trebbut leaves an interesting comment on Jim Boykin’s blog. He presents as percentages the SERP clickthrough rates derived from the AOL data by august and breakpoint . […]

  9. Manish Pandey August 14, 2006 at 2:00 PM

    Wow… that was some kind of information that I needed…

    Well you are doing really a nice job keep it up..

    Other Sam… 🙂

  10. AOL Clickthrough Rate Data August 14, 2006 at 3:38 PM

    […] From Earners Forum comes some interesting data about clickthroughs garnered from the AOL data blunder last week. I like the presentation of data found in a comment on Jim Boykin’s blog the best, though: Results in: Total Searches: 9,038,794 Total Clicks: 4,926,623 […]

  11. Dan Thies August 14, 2006 at 3:44 PM

    Interesting stuff. These numbers are pretty good. The percentages on the top few are a little high vs. what we have from the other side (data mining & logfile analysis) but it’s understandable.

    We lose some clicks because not all browsers pass http-referrer strings, and I’d expect there to be more skew towards the #1 result on AOL.

    That’s where we got all the useless clicks for the term “search terms” when we ran Adwords. I’d love to see how many of the 20 million searches were for “Type AOL Keywords Or Search Terms Here.” 😀

    We also show a little wobble of CTR upwards from #9 to #10 because of the placement of that link on the SERPs, especially at Google.

  12. Ben August 16, 2006 at 3:52 AM

    It would be interesting to hear from google, yahoo, and msn what their click stats look like compared to AOL. In theory you could determine the best search engine by who has the largest percentage of clicks on the first topic.

  13. » Speedlinking - 15 August 2006 » $250/Day » Blog Archive August 16, 2006 at 5:55 AM

    […] Jim Boykin points to some interesting data (culled from the all present AOL search data) on the benefit of a Number 1 spot in the organic SERP’s […]

  14. OrganicStats August 17, 2006 at 7:09 PM

    AOL Click Rates for Top 10 Positions Revealed…

    Ever wonder what percentage of users on a search engine click on item 1 versus item 10? Well come inside to find out!


  15. Rob August 21, 2006 at 5:02 PM

    That’s great data to have and confirms what other streams of data indicate.

  16. SEO Lab » Clickthrough rates on SERPs August 22, 2006 at 8:58 AM

    […] A somewhat overlooked post on Jim Boydkin’s blog: Click Rate for Top 10 Search Results: […]

  17. Webster Jorgensen August 22, 2006 at 1:50 PM

    You can also find this information (top 10 CTR) in Neilsen’s recent Web Usability book. It’s on page 40 if your curious. There is also an iProspect study with some CTR data. You can use several sources and then weight each source depending on how well you trust it.

  18. AOL Accidentally Releases Coveted Organic Search Data | LevelTen In-Site August 23, 2006 at 9:13 AM

    […] AOL accidentally released some organic search data* for one day and from that data a smart math-minded SEO in the Earners Forum figured out click through rates for the top 10 positions in search results. This is some key info that could be used to project Google’s SERP % breakdown. I got wind of the news from another Internet Marketing Innovator […]

  19. webtrendz August 24, 2006 at 11:58 AM

    The figures above do show what many of us have said for quite some time !!!

    SEO is king due to quality of content ….

    PPC is paid listing s and thus not king….

  20. Thinkprogressive Marketing August 28, 2006 at 4:23 AM

    Don´t forget that a huge number for searches is on companies names. So it is pretty likely that the company rankes 1 and that´s why #1 spot is clicked on!

  21. Jim Answers Questions - Keyword Research Tools - Jim Boykin’s Internet Marketing Blog September 2, 2006 at 2:48 PM

    […] This is something I have to disagree with. When I’m doing keyword research I don’t look at how many search results there are for a phrase….to me it doesn’t matter if there’s 10 million results, or if there’s only 50 results….to me what matters is "What do the top 10 have going for them" and do I have a chance of getting into the top 10. And the tool I use to analyze that, I just happened to have built myself (We’ll I told my programmer what I wanted, and he built it) – the Cool SEO Tool.  Again. I don’t care if there 10 million sites for a phrase or 50 sites for a phrase…the whole game is "Can you get into the top 10". (Here’s more info on why that’s all that matters). […]

  22. Patrick June 15, 2007 at 8:21 AM

    I find this blog post very insightful (it helped me understand how to analyze the SERPs better).

    However, Im wondering if the difference between #1 and #2 for example would be as big as that if we looked at sales, not just at Click throughs.

    In PPC people know that searches imply intent by clicking at the bottom results and that there are quite a few compulsive clickers for #1. I bet this could be similar in the natural SERPs.

    Id love to see conversion rates for the top-10-results, but I doubt anyone has something like that hehe.

  23. Website Boosting June 19, 2007 at 3:53 AM

    that information is very usefull! Thanx a lot.
    Now it would be interesting, how many people who clicked on Rank1 came back an click on Rank2, 3, … With other words: How many percent did not find on Rank1 what they really have seach for…

  24. Cool water August 13, 2007 at 1:21 PM

    And how many people goes to 2nd result page?

  25. Matt Cotter August 13, 2007 at 5:02 PM

    Gordon Tebbutt mentions in his comment that 10.18% of the people went on to the second result page.

  26. Dan Thies August 13, 2007 at 6:00 PM

    It’s enough that being #11 is better than being #10.

  27. Mike Colella - Chandler Personal Training September 20, 2007 at 4:09 PM

    This is great info… it’s going to help me decide my keyword strategy. Thanks!

  28. Skiing Italy November 4, 2007 at 6:40 PM

    Good and interesting info, the difference is much bigger than I thought. Wonder what the difference is between 10 and 11 or 10 and 21. In theory they should have better click through rate for being on top of the page.

  29. Robert November 15, 2007 at 10:57 AM

    AOL is a little different from a lot of the other search engines. As once you’ve used an “AOL search word” you are pretty much going to find that which has already been tagged for that word. I doubt that these numbers are representative of what happens on Ask, Google or Yahoo or MSN… and for that matter. As AOL isn’t one of the top search engines/directories… how can you actually regard this info as anything more than just a little interesting?

    Just a thought. 🙂

  30. trademark registration November 23, 2007 at 3:46 AM

    I guess it really pays to be #1!

  31. Guido Nussbaum January 28, 2008 at 1:52 PM

    It’s pretty interesting to know these facts. I wonder if all search engines have similar numbers or if the numbers at google are totally different. Even more interesting would be to know how organic results compared to paid results would look like.

  32. Dan March 2, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    Hi Jim.

    Great information on organic click through rates. Guido, most likely these numbers match Google’s because Google powers AOLs search results.

    I would believe that the paid results would get a lower CTR by the very nature of it being paid. However, for commerce related searches like ipod or something, it may in fact yield a hire CTR because those paid listings are commerce related. If you are doing more of a research or informational search, my guess would be the organic listings would have a higher CTR but I have no hard data to prove any of this,

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