SERP Click Distribution: How Many People Click on #1

We know that ranking better in the search results is going to get us more traffic, because more people will see and click on our result. But how many more?

The question here is: what is the distribution of clicks in the search results?

The best correct answer is that it depends. Every SERP behaves differently. What the paid ad landscape looks like has a huge impact on how many click there are left over for organic (which is usually still the large majority of clicks). Google Shopping results, for example, tend to attract a lot of clicks, and if shopping results are present you’ll see much different organic click distributions than if they’re not. And paid elements like that tend to come and go and switch position from day to day as Google is constantly testing and optimizing themselves.

But even within SERPs that have the same ad elements the click distributions can vary wildly. For some SERPs the users seem content to just look at what the first result has to say, while other SERPs seem to have users that scour the titles and descriptions of each listing before making their choice.

As long as we understand well that every SERP is different, we can start talking about what the average SERP click distribution looks like.

For the sake of keeping things simple, here is a good estimate of overall average click through rates on organic results:

Rank  1: 30%
Rank 2: 15%
Rank 3: 10%
Rank 4: 6%
Rank 5: 4.5%
Rank 6: 3%
Rank 7: 2.5%
Rank 8: 2%
Rank 9: 1.2%
Rank 10: 1.5%

This estimate is a combination of a lot of experience, various studies, and examining tons of results in Hitwise and Google’s Search Console.

Note, however, this average includes branded searches. So in addition to people searching for “tent poles” and choosing a result to click, we have people searching for “trip advisor” — obviously those people are incredibly likely to click on the Trip Advisor result, which throws the average for the top positions way off. So you’ll rarely see a keyword with this average click distribution.

Instead, here is a pretty common click distribution for commercial transactional keywords (searches like “gardening gloves” or “guitar strings”) that generally include Google shopping results as well as the normal paid ads:

Rank 1: 13%
Rank 2: 10%
Rank 3: 8%
Rank 4: 7%
Rank 5: 5.5%
Rank 6: 4.5%
Rank 7: 3.5%
Rank 8: 3%
Rank 9: 3.2%
Rank 10: 3.3%

Even on these results with Google shopping showing up in addition to ads, organic clicks on the first page are still gathering over 60% of all the clicks.

Note that on mobile we see a slightly different click distribution in the SERPs, with the #1 rank gathering closer to 16% of clicks, and #2 slightly inflated as well. However, the difference isn’t as large as what you might expect given how most of the mobile screen is filled with ads.

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