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Consider what people see when they don’t click in Google

However you’re looking to use Google to promote your website, it’s interesting to know what people do when they see a results page. There are figures available from the USA (and I’ve no reason to think things are much different here) that suggest just under half of all searches now don’t result in a click at all. This could be because the results are clearly not what the searcher wants, but it’s likely that an increasing number of searches are queries which are answered on the search results page, without a clickthrough needed.

The percentage of clicks going to paid results is only 7.2%, but this is growing, probably thanks to increased advert prominence. Clicks to unpaid results outnumber these more than thirteen to one, but many of these (perhaps one in six) now go to Google-related sites such as YouTube and Google Maps.

Analyst Rand Fishkin says: “Over the last three years, in browser-based searches, Google has grown the click-through rate (CTR) of paid clicks by more than 75%. They’ve grown the percent of queries with zero-clicks by almost 12%. And, as a result, the organic CTR has dropped by more than 13%.”

My takeaway from this is that with organic (unpaid) click share falling, you should feel pleased even if you’re just maintaining your free traffic from Google at a steady level. With paid clicks, although the overall CTR is increasing, I reckon this is due to there being more ads, rather than individual ones getting a lift. And make a point of considering what people see when they don’t click: this is an important part of your branding.