CTR, what is it, ...

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Written by Chris Hirst. Posted in Internet Marketing and Search on 20 January 2016.
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... And why does it matter?

In the SEO world C. T. R. is one of the misunderstood terms, put simply it is an initialism for "Click Through Rate" or Click Through Ratio, being the number of times that a link or advert is 'clicked on' in order to view the document (page) at the target URL.  

So why does it matter? Ordinarily it doesn't, as such a metric without qualification is just a number,  and knowing that it is more than zero is of no real use to you. Where CTR plays it's part is when you are testing the effects of a change to something, such as a change of link anchor text, the wording or the position of an advertisement or a linked image and you need to know if it has changed the visitor perception of this page element for the better or for the worse. So for a real analysis of CTR on any element you need two points of reference, the first is the number of visitors to the URL, this value should exclude all 'bot traffic as search engine crawlers do not create any 'click through' data as they only request the URL and do not 'follow' links directly on the page so you will get a false impression of CTR being much lower than it actually is, the second data point is the number of time that a particular link has been clicked. There are many ways to track clicks and none are especially better than any other so for the purposes of this article it will be assumed that this link has a unique identifier in the 'href' (target URL) attribute of the anchor element that can be used to extract those 'clicks' in your analytic software.

First off you need to get a baseline of the normal CTR before you make the adjustment to the page, so you take a period of time and get the traffic numbers for all 'hits' on the URL and the hits' on the target URL that has your link identifier, this time period can be a day, week or month even an hour or two if your site is busy enough, the actual period is of little consequence provided you use the same time frame for the before and after tests. Once you have the numbers you can do a simple percentage calculation which is:

clickcount / totaltraffic * 100 to give the percentage of page visitors that clicked the link.




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