Click-through rates (commonly known as CTRs) have long been seen as one of the most critical metrics in SEO, but recent data from SparkToro has shown that, as other metrics gain in relevance, CTRs continue to decline worldwide.
The data shows that CTRs fare relatively well overall: CTRs from SERPs has fallen from 66.9% in 2016 to 63.6% in 2018 in the UK and EU.
However, the mobile drop has been sharp:
in the UK and EU, organic CTRs have fallen from 45% of search engine results pages (SERPs) to 36%.
In the US, the decline is worse still, from 40.1% to 29.7%
The reason mobile is thought to be particularly impacted is due to the smaller screen size, which means that paid ads and answer boxes are dominating the majority of the results page.
Most experts believe that the fall in CTRs is directly attributable to Google themselves. Google alone can now handle many search queries on-page with answer boxes and featured snippets, so users simply no longer need to visit the source website in order to answer a question or obtain the information they are seeking.
Many SEO professionals have long predicted this would be the outcome of Google’s many changes to the way it displays SERPs, all of which have been designed to keep users on Google rather than visiting external sites - this data simply proves that the search engine giant has been successful in this aim.
It is important to note that the data and analysis are limited in their scope; it is not currently known how far users are willing to scroll down the page in order to click-through, for example.
However, this data is undeniably something worth pondering on for all of those involved in SEO.