Predicting Traffic After Search Engine Optimization: CTP
CTP stands for Click-Through Prediction. CTP is an approximate prediction of the amount of search engine traffic you will receive for a given keyword if you optimize for it.
CTP calculation is a three-step process:
- First, your rank is estimated, based on target RPI and the amount of competition. (See RPI for more about this.)
- The next step is to calculate the share of clicks that will go to a listing with the predicted rank. In reality, this is determined by many hard-to-measure factors like how well-worded each description is, the number of results that can be seen without scrolling, and the particular tastes of the searcher. Rather than attempt to model all this I use a highly simplified falloff model.
I assume that each position below #1 receives 75% of the click-throughs that are received by the position above it. Position #1 gets about 25% of the total clicks. Position #2 would then get 18.75%, position #3: 14.0625. The 75% figure is based on current statistics on user click-through from search engines. The formula for this is:
share = 0.25 * 0.75(rank – 1)
- The last step is to multiply the share of clicks by the number of searches per day for the given term. You can obtain this data from a keyword stat service such as WordTracker. This gives us:
CTP = share * searches
Some important caveats:
- This is an educated guess only! Your actual number of click-throughs will be determined by a large number of things, many of which you have no way of knowing about. Your number of click-throughs will probably be more or less than this formula will tell you. The main idea is to help you make the best guess you can with the information you have.
- Keyword search stats from WordTracker are approximations themselves. Major engines like Google & Yahoo do not make their search logs available to the public. To get around this, WordTracker bases its stats on search data from meta crawlers like Dogpile. These stats are scaled up to give you figures for Google, Yahoo, etc. This method is not 100% accurate.
- Because of its approximate nature, CTP is primarily useful as a relative measure. If you get a CTP of 100 for a term, do not assume you will actually get 100 clicks. You will, however, probably get roughly twice the clicks you’d get for a term with a CTP of 50.
Conclusion: What does it all mean?
CTP is totally dependent upon the RPI you can achieve. So, the best 10 keywords for a site that can achieve an RPI of 4 may be completely different from the best 10 keywords for a site that can achieve an RPI of 5.
Why? Because CTP can be high because of low competition, or because of a very high number of searches per day.
If your site has a low RPI, you’ll want to target terms with lower competition. The high-competition terms may get more searches, but this won’t bring you any traffic if you rank #400. If you target low-competition terms, you’ll have a good chance of getting a high rank and getting relevant traffic.
If, on the other hand, your site has a higher RPI, you can shoot for more competitive terms that have far higher search frequency (they get more searches per day) and therefore get more search traffic after optimization.
At lower RPIs, the best keywords will be those with low competition. At higher RPIs, the best keywords will tend to be the ones with high search frequencies.
Portent approaches any search engine optimization campaign from two directions. Any good search engine optimization campaign starts with a realistic estimate of your RPI, and then chooses target terms based on a balance of CTP and RPI. By targeting terms for which you know you can achieve a strong rank, you can generate good, relevant traffic in a relatively short time.
Then we consider how we can increase the RPI of your site, with content strategies that may include corporate blogging, conversion of legacy content to new pages on your site, or completely new sections and information.
This balanced approach is the best way to achieve good short- and long-term search engine optimization results.
About the Author
Matthew Henry is the search engine optimization specialist at Portent Interactive, a full-service Internet marketing agency in Seattle, WA. Portent offers complete Internet marketing support, including search engine optimization, email marketing, and web design and development. Recent projects include www.dessy.com, alfredsungdresses.com, princesslodges.com and SEO for ModernBride.com.
About the Editor
Ian Lurie is an Internet marketer in Seattle, WA. He started his Portent Interactive in 1995. Ian has a law degree from UCLA and has successfully avoided practicing law for almost ten years.
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