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RPI and CTP: (cont'd)

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:

  1. First, your rank is estimated, based on target RPI and the amount of competition. (See RPI for more about this.)

  2. 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)

  3. 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.

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