The Click Through Rate Experiment

Since Google Adsense prohibit anyone from revealing their CTR. Finding out if you are doing something right or wrong is hard if not impossible when you are starting out. No one can (or wants to) share. And the web is filled with Promises of astronomical CTR rates. Well, if you are disappointed in what you are getting, maybe this will help.

What I am going to talk about is how traffic sources affect your CTR.

We know that search engine traffic is better than most other sources for CTR. But what about the rest?

Since I can’t disclose my clickthrough rates according to the TOS, I’ve converted what is generally accepted as the best source. The Organic Google Search to a benchmark of 100% and proportioned the remainders to it.

50% score means you get half as many clicks from this source as you would from a Google Search.

Exactly how I did this is my little secret. (i can’t give everything away) But here are the results.

Search Engines

  1. Google Organic Searches, – Benchmark 100%
  2. Yahoo Organic Searches  86%
  3. Other Search Engines  73%

Social Bookmarks

  1. StumbleUpon 3%
  2. Digg 3%
  3. Reddit  2%
  4. Mixx  1 %

Trackback Links (others linking to articles)

  1. Link lists  13%
  2. Articles Referencing 36%

Direct traffic

  1. RSS / Atom 24%
  2. Unknown 24%

Comments (commenting on other blogs)

  1. Short Comments  9%
  2. Long Comments  46%

Some Conclusions

Social Networks are the worst for Clickthrough rates. They do make up for this somewhat by the amount of traffic you can get from them. But on average, you need between 30 and 100 times more hits from a social bookmark to get the same amount of hits as you would from a Google organic search.

What is more interesting is that commenting on other blogs is Great CTR traffic

Making Long pointed comments that add value is by far the most effective traffic you can directly control and get decent CTR from.

Having people link to you is also lucrative.
Link lists (see point 8 ) where people make lists of different sites and blogs are decent for traffic, but bad for CTR. However, if you can get someone to write and reference your article ( see point 9 ) , the clickthrough rate is much better.


SEO Is king for clickthrough rates. You have to focus on your SEO to get more of the best traffic. which still is search engines.

After that we are back to the old “quality first.”

If you can get your posts to be reviewed or referenced and linked to, you will get better clickthrough rates, but to get links, you need to write good posts.

The best traffic you can control directly is the comment traffic, but you have to write quality comments adding something on others blogs to get the most out of it.
Short comments get little traffic and the traffic is not good for CTR.

RSS traffic is decent. But to get Rss subscribers, you have to write good quality content.


Results measured on three blogs with a total of 23.434 hits

– I used three basically static blogs with the same template.
– All blogs were wordpress and self hosted.
– The same article was posted on all three blogs to simplify separation
– Ads had the same location, and were identically formatted
– I never promoted any of the blogs under my own name
– I used friends to submit to social bookmarks, and I never voted
– I commented under pseudonyms. Using normal names
– Submitters were not on my friends lists for any of the social bookmarks

Only sources that averaged 50 hits were counted. Many social networks are therefore not reported. only the ones here averaged over this limit.

Comments were only submitted to large and notable blogs on the topic. With alexa ranking under 100,000

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