What is the CTR Difference Between SEO and SEM?

May 9, 2021

If you want to grow your business through online channels, it is important to know one thing before you get started: What is the difference between search engine optimization (SEO) vs. search engine marketing (SEM), including important metrics like CTR?

What is CTR?

Most agencies would agree that click-through rate (CTR) is an important metrics for search engine optimization and search engine marketing. It is the ratio of the number of clicks on a specific link or a call to action to the number of times people were exposed to the link. For instance, if 100 people see an online ad or an organic listing and 5 people click to learn more about the product/service, that ad or listing has a CTR of 5%.

Furthermore, CTR can be used to measure the success of pay-per-click (PPC) search results, Calls-to-action on landing pages, or hyperlinks in blog posts and email campaigns.  

click through rate


Online agencies consider Click-Through Rate as an important SEO metric as there is some evidence that click-through rate is a search engine ranking factor. This means that if search engines consider CTR, they are using searcher habits to help determine a page’s quality and relevance.


Like to search engine optimization, CTR is also an important metric in paid search. It tells you how many users are clicking on your ad, out of the total number of impressions for the terms that you’ve bid on. For a reputable online agency, click-through rates will also affect the bottom line. This means that higher click-through rates will bring more potential customers to your website and make your paid search campaign worth the money you’re investing.

On the other hand, low click-through rates may mean that you’re pouring money into a paid search campaign that simply isn’t paying off.

The bottom line is click-through rate is an important metric in organic and paid search. It is something worth measuring in all forms of online advertising. However, it is important to keep in mind that the raw number shouldn’t be the final word on your online advertising efforts’ success or failure.

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