Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Khurram Aziz on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, October 4, 2018).

Does trying to rank for 2019 terms in advance have any merit?

Question: Does trying to rank for 2019 terms in advance have any merit? Say for example, right now I could rank for "best.... of 2019" in any niche, because the big boys and authority sites haven`t touched this yet. I`m assuming once December and January rolls around, I`ll get outranked left and right. Buuut, I also believe CTR has an impact on rankings and if I can get enough clicks on my pages, I could hold steady. What say you?

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Michael Martinez: CTR has absolutely no impact on rankings in Google. None. Zilch. Zippo. Nada. They use cick data to evaluate their algorithm performance, not Website quality.Hence, racking up a lot of clicks in advance of the competition won`t help you in the long run.That said, being "first found" has intrinsic advantages outside the algorithms. People are more likely to recommend a site they find in search results.On the other hand, if you`re just counting on the year and not really creating content that is any good, people will ignore your site. Most people don`t click on the first result anyway.It`s something to experiment with but remember that the listing in the search result is only a promise of what is to come. If the content doesn`t deliver on the promise it won`t matter how many people click through or why they clicked.
  • Khurram Aziz: Interesting point of view Michael, there are many experts who would disagree with your assertions about CTR. Not to mention, your belief that most people don`t click the first result anyway - where did that come from? Obviosuly I`ll be making the content as high quality and relevant as possible
  • Michael Martinez: Khurram Aziz "there are many experts who would disagree with your assertions about CTR" <- Yes, I`ve seen their "experiments" through the years. They can be safely ignored, but this group is not an appropriate place to discuss the unscientific methods those experiments used."your belief that most people don`t click the first result anyway" <- It`s not a belief, it`s a well-established fact. I`m just turning a common statistical argument around. Many click studies through the years (and you can easily do your own through Google Search Console and Bing Toolbox) show that the top-ranked listings are clicked on anywhere from 10% to 40% of the time (per query, not allowing for multiple clicks per query).Hence, most people don`t click on the first result.
  • Khurram Aziz: Well Moz and others have told me CTR is a factor: https://moz.com/.../does-organic-ctr-impact-seo-rankings... and search engine land produced a cohesive study https://www.searchenginejournal.com/ctr-ranking/254631/ But regarding search engine ranking position and CTR - it might be true, that "most" people who type in a search result click pages listed 2-100... But the page listed at number 1 still gets the MOST CTR overall https://www.smartinsights.com/.../comparison-of-google.../
  • Michael Martinez: Khurram Aziz As I said, their experiments are unscientific - and Google flatly contradicted their claims. You can believe them if you wish. We don`t need to argue about this back and forth.
  • Michael Martinez: " But the page listed at number 1 still gets the MOST CTR overall " <- Not always. In fact, thanks to Featured Snippets, many 1st ranking positions have lost traffic to lower-ranked listings.
  • Perry Bernard: I agree with Michael Martinez on comments of being wary of experiments and results presented on SERPs behaviour and rank. All this is guesswork at best. None of it is ever proof of anything, and if they find any kind of evidence, it`s usually correlations. It`s like saying "lower socio-economic populations have higher rates of smoking as a habit and correlating higher rates of lung cancer, therefore poverty causes lung cancer." NO.
  • Dave Elliott: I tend to work on between 20 and 25 percent of people click on the first result for non branded queries based off an awr study. So basicly agree with micheal. That said if your site matches intent it`s better to rank 1st than 2nd. In answer to your question there`s plenty of good reasons to be ranking for 2019 keywords already. People are looking at booking thier summer holidays for next year for example. It depends on your niche. If you are selling 2019 products then do it. If you are trying to rank for `best (whatever) 2019` then it won`t do anything

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on G+, Thursday, October 4, 2018).

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