Impressions Versus Clicks & How to Read Them Correctly For Your SEO/PPC Campaigns

Recently on a forum,  I was explaining to someone how impressions compare versus clicks and how they should be interpreted correctly when doing SEO/PPC campaigns.

While I was doing this, many other answers were given to that same person and to my surprise, most of the people commenting and offering answers didn’t know what they were talking about. So I decided to write this post to help clarify this whole subject. Even though it’s relatively simple to understand, there are a few aspects which can confuse people.

Impressions vs Clicks: What’s The Difference?

Impressions: Shows how many times your site/ad has appeared on search engines over an X period of time. Websites and Ads often disappear/reappear. Each time they appear = 1 impression.

Clicks: Indicates how many times your site has been clicked on based on the amount of impressions it’s had. Obviously the more clicks you have, the better. 

What Clicks & Impressions mean when used to understand SEO/PPC

Although they mean the same thing, how you apply them to SEO/PPC can be different depending on particular circumstances. 

Understanding SEO & Impressions/Clicks: Often times websites which create content will get ranked on Google and other places, but then disappear/reappear many times as well as move up/down the rankings/SERPS. This is normal and is called a Google dance. This kind of stuff may go on for days/weeks and even months sometimes! But whenever it appears on Google, that counts as an impression.

When you do SEO, your impression count will always rise and if you add more content to your website, this means your website will start to rank for other search terms, meaning even more impressions. 

One thing that people get freaked out about is that if they have a fresh site, that they will get a lot of impressions but little/no clicks. This is NORMAL because most rankings you’ll get in the SERPS (Search engine results pages) will not be on the 1st page.

But in time if you keep adding content and targeting low competition keywords, your rankings will rise and you will see an increase in clicks so don’t fret if you’re not seeing a lot of clicks just yet.

Most importantly, focus on writing quality content. In short, quality content means writing for your visitor and providing them with information that helps solve their problems. 

How to determine your impressions/clicks with SEO: I would recommend using Google Webmaster tools. They provide some EXCELLENT information on these types of statistics and they will also show you which search terms your website is ranking for. 

Understanding PPC & Impressions/Clicks: As with SEO, whenever you do PPC and create an ad, it will show on/off on search engines. Each time it shows will count as an impression. Unlike SEO however, they will show according to how much you’re paying for each click. Usually the more you pay = the higher your ad is ranked.

One very important thing to note is that when doing PPC, how many impressions your get isn’t really important. It’s really the amount of clicks VS impressions you get and your overall CTR. 

Most people who use PPC marketing will see tons of impressions but very few clicks because they aren’t creating their ads/landing pages correctly and this is negatively affecting them. And unlike SEO, this is NOT something that will change in time. If you’re doing PPC and not seeing a good amount of clicks, something is wrong. I would recommend this tutorial to help clarify what you can do to raise impressions/clicks/quality score/ect…

What you need to know: 

If you’re just getting started with internet marketing, I would honestly advise focusing first and foremost on having a website get good SEO results and against using PPC or even thinking too deep into clicks/impressions as a whole.

This subject is really not as important as you think (unless it’s PPC) because if you correctly set up your website and utilize the right SEO techniques which you get as places like this, clicks/impressions will happen on their own.

On the other hand if you’re already doing PPC or planning on it, use the tutorial I recommended above as it will greatly help you save more money and get more visitors.

And as always if you have any questions about this, leave your comment below 🙂 




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