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CTR Manipulation - Does It Work

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 6 min read
CTR Manipulation - Does It Work


CTR manipulation is a popular technique utilized by many SEO companies trying to gain an edge over their competitors. On-page and off-page strategies can only get you so far. When it comes to taking the top spot on Google, it can come down to user engagement when you are fighting for position one. Backlinks and longer-form content aren’t always the answer, so what else can be done?

In this insightful article the founder of Osborne Digital Marketing, Ronald Osborne, put to test a CTR manipulation tool to determine if CTR would help with the ranking position. For the purpose of the test, four keywords were chosen to be the focus of this analysis. Two SEO tools were utilized, Rankertracker was used for monitoring each keyword daily and matching it against the results stated in the CTR tool. SERP Empire was the tool used to deliver the CTR manipulation. SERP Empire is an up-and-coming CTR tool and it was chosen to be used as the main tool.

What Is CTR Manipulation

Before we can jump into breaking down the testing variables, it is important to ensure that you have a solid understanding of CTR manipulation. Click through rate (CTR) manipulation is the process of utilizing “bots” to click on a page listing in a SERP. The intent behind doing this is to drive up the position of the page displayed. As an example, let’s say you are trying to rank for “SEO for lawyers” and you are stuck in position five. You’ve got all the same backlinks as your competitor and your article is the same length along with perfect optimization. What else can be done? Well, that’s where CTR can be used to help push you higher when nothing else could.

Google has never stated that user engagement is a ranking factor, but we all know that what Google says and does are two different things. A few years ago, Bing stated that “user engagement and click through rates are ranking factors.”

How To Perform CTR Manipulation

There are many different ways you can perform CTR. You can create a custom python script and have it run in a browser, or you can use some of the well known tools like CTR Booster and Awesome Traffic Bot. These systems ran on your desktop and would open your browser, basically utilizing your own computer to run the program. However, recently, there have been more and more online options showing up. SERP Empire has started to gain some traction in the SEO community. As they are changing the game. You used to have to set up these desktop tools, purchase proxies, go into depth on the setup, and ensure it ran correctly. While these new online options reduce all the additional costs.

Regardless of the tool you utilize for CTR manipulation, you need to input all the information. The basic will be the keywords you want to go after and the corresponding page. Now with CTR, there are some critical steps you need to take if you want to have a successful campaign.

Don’t Send Too Much Traffic

I can’t stress this point enough. You NEED to get the numbers right. If you send too many interactions to a keyword, it could tank your site and no amount of backlinks will bring it back. Let me walk you through the best way to calculate CTR rates.

Don’t Send Too Much Traffic

As you can see in the image above, the keyword “electrician Fort Lauderdale” is used. Now, we all know that the top spot drives the most traffic, but how much is it? The best way to calculate it would be to use the % table to the left. These percentages are calculated from the average consensus of SEOs out there. Will it be completely accurate, no! But, it is a starting point.

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Let’s say you were in position five for our target keyword, you should be receiving about 23 clicks a month. I would confirm this figure in your Google Seach Console (GSC). If you find it is higher or lower than the figures depicted, you may need to spend a few months gathering a consistent average. For this example, it is spot on though, you are receiving about 23 clicks a month. Should you send 128 clicks to your page to help overtake number one? NO. PLEASE don’t do that. You’ll be watching that bad boy tank faster than a fishing sinker. Take it slow. Look at the position above you, position four. You can see they receive about 31 clicks a month. That means you should begin by increasing your monthly clicks by no more than 8 with the max being about 20.

Take It Slow

Don’t try to jump up in positions quickly. CTR is a strategy you use to win overtime, not overnight. As mentioned above, for the spot above you. However, when you activate your campaign, don’t do so with a lot of clicks. All of them in one hit. Spread it out. For the first week of your campaign, I would suggest dipping your toe. Ease into it, with one or two clicks here and there. See what the SERP does, if you notice a large tank, back off, if you start to move around up and down, that can be a good sign. Something to note is that when you perform CTR, your listing might drop down a couple of spots. Don’t worry, it can come flying back. However, if the listing tanks, remove your clicks ASAP.

Make It Look As Natural As Possible

This is where a lot of SEOs become unstuck. They get the numbers right, they ease into BUT, they don’t make it look natural. What do I mean by natural? Well, consider this, if the keyword you are targeting is only ever searched for on mobile devices, does it make sense to run it through desktop CTR? Or what happens if you have a seasonal keyword or even a weekend hot topic? This all matters in CTR. Gather up the data that is natural for that keyword. Here are some important things to consider asking yourself when trying to make it look more like human interactions,

  1. What devices will normally be used to search for my keyword?
  2. Is my target keyword seasonal?
  3. Does this keyword have any weekend volume?
  4. What countries predominantly search for my keyword?

If you follow the points laid out and establish your campaign with these questions in mind, you are more likely to find success.

CTR Test With SERP Empire And Rank Tracker

The Focus of this test was to determine if SERP Empire would assist with a quick win of CTR. Below is a layout of the keywords chosen and their starting position. For the purpose of this test, we decided to be slightly more aggressive with the click through rate to see how that might impact findings and if it would drop the ranking positions down or not. We tracked all the SERP results with the keyword tracker from Rank Tracker.

Keyword Starting Pos (US)
Electrician SEO 3
How To Make A Google Post 6
Digital Marketing Boca Raton 7
Corporate Reputation Management 11

Electrician SEO

Thankfully our team had created an amazing piece of content on SEO for electricians, however, it was stuck in position three for months. We thought this would be a perfect keyword to test out our strategy. For 14 days we sent 2 clicks a day to this target keyword. For the first 10 days, we noticed no changes. However, after day 10, the rank dropped to position 6. Indicating that this aggressive approach has negatively impacted the campaign.

Electrician SEO

How To Make A Google Post

This targeted keyword has significantly less monthly traffic than the previous one. So, we decided to go with an aggressive approach to the total monthly searches for that keyword. Basically targeting 100% of anyone that looks for that target keyword. As expected, the SERP didn’t know what to do with the page. We bounced around before being dropped twice and finishing in position 7. Only one below where we were at the commencement of this campaign.

How To Make A Google Post

Digital Marketing Boca Raton

We wanted to include a local keyword targeting a more challenging niche. We performed a 50% ratio of total monthly searches for this search phrase. There was an estimated 70 searches a month for the target keyword so we started sending clicks through at a rate of one a day. Higher than what the top spot would receive. Again, this led to a negative result. We started the campaign in position 7 and were dropped to position 8 with no current bounce back. When there is a bounce in the SERP, that indicates that the keyword is in play. The search engine is trying to determine the appropriate location for your page. When it moves down and stays there, that can be concerning.

Digital Marketing Boca Raton

Corporate Reputation Management

We took another aggressive approach to this keyword and the impact was very surprising. We began the campaign in position 11 and only after a few days shot up to take position 7. However, it wasn’t to last, we returned to our original rank and began to sink even lower finishing in position 13. We were sending 2 clicks a day to this target keyword which meant we acting like we were receiving the same amount of clicks as the leading competitors. Google has hit us for doing so.

Corporate Reputation Management


Keyword Starting Pos (US) Finishing Pos (US) Total Loss Or Gain Highest Position Gained
Electrician SEO 3 5 -2 3
How To Make A Google Post 6 7 -1 6
Digital Marketing Boca Raton 7 8 -1 7
Corporate Reputation Management 11 13 -2 7

The suspicion of an aggressive approach to CTR manipulation negatively impacting well ranked keywords was confirmed. Trying to quickly attain results with a push from CTR negatively impacted all four campaigns. It’s not to say the SERP Empire tool was faulty, but as mentioned above in this article, if you approach CTR too aggressively, it will impact the rank of those keywords as the evidence shows. If you are going to perform any type of CTR manipulation, ensure you follow the detailed points presented above to help you avoid negative results like these.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins


is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience. He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

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