We build an empirical framework using search queries and organic click data which provides model-based guidance to SEO practitioners for keyword selection and web content creation. Specifically, we study how search characteristics (search query popularity, search query competition, search query specificity, and search intent) and website characteristics (content relevance and online authority) interact to affect the expected organic clicks as well as the organic rank a website receives from the search engine result page (SERP). It is often thought that content relevance is a key factor to improve the effectiveness of SEO. We find, however, that content relevance is an important factor in driving organic clicks only when the consumer is farther along in the customer journey and searching for ways to purchase a product. Whereas, when the customer is at the awareness stage and looking for product information, online authority is the key driver of organic clicks.
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