Share of Voice for Search

A brand’s Share of Voice (SOV) for Organic Search is the proportion of search traffic to the brand’s website. It is defined in the context of a topic, i.e. a set of keywords and phrases, and in the context of a set of competitors, i.e. the players in the target market. And it is measured in terms of click through rates (CTR), which depends on the position of the site’s pages on SERPs, versus that of competitors.

Competitive Set

To compute SOV, you need to first identify the competitive set, i.e. the players in the target market. For example brands of laptop computers. Or for example business schools in Singapore — NUS Business School, Nanyang Business School, INSEAD, Singapore Management University, etc.

Topic

Next, you need to define the topic in terms of set of keywords. For example, the topic might be Executive MBA comprising the keywords — Executive MBA, EMBA, Executive MBA programs, best Executive MBA programs, top Executive MBA programs, Executive MBA rankings etc.

Computation


Exhibit 20.6   Organic click-through rates for searches, average across 1+ million keywords for over 30 thousand websites. (Source: Advanced Web Ranking).

For each keyword, determine the search traffic volume and the rank of each brand on search result pages. The CTR estimates are based on the rank. So for instance, if NUS Business School ranks first on the keyword “Executive MBA programs”, the school’s CTR, based on Exhibit 20.6, is estimated as 33% for the keyword.

The Search SOV of a brand (b0) is its share of clicks weighted across all keywords for the topic:

$$Search \,SOV (b_0)= {\sum^{all \,keywords} Keyword \, \,Weight×Share \,of \,Clicks}$$ $$Search \,SOV (b_0)= {\sum_k^{all \,keywords} \frac{Volume_k}{\sum_j^{all \,keywords}Volume_j}×\frac{CTR_{b_0\,k}}{\sum_b^{all \,brands}CTR_{b\,k}}}$$

Note: The high click-through rates in the upper ranks of search results reflect also the ability of search algorithms to accurately extract the pages that their users are seeking.

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