SEO 6 min read November 14, 2016
Elena K.
In this article we will answer all of your questions about visibility.
What is Serpstat Visibility and How Is It Calculated?
Editor at Serpstat
What is "Visibility" and what is it used for?
Visibility is a relative index which indicates how often the domain is shown in search results for the keywords that it's ranking for. Simply put, visibility shows how visible a site is in search. The higher visibility of the domain is, the more traffic it's likely to receive. There is no universal, perfect score for "Visibility". It always depends on the niche and the size of the website in question. The best way to use this feature is to monitor how visibility is changing over time. Or to compare the visibility of websites in the same niche to see which one has a higher score.

Visibility is most often used as a general ratio that shows the effectiveness of SEO.
How is visibility calculated?
We show two different curves on visibility graph: the "previous visibility" and "visibility".
How "previous visibility" is calculated:
1. We take keywords for which a domain is ranking in the top 20;

2. Find search volume for each keyword from top 20;

3. Count the SE traffic by multiplying the search volume of each phrase by the CTR based on domain's position;

4. Determine the maximum possible SE traffic score by summing up the search volumes of all phrases in the Serpstat's base;

5. Divide the domain's SE traffic by the maximum possible score;

6. Multiply by 100 to convert the gained result to per cent;

7. Multiply by 1000 for better displaying.
How "visibility" is calculated:
Former algorithm was accounting for all keywords in our database, current algorithm accounts only for 1 million keywords that were selected from various niches specifically for the cause. Thus we have this formula:
It is similar to the old visibility formula, the only difference is how the maximum possible visibility is calculated.
What is the CTR rate from the formula?
CTR is the proportion of the number of clicks to the number of displays. Each position in SERP has its own CTR: the higher the position is, the better its CTR.

Most often CTR is used in PPC. Sometimes it's also used to prognose the amount of traffic that can be obtained from organic search.

Here is the proportion of the position to the CTR.
For example, let's take a domain.com and let's say that there're only 2 keywords it's ranking for in top 20.

  • Keyword 'A': search volume for keyword 'A' is 100. Keyword 'A' takes position #2 in SERP (CTR = 0.97)

  • Keyword 'B': search volume for keyword 'B' is 1000. Keyword 'B' takes position #5 in SERP (CTR = 0.6)
Let's say that the total search volume of all keywords at the Serpstat base is 100 000 000.

And here is what we get:
Why did we switch to a new visibility formula?
We decided to update the algorithm because sometimes when the Serpstat database was upgraded, visibility of some websites could spike. We selected 1,000,000 keywords that cover all niches to determine the visibility, these keywords have more or less solid search volumes and will not influence the visibility as much when database is upgraded.
Why don't we remove the previous visibility?
We believe that the new visibility is more accurate. However, we show both of them for those who use the data for the earlier period. You can find previous visibility at Overview -> Visibility trend ->Fullscreen, as well as during exporting via API.
What is "algorithm updated" mark on the graph?
Almost a year passed since we first announced the change of the visibility algorithm. As keywords' search volume changes every month, a list of million keywords must also be changed. Only high and medium volume keywords are taken into account.

The red line "algorithm update" just says that we have made some adjustments to the list of million the most popular keywords. We are constantly adding phrases to the database and thus "stabilize" visibility. It is designed to show more accurate visibility and carries no huge changes.
Why does visibility sometimes increase and fall dramatically?
Sometimes there are sharp rises or falls on visibility curve. This often happens to small sites or sites that rank for a small amount of keywords. In this case even small changes can affect the graph (for example,when website starts ranking for a new high volume keyword in the top 20). Large sites are less likely to have a sudden change in visibility due to such events.

I hope this article did a good job explaining how our Visibility is calculated. It's a good metric to follow if you want to keep a track of your website's progress. Plus we're currently working on making it even more accurate, so stay in touch. Follow us on social media and you won't miss any of our updates.

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