28 Oct Google CTR: Why & How to Increase Click Through Rate
The first question as to why you should increase your click-through rate seems obvious, but there’s more to it than you may think.
Let’s just say you are ranked 3rd organically within Google for ‘luxury watches’ and there are 1000 people searching for this term. You now need to get as many of those thousand searchers to click on your link. The more people that click on your link the more chances you have to sell your fancy watches, however, what does Google think if you are getting a higher or lower percentage of click-throughs?
Google’s job is to serve up the most relevant and trustworthy sources for its users; if it serves up a website that nobody clicks on, would this not raise suspicions on whether it is actually the best website/link to deliver?
Direct or indirect ranking factor?
There are theories as to whether the CTR (click through rate) is a direct or indirect factor in Google’s rankings (see a useful video from Moz below), but we would certainly look to ensure you increase your CTR to not only increase traffic but to ensure your rankings continue to do well.
Ultimately, Google is concerned with user engagement and the results it delivers. If your site isn’t clicked on, or users return to Google very quickly after visiting your site, Google will start to think they need to give other more relevant sites a chance.
So now that we know it’s doubly important to increase the CTR, how on earth do we do this?
1. Make your title enticing and not just keywords stuffed
First off, try to include the search terms towards the front of the title, as, if that’s what they are searching for, they should be the first thing they see. This on its own won’t be good enough, as most other results will be doing something similar. One way to get ahead is to play on people’s emotions like anger, disgust, affirmation, and fear. These are all proven to increase click-through and conversion rates.
Try to make the page title between 45 and 65 characters long so that you aren’t missing out on potential words but it isn’t too long as to have words being missed out due to the limited space available.
Above, you can see a great example of the page title being used. The words are relevant to the website, and ultimately to the search term, and does not exceed the character limit. If it did, the title would end in an ellipsis, so it is important to keep your title within the character limit but use relevant keywords.
2. Give more thought to the meta description
Rather than just 65 characters, the description allows for up to 154 which means you can elaborate on why people should click on your link. What will they find? Most importantly, this is how you can differentiate from your competition. Try and highlight a key Unique Selling Point and reason what they will get out of visiting your site.
3. Improve your URL
The third element of your listing in Google will be your URL which can sometimes be automatically created by your CMS system e.g. WordPress. You should always construct your URLs so that they make clear what the page is all about. As you can see the example below gives the searcher no doubt about what they will find:
Since the introduction of rich snippet markup, you can make your URL cleaner and with more context.
4. Build brand awareness
Through the use of social media adverts and re-marketing, you will be able to get your brand in front of people and ensure they are familiar with your brand. The more familiar they are, the more chance they will click on your link.
5. Better Rankings
This may not help you much as you will be trying this already, but the higher your rankings are the more likely someone is to click on your link. Roughly 18% of people click on #1 result and just 10% on those ranked #5.
6. Don’t try to optimise your page for too many terms
You are limited by the number of characters you can use, so don’t try to include every single search term you can possibly think of that may be relevant to the page. Google is getting smarter all the time and will retrieve some pages even if they aren’t optimised for the exact same search terms. Thanks to the latest algorithm, RankBrain, Google now focuses on semantics as opposed to exact keyword matches, meaning keyword stuffing is no longer an option for successful SEO practice. You can see from the example below there is only one exact word (CTR) match to the search query.
In 2009, Google’s Matt Cutts spoke about the importance of maximising your organic CTR. Here’s an important snippet: