If you are doing SEO, you are certainly familiar with the term ‘CTR’ or ‘Click Through Rate’. And obviously, you can understand the significance of CTR in search ranking and improving your sites’ organic traffic.
When we know that search engine ranking and CTR are deeply related, discussing the importance of CTR is really insignificant. Rather I would stress on improving the Click Through Rate (CTR).
Improving your organic CTR is a challenge. Even as an SEO nerd, at times you become clueless, how to improve your URL CTR despite reaching the first page of Google’s search results.
In this article, I would like to share my findings and experiences to increase sites’ CTR as well as a few practical tips to get more organic clicks on search results.
What is Click Through Rate (CTR)?
The Click Through Rate (CTR) is calculated by dividing the link clicks by total impressions. It is shown in terms of percentage to describe the number of times a link is clicked as against the link appeared on the search results.
In Google Search Console, you can have the CTR for the keywords as well as for the pages.
See in the picture above, for the first keyword 6109 clicks have been recorded on Google’s search console as against 32020 impressions on SERP. Now CTR is (6109/32020)*100= 19.07% or 19.1% (approx).
Why Organic CTR Matters?
Search ranks and Click Through Rate (CTR) have a direct relation and they are complementary to each other. In a micro-study conducted by Ignite Visibility, it was found that higher rankings have better click-through rate in Google search page with an improvement in the position.
Another theory says that the Google Rank Brain improves the ranking of a page in search results with better CTR. As you get more clicks per impression, your page rank moves upward and vice-versa.
10 Practical Ways to Improve CTR
1. Make the SEO Title Attractive
Making your SEO titles attractive is probably the most primary and primitive way to improve your sites’ CTR. Most of the SEO experts would agree on this matter.
Let me clarify that good SEO titles would improve your CTR, once you reach the page #1 of the search results. For instance, CTR may help you improve your ranks if you are on page #1 or at best on page #2 of the search results.
Attractive titles may not be that helpful if you are not on the #1 page of the Google search results. Because people hardly bother about leaving the page #1 until their queries have been met on page #1.
How To Make The SEO Title Attractive?
It’s all about your creativity how to make the SEO title tempting. You may find some suggestions in this blog about writing your blog or post title.
Today I would give you some practical instances how you can draw more clicks for your web pages in the search results.
a) Create Urgency:
Make your SEO titles in such a way that give a feeling that the time is limited and if it’s not done now it would be a loss. Primarily online deals and offers play this type of headings.
b) Mention Period:
If it’s evergreen or time-sensitive content, mentioning a date or month or year may give your viewers a better stimulant to click. Like we do in our case.
c) How To Post:
Using words like ‘HOW’ and ‘ULTIMATE GUIDE’ in your SEO headings works well for improving your sites’ organic CTR. But certainly, you required a super explanatory article to woo your viewers. Otherwise, it may turn disastrous for you.
d) Power Words:
Use of words like ‘Awesome’, ‘Superb’, ‘Fascinating’, ‘Excellent’ in your SEO titles have a dramatic impact on the viewers. They feel instigated to click those titles out of curiosity. Obviously, you shouldn’t dishearten them with some ordinary piece of works.
e) Emotional Touch:
By nature, humans are emotional fools. Good marketers are proficient in handling human emotions. As a writer, you can tickle those emotions through your SEO titles and certainly, you would have better CTR.
I tried searching in Google “How to be smart” and among the results, I found this one.
Well, working out the SEO titles in the above ways would certainly improve your CTR, but I can suggest you another tool that works great in analyzing your headlines.
Coschedule Headline Analyzer is a worthy tool to analyze your SEO title. Now I tried this- “How to crack competitive exams”. The result is shown below.
It gives you the opportunity to analyze the heading with elements present there and a score to assess its attractiveness.
2. Implant Keywords in your Writing
Previously Google used to pick up your pages’ meta description on its SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This description helps the searchers to understand the basic page content and how far it can meet the queries.
Now Google plays more intelligently. It shows the meta description from the webpage depending upon the query made and the keywords matching within the webpage. Got my point?
Let me explain you in detail. Suppose, you are searching for a term “earn money online”. You got the following results.
In the first two instances, the term is highlighted in the search results. And people have an instigation of clicking those results that contain the specified keywords (boldened).
It’s true that Google Rankbrain is trained enough to understand and find the results with synonyms of the searched keywords. And based upon that criterion you may get ranked on the first page even if you haven’t included those specific keywords (but used the keyword synonyms).
But, generally, a person has a tendency to click the web pages with Meta description that contains exactly those keywords he/she is searching for and not the synonyms.
So, what’s the solution?
If you enter the Google Search Console you will come up with the keywords ranked for your web pages.
Go to Performance on the left-hand side in the menu. Then select Pages and then Queries.
Well, the list of queries is very long for a particular page. Now you have to find out the keywords (queries) that ranked for the page.
The best way is to choose the keywords ranked within the top 10 and insert those keywords within your page contents. But your insertion should be natural and good to read. Over usage of a keyword may even end up with a poor ranking.
After implanting the keywords it would take about a month or so for Google to rank your web pages for the searched queries. After that, your CTR would definitely shoot up.
3. Follow Writing Structure
Most of the new bloggers or content writers ignore this issue. Even I also made some great SEO mistakes in this regard.
Writing structure depicts the use of proper Tags and headings within your writings. It gives your reader a hierarchical structure to read and understand the entire content. It includes the use of headings, sub-headings, bulleted lists etc.
Using heading tags like H1, H2, H3, H4 etc. let your viewers understand which is the main topic and which is the sub-topic.
Someone may wonder how that will improve your CTR. Certainly, that would offer a better reading experience but CTR?
Just like human beings, Google also considers reading experience. If you write your post with proper tags, Google picks up those points and shows in snippets. Like this
This snippet has been created out of H2 heading tags used in the article. If we hadn’t structured our article properly, the snippet would have never been created.
It has been found on many studies that featured snippets get the maximum clicks in the whole SERP compared to other search results.
**Pro-tips: Do not use more than one H1 tag in a single page. Use maximum two-three types of heading tags in a single content.
4. Use Schema Markup/Rich snippets
I believe that most of you have heard of Schema.org structured data or Rich Snippets. But how many of you have applied it.
Based on industrial needs and queries searched, Google categorizes contents into different Rich Snippets.
Making your content compatible for rich snippets has a direct impact on your sites’ CTR. Snippets give your content a distinguishing effect that provokes a visitor to click.
By inserting a schema markup code you can deliver your content in a much presentable and clickable way. For WordPress users, there are lots of available plugins to make the content schema ready.
5. Localize Your Content
According to Hubspot an internet marketing company, 46% of all the searches on Google are local. This is amazing. With such a high strike rate, it’s worthy to make your stuff focusing on local aspects (if you are dealing in localized things).
Local SEO is a bit different from Organic SEO. To say exactly, it is more focused on the local perspective. In addition to the Organic SEO, you have to put some geographical parameters too.
Remember high CTR begets high conversion rate. If you are serving the people based on localized needs, it’s utterly important to concentrate on the specific market rather than maintaining a generalized view.
In fact, Google understands those queries that are geo-specific and accordingly it throws those results that are place specific. Say you are searching for ‘website designer in Kolkata’. And you will be landed on this type of page.
Google creates special snippets for localized searches which certainly draw more attention as well as clicks.
How to do Local SEO?
If you ask me how to do local SEO, the topic is such a big, I would have to write another article for that. But here I like to extend the topic briefly so that you can at least get the knowledge about it.
Basically, this is all about updating your (your organization) Name, Address, Phone number and hours of operation so that it can be reached out by people through search engines. Additionally, you have to focus on local link buildings along with generating genuine reviews.
Through contact page schema you can instruct Google to show the data in the search results. For WordPress users, Yoast Local SEO plugin is a good on-page SEO tool to optimize the site for the localized market. It helps in KML file generation and adding it to XML sitemap, address output in Schema.org format, submitting technical data to Google etc.
Over and above, your business should be listed on various directories and other multimedia platforms including maps, apps, social network, voice assistance etc. so that searchers can have a better access to your business.
Wait! Things are not as easy as you are expecting. Maintaining correct and consistent business information across multiple platforms is really a cumbersome job. Inconsistent business data may hurt your reputation too.
You can try one thing.
Off late, I met with an incredible tool called Listing Management Tool from SEMRush. SEMRush in collaboration with Yext, a Digital Knowledge Management platform has made a listing management tool providing users a single centralized dashboard to update business information.
An important feature of this tool is that you have to upload the information once which will be distributed across the platforms where people are searching for. A SEMRush subscriber can get the service merely for $20 per month per location.
6. Native Language Website
The Non-English users base of 235 million is growing faster than the English internet users which is 175 million. According to a report, 9 out of every 10 new users are exploring internet content in their local languages.
In alone India, which has a Hindi speaking people of around half a billion, the user base is broadening exponentially. There are multiple reasons behind such a growth, but primarily drastic price cut in data usage should be seen as the catalyst.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) December 5, 2017
Now let me explain the things how native language websites can draw more traffic. I have seen a lot of people watching websites by translating in local languages. In fact, our site Bihog.com has also witnessed considerable data of watching the site in local languages.
While going deep into the subject, I realized that people are more comfortable in viewing the content in their native languages than any other else. Google has also seen many fold rises in non-English searches in recent years.
Now some of the experts may argue that Google can translate almost all the sites to the local languages where it is searched for. So, why should we have another language dedicated site?
Have you gone through the translation ever? Even you can try with this article in your native languages. See the results.
Hope you got the answer. The translation is purely mechanical and the writer’s expression and sensibility are completely wiped out.
An original website is far better than a translated one. Most likely you would have some very bad reading experience in a translated website which would give a high increase in the bounce rate compared to an original native language site.
7. Improve URL Structure
Clicking a link on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP) might be an outcome of a viewing expectation. I have seen in many instances where people click on a link with a lower rank and there are multiple reasons behind such a behavior.
SEO titles as I have mentioned above do have a positive impact on the searchers’ mind. But the site URL has also elements that someway might boost the clicking tendency of a searcher.
I tried searching for ‘Nikon D3400 Manual Mode Operation’. Google finds out these results. Out of which #2, #3 and #4 URLs describes how far they can meet my queries.
#2 URL explains that it is an overall review guide for the DSLR camera Nikon D3400.
#4 URL lets you understand how to handle the exposure mode in D3400 camera.
But look at the #3 URL, it exactly pointing towards my query of the basic steps to learn manual mode of Nikon D3400 camera.
Google or search engines pick up the page URL. So, while writing URL for a page, try to keep it simple and easy that describes your page topics. Rather than writing a very long URL keep it short, else it would go out of viewing character limits.
8. Meta Description/Mentioning date
Meta descriptions are the heart of the search results. Reading the description, a viewer decides whether he/she would click the link or not.
A meta description is an explanatory paragraph below the title and the URL that describes what the page is all about. Pages with comparatively high CTR primarily have a causal effect of a good title and a precise but informative Meta description.
Mind it; you have a character limit for Meta description so, writing a short yet informative description about the page is not that easy. You have to practice until you master in it.
You have to write the Meta description in such a way that it includes the keywords you want to rank for and the topics it would serve through the webpage. When a searcher believes that this page would serve his/her purpose, he/she would definitely click the link.
Of late, Google Rank Brain (search algorithm) picks up the most relevant paragraph for the searched keywords as Meta description rather than your specified one. Even then I would suggest you write a good Meta description for your page.
The date is also a part of the Meta description. Often a searcher clicks a search result reading the date of the page when it is last updated.
Now you can see the dates mentioned before the Meta description. It is the last page update date. It’s a human tendency that they will click mostly on the results having a date and that is also the most recent one. You won’t believe this would boost CTR dramatically.
Another important thing that I learned from my experience that people tend to click on the pages that shows the words like ‘Last Updated on’ rather than ‘Published on’ before the date.
People love the latest updated contents. If you have published one article two years back, but updated it recently and your page displays the latest updated date, then people would have a tendency to click your page rather than a page showing publishing date (which is a few years back), even if it is updated recently.
Google picks up those dates from web pages and shows it besides the Meta description. So, you can imagine how CTR would be affected.
9. Use Long-tail Keywords
If you are working on SEO, I think you are better off the difference between the long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords narrow down your sales funnel whereas short-tail keywords broaden your market as well as the competition.
With this keyword analysis, you can understand that as your keyword broadens it reduces the market exposure but improves the conversion rate.
That means when you narrow down the search you are inviting an exclusive group of people through organic search to your page.
For example, someone is intended in buying refurbished Nikon D7200 camera. Say, you are selling refurbished Nikon D7200 camera and want to rank your content for the keywords ‘Nikon D7200’. See the outcome on Google search.
For the above keywords, you might have a very large customer base, but they are not ready to buy refurbished products. And most likely your page won’t even appear on the first page of SERP.
But if you make your search queries more precise by adding the word ‘refurbished’ to the existing keyword ‘Nikon D7200’, your customer base would be shorter with high conversion probability. See the results
It specifies your viewer that you are providing refurbished Nikon D7200 DSLR camera. Certainly, you would witness a positive trend in your pages’ CTR.
How to get long-tail keyword ideas?
If you look at the bottom of the page of SERP, you would notice some long-tail keywords suggested by Google.
Recently I tried one premium tool for long-tail keyword suggestions. The SEMRush Keyword Magic Tool. The primary benefit I derived out of it is that it gives me the opportunity to use advanced filters to find our niche keywords in semantically related groups.
Moreover, it extends the opportunity to find you country-specific long-tail keywords needed for your localized search. So you can add more of such keywords to your content to get higher CTR in a localized market.
10. Write list type articles
Suppose there are two pieces of writing on the same topic but in different formats- one in a narrative way and the other in a list format. Which would you read?
Of course, the list format, as that would give you an opportunity to know about the topic in a quick and easy manner. Hence list type articles have the highest takers in terms of CTR.
One of the popular SEO content writers, Mr. Brain Dean in his blog Backlinko.com, most of the time writes sky-scrapper posts in list formats. He writes merely one article in a month or so but enjoys a high amount of traffic.
Why? Because his pages get the highest amount of CTR through organic search.
SEO expert and marketing guru, Mr. Neil Patel says that a list type article which has a number that ends with ‘0’ are much loved by viewers. That means an article with titles like Top 10 or Top 20 or 100 Places to visit receives higher CTR than Top 8 or Top 6 like articles.
If you seriously want to score in the internet world, come out with articles that are informative as well as easy to read. And list type articles are the preference of the viewers.
Over and above, I can assure that Google also likes list type articles. Try something yourself searching on Google. I searched for a query “How to improve page speed”. Google replied in the following way.
Are you getting my point? It’s easier for Google to convert a list type articles to snippets as you can see in the above case.
As you all know snippets appear at the top of the SERP, so naturally they get the highest CTR. Hope you have understood why I have stressed on list type articles to improve the CTR.
The points mentioned above are not exhaustive; there can be more than what I have mentioned to improve the CTR. But I would like to tell you that I have tried and tested the above tips on many occasions.
There is always a scope for experiment. And you can have your own too. But remember, prioritize your content and don’t indulge in any foul practices for getting the ranks.