One of the most efficient strategies to enable good SEO on your blog is to improve the CTR of your entire website.
In fact, over the past few years, CTR has become one of the most important factors for search engines to rank content based on relevancy.
This means the more relevant a title and the meta description are to a keyword a user searches for, the higher that blog is going to rank, thus increasing the CTR.
Click-through-rate or CTR is probably one of the most important parts of SEO that unfortunately, most of us don’t even pay attention to.
Do you know that the first search result for a keyword bags about 32% CTR?
This means that if I search for, let’s say, ‘how to improve your social media marketing campaign’, the first result I get for that keyword has about 32% Click-through-rate.
Click-through-rate is an important concept and it actually has a lot of significance over how much traffic your website receives and retains. How exactly? Keep on reading!
Organic Click-through-Rate (CTR)
Organic CTR totals the number of searchers that click on your search result. There are a lot of factors that influence the Organic CTR and arguably, it is one of the most important elements of a rich website that receives a lot of organic traffic.
So, let’s say a keyword has about 3000 people that search for it every month.
Your website, that ranks somewhere on position 3 or 4 receives about 300 clicks but has about 3000 impressions.
By the formula,
CTR = Number of Clicks/Number of Impressions,
Your Organic CTR = 10%.
Why is organic CTR important?
As website owners, we have a lot of things to consider before we publish our content.
You will agree with me when I say that we have to proof-read our content, experiment with different headlines, handpick the right tags, pick a great thumbnail, put our headlines in required tags (whether it is H1 and H2 tag), write a great meta description and optimize our URLs.
Overall, it is a long process, and still, we cross our fingers that in the worst-case scenario, at least our content lands somewhere on the first page of the search results.
However, none of the things that you just took care of matter unless you have a good CTR. For a while, your content could be somewhere in the 7th or 8th position of the search results. But if people don’t necessarily click it or look for the next best option, chances are that your position might be taken over by a more relevant search result.
And that is why CTR is an important factor.
If you are planning to bag that #1 position in the search results, you need to have a great CTR.
It drives more traffic to your site. It’s quite obvious. If your website is receiving more traffic organically, the visitors are preferably expecting to find answers from your website, which makes it more valuable.
The more traffic you get organically, the more CTR you are going to have. The more CTR you have, the higher your website is going to be displayed in the search engine.
And how exactly do you improve the CTR? Well, that is what I am going to answer!
How to improve your organic CTR?
Improving your organic CTR is no rocket science. I assure you, if you follow some of the most basic tips and do them right, your CTR is going to increase and your website is going to rank higher in the search results.
With that said, here are some of the best practices to increase your organic CTR.
1. Optimize your meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are one of the most important CTR factors and if you don’t optimize them, you are losing potential traffic on your website.
Meta descriptions are actually like a quick preview of the content your website has. When a user searches for a keyword or a query in general, he picks the result that seems to satisfy his search intent the most.
This means if a user is searching for a ‘lose weight fast’ strategy and your meta description are able to convince them that your website has the right strategies, you win the click for that keyword.
And with time, if you have the best click-through-rate than your competitors, your website is likely to be pushed towards the top of the search results.
Now as far as writing meta descriptions are concerned, you can write them on your own. Almost every blogging platform allows you to write a meta description of your own. And if you skip it, Google generates it for you automatically.
However, it is always advisable that you write your own meta descriptions. If you have a focus keyword, make sure to add it in the description as well.
If you are a WordPress user, you can try out the Yoast SEO plugin to have control over your meta descriptions.
2. Make your title attractive
How does a viewer (that searches for a keyword) decide what result would fulfill his search intent? That’s right – The TITLE!
And if your titles are dull or mediocre and don’t even interest the user, chances are they won’t even click on it.
Suppose we are writing an article on Social media marketing trends, okay?
Now your content might be flawless, but you need to be picky with your title because you want people to click on it!
So, instead of using just ‘Social Media Marketing tools 2020’, it is better if I write ‘Social media marketing trends 2020 that you can’t afford to miss’.
There are a few reasons why I designed my title this way:
- First, it makes the user curious that there are some exclusive tips that I shouldn’t miss.
- Second, it makes my search result sound more informative and in-depth.
- Third, I have a better and longer title than my competitors!
Optimizing your titles is an important thing if you want users to visit your website. The better it is, the more traffic you are likely to receive. You can make your titles look attractive by using catchy words or make it seem more informative by putting in additional information, like ‘A case study’ or a ‘Guide’.
However, you should also know that optimizing a title is a slippery slope because often, it could lead to clickbait.
Which brings us to our next point.
3. Don’t use Clickbait titles
Titles that speak one story and the content that speaks a totally different story contribute to clickbait titles.
So, if your question is, ‘Does a clickbait title help me gain a good CTR?’
The answer will be ‘YES’.
But hear me out. You should NEVER USE CLICKBAIT TITLES and here’s why:
Clickbait titles do surge your website to the top of the search results for time being. However, when a user clicks on your result and notices that your content doesn’t actually have anything of value that would fulfill his search intent, they are going to click away.
So, how does it affect your website?
If a user clicks away from a result after opening it quickly, it increases your bounce rate and decreases the average time on time.
Both these factors most of the time are considered fairly important for a website to rank in the top results for a keyword.
A common mantra of great website content and the title is to ‘underpromise and overdeliver’.
This means that your title shouldn’t always reveal everything that your content contains. If you are writing a blog post on ‘11 new strategies to use micro-conversions to your benefit’, you might always want to add a few bonus tips at the end or provide some extra insights about the topic that the user didn’t know about judging by the title and the meta description of your site.
4. Use brackets in your titles
Using brackets in your titles is more of a psychological factor than a systematic ranking factor.
When you add brackets to your titles, it makes your content sound more distinct than the others.
Not only are you using the extra space for putting some additional information in your title, but you are also luring a reader to check out a significant element you are focusing on in your content.
With brackets, you are giving a sneak peek into your content. This means that if you have an important element, like a step by step guide or something like ‘12 actional steps’, you can always add them in your brackets.
Brackets add charm to your title. They deliver the punch your titles should be delivering and if you skip them, you actually are missing out on a good portion of viewers and clicks.
5. Content branding
If you may have realized, a lot of websites in the search results brand their content. This is usually in the following format:
[TITLE] – [NAME OF THE WEBSITE]
Content branding isn’t something that Google favors or opposes. If you want it, keep it.
However, most of the time, content branding is something that works like a charm for increasing the click-through-rate of a site. How? Let me tell you.
When your website features informative content that a user has found helpful before, they would usually remember the website and definitely the name.
And, when they search for something and your content pops up, they exactly know that this website is valuable and we can find our answers here.
However, before you brand your content, always remember that you should prefer keeping the branding towards the end. The reason is that mentioning branding at the very beginning confuses Google and ends up hurting your rankings.
You can use Yoast SEO to manage your content branding.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, click on Yoast > Search Appearance and set the title and Sitename.
6. Don’t restrict your website to a single platform
When you are planning to get your business out there, don’t rely only on desktop users or mobile users. Rather, make your website available and responsive on both the platforms.
Do you know that about 51% of internet users use their smartphones to access the internet?
This is about half the traffic on your website. This means that if your website is desktop only or mobile-only, you are losing about half the traffic. How?
Let me explain!
Over the past few years, Google has been pushing hard to make the website available to visit on every platform. Since their goal is to retain as many users as possible, it only makes sense if the websites it features are responsive to every device a user uses, including a tablet.
Now if a website in the search result isn’t focusing on making its website available on every platform, Google is most likely going to discourage that website to be available in the top 10, or heck, even the top 20 of the search results.
This reduces your CTR dramatically because there are very fewer chances of people visiting the third page of Google to get their results.
7. Include descriptive URLs
Making your URLs descriptive has a huge impact on the SEO of your website. URLs are an important ranking factor for Google and they potentially have about 25% significance on your overall traffic.
When you write a blog post, make sure you are categorizing it into the right categories and sub-categories. This makes your content just not easy to find but even gives a proper structure to your content in the search results.
Having descriptive URLs increases search engine visibility.
If you have a huge website with a bunch of products, you can use descriptive URLs to promote single products to your customers without much of a hassle.
For WordPress users, you can customize your URLs in your dashboard > Settings > Permalinks.
8. Update your content regularly
If you are making a guide or a step-by-step tutorial based on the current year (something like Social media marketing trends 2020), it’s obvious that the next year, the same content would seem irrelevant to Google as well as to a user
When a user searches for a particular keyword, the latest content is promoted by the search engines. However, if your title is ‘Social media marketing trends in 2019’ and the user is searching for the same topic in 2020, they are most likely not going to click on it since they want fresh and updated tips that your content isn’t promising at the moment.
So, what can you do?
Re-publishing and auditing your content are the two most common and effective strategies to make your content updated.
Just updating the dates is not something that is going to help you. You might want to update the content as well.
You can update the current date and year of your publishing and even add a couple of points to the content to make it look more informative and updated as well.
A lot of authors just change the current year of the title (for eg. 2019 to 2020) and forget the content. While you are getting clicks by this method, a user could clearly point out that your content is old if you have mentioned the previous year somewhere in the content or messed up the dates somehow.
9. Optimize the speed of your website
Speed is a common factor of Click-through-rate and general SEO. If you want your website to be among the top search results, improve its speed.
Speed is one of the common ranking factors for a website. If the user closes your page before it loads up, it doesn’t count as a click.
If a user has to wait for more than 4 seconds for your site to load up properly, they are more likely going to settle for an alternative result than to wait for your page to load up.
And if people leave, your bounce rate could spike up by about 33% just because your website didn’t load up.
This makes improving the speed of your website important since it’s an important factor for a good CTR.
🔥 Bonus Tip #1 – Keep your title under 60 characters. The reason for this is if your title is more than 60 characters, chances are that it won’t fit into the titles displayed in the search results.
And as viewers can’t see titles properly in the search results, they might end up not clicking on your result at all.
🔥 Bonus Tip #2 – Use some emotional words in the title from time to time. Sound like your website has exclusive value with your titles.
Words like Best, Guide, Free, Step-by-step, Top, Right Now’, etc. could be used to grab the attention of the users quickly. Don’t go overboard though, be subtle with them.
I really hope you found this guide helpful. One thing you should know is that a good CTR is definitely one of the pillars of a well-performing website.
Pay attention to your organic CTR if your main source of traffic from Google and other search engines.
Also, come hang out with me on Twitter and Instagram.