Trying to reach the first page of the search engine results page (SERP) is a noble goal.
Sure—You’ll definitely see a spike in traffic whenever your SEO ranking moves up. But there are also a lot of things you can change on your website and its existing pages to make people click on your link even if you don’t move up the (SERP).
What is Clickthrough Rate (CTR)?
CTR is a metric that measures how many people click on your link or ad whenever it’s displayed.
Organic CTR is the number of clicks you get when people search your target keyword and see your link in the results page.
You can also get more clicks through Pay per Click (PPC) ads that search engines and website display. But we won’t be considering clicks from these campaigns as organic CTR.
Think of organic CTR as a measure of how effective your site is at catching people’s attention no matter where you are in the SERP. A low CTR could mean that a particular page is just not that relevant to the keywords you are targeting. There could also just be minor issues in how the link and its information is presented.
So let’s take a look at how a couple of web design tweaks can give your organic CTR a boost.
Optimize Your Content for Humans Not Google
Too many SEO professionals try to trick search engine algorithms into placing their site higher in the results pages.
Many of their methods do work. This is why you’ll often see lots of affiliate review sites, top 10 lists, and other marketing fluff with the right mix of keywords on the first page of SERPs. But when search engine updates occur, all their proven methods suddenly become useless.
You can take a more honest approach and simply give your target audience what they’re looking for, if you want your site to be more resilient in the long term.
If you can show that your site and your pages are a valuable source of information, more people will click and share your content. Increasing CTR will also make your site more relevant in the eyes of search engines, which will eventually rank you higher in SERPs.
Better Titles and URLs
You only have a short amount of time to catch people’s attention when they’re scrolling through search results. Your titles and meta descriptions are going to be the first things they’ll see, so it has to be good.
Be descriptive and use the right words that will resonate with your target audience. You want to pique their interests as they scroll by your link.
It’s also important to make sure that your titles and descriptions aren’t cut off abruptly by the search result format before you’re able to make your point. Any missing words at the tail end of the title could be the dealbreaker that will make a large segment of visitors click on it.
Short descriptive URLs are another way for users to identify the content of your page. URLs share the same space as your title and meta description on the search page—albeit in a smaller and lighter font. So it’s better to use short URLs with the same primary keywords used in your title instead of a bunch of random letters, numbers and symbols, to make it a little more descriptive.
Keep Your Content Relevant
If you’re wondering why some of your most popular pages are not generating the same amount of traffic anymore, it may be outdated and needs some sprucing up.
While it’s important to keep updating your site with new pages that follow current trends, you should also regularly check how your pillar pages stack up against the competition.
Start with the title and see if a minor edit can bump up your CTR. If the content itself is not useful anymore, plan your content strategy around it. You don’t want any bad or incorrect information on your site since it will affect your credibility and authority in the subject.
Make Your Site Stand Out
Don’t just try to copy what the top ranking sites are doing for your target keyword. By the time potential visitors reach your link after going through the first few search pages, they’ll have seen your angle on the topic written a million different ways.
However, if you have an original and interesting take on the subject, people are more likely to click and check out your site.
Research long tail keywords to find new ways to cover a tired old topic. Use numbers to add more context to your titles. Try out a bunch of different methods to make your search result stand out and catch people’s attention.
Use Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are not required or applicable to every page on your site, but can dramatically boost the CTR numbers of the pages that can use them.
Search engines have been using rich snippets for the past couple of years now to give users faster access to the information they’re looking for. Rich snippets are just basically extra bits of information you can add to your page’s HTML to let search engines know exactly what content your site offers.
Try searching for a product or a recipe and you’ll see the extra information that rich snippets can provide in some of the results. You might see review ratings, stock availability, prices, a list of ingredients, or prep times.
Without the rich snippets, all you’ll see is the page title, meta description and URL. If the title and description don’t look interesting, your target users will probably move on to the next result that has a more detailed overview of what their page is about.
You can add rich snippets to your home page to show the most important sections of your website as site links so that prospective visitors can just go directly to your services, FAQ, about, or contact pages.
You can also add rich snippets to your site so that your target audience can immediately see your phone number, operating hours, and address when it shows up in local search results.
It’s been widely proven that increasing your CTR numbers will lead to higher conversion rates. It’s all about optimizing your site so that people will feel compelled to click on your link as soon as they see it.
Some of the tips we’ve discussed don’t require a lot of work and can be implemented quickly. But if you find that your page content and its intent is way off the mark, you might need a complete overhaul of your website and content strategy.