Table of contents
- Let’s Recap: What is CTR and How To Calculate It?
- Is CTR Really That Important?
- The Secret That Google Does Not Share: How CTR Works For Page Rankings
- 10 Workable Ways to Improve Page CTR in the Google Search Results
- Control above All: How to Track Results Of Your CTR Boosting Efforts
People who know how to lead websites to top positions in Google and keep them there often do not agree on the question of CTR. Well, CTR is an important factor for a page because it shows how frequently people actually open the page. Yet Google does not tell directly if this CTR is connected to higher ranking positions and page authority.
We will spill the tea on the matter: yes, CTR positively impacts the page popularity and visibility for users – and its ranking, correspondingly. As more and more users have a chance to see it on top of the search results list and click on it, so grow the chances of businesses striking a deal or media outlets getting more subscribers. And that’s what all these sites are made for, in the first place.
In this guide, we will recap how CTR is calculated, why it matters, and discuss how to boost it speedily and efficiently.
Let’s Recap: What is CTR and How To Calculate It?
CTR, an abbreviation for click-through rate, is an index that shows how relevant and useful your page is for real users. CTR is calculated by dividing the number of actual clicks by the number of your page impressions (times your page was shown in Google search to users). Then the number is multiplied by 100%, and the final result is shown as a percentage.
The first question that arises is what percentage is optimal, and the answer is it depends. For more popular and hot topics and well-promoted and optimized pages, numbers may be higher. On average, 2% or higher is considered a good result, with fractions of fluctuation conditioned by the diversity of keywords.
Is CTR Really That Important?
CTR is important because it is one of the parameters of your page that show Google that your page is actually useful and appreciated by users. Traffic is one of the indices that really matter for Google algorithms, it is the lifeblood of business and of the internet as such. If a page is optimized but does not attract users and clicks, it is a sign that something is wrong with this page.
Correspondingly, Google pushes the page with a higher CTR to the top part of the search results list to show it to more users. And higher positions mean higher visibility and – you get it – more traffic.
The Secret That Google Does Not Share: How CTR Works For Page Rankings
Actually, there is no full consensus among SEO experts and gurus on whether Google directly connects CTR to ranking in its page evaluation. That is, sometimes Google creators admit that CTR is important and sometimes people test changes in CTR for a separate page and report that no changes in ranking have occurred whatsoever. However, there is a question if these tests were conducted correctly and if all other factors were accounted for.
Overall, ecommerce owners and SEO pros agree that higher CTR leads to higher positions in ranking, although Google prefers not to disclose how exactly it happens. And higher ranking is directly connected to page visibility, greater page authority, and, as a result, growing sales. So Improving CTR should definitely be in your SEO strategy.
10 Workable Ways to Improve Page CTR in the Google Search Results
Use dedicated software and traffic-generating services to get an initial CTR boost
Even if you want to do everything organically and ethically, you need to push your page to the top part of the search results list to get a bit of visibility first. Then you can start growing CTR by applying SEO optimization for displayed titles and descriptions and hook users on the fly. Yet to achieve that, its CTR rate should already be high because it will prompt Google that your page is relevant and popular among users and so deserves a better place in the ranking.
One-time (or multiple times) boost can be achieved with the help of CTR manipulation software, and although some may frown upon this practice, everyone likes to outsmart Google now and then. If they say they don’t, they’re not real SEO experts, trust us.
In a nutshell, the software operates through multiple IP proxies and pretends to be visitors clicking on your web page from multiple parts of the world. The program runs the search using the keyword you provide, finds your page, and performs typical actions of a user who is interested in your site. Obviously, CTR spikes during the software activities and Google detects it as a boost in your page popularity and gives it a higher ranking.
This is in theory. In reality, the instant spike in CTR will look suspicious to Google and can lead to sanctions. So be sure to spread bot visits across a certain period of time, imitating the natural growth of interest, and repeat such CTR from time to time.
Definitely, you need to find a reputable company that provides this kind of CTR manipulation professionally and carefully and discuss all details in advance. Generally, this method is pretty workable.
PPC Ads Optimization
You probably know about PPC ads and probably have used this tool already. Here’s a pro tip. Locate a keyword on your page that brings low CTR but helps your page rank high enough and create a paid search ad for this word.
It is the additional point of entrance for clicks, but it is also a testing field for various types of snippets. Save the most successful ones and then use them for your page to boost organic growth.
Once you’ve taken two big steps mentioned above, you can try to improve click through rate by organic methods.
Check Instances Of Keyword Cannibalization And Fix Them If Found
One of the most widespread issues that may cause low CTR for your site is keyword cannibalization. Put simply, it means that many pages of your website all rely on the same keyword and clicks attracted by this keyword get dispersed among all these pages. The clicks for various pages of your site do not add up, instead, they are measured as CTR for competing pages. So instead of consolidating the total number of clicks, this strategy makes different pages compete with each other and the CTR ranking factor actually works against you.
Use one important keyword like ‘shoes’ or ‘tabletops’ for one landing page and use a variety of longtail keywords for other pages of your site. In such a way, you’ll include a wealth of popular search combinations like ‘men’s shoes’ or ‘trendy shoes’ (or ‘marble tabletops’ and ‘wooden tabletops’) into your content and will consolidate keywords by the rule ‘one good keyword = one page.’
Adjust Your Website Content To Include Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are pieces of information that in short form provide (or try to provide) answers to a search conducted by the given keyword. They appear as the beginning of the list, or an answer in the box, all placed right under the title and description shown in the search results.
Due to the richness and potential relevance of provided information, such search results are placed on top of other organic search results, below paid ads. As a result, the HubSpot reports, CTR increases by more than %100 when feature snippets are shown for your (or competitor’s) page.
Hence, include featured snippets in your content to be shown in search results. This is the basic attempt at organic CTR manipulation. Search in Google the primary keyword of your page and see how its featured snippets are structured in the top search results. Structure snippets for your page in a similar way, or come up with other informative and concise ways to display useful content.
Titles deserve a separate post, but let’s run through the basics:
- Make the title simple, short, and easy to grasp. If they stand out like billboards saying what a reader wants, a click is guaranteed.
- Use brackets to structure or highlight information. A simple trick visibly boosts CTR for the page.
- Add a number to the title (like 10 tips or something).
- Test titles in some real-life environment before you put them on your page. Like, use them for PPC ads, and social media posts, and see what titles garner the most attention. These should make it to your web page.
They are lengthier than titles and provide more creative space, but the same SEO and common sense rules apply. Make them simple, add emotionally charged words and powerful words like special, instant, or secret, and use a keyword you try to promote.
If the context allows, add the year into the description if it is not in the title. References to the current or future point in time also urge users to click.
Use Schema Markup Tool
The tool Schema.org was specifically designed to facilitate work for developers and to make crawling the web and ranking pages more efficient. The current range of schema markups is big, so you can choose one that suits your page. Commonly used schemas are person, local business, organization, product, article, event, FAQ, and video. Apply it to your page content since it is the golden standard of click through rate manipulation and boosting.
Don’t Be Shy Of Title Case
Maybe you’ve noticed that all over the web titles of blogs, articles and paid ads all appear in the title case. All major meaningful words are capitalized and minor words are in lower case. It happens because this trick makes the sentence look bold and catch the eye, and so a reader is more likely to click it.
Use the title case in your titles. In addition to carefully wording and optimizing the titles, capitalize meaningful words so that they stand out on the page. Yes, it means boosting CTR for a given page.
Evoke Emotions In Titles And Descriptions
Today’s web (and shopping, for that matter) is all about stories, emotions, experiences, you name it. If you manage to trigger some emotional response at first glance, you’ve caught your potential customer.
Add some emotional coloring to pieces of text that a user sees immediately, that is, to titles and descriptions. Add words with a strong emotional charge like best, unique, instant, proven, secret, great, cool, etc. A couple of such words per a title or a description are just fine, overdoing the emotions makes a sentence look ridiculous. When emotional coloring is added properly, CTR for this search result grows naturally.
Pay Attention To Published/Updated Dates Of Your Content
Users tend to read the freshest and the most relevant content, so updated and newly posted pieces of content win more clicks and get more attention from people and Google alike. However, just adding a new date to old information is not enough, as Google marks it as an unacceptable strategy.
When you post new pieces of content, add the year into a title or into a description. One instance is enough, as these pieces of text are presented to viewers simultaneously. If you plan to update older parts of content, just adding or changing the publication date is not enough. Update content a little, so that it actually becomes fresh, then add the update date, and publish. It will prevent Google from downgrading your page or content as low-quality or fraudulent.
Control above All: How to Track Results Of Your CTR Boosting Efforts
CTR is routinely presented in your Google Analytics account or Google Search Console, or you can use third-party tools that will show CTR information in the format you like.
Usually, you need to take the route Performance – Queries – Average CTR. What you see is a diversity of data, from total click number to differentiation by keywords to number of impressions. The good thing is you can sort through queries with higher or lower-than-average CTR and see what you need to improve or replicate.
You should record the main data on CTR before you start your CTR manipulating campaign and after some time check in and see what difference it has made. Note what efforts brought the most results (except using bots), what keywords helped increase CTR significantly, and apply this knowledge in the future.
We’ve discussed various ways to manipulate CTR for your page and give it a little push towards the top end of the search list in Google. Test and try different instruments (with caution) and see what efforts cause the major CTR boost. It will help you to devise more efficient page optimization strategies and will ultimately benefit the bottom line of your business.
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