Does higher organic click-through-rate (CTR) impact SEO rankings?
While Google stays mum on this, it’s an open secret that user engagement and behavior is an important ranking signal for the search algorithm.
And that’s the reason why you should continuously work to improve your website organic CTR.
If a page makes an improvement in its organic CTR, Google views it as a better solution to a user query. This is a factor good enough to move your website higher in the search ranking.
I suggest you watch this video from Rand who explains why you should focus on factors like CTR.
“We found on average, that if you beat the expected CTR, then you’re far more likely to rank in more prominent positions. Failing to beat the expected CTR makes it more likely you’ll appear in positions 6–10.”
A suggested strategy to improve organic CTR
You should start by pulling your website performance report from Google Search Console.
Pay special attention to pages that rank in the top 3, and the ones that rank from position 4th to 10th for your focus keyword.
For all the newly ranked pages in the top 3 results or pages that have maintained ranking between 4th to 10th for a while now, review the on-page optimization opportunities available.
Additionally, for all such pages, also execute an exercise to improve their organic CTR.
The purpose of this article is to highlight some simple but effective changes that you can make to quickly skyrocket your click-through rate.
How to Improve Organic CTR for Your Website?
1. Write crisp and concise titles
Your page title is the first thing that a user is going to see when you rank in search results.
You need to write a winning title that can draw attention and make the user click on your link.
While this doesn’t mean you need to be deceptive or misleading, the focus should be to write something that instantly clicks with the reader. Here’s a detailed video from Google’s Matt Cutts, explaining how you should approach your titles.
The good news is that you can write engaging titles without becoming an expert copywriter; thanks to some battle-tested copywriting strategies. These strategies can help you write eye-catching titles that can draw clicks to your website.
- Creating listicles and including numbers in your titles (that’s why you see a number 4 in my blog title)
- Sprinkle emotion in your title (use words like amazing, awesome, insane, shocking, etc.)
- Have a keyword included (helps not just the search engine but also the user)
2. Write powerful meta description
A meta description isn’t used as a ranking signal – that’s the official stance by Google.
That’s probably the reason why meta descriptions are “once-written-then-forgotten”.
I hope you are not making the same mistake.
Well thought and quality meta descriptions can zoom up your CTR, thereby giving a boost to your SEO (and your rankings).
What it means is that while the content written in the meta description is not considered by the ranking algorithm, user action generated as a result of the meta description is definitely accounted for to decide the page rank.
That’s what we should use a meta description for; a means to drive favorable user behavior.
- Write an intent-based description that satisfies the needs of your user. If he wants to know about the best car under 1000cc, write a meta description that conveys exactly the same idea. Be descriptive.
- Have a keyword present in the meta description. Search engines are going to ignore it but not the user. After all, he searched for the keyword and would be tempted to click your link if he finds the keyword in your description. That’s a little confirmation bias at play.
- Use powerful words in your description so that it generates curiosity and makes the user ask for more, thereby driving a click. Words like FREE, IMAGINE, INSTANT, YOU/YOUR, etc. work like magic. Needless to say, the content on your page has to deliver what the meta description has promised, else the user will bounce off.
- Include a data fact, if possible. That makes your story persuasive. E.g. “sold more than 100,000 units” or “downloaded more than 1 mn times” serves as an important validation.
3. Create descriptive URLs
URL is another important piece of information visible to the end-user when he makes a search.
Have human-friendly descriptive URLs that convey what the user should expect when he clicks the link.
- Have a keyword included in your URL
- You may avoid usage of stop words (on/of/a/the etc.), though this is optional.
- Shorter the URL, the better
4. Implement rich snippets to attract user attention
A normal search result shows the following information as part of the snippet:-
- SEO Title
- Meta description
Usage of rich snippets enhance the information that is displayed, both visually as well as contextually.
This results in better search results, closely matching the intent of the user thereby resulting in higher click through rates.
Rich snippets are generated by Google after referring to the HTML Schema Tags.
Some of the most frequent examples of rich snippets include:-
- Videos etc.
Clearly, rich snippets serve extremely important and critical information to the user. The probability of your SERP link getting clicked increases multifold if you are conveying meaningful information through rich snippets.
Improving your click-through rate will have far-reaching effects on your business.
At one end, it means search engines start seeing your website more favorably. That’s because higher organic CTR is a signal that user query has been answered successfully. This results in better ranking position of the website.
On the other end, this higher push means more traffic, more leads and more revenue for your business.
Therefore, it makes all sense to hunt down your pages that are currently ranking between position 4th to 10th in SERPs, and try to incorporate the above-mentioned suggestions to drive user attention and higher organic click-through rate.