Search engines remain an essential traffic source for websites through the coveted click-through rates (CTRs).
With the extent of competition both at company and agency levels that provide SEO services, a click-through is one of the hardest things to come by nowadays. It is especially difficult this 2021 that agencies are bombarded with too many elements on the results page.
Higher CTRs are only possible if you are on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). The value of being in one of the top three positions and position zero needs no emphasizing.
The #1 position gets over 30% of the CTR and down to about 12% for the #3 position. Of course, position zero, which includes featured snippets like visuals, answer boxes, and quick answers, occupies a significant portion of the screen real estate.
Unfortunately, in general, digital marketers have no control over what the users will click while browsing. However, there are specific elements that are in your control and can drive up CTR and allow you to dominate the results pages this 2021, starting with these SEO tips.
Ways to Improve Organic CTR
1. Check the current CTR
First things first—you need to know the current CTR of your website. The CTR can be checked through Google Analytics. Go to Acquisition > Search Console > Queries. In here, you’ll see the queries that bring the users to your website. The dashboard also displays impressions, clicks, search position, and CTR.
If you want to see the data for each landing page, go to the Landing Pages menu. Based on the data, it’d be easy to scrutinize which among the pages (and thus content) perform well and need improvement. This will be your baseline or point of comparison for the next round of checking the CTRs.
2. Optimize the On-Page Elements
Simplify Yet Put Creative Titles
Displayed as a blue link in SERP, the title tag is your page’s title. The decision to click the blue link largely depends on the title. Hence, crafting your titles in such a way that piques the searchers’ curiosity must be prioritized. A good title tag contains the keyword and is less than 65 characters. Aside from this, the best performing titles have carefully chosen words and matched the query almost either partially or exactly.
Use Descriptive URLs
Directly below the title tag is the URL. Users judge the relevance of the page based on the title and the URL. So do search engines.
There are friendly and unfriendly URLs. The former provides context to the query, while examples of the latter include mywebsite.com/page-1, /example, and /image. Thus, when developing URLs, make sure that the site hierarchy (or breadcrumb navigation) is apparent, if applicable. The URL must be matched to the title and avoid dynamic parameters.
Write Effective Meta Descriptions
Below the URL is the meta description. Meta descriptions are like overviews of the page’s content. Depending on what was written in the description, a user may or may not click on the link. As such, meta descriptions must not be ignored, mostly for the site’s high-priority pages. You can think of these descriptions as a free advertising opportunity where you can put your call to action. Just make sure that it is within the 160 character requirement; otherwise, Google will truncate it.
3. Structure Content for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are detailed information pertaining to the query. The snippet is very visual and almost always results in a higher CTR because of the quick accessibility to information that the page contains.
Companies that implemented featured snippets realized a 20 to 30% increase in their CTRs. This serves as an additional layer of optimization for website owners, manipulating the short blurb to their advantage.
Nonetheless, featured snippets vary depending on the type of content that the user is searching for. For example, for a product query, the SERP may show the picture, rating, price range, and item availability. Implement schema.org if you want to show featured snippets, but make sure you are using the right markups.
Technically known as schema markup, the display tends to be more interactive. Another perfect example is sitelink. The success of a sitemap implementation manifests in the presence of site links. These are the subpages that appear on the result. This means clicking not just on your main page but also to the internal pages. Site links, thereby, can also increase the number of clicks your site receives.
Virtually all SEO services you’d encounter would tell you to experiment, test, and monitor any changes. No SEO campaign would thrive without any split testing, whether in titles or descriptions. Of course, there’s also a need for a strong foundation of a healthy mix of keywords with high search volumes and low to high competition, generic and branded keywords, and long-tail keywords.
True enough, due to competition, online businesses are seeing declines in their CTRs. Don’t be a part of this statistic by optimizing your website so it will appear in SERPs, especially above-the-fold.