In this blog post, we’ll explore what is a good CTR for your small business SEO and how to increase it. We’ll also share some insights on the topic and 12 key steps to increasing it. A high CTR can be an indicator that your marketing strategy is working well and you’re getting people’s attention. On the other hand, if your CTRs are low, it could mean that you need to change something in order for people to click through or engage with your content more. In SEO circles, there isn’t one unifying definition of what constitutes a ‘good’ Click-Through Rate, but I have included a Google-specific graph below outlining the organic search percentages.
How many times have you seen a blog post with the title ‘Increase your CTR’ and clicked on it only to be disappointed by the lack of content? I’m here to tell you, if you’re wanting to increase your Click-Through Rate, then this is for you. In today’s digital world, marketers are always looking for new ways in which they can improve their marketing efforts – especially for small businesses. One way that some people try to do this is through increasing their CTRs. So what exactly does that mean? And how can you go about doing it? Well, a good CTR is imperative because it allows us to measure how effective your SEO listings are at capturing someone’s attention and getting them interested enough in clicking through. This is true engagement for a small business in Australia…and it’s vital!
Google Organic CTR (Sistrix graph)
- Ranking position = 34.2%
- Ranking position = 17.1%
- Ranking position = 11.4%
- Ranking position = 8.1%
- Ranking position = 7.4%
- Ranking position = 5.1%
- Ranking position = 4.1%
- Ranking position = 3.3%
- Ranking position = 2.9%
- Ranking position = 2.6%
You can really see the sudden drop off as you move further down the organic rankings.
However, when considering what is a good CTR for SEO, this is a more complex question to answer than merely one set of numbers. You also need to take into account whether there’s an additional ‘featured snippet’ included above the natural listings, as well as whether the search terms are branded or non-branded, just for two examples. It is well documented that click-through rates for branded keywords are inherently higher.
12 Steps to Grow Your Organic CTR in Google
Improving your Organic CTR means driving more traffic to your website without necessarily having to improve your rankings. Here are 12 steps you can follow to achieve this.
So, is there a way you can generate more natural (organic) traffic to your website without needing to improve your rankings?
Can building more links give you this?
Does creating more content work?
Instead, focus on this SEO strategy: organic search click-through rate (CTR) optimisation.
First of all, you should make sure you have Google Search Console linked to your website. It is worth noting that, ideally, you will need to get around 100 clicks in order to get a decent amount of data before you can really analyse the effectiveness of your keywords in Google Search Console.
What Is Organic CTR optimisation?
Organic click-through rate optimisation is understood to be the number of searchers that click on an organic result in the search engine results pages (SERPs) divided by the total number of organic impressions for that search term and multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. Understanding this formula, you can then follow the steps below to optimise for increased rates.
Organic clicks ÷ impressions x 100 = organic CTR
Why Does Organic CTR Optimisation Matter?
By improving your organic CTR, it means (importantly) more traffic for your website without actually having to improve your rankings.
The total number of clicks that are distributed via Google has been in continual decline, primarily due to SERP features, but also the fact that Google is changing their paid ads to look less like paid ads. Because of this, small businesses (in particular) need to squeeze out every last possible drop of traffic they can.
So, How Do You Improve Your Organic CTR?
At a slightly more granular level, here are a few proven ideas that I’ve had success with, expanded out into 12 ways to drive your small business organic click-through rate below (again, you will need to use Google Search Console for this and have had it running for a couple of months to obtain a decent amount of data). When you’re thinking about your keywords, you should also be thinking about how you can improve your click-through rates across the board:
- Identify Your Lowest Organic CTR Content So You Know Where to Start
Log in to your Google Search Console to view your traffic analysis.
Navigate the left-hand menu to Performance.
Make sure that both Average CTR and Average Position are selected.
Make sure the Queries tab is selected beneath the graph.
Change the date range to suit the period you’d like to focus on.
Once you have established which search terms are your worst performers, then you can start the process of identifying those queries that are driving the average down and figure out how to improve them.
- Fix All Keyword Cannibalisation
A critical issue that many of us have is what we often call in the industry ‘keyword cannibalisation,’ where there are numerous landing pages all trying to optimise for the same keywords. The result of this is that it dilutes your SEO efforts by watering down any organic clicks.
Once you complete the scan of your content, establish where this is happening on your site and try to consolidate or differentiate your keyword search terms you want to rank for, so that your CTR can be dedicated to one page instead of many.
This is a helpful resource to enable you to easily identify and clean up keyword cannibalisation issues:
How to Find and Fix Keyword Cannibalisation Issues (SEMrush). Here’s the link to the SEMrush guide
- Be Extra Creative With Your Titles
This is more important than it sounds, because if you want people to click on your listing rather than your competitors…there isn’t much for them to go on other than your title in the SERPs.
There are numerous different ways to improve your titles. Here a just a few to help you straight away:
Avoid Heavy Title Tags
Heavy title tags can not only be boring at the same time not yielding as many clicks, but even search engine bots are evolving to figure out that these titles weren’t really written with the user in mind.
Utilize Brackets in Your Titles
A few studies have found that brackets in headlines can increase clicks by up to 40%.
Try a Numbered List
Adding a number to a post can also be a winning tactic (i.e. 12 steps etc). Research has found that adding numbers increases CTR by 36%.
Use the Current Calendar Year
Another simple tactic can be to include the calendar year in your content as well as using numbered lists.
However – Always Test Your Headlines
You can test these over time in your listings, Facebook posts etc or use a headline analyser tool.
Don’t be afraid to change your titles often to find the one that really works! It won’t just be a case of putting all of the above ideas into every single SEO title you create. Try different combinations out with varied titles and track the results. Always test them to see which ones perform the best.
- Use Descriptive URLs
There is a good amount of evidence out there outlining that a descriptive URL matters, which makes sense when you think about it.
Users would rather click on onlinemarketinggroup.com.au/seo-strategy-for-2021-10-tips/ than onlinemarketinggroup.com.au/product=success/57768?.
Always ensure that you optimise the permalink (or slug) when you create new pages, and if you need to change the URL structure of your website completely, do so in an SEO-friendly fashion – but without being overly enthusiastic about your chosen keyword search term.
- Optimise Your Description
Trying to figure out exactly what your audience’s ‘search intent’ is when they type in a query can be the secret to high performing SEO (as I covered previously in this article https://www.onlinemarketinggroup.com.au/23-seo-trends-in-2021/). Give some serious thought to why users are seeing your listing in the first instance, and make sure your description is hyper-relevant and resolves their queries or satisfies their needs.
Utilise emotional words (often called ‘power words’ such as ‘secret’ or ‘amazing,’ and coined by David Ogilvy in the 1960s) and follow a similar proven method as you would with a title.
If your title has a number in it but not a calendar year, consider adding the calendar year in the description if it’s a relevant addition.
The more boxes you can tick between the headline and description, the better. It’s worth spending a good amount of time in getting this right.
- Utilise Structured Markup
This step is possibly a little obvious, but it is certainly an important one. Here, we are getting into the finer detail of what you truly see when looking at a SERPs result (listing) – schema markup.
- Common schema markup types include:
- Local Business
- Product & Offer
All of these different variations of schema markup help establish more visibility with your listing in the SERPs, which should garner more clicks, in theory.
- Use Emotion In Your Titles & Descriptions
Using emotion well captures a user’s attention. However, don’t be spammy about it (or make it look like it’s clickbait!), but also don’t be afraid to use emotional words like ‘suddenly,’ ‘sensational,’ ‘amazing,’ ‘shocking,’ ‘remarkable,’ etc (just as I did in this OMG blog).
Use this wisely in your title or description to give it that extra wow factor!
- Try using Positive or Negative Sentiment
Using either positive or negative sentiment has been proven to drive higher CTR. However, the majority of titles out there still have neutral sentiment.
There are a number of free tools around, but a suggestion of one to use is Lexalytics.
- Consider Title Case
This is an interesting point…and follows how towns and cities etc written on motorway and road signs came to be designed the way they are. It stems from a graphic design company in the UK, who were tasked with generating new designs for roadworks and such. When you are travelling down a motorway or highway at high speed, you only have seconds to read a stationary sign directing you where to go. The human brain essentially reads words (or names of places, in this case) more as pictures, so having the first letter of a town or city capitalised followed by lowercase letters, your brain can process this information more quickly.
In title case, major words are capitalised, and most minor words are lowercase. In sentence case, most major and minor words are lowercase. The above example is more like the sentence case, however, it does this for most of the words rather than just the first word in a sentence.
This subtle difference can mean the difference in more clicks. Using title case is often attributed with higher CTRs because it makes the heading stand out.
- Structure Your Content for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets mean ‘rich’ search results that appear as a content box on search engine results pages (SERPs). They contain fields of information that attempt to provide short-form answers related to a user’s query.
Featured snippets are commonly positioned at the top of SERPs below the paid ads and above other organic search results (also known as ‘position 0’ in reference to Page 1 of Google SERPs organic listings which is called ‘10 blue links’).
One study by HubSpot found that the CTR for some of their high-volume keywords increased by over 110% when those results appeared as featured snippets.
After researching your primary keyword in a reliable keyword research tool, try typing it into Google and look to see if a featured snippet appears in SERPs.
If one does show up, it’s important that you structure your content similarly to how the featured snippet displays that answer, as this is based off actual searches.
Here’s one example: if the featured snippet shows a list-based answer to a query, you know you will need to make sure your content also has a numbered list format.
If it’s an answer box, then you need to make sure you answer the question at the top of the page in a clear and easy to read format.
- Improve Page Load Time
Despite this seeming like it should be part of technical SEO, making sure your site loads as fast as possible is a major factor in improving organic CTR. After all, clicks only count if the visitor physically lands on your website and doesn’t give up waiting and goes to one of your competitors instead.
If your page load time is dragging on, the click may never occur…and it may be the case that you lose that potential new client or customer forever.
- Try Using Other Engagement Metrics As Well
As you analyse your content, try considering other engagement metrics, too, such as bounce rates.
If you find that your CTR is reasonably high after thorough analysis, but bounce rate is also high, then your content or other factors within the website, for example, UX – User Experience – aren’t delivering the kind of experience that your users are looking for.
Make sure your content is easy to scan with punchy headlines, bullet points (yet still go into depth with key topics) and offer expandable sections with ‘read more’ links. Consider the use of video, and always think about the look and feel of the page and the content when you design it.
The more valuable your content is to the reader, the more likely it is that you’ll earn those highly sort after backlinks.
Click Fraud – How Does Google Prevent It?
It’s possible that you’ll be thinking “this sounds great in theory, so I’m going to simply click on the organic search results for my small business over and over again to increase the CTR and gain all of the benefits.”
As always with SEO, I’m afraid it’s not that simple at all!
Many SEO Pros say that Google Ads (formerly Adwords) has been battling click fraud for over 15 years and they can easily apply their findings to organic search. Organic Google CTR has been absolutely crucial to the overall success of clients when we’re talking about rankings as well as conversions.
While conversions don’t happen easily without rankings (which is why most people focus on this goal), rankings alone don’t mean much without traffic that equates to conversions. Many people often forget this part.
If you dedicate some time and effort into organic CTR using Google Search Console, then you will be richly rewarded with the outcomes your small business really wants.
See more of our SEO blogs here.