3 Steps to Optimize Your Organic CTR
By Ayushi Rana
Feb 4, 20227 min read
How do you feel when you’ve written a great piece of content, but didn’t get expected tons of eyeballs on it? Sometimes you put so much effort into content creation, but it does not work to its full potential. Here is a tip on how to fix it: look at your article CTR. If it’s too low while your article ranks high, probably, the search snippet isn’t optimized well enough. And with only a few minor improvements on your organic search snippet, you can reach many more people. Let’s show you how.
What Is an Organic CTR?
Organic CTR or click-through rate is the ratio of clicks on a link from the organic search to the number of impressions (which is the number of times the search engine exposed the link to searchers in response to their query).
CTR = (Click-throughs / impressions) x 100
What Is a Good CTR?
CTR rates vary for various industries and for different types of pages competing. The ratio depends on the market saturation and online competition you may have for your product. So, there is no definite digit that shows a good or a bad CTR. Sometimes, a good CTR can be 2%; in other cases, a 7% or even 25% CTR is not good enough.
A click-through largely depends on the layout of the SERP and which position your page occupies on it, but it’s not the only factor to consider. The CTR indicates how your pages appeal to searchers and correspond to their search intent.
Thus, we need to focus on three major components:
- How to best identify Search intent
- How to Optimize Your Search Result Snippet
- Optimize Your Content to Rank Up
1. How to Best Identify Search Intent
There are several types of intents behind a searcher’s query that follow the stages down the marketing funnel:
The searcher wants to find some page of a website, and the query indicates that the page is not that easily discoverable. Few examples of such queries are Facebook, gmail signup, aliexpress login, and the like.
The query is quite broad, usually one or two words, with the phrase too general to guess what the user wants to do with the information. This can be the most general notion or a special question, for example, fashion trends 2022, Eiffel Tower, Tesla model X.
These queries indicate the searcher is investigating something about the core concept and probably with an intent to do some action with the subject of the search (but probably not). For example, Mount Olympus height, Tesla share price, spring 2022 lookbook, etc.
These queries show that the user is looking for something with an idea to do something with it. This especially applies to local queries like hairdressers near me, and also, winter jacket sale, amazon coupons, most popular mounts to photograph, etc.
Identify Your Focus Keywords
From the above, you see that transactional queries are the best convertible and informational queries, the least. In fact, long-tail keywords (those that usually contain several words and better explain what the searcher might need) usually have a higher click-through rate and bring users that are highly likely to convert. So how to find your queries that are worth working on to improve the CTR?
Go to the Google Search Console, and in the Search Results, find your queries and filter them by showing those with the largest number of impressions and CTR. Find those that have a large number of impressions, but a low CTR. It means that certain pages on your site are already optimized for the keyword in question, but for some reason, searchers are not clicking on it much. These are your queries with the highest potential for CTR improvement.
2. How to Optimize Your Search Result Snippet
How do you draw more clicks from the organic? The best approach is to treat your organic listings in search engine results as if they were your advertisements.
There are two pieces of your HTML that drive searchers to a targeted page—the title tag and the meta description tag. Google uses these two tags to create your organic listing, so this is where you should focus the most. Let’s see step by step how to optimize your search snippet:
- Optimize the title with keywords
You should include the focus keyword in your title. Meanwhile, you need to be attentive of the title length: Google has been noticed to rewrite the title tags since even before the Title Update that took place in summer 2021. If Google considers that your title is not so good, it may rewrite it automatically using other HTML elements found on the page, such as the brand name featured by your domain, H1 tag, anchor words on the links existing on the page, and even alt texts of images.
Don’t make your titles too long or too short. Experimentally, we’ve found an ideal title length of 45 to 50 symbols. However, there’s one major draw: not only the title should be keyword-rich, but it also needs to be appealing to the searcher.
- Test the title’s emotional appeal
The title must generate curiosity and urge the searcher to click on it. Writing great titles is an art in itself. One surefire tip is to avoid clickbaiting on titles. Even if you deceitfully lured the user to click on your “Wow! You won’t believe your eyes!”, it’s a bounce if the page is closed 3 seconds later, not a valuable click.
There is a helpful free tool to test your title’s marketing appeal. Paste your title, and the headline analyzer will put the score and the type of appeal that it carries—emotional, intellectual, or spiritual, with all explanations. Not an exact science, but will surely inspire you for more variants.
- Write compelling meta descriptive URL
The same rule applies to the meta snippet. If it’s not so good, Google might rewrite it for you, taking the most prominent components from your page, for example, H2 tags, highlighted phrases with the focus keyword. So, write the gist and add a call-to-action, urging the searcher to proceed to the page. Try to answer an alleged user question, offering a solution to their issue. The meta snippet should also not be too long; keep it around 145 symbols.
- Test your meta snippet
There are tools to test what it looks like, that’s so clear. But also, you can hold A/B testing on the titles to see which variant performs better. Such options are available in PPC advertising in Google Ads, or in email marketing tools, for example in Mailchimp.
3. Optimize Your Content to Rank Up
- Optimize Content with Keywords
First of all, your content has to be keyword-optimized to show up on page 1 of Google search results. You can use SEO writing tools that help optimize content, for example, Yoast SEO plugin (for WordPress site) or Content Editor writing assistant from SEO PowerSuite.
With the Content Editor, you can add your page URL, the focus keyword, and the tool will analyze competition on the search results page (SERP). The Content Editor will give tips on which keywords you should better embed into your content.
The tips are compiled by an AI algorithm analyzing word usage on the top 10 competing pages. Also, it pulls top questions from the FAQ and People Also Ask blocks. The tool calculates the optimization score based on how well the meta snippet and the text body are optimized. And you can optimize the text body and see the score improving on the fly.
- Structure Your Content Properly
Readability is one of the most important characteristics of a text. It is measured by Yoast SEO or by the Hemingway app. In modern days, people do not read but rather skim texts, grasping their basic structure and main ideas. HTML formatting helps search engines figure out the text as well:
- Add H2, H3, H4 headings,
- use paragraphs and subparagraphs,
- use word formatting (bold type, italics, etc),
- add alt texts for images,
- and employ bulleted lists.
Lists are especially valuable because this way the page has chances to show up in a featured snippet as a checklist, the fattest of all SERP positions.
- Optimize for Local Search
When you work in a local niche, let’s say a store with a physical location, catering to the local community with your services, it is a must to focus on local search. There are several methods of how you can occupy a few great positions in the local SERP.
- Fill in the Google My Business profile to get highlighted in the local pack and on Google Maps;
- Track local keyword rankings in popular search engines;
- Partner up with local media for promo campaigns;
- Handle online reviews, tackle customer responses, and work to create a positive reputation for your brand name.
- Use Structured Data
Structured data are universal markup in the HTML telling search engines that the page contains some particular type of content. There are a bunch of free tools that help write and test structured data, including Schema and Google Structured Data Testing Tool. There are certain types of structured data that may trigger rich results on the SERP. This especially works for:
- Book reviews
- Movies and songs
- Product pages
There are certain types of structured data that may or may not trigger a rich result, but having them definitely increases chances to make some type of information more prominent. For example, you can add an FAQ markup, information about the business address, or about an author.
- Bid for Some Other Types of Rich Results
For some other types of rich results, you need to do a bit of technical SEO to become more visible. For example:
- SEO-optimized images will help you turn up in Google Images results
- An optimized YouTube video or video channel will bring more visitors from video results
- Implemented breadcrumbs and internal links may help Google show sitelinks, showing the navigation path on your site to the ranked page.
These are a few tips for how to find low-hanging fruits to improve your organic CTR with only a few minor alterations. So, optimize your pages and track how clicks grow. Happy SEO-ing!