You’ve optimized your website and are starting to see rankings improve. Once the initial optimization ends is when the metric analysis begins. If your site is in a close PageRank race with the competition, Click-Through-Rate could be the deciding factor in who gets the top spot.
What is Click-Through-Rate?
Click-Through-Rate, commonly referred to as “CTR”, is the percentage of people who see your website in a Google search vs. how many people actually clicked on it or:
For example, if your website appeared in 10,000 searches and received 500 clicks, your CTR would be 5%.
Why is CTR important in SEO?
Google’s search engine is designed to present searchers with pages relevant to the search terms in the fewest possible clicks. Google will monitor which websites are receiving the majority of clicks and push those websites up on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) because it has, in Google’s eyes, higher user satisfaction. Google’s former Chief of Search Udi Manber confirms this in a testimony: “The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure out, well, probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we’ll switch it.”
Four Points to Optimizing for CTR
- Optimize Website Title
- A study by Hubspot gives great insight on writing effective and engaging titles for CTR.
- As a general rule, keep your title under 60 characters to ensure it displays correctly on SERPs
- Create a Clear Meta-Description
- Meta-Descriptions are an opportunity to tell searchers what the page is about before they click on it.
- While Google has confirmed that meta descriptions do not contribute to the ranking algorithm, enticing users to click on your website is the premise of a healthy CTR.
- Be sure to keep your meta descriptions under 150 characters so they display properly on desktop and mobile devices. There is no point in crafting a well-written description if it gets cut off.
- Refine URLs
- Using a clean URL format that incorporates target keywords has several ranking benefits. URLs with an exact keyword search match are more likely to appear on the first page. Readable URLs also give the user a good idea of what is on the other side of the link when posted on external websites.
- Web Protocols are important to consider as many browsers alert users to unsecure sites, negatively impacting CTR. Be sure your website’s SSL certificate is valid and up to date. Google also gives an organic boost to secure sites over non-secure sites.
- Avoid Spam/Clickbait
- While keyword-stuffed clickbait can be effective in obtaining an initial click, it will likely result in a bad user experience and cause your page to rank lower due to poor user engagement.
- If Google becomes wise to “black-hat” tactics they could decimate your PageRank due to their webmaster quality guidelines.
User Engagement and CTR
How Google calculates overall user satisfaction is still unclear. Although not confirmed, it would be naïve to think their software does not consider things like bounce rate or dwell time. As Google continues to improve its algorithms and RankBrain machine learning software, we can hope to learn more about how user engagement affects rankings. If our goal at Firestarter SEO is to raise your page rank past the competition, monitoring click data is vital.
If you found this information helpful and would like to find out more about how we leverage CTR in SEO, request a free proposal today!