Most online visibility strategies include search strategies that aim at getting a website into the top spots in Google. But that’s the obvious part. The question is, how do you motivate the user to take the action and visit your website?
Click thru rate is a term most commonly associated with PPC campaigns, not organic search strategies. However, it is just as important for SEO as it is for PPC. Click thru rate (CTR) is a measure of how many times search engine users click over to a website. The CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions. Impressions are a measure of the number of search queries your site shows up in.
Besides the obviously benefit of having more people come to your site, CTR is factored into the overall search algorithm. CTR data is a measure of user behavior. If search engine users are clicking over to a website, then they must be interested in the content; thus the website is relevant to the search query. While Google hasn’t explicitly stated that they factor CTR in the search rankings, any reasonable search engine would use CTR to improve the quality of search results.
Your click through rate is difficult to manually calculate. Luckily, Google WebMaster Tools lists the CTR for a collection of keywords for which a website shows up. It is always good to go to WebMaster Tools and spot check CTR as part of monitoring your search engine strategy.
Maximizing Your CTR
So, back to the original question- how do you motivate the user to take the action and visit your website after you achieve higher rankings?
The search engine user only has two pieces of information on the SERP page to make a decision – titles and meta descriptions. The title should capture the attention of the searcher and the description should compel the searcher to click through to your website.
Google limits your title to 70 characters, but does count keywords in your title toward relevancy. Your meta description is allowed to have 156 characters, and though the keywords in your description are not counted, the terms are bolded to signal to users that your content also relevant for their original search. For example, a search for “breast augmentation” yields the following meta title and description:
Your titles and descriptions are very important components when optimizing your website. It’s actually surprising how many SEO experts blaze through them, giving them very little thought, or simply use the description as a dumbing ground for keywords. And, as we said before, Google doesn’t count the description keywords to determine relevancy, so stuffing keywords is pointless.
Use action words in your description to increase click thru rate. Search engine users are looking for a reason to click on a website, that is why they searched in the first place. Give them a reason. Ask them to perform an action, and tell them what they will gain from clicking. Use words that elicit the action you desire of them from the SERP, and they will be more likely to perform it.
Utilizing the description is also just good SEO. Google’s recent algorithm changes have all been made with the user in mind and how to best enhance the user experience. Because you are building on the user when you raise your CTR from the description on the SERP, Google will reward you.
Other factors that can increase CTR of organic results:
- Brand recognition- include brand in title
- Keywords in titles – the closer to the front the better
- Description with action words
- Descriptive, user-friendly URL
- Search terms highlighted in description
Utilizing all of these will complete the circle of a well-rounded SEO strategy. You start by selected good keywords, then built them up with strong, well-written on-page content. You then promote that content so the users see it in multiple places and build strong links organically. Once you have done all that, your page will rank high enough on Google’s SERP that more users will see it again. Through your continued use of relevant keywords in your title and a call-to-action in your description, users will be motivated to click thru to your website when they see it on the SEPR.
And that is how you SEO.