It may seem as though the holy grail of marketing is to get your business noticed online, but what happens if huge volumes of traffic or a top spot on page 1 are not converting into sales, calls or subscriptions? There’s little point in getting all of the attention if it doesn’t amount to anything. If you run a business, and your sales have stalled, or customers are leaving you before they place an order to contact you to find out more, it’s time to take action and start focusing on your CTR (click-through rate). It’s not always easy to turn your fortunes around, but you don’t need to be a marketing maestro to improve your organic CTR.
What exactly is CTR?
Before I start sharing nuggets of wisdom and golden rules to follow, it’s probably wise to ascertain exactly what CTR is and what it means. CTR stands for click-through rate. It is the rate at which people click on your search engine results. The higher your CTR, the better.. of course!
Your CTR is important because it provides a more rounded view of how well your marketing strategy is performing. It’s great to be visible online, but it’s not enough to increase sales or make your brand the talk of the town. My links may be at the top of the first page, but if nobody is clicking on my URL, I’m not going to see an uptick in sales or a surge in new customers. To really make a difference, you need to persuade customers to take the next step and want to find out more by clicking on the link and working their way through the sales funnel.
If CTR is so important, how can I improve it and what kinds of strategies and solutions are going to make the tills ring? The good news is that there are multiple ways you can start.
1. Use effective, succinct meta descriptions
One of the simplest ways to improve CTR organically is to ace your meta descriptions. This is a snappy little snippet, which should lure the reader in and let them know what kinds of treats they’re in for if they read on. Use high-quality keywords, stick to the point and don’t beat around the bush. This is a strict no-waffle zone. Ideally, your meta description should be around 160 characters.
2. Add long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are longer and more descriptive than your average keyword, making them a trump card. It’s a great idea to use long-tail phrases in titles and meta descriptions to make them juicier and more enticing for readers and improve your search ranking. Before you start scattering and sprinkling long-tail keywords in your content, make sure you undertake keyword research to find the best matches for your post.
3. Match the article H1 tag with your title
A study by Ahrefs revealed that Google prefers articles that have the same title and H1 tag. Google rewrites around 33% of title tags (source). If you usually try to spice things up and adjust your H1 tag slightly, resist the temptation to go wild. Instead, match your title and H1 tags. It’ll save you time and help you push your CTR in the right direction.
4. Enhance content with images
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be drawn to content that looks good. Adding images is proven to increase the chances of likes and shares on social media, but crucially, it can also help you improve your organic CTR. This is because it’s easier to find links in the images section of search engine results and people are more likely to engage with content that contains pictures.
5. Add a snappy title (and avoid clickbait)
Clickbait is all around us. Most of us are familiar with ridiculous titles that pop up on social media or try to lure us in when we’re browsing search results or news articles. Usually marketers can spot this from a mile away.. but adding a snappy, intriguing title that isn’t clickbaity can supercharge CTR for sure. Though, avoid trying to catch people out or lull them into a false sense of security about what an article is about by jumping on the clickbait bandwagon.
- The best titles tend to be short, punchy and interesting.
- Titles that have 15-40 characters have an 8.6% higher CTR than longer titles.
- Asking questions is also an excellent way to generate clicks.
- A ‘How To’ title has a 28% higher CTR than titles without questions.
- Your title should always be relevant to the body of the article or the product or service in question.
6. Attract local audiences
More than 50% of search engine traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets. Creating content with a local focus can help you improve your rankings, create more leads, and boost your CTR. Consider adding your location to meta descriptions and title tags and mention the location or locations in your content. More than 84% of smartphone users will contact or visit a business within 24 hours of a local search. I have always strongly recommended this for clients with small and medium-sized businesses.
7. Use lists
If you’re one of those people that gets excited about lists and spreadsheets, this next tip will be music to your ears. Using lists is a brilliant way to make your content more appealing and digestible, but, it can also increase organic clicks and help you secure the much sought-after featured snippet position. People love a listicle. They’re easy to read, they give you the information you need with minimal fuss and you can digest them in an instant. Listicles are ideal for guides, articles, features and reviews.
The goal should be to make your presence count and increase sales or engagement. To do this, focus on boosting your click-through rate (CTR). Take these golden nuggets and use them to supercharge your CTR.