Get More Clickthroughs

After we’ve done all we can to improve visibility via search engine optimization, PPC spend, and other promotional channels, we have one more challenge — growing clickthroughs.

Clicks are the key objective for most digital marketing campaigns, yet low clickthrough rates and low conversion rates tell us something is really missing.

In general, companies aren’t presenting powerful value propositions, nor sequencing them to initiate the click, and keep on moving toward purchase.  The click is just the first step in sales conversion, but it might be the most neglected.

In this post, we look at the effect of your page’s appearance in search results, and how that impacts searchers.

Searchers often scan down the rankings to find a relevant or significant listing they like. They don’t always click on the top ranked listing on Google. By optimizing certain features, you can attract additional clicks just as though your page ranked number one.

You Can Grow your Clickthrough Rates

Increasing your SERP clickthrough rate can improve your brand awareness, engagement, customer loyalty and revenues. The value cascades as more visitors arrive, stay longer on your site and then return later.  This is a neglected art in SEO, yet a few professional SEOs do pay attention to it. After you study this, you’ll have big and small improvements working together to create more clicks.

Google previously stated that click throughs don’t affect site rankings, but today, that clickthrough rate may actually be relevant — if it’s relevant to searchers.  Achieving more clicks is definitely one way of verifying to Google that your page is relevant to the audience, especially if they stay on your site and show engaged behavior. Google does watch these “engagement behaviors” as they’re called.


increasing your clickthough rate creates a variety of value for your SEO strategy and your business.


Lots of Ranking Visibility but Few Clicks

What is a good clickthrough rate from Google? There’s no answer to that, but we know for sure that clickthrough rates are very low, below 1% for most websites. If you ranking number one on Google for a phrase, you could enjoy 25% to 40% of all clicks. But if you rank 6th and you double your clicks, that represents a big flow of visitors too.

This is why CTRs are getting more attention — because spending a lot on content marketing and advertising doesn’t make sense if your clickthroughs are low and weak.

In fact, Google has a big problem as it reports zero clickthrough rates. Sometimes clickthroughs are low even for top 3 ranking sites. Google is putting more junk into search results pages for various business reasons. It has become very distracting and can ruin clickthrough rates. It’s all part of the search results page noise you must overcome.

If you’re fortunate enough to be winning big visibility on Google/Bing yet not getting click throughs, it can be confusing and disappointing. Sometimes a higher rank won’t solve the problem.

What Impresses Searchers Enough to Click?

It’s not easy to get worthwhile rankings, make an impact and encourage a click through via the Google search results. The listing headline and description are hard pressed to impress searchers. What they see in the results is pretty well the same thing from every website listed.

That’s your opportunity. You have to work smarter to find wording to differentiate your listing info, and to build familiarity. It’s often that searchers don’t recognize you, or your value proposition that they don’t click.

That’s the key. Yes, searchers are looking for info, direction, products, services, but moreover, they’re looking for a value proposition. They may be able tell from your search results listing whether you are offering that UVP.

We know first hand from our own searches that we comb through results to find a site that is interesting, familiar, credible, and trustworthy to click on. We need to pay attention to our own search behavior as a clue to what consumer audiences see, want and click on.

What you’ve learned via email marketing might help you here, but email isn’t the same as Google search. With email, you’ve got their attention, but with Google search, you have to grab their attention.

In the above search results we saw a search for travel destinations where news sites and travel sites appear.

Words in those listings included: best vacations, travel, places to visit, and world. The site owners likely have learned which words give their listing more significance, emotional lift.  Google too believes these are the most critical words that searchers want to see.

It makes sense to use these words in either your page title tags or meta descriptions. The site links (last line in the graphic above) in blue font adds relevance for that listing, making that page worth clicking on. You’ll want to manipulate how they appear too, via the anchor text your use in your menus and text links.

The quest of your listing in the search engine results page listing is significance — always be the most significant resource to your target audience.

Low Click Throughs? What the Issue Might Be

Searchers make an instant judgement about your site/business/UVP when they scan through the search results. They see your listing but nothing excites or intrigues them about it. It doesn’t hook them and make them click. They don’t believe you’re relevant or significant and that you have anything that will help them with they specifically want — hence no click.

If we start with the basics, it helps.

What is their search intent? What are they looking for, and what is their bigger purpose for searching? Answer this helps identify words, pain points and a brand promise they will believe in.

They’re searching for specific info about a specific issue to make a decision, and they want that info from someone who appears authoritative, compatible, helpful, likable, credible and trustworthy. There are lots of scammy or low quality sites ranked on Google and you don’t want to look like them.

What are visitors looking for specifically?

You must research what it is they want to validate, discover, and ultimately purchase. Market research is vital. What they believe is the ultimate unique value proposition is important. Do deeper research on your audience.

For instance, they may be hunting for an SEO specialist. But they may not click on my link even though they clearly see accomplishments, helpfulness, and passion for SEO. 

Insight: they’re not looking for the best in the business, because they assume we’re priced out of their reach. They assume the best will be too demanding, or will likely be tough to take advantage of. Only a select few actually want an industry leading SEO service company. Most want someone they can leverage. Even companies hiring SEO specialists want someone they can leverage. So “leveraging” for low cost is their number one priority, not getting the best SEO results.

That’s just a point to clarify that your value proposition may be missing the mark. Basically, they don’t want your great product/service. They may want a solution relevant to them.

Avoid Clickbait Words and Phrases

Certain words are used by scammers and spammers, and Google is more to suppress sites that use certain words called clickbait. You might think of them as sensationalized verbs such as amazing, unbeatable, best, incredible, unbelievable, and sensational. Phrases might include “act now”, or “don’t miss out.” The point is that it’s language that preys on desperate people whose attention is waning.

The recent helpful content update is said to penalize pages and sites that use clickbait or emotional language. It’s best to avoid clickbait tactics entirely, and put forward your value proposition in language that is appropriate, conservative, and shows respect for visitors.

SERPs Basics

As this screenshot below reveals, searchers see your page title, Google generated folder, meta description (or Google generated text snippet), your page url, and some site links. Optimizing all of these together helps to make the biggest impact on them, that they yours is the most significant, helpful and satisfying resource.

Right to the Good Part

Okay, let’s list some helps tips for increasing organic search CTR’s:

  1. Include important keywords in your html title. The title is prominent so it should contain the searcher’s keywords, plus contain additional keywords that identify specific items they’re most interested in. And additional keywords may intrigue, impact or excite them to click. These are emotional words that play on their underlying feelings about getting your product/service.
  2. Write effective html meta description if necessary. If your content is lengthy with keywords used in it, Google will scan it and present a snippet from it that best serves the searcher. Even if your page is 4000 words long, Google will scan and cut out a specific snippet that’s relevant. That’s why many times you can avoid using the meta description tag. And if your content is thin and lacking in keywords (e.g., one of your product marketing pages) then you can write a well worded meta description of your page’s topic, compelling issues it resolves, and mention of authorities/sources that make your page sound more credible. The mention of authority/credibility boosters could actually work well. If you use a meta description, then Google may use it for all keyword searches, which means it might be less relevant to each of them. Its a tough decision and one you should experiment with.
  3. Review your pages with high Clickthrough Rates. Via your analytics reporting tools, find those pages that get clicked on, especially those that don’t rank high yet still get clicks. This shows pages that are very intriguing to visitors, so these contain vital clues to what they’re really wanting. Review the html titles and the meta descriptions when you do a search using the precise keywords in the live search results page.
  4. Find pages with poor clickthrough rates. If your site is ranking high and you’re not getting clickthroughs, then searchers feel your listing is not relevant or significant to them. It misses the mark completely. You need to determine why they disregard those words or the meta description they see in the search results.
  5. Brainstorm alternative title tags. You’ll need to find a set of titles to test so you can determine what excites searchers enough to ge the click. Don’t be afraid to experiment for a couple of weeks to test for effect. You need to develop a good set of functional words that portray key desired customer benefits, as well as emotional words that help generate a clickthrough. Do more keyword research.
  6. Review other sites in the search results. Assessing competitors listings helps you hone in on key clickthrough generators. What words do they use and what is it they’re promising to searchers? What words and benefits appear in the meta description?
  7. Review your keywords and related words. Yes, you’ll include your target keywords, but it’s important to understand related words that are important to your audience. Searchers may be clicking through solely because of those extra related words. Ensure you cull out negative and click reducing keywords that are appearing in your SERP listing. They can cause problems. What do those words suggest about your service/product or information published?
  8. Consider Geographic targeting too. Sometimes the topic is perfect for them, but they’re in a specific city or country which is actually the crux of their immediate interest. See where your visitors are coming from and ensure you have that city or country mentioned in your page or meta description. This is part of significance.
  9. Use clear, general page names. Searchers see your page url for topic relevance too. If it appears to be about a precise topic, it will help attract some highly targeted visitors, but it may make your page seem irrelevant to everyone else. Keeping a short name, (e.g., increasing-clickthroughs) as I chose for this post allows for more variety for visitors perception and for Google’s indexing.  For instance, if you use a calendar year in your page name, when the new year arrives, your page is instantly irrelevant to current interests. Changing page names is possible, but it’s considered risky, and backlinks might suggest to Google that your page is about that year in the past. Better to name it correctly the first time.
  10. Mention a current popular topic or news event in your meta description tag or in your post. Google will pick it up and display it, making your post more fresh, urgent, and significant than it really is.

There we have 10 helpful tips on how to increase your organic clickthrough rates. They’ll be helpful for your PPC ads too. As with everything in SEO, you should be testing and evaluating what works and what doesn’t.

If your optimization is done well, your site might even appear as a featured snippet in the search results.

Discover your base rankings and clickthrough rates now, and after your test period so you can gauge which words and topics made a difference for clickthrough rates.

Good luck with your search engine optimization efforts. And remember, it may be wise to hire an SEO Consultant to provide everything from a digital marketing audit, to content strategy to ongoing work to build your supremacy in the rankings. It’s a difficult challenge now and business owners and marketing managers are learning respect for professional SEO services.

Learn more about advanced search engine optimization packages now which build brand, broaden visibility and help generate clicks.

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