One of the ultimate goals of doing Search Engine Optimization is to get to the top of the search results for your targeted keywords. This has been the norm since the dawn of SEO.
But with lots of updates happened in the last ten years, getting on the top of search results doesn’t mean your campaign is successful. It should deliver organic traffic.
And delivering organic traffic means higher click-through-rate.
CTR optimization is one of the most basic, yet forgotten aspects of search engine optimization. High keyword ranking is useless if no one clicks your website.
There’s an exception though, websites that are on the number 1 to 3 spots in the search results naturally get higher CTR because of their placements. And people tend to click the pages that sit in the top 3 results.
So if you think your website is already in the top 3 of your target keywords, maybe you don’t need these tips. Or maybe you do if you need to protect your rankings.
But for those folks who struggle to find relevant, organic traffic for their websites, this article is just right for you. So without further ado, here are some ways on how to improve your website’s organic click-through-rate.
Get to the top spot
This might be a motherhood statement and everyone will agree that getting on top of search results will deliver tons of organic clicks and traffic, but getting the job done is a different story.
Wikipedia is your number 1 competitor for most of your target keywords. But it’s still possible.
There are tons of ranking factors and there are only a handful that are disclosed. Majority are just speculations from tests and case studies.
So how do you get to the top of Google search results?
Search Engine Land laid out the top 4 ranking factors in 2017 and it’s worth checking.
Jason Acidre also shared his secrets on how to rank for competitive keywords. He emphasizes the use of evergreen content that can be continuously updated and can target industry head terms.
Long form contents can also help in ranking for your target terms. Keep in mind that there’s no need to focus in ranking your homepage. Make content that is relevant, timely, and can be consumed easier by your target audience.
A/B test your title tags
Title tags are the first elements of the website that are being shown to the users when a query has been initiated.
And a simple tweak of a title tag can boost your organic CTR from 3% to 20% depending on the demand of the certain search term.
Few things to remember though:
Be aware of your title length – Make sure that your title tag is within the 65-character limit or else it will appear truncated and will have less chance of getting clicks.
Be unique, avoid duplicate title tags – It will help search engines understand each page better with unique and descriptive title tags.
Don’t stuff with keywords, or sometimes it’s just better to forget about keywords – Stuffing your title tags with keywords will give a bad user experience. You won’t get penalized in doing this. But you don’t get any benefits either.
Write intent-centric title tags – This is very effective if you are optimizing for an ecommerce website. But also does well in any other blogs. Analyze the user intent of your target keywords and use them in optimizing your title tags.
Take advantage of your brand’s authority – If you are optimizing for a website that has a pretty good brand exposure, you can take advantage of it by including the name in the title tag. This will ramp up your CTR especially if people can easily recognize the name of the brand in the search results.
Focus on your most important keywords – Instead of stuffing your title tags with keywords, just pick a few that you think will fit the most to your page.
Treat your meta descriptions as if you are writing an ad
So how can meta description help in gaining click-through-rate?
Well optimized meta descriptions together with title tags can entice a higher number of organic clicks.
Here are some techniques in writing a killer meta description:
Start with an action word – This has been my practice in writing meta descriptions that I learned from one of TopRank Marketing’s content strategist years ago. And it’s still very effective because it encourages search engine users to click-through your content when shown in the search results.
Use numbers – This technique is very effective in paid ads. It also has the same impact if you apply in writing meta descriptions.
Stalk your competitors – This is one of the most common things to do when writing meta descriptions. Compile your top 10 competitors together with their title tags and descriptions and try to mix things up until you produce one that will standout and become relevant to your page.
Options to choose from when optimizing for URLs are as follow:
Shortening URLs – Long URLs generally don’t provide a good user experience because it sometimes become irrelevant to the main subject of the page. Making short but descriptive URLs provides more value because users can understand it easily.
Keywords in the URL – One of the most basics yet powerful optimization technique is to insert keywords in your URL. Of course, avoid stuffing if you don’t want to get in some real trouble. Just put one keyword and that’s it. It will not only help in ranking your page in the SERPs, but it will also entice CTR.
Canonicalize or 301 redirect URLs that serve the same content – Different URLs with the same content is not new for almost all websites and it doesn’t really hurt your SEO to the extreme extent. However, it’s still a best practice to have one content per URL. If you have multiple URLs with the same content, 301 redirect them or put a canonical tag. Rand Fiskin discusses some advance URL optimization techniques that you can check.
Use breadcrumb navigation – Breadcrumb navigation is the simplified version of your URL displayed in the SERP. instead of showing the users a naked URL, it will appear as a mini navigation under the meta description. It will immediately give users an idea on where they will land upon clicking your page in the SERP.
It all might sound super basic when it comes to improving your organic click-through-rate, but these are the strategies that worked years ago and still work until now. Keep in mind the best practices and keep testing things until you get the ideal result you want.