There’s nothing more frustrating for webmasters and SEOs when few visitors come to the site despite good rankings. One reason for this can be a low click through rate (CTR).
CTR has long been one of the most important ranking factors for a website, but it’s often still underestimated by website operators. In this article, we’ll show you how to change this, and how to optimize your CTR with Ryte.
The click-through rate of a website is the ratio of page views to clicks in the SERPs. The CTR is given as a percentage.
The CTR is calculated with the following formula:
(Number of clicks / Number of page views) * 100 = CTR
Example: Your snippet for a certain term ranks on the first page, is seen by 1,000 users per day, but only 25 users per day actually click on it.
(25 / 1.000)*100 = 2,5 % CTR
The higher your CTR, the more traffic you generate. There’s little point in ranking on the first page and being seen by users, if they don’t come to your website.
How many users click on your snippets can be influenced by different factors:
Ranking: The better your page ranks in Google search results, the higher the click-through rate will be. An international study shows that CTR decreases significantly from the second organic search hit. On the second page, the CTR is usually just over one percent.
Title and description: Google uses the page title and meta-description of your page for the search snippet. The meta title becomes the title of the snippet, and the description becomes the text below the URL. These two elements are the first things a user sees of your website in the Google search. Therefore, if the title and description are appealing to users, they are much more likely to click on it, giving you a higher CTR.
Figure 1: Snippet in the SERPs
Competition against adverts: The organic search hits have long been competing directly with ads from Google AdWords. After Google gave up the sidebar as an advertising space for text ads in 2017, the top-ranked organic rankings for search queries now have to compete with up to four ads. In addition, fade-ins from Google Maps, Google Image or News Search, and the knowledge graph can mean that the user has to scroll down to find the organic search results.
Rich Snippets: you can increase your CTR significantly by using structured data in the snippets. These include, for example, rating stars, or notes on events. As early as 2011, searchengineland.com listed a number of sites that were able to significantly increase their click-through rate with the help of microdata. We explain the basics of creating rich snippets for online shops in this article.
Featured Snippets: When featured snippets appear in the Google SERPs, Google is responding to a user's direct question using extracted content from a website. The link to the landing page is also displayed here. Features Snippets are ranked at number 0, ahead of the other organic search results, and the CTR is significantly higher than for the search results lower down the page. Studies have shown that the CTR of Featured Snippets can be over eight percent. We explain a few practical tips for creating featured snippets in this article.
To analyze your CTR in Search Success, you need to link your Google Search Console account with Ryte (which you can do with a Ryte Pro account).
By connecting your Ryte and GSC projects, you can access your ranking and CTR data from Google in your Ryte project. Once your Search Console is successfully linked to Ryte, select the Search Success module in the sidebar.
Figure 2: See your average CTR and rankings with Search Success
Now see in the list which search terms rank well and have a lot of impressions, but have a low CTR.
When you click on a term with a low CTR, you see the development of the CTR over time, including clicks, impressions, ranking positions, and the landing page.
Figure 3: See development in click through rate and rankings of a URL
Now highlight the URL and copy it (with ctrl + c, or cmd+c for apple).
Then, go into Website Success. Click on "Content" - "Description" - "Length". Click the green button "New filter".
Figure 4: Set a filter for URL
Choose URL, and paste the URL that you copied from Search Success.
Figure 5: Add a URL with a poor CTR
Now click on "save and close". Here, Ryte shows you if your description is long enough, and shows you the character length. In this case, Ryte shows you that the description is too short.
Figure 6: Showing the description length
In the left menu list, you can now click on "Content" - "Title" and finally on "length". You will then see via a filter whether the length of the title is ok. The tool then shows you whether duplicates exist.
Figure 7: Showing the title length
If the title is longer than 75 characters, it will be cut off by Google in the search results. However, it also shouldn’t be too short – a good title should contain enough information to inform the reader about the content of the page.
For the description, 300 characters can be used. This has been the case since December 2017.
If Google doesn’t find a description, the search engine analyzes the content, and makes its own snippet depending on what it finds. Therefore, it’s very important to have a meta description so that you can have an influence over how your snippet will look. Bear in mind that even if you do have a meta description, Google still may take the snippet from other content on your landing page.
You can also set up a search snippet with a breadcrumb navigation. This helps the user navigate, and shows them the main categories of the website.
Google has to be able to recognize the breadcrumb navigation so that it can be shown in the snippet. It is sufficient if the special navigation exists as a div-element.
You are here: <a href="http://www.gesundheitsspiegel.de">Gesundheitsspiegel</a> » <a href="http://www.gesundheitsspiegel.de/category/medication/">medication</a> » <strong>Antibiotics and alcohol / Side effects</strong></div>
With Microdata from schema.org, this breadcrumb list can also be ordered like this:
<ol itemscope itemtype="http://schema.org/BreadcrumbList">
<li itemprop="itemListElement" itemscope
<a itemprop="item" href="http://www.gesundheitsspiegel.de/category/medication/">
<meta itemprop="position" content="1" />
Further examples for Breadcrumb markup according to schema.org can be found here.
The URL of the landing page is shown in the snippet. Therefore, it’s even more important that this URL doesn’t contain any special characters as is often the case with dynamic URLs. Your competitors will most likely be using descriptive URLs which are usually integrated into the source code in green.
Once all elements are optimized, you can integrate them into the source code. If your landing pages are crawled regularly, Google will soon see your new data and show this in the SERPs. To speed this up, you can you can request crawling of your URL. For this, use the function in the Gogle Search Console "Fetch as Google."
Once the new metadata is in the snippet, you can check the CTR again. With Ryte Search Success, you can then compare different time periods, and therefore easily determine if your optimization measures were successful.
Create a title which is easily noticed. Numbers or lists often make good titles.
Use a breadcrumb navigation and corresponding mark up
Add the main keyword to the search phrase in the title and description
Make sure your description is clearly directed towards the user. Avoid formulating it in an indirect way. Build special characters (smileys, checkmarks etc) into the description
Create descriptive URLs
Use a call to action which prompts the user to act
Implement mark up for ratings on your page so that ratings stars can be shown in the snippets
Keep an eye on your competition and check which changes there are and where there is optimization potential.
Published on Mar 27, 2018 by Eva Wagner