Click Through Rate, or CTR, in case you weren’t aware, is the number of searchers on Google who click on your listing in the search results as a percentage of the number of impressions for your listing – an impression being each time your site shows up on a page of search results in Google.
So if a page on your site shows up 100 times in the search results and it gets clicked on once, then you would have a CTR of 1%.
In reality, CTRs can vary from as low as 0.1% to 50% or higher – it all depends on what searches your site is showing up for and where it is showing up on the results page. Generally, the higher the rankings and the more relevant your listing for the search query, the better your Click Through Rate.
Improving your rankings to increase your CTR can take time. What we want to do is make more of what you already have, that is, improve the CTR for the rankings and impressions you’re already getting. If one of your main pages currently has a CTR of 1% from 1000 impressions every week, if we can increase that CTR to 2%. That would be an extra 10 potential customers visiting your site each week.
What is your CTR?
Before we look at how we can start improving your CTR, we first of all need to understand what your current CTR is, so you can see what happens to it and measure the impact of the changes you’re making.
To do this, we’re going to need to make sure that your site is properly set up in Google Search Console. It’s Google’s free tool that shows you a wealth of information about how your site is performing. You can find some step by step instructions on how to add your website to Google Search Console. If you’re still struggling to get your site added and verified we can always help.
Once your site is set up in GSC and it’s been able to collect enough data, you should be able to get an idea of the average CTR across your site from the Performance section, which will look something like below.
As you can see, this site had 54,800 impressions in the search results over the last 28 days. 1,110 searchers clicking through to the website gives us a CTR of 2.0%. This is the average of the CTRs for all your website’s pages but the Performance report also allows you to see the specific CTR for a particular search query or page on your website. You can focus on the keywords and ranking pages that are likely to drive more business.
Without improving the rankings for your site, if we can improve the CTR for your website’s pages then you will get more traffic to those pages. The quickest and easiest way to impact how many people click on your search listing is to make stand out more and make it more appealing. There are a couple of ways you can achieve this.
The Simple Approach to Improving CTR
It’s possible with a fair degree of certainty to tell Google what you want it to display for your search results listing. You can tell Google what to show when your site appears for a related search query. By adding a meta title and meta description to each of your webpages,
The meta title is important for helping your webpage rank for its target keywords (more on that in our next strategy) and you might not want to change that around too much initially. Impact this can have on rankings is too big. First of all make sure each of your webpages has a bespoke meta description. Try to make is as appealing as possible to your target audience, so you could encourage more click-throughs.
Bad and Good Example
Look at the examples below – the first is of a web page that doesn’t have a crafted meta description, and so a random selection of the web page’s content is displayed instead. Not very appealing, is it?
Now look at this second example, where the web page not only has a bespoke meta description, it also does a good job of trying to appeal to the searcher and get them to click on it.
You can see this listing does a much better job of appealing to someone who is looking for a plumber in Chelsea. It even gives their phone number in case the potential customer just wants to get in touch straight away. Not only is this a more appealing description, but it also does a good job of including the kind of search terms this page is trying to rank for – something you should always try and do if possible.
As well as relevant keywords you could include your hourly rates, promotional offers, review stats, or anything else that is likely to get the searchers attention – think of this description as your 1-2 sentence sales pitch, and the better it is, the more clicks it’s likely to attract.
The More Technical Approach to Improving CTR
One sure-fire way of making your site stand out in the search results is to add the review stars you see on our search listing – not only does this eye-catching enhancement draw the searcher to your listing, but it also gives them the instant reassurance that this particular company looks after their customers as well.
Adding the code to your site to get these to show up for your search listing is a little bit more technical, and they will only show on listings for the inner pages of your site and not for the homepage. It’s added by using Schema Markup Language. It provides Google with the information it needs to be able to add the review stars in the search listings. There’s a great article here about how to use Schema for Local SEO.
Of course, you need to have good reviews on Google, Facebook, TrustPilot or some other respected review site, but even if you don’t have any currently, it shouldn’t take you long to ask some of your best customers to provide a review for you. Once you have at least one then you are in a position to add the Schema code to your site and get the review stars on your search impressions.
How to implement this?
Google provides some helpful instructions and examples of the code local businesses need to insert onto their webpages here if you have the technical skills to implement this strategy yourself, but if it’s not something you’re comfortable with but would like add review stars to your search impressions, get in touch and we’ll be able to help.
We’ve seen clients double their Click Through Rates by having the review stars under their listing in the search results, which means twice as many customers finding their way from Google to their site without any other work or improvements to their site!
We hope you found this first in our series of five strategies for quicker-than-usual traffic gains useful, but if you have any questions or want to find out how we can help you improve your SEO efforts further, just get in touch.