Search engine optimization is often focused on trying to rank #1 in a SERP (Search Enginer Results Page). But, what if I told you there is definitely something better than that?
I’m not talking about ranking #0 like John Fairley discussed in a recent post. I’m talking about increasing your CTR (click through rate). Do you think ranking #1 or #2 can solve your problem and drive traffic and conversions? No, click-through rate (CTR) of your page from SERPs is the one thing that you should really be focusing on. Your site may rank well but you don’t get lots of clicks or you might even get clicks but don’t convert them. You can help improve your CTR and conversions by working on the snippet shown on a SERP.
About Click-Through Rate of SERP
CTR is often expressed as a percentage of impressions that users click on (100 impressions with 5 clicks is a 5% CTR). The rate drops when you rank lower in SERPs. AOL data shows that CTR drops from 43% to 12% when you move from #1 to #2, interestingly #10 has more CTR than #9. If you want to know more how the searchers spend their time on SERPs then it is all here from Cornell University.
Why you Need to Work on this?
Ranking well in search engines doesn’t solve all your problems and many times it is out of scope to grow further so what is left with you to check your CTR growth potentials. Getting the maximum targeted traffic to the site is the goal, if you can’t get the visitors that are looking for your niche content then it is a huge loss for your business.
What are the Factors Involved in this?
HTML Page title, meta description, page content and page path are the 4 things that are involved here. The most important factor is the link text for the page shown in SERPs which is driven by the page’s title. The snippet under the title most often comes from the page’s meta description, but the search engine may choose to use a snippet from the page content or from public managed sites like wikis or dmoz.
How to Know the Page Impression and CTR?
There are couples of ways to check your SERP impression and CTR,
- The best tool that I know is Google Webmaster Tools but you have a limit here, you can see top 100 results only.
- Sorry, I couldn’t find a second tool that can show your impression, CTR for your keywords. But I have an idea that can help you to produce your spreadsheet. For this we will use only Google’s search traffic data.
- Login to your analytics tool, such as Google Analytics, to download all your keywords and its visits for the previous month.
- Export to SEO Books Rank Checker Plugin for Firefox to see where your site ranks for the key phrases, filter the list for only top 10 rankings for prioritizing the work.
- Feed the filtered list of keywords to the Google AdWords Keyword External tool to find the net search frequency for previous month. Filter the list to work on keywords that has significant search volumes.
How can you Increase the CTR?
This is what you have been looking for so far. Here are some pointers for you.
- If you rank lower than #1 for any keyword then simply work on link building to boost your ranking as jumping 1 position to the top can drive you lots of traffic.
- Check the search engine result page and make sure what snippet you see when your site comes up in the result set. If it is your meta description then make it more enticing by throwing your key points in.
- If you have a snippet shown from the page content because of a missing meta description then write one nice description for the page by adding some synonyms of your targeted keyword.
- Do you have the best of the page title? If not then make it more appealing, I wrote an article to write a better page title so go through it to find some tips for your site.
- Is the snippet you see is pulled from the page content? If so then have some keyword reach phrases that can help in better CTR.
- If your snippet is pulled from wiki or dmoz then try to have that edited to get more clicks. When Google fails to get more information from the page and locate a description somewhere else like wiki or dmoz then that gets pulled for the snippet.
- If you have a page path that is not keyword rich then create a new url and make a 301 redirect for old url to new one.
You have still so much potentials to increase the traffic from the same ranking position so why not to focus there and improve it.
Update: I thought this user behavior report will be interesting for you to know more about SERP.