Optimizing your CTR
When it comes to improving your CTR (click-through rate) you will find it to be a very useful metric to have by your side.
It measures the performance of your content or advertisements and provides valuable insight for optimization. You can drill down into various adsets and campaigns and use this information to identify where the problem may lie.
Aside from CTR helping you understand how your content is performing, it can be used indirectly to increase your rankings.
There’s a lot of controversy around the subject of CTR and its impact on your rankings, SearchEngineLand even did an experiment a few years back and deemed that CTR isn’t actually a ranking factor.
Whether it actually moves the needle or not, it can be used to help make more accurate decisions within your strategy thus boosting your position.
So whatever side of the coin your on, it’s far from useless.
What is CTR?
CTR stands for Click-Through Rate.
It’s the concept of how many clicks your Ad / SERP link gets to how many impressions it generates. Meaning the higher the percentage of clicks compared to the percentage of impressions, the higher the “Click-Through Rate” will be.
I know that analysing metrics for hours on end isn’t everyone’s favourite thing to do, but trust me when I say, this is one you need to keep an eye on.
You can use this metric to analyse the performance of your content and help better your rankings.
1. Keyword Research
As with any useful SEO strategy, we will need to start with keyword research.
Long-tail keywords mixed with power words and a positive sentiment tend to get the best results.
Start by researching long-tail phrases and integrating them how you see fit. You may use different keywords from one platform to another, for example on an ad in comparison to your title on the SERP’s will be widely different.
It’s important to keep your target audience in mind and make sure your including terms that are relevent to the content your linking to.
Try to stay away from broader terms such as “chocolates”, as your not going to be hitting the audience you were hoping for.
Use something a little more defined such as “mothers day chocolates”, hell, dive even deeper than that.
Whilst your putting all of this research together, don’t forget to take your sales funnel into account. Identify where your content fits within that funnel and keep your targeted terms relevant.
Having a more precise and focused keyword strategy is always the better path to follow, it may take a little more work, but the end result usually pays for it.
Taking all this into consideration will result in a much higher CTR no matter the platform.
It is also important not to focus too much on the number of impressions your getting. You’ll find that broader terms have a much higher impressions rate, but much lower conversions, and at the end of the day, thats’s your goal.
Don’t get lost in large numbers.
This principle of course works for both Ads and SERP titles and any other platform you are trying to improve your CTR on.
2. Identify your Weakest Link
In order to optimize your CTR, you will first need to identify your weakest link.
To do this, drill down into each page of your website and find out which has the lowest performance. Once this has been optimized, your overall CTR will be increased. Not that this is exactly an important metric in the grand scheme of things anyway!
To optimize said page, it requires you to delve deeper into each aspect such as metadata, and find out what is causing the problem.
The easiest way to view your data is by using Google Analytics.
Unfortunately, most of the time it won’t be as easy looking at the page and finding your answer. The likely outcome would be to perform multiple A/B tests so you can get an idea of what works and what doesn’t.
This can obviously take a lot of time to get results, so just make sure you keep note on your progress.
3. Optimize your Metadata
Perfecting your metadata is a process that you will need to master anyway if you want to increase your rankings, but a highly optimized title or description doesn’t always mean a high CTR.
Including your keywords within your metadata is always a must, but you may need to add a little extra if it’s going to work on humans as well as Googles algorithm.
Try to include something that will grab your readers attention, add power words or a negative/positive sentiment. Numbers also have a huge impact.
Add them at the start of your title, like “21 of the best movies this year”.
It’s more psychology than SEO at this point, get in your visitors head, write something that would grab your own attention.
Make sure your products and services are clearly visible also, there’s nothing worse than a title tag that has no relation to the content it is linking to.
Use relatable words and hook your visitor in. Having an emotional grasp on a visitor is always a perfect way to increase your odds.
There are many aspects of a Title Tag to consider, but none of them are set in stone without vigorous testing.
Change your title, test it out, burn through as many as you can and see which one works best.
Use something unique each time, change it up, and record which one has the best effect on your CTR. There’s no point in testing 10 different versions of metadata if they’re all very similar, the data just won’t be there.
Remember, these don’t necessarily have to be tested on search results, you can try out your headlines on social media, ads, or even through your mailing list
4. Use Media
72% of marketers worldwide claim that relevant content creation was the most effective SEO tactic in their strategy.
Visitors are put off by long text and giant descriptions that take too much time to read. People are impatient, and want a quick, concise excerpt of what your trying to drive them to, usually in the format of an image of video.
This is especially true if your running social ads. People are scrolling through their finds looking for something interesting to do, procrastinating as usual, and a big chunk of text is just going to fly right under their radar.
You can change this by using something as simple as media.
It’s no secret that images and videos increase the popularity of posts across social media, whether that’s from your friends, family, or just a random video of a dancing cat, the same works in business.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, or costly, just something that’s enough to grab the attention of an impression. A lot of businesses use memes or viral content to grab the user, and these come at virtually no cost.
It’s not just ads that need media, you can do the same in your weekly email blasts, or even your Google Ads. Some platforms work better than others, and have varied success depending on the industry.
So again, you’ll need to make sure your testing your creatives before scaling them up.
Try to be original, or better yet, create custom content if you have the budget.
5. Think Local
Sometimes the difference between a person buying your product or moving to another business, is localization.
If your business is selling products or serving a particular area, it’s a good idea to double down on Local SEO.
It gives you the opportunity to appear in search results that differ from the usual, these can include terms such as “drive repair near me” or “drive repair London”
Optimizing for specific service areas ensures that if a potential customer is looking for something, maybe even an emergency callout situation, your likely to get an edge over your SERP competitors if your location is included in your title tag.
However, this isn’t going to work for every business, and could in fact have an opposite affect if the customer feels like you are outside their reach.
6. Know your Audience
Knowing your audience has a little resemblance to keyword research and works on almost the same principals, just on a more human level.
You will need to get inside their head just as you did when you were optimizing your metadata to try and find out any variations of search queries that could relate to your content.
Think about human language, the nature of their searches and how something is generally searched for in the real world.
It sounds simple, but you’d be surprised how many ads fail because of abbreviations that the visitor doesn’t understand and skips over, or the unnecessary use of jargon.
Use this to your advantage when optimizing for clicks and speak to the real person that you want as a customer.
7. Analyse your Competition
If you rank number 1 on Google, chances are you can skip this step.
But if you don’t, comparing against your competition is a necessity.
Just check the first few pages of the SERPs for your desired keyword or phrase and compare them to your own. It will give you valuable insight to what’s performing well.
Look at aspects such as URLs and Title Tags. Their description is also a great CTR element and perfect for including keywords, it would be a good idea to give those a quick comparison too.
Once you have analysed your competition see what you’re doing wrong, but more importantly, what their doing right, write a convincing meta description and craft the perfect title using all you have learned.
The way I have personally found most affective is to write for SEO, then give it a once over for the human touch, that way your not missing anything.
8. Optimize your Site Speed
Optimizing your site speed is something an SEO should be looking at indefinitely. But it’s also useful for your CTR.
Not only does site speed increase a users experience but it also affects your SERP position.
As mentioned Google rewards you for correct optimization but can also have a negative impact if the scale tips the other way.
A click doesn’t actually count if a site does not load, so bare this in mind when you’re optimizing your sites speed.
If a user clicks your page and it takes a long time to load; more than 3 seconds in fact, 40% of those visitors will abandon their effort and find another site.
As we know mobiles tend to struggle with the power to load pages as quick as a desktop computer, so make sure you optimize for mobile too.
If you have learned one thing from this article it should be that testing is an essential part of the process.
No matter how well you think you have optimized your CTR it never works out as expected, actually, the ones you expect to perform the worst often perform the best.
You need to make sure your constantly testing to improve your site and don’t forget to measure the performance. It should become a regular part of your SEO strategy.