Most modern digital marketers understand the battle to rank, pull clicks, then convert visitors to prospects and leads at your website. But many have missed how important “organic click-throughs” and tracked rates (CTR) have become, and some key tactics to raise that percentage.
First the “why” part of the equation. You’ve worked really hard to get to the first page of search, now shouldn’t your listing there be crafted to pull more clicks. Of course, that’s common sense, and below we share a favorite tactic. But what about Google SEO brownie points for higher CTR? There’s been a debate for some time among SEOs on whether Google boosts your score because of it, and no one really can say because their formula is always evolving and not shared. BUT… remember two things: Google lives and dies on relevance; and Google has evolved to factor in position on SERPs, CTR, then how well your landing pages engage visitors! Here’s a from a Google Search Console help doc:
“If the URLs for your site are performing well in terms of appearing in search results (e.g., Impressions, Clicks, CTR) but are not performing well in terms of engagement with the associated pages (e.g., Sessions, Pages per Session, Conversions), then your content might not be fully relevant to what users had in mind, or your site design might be making it difficult for them to accomplish their goals.” — from Google’s Search Console help docs
Above, Google Search Console (was Webmaster Tools) now tracks average CTR, including organic click-through rates, as one of its four main KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
This confirms that the search algorithm is aware of CTR and also engagement on landing pages (we’ll discuss this in related posts). Why? Again — Google will live or die based on whether your search return is deemed relevant as indicated by visitor behavior. So will your marketing campaigns.
How to Pull Organic Click-Throughs in Search
John Jantsch, of Duct Tape marketing fame, puts the tactical concept concisely like this: “think about the meta description for your posts and pages as an ad for the click.” That’s my emphasis, because we are always interested in boosting conversions at Webdirexion, but you can’t convert on your site until someone clicks on what comes up at the search page.
Above, both the Excerpt (appears in newsletters and on archive pages) and the Meta Description (appears on Google SERPs and on some Social Media sites) are custom crafted to
Meta Descriptions: Our primary tactic for organic click-throughs here is to use a WordPress plugin like Yoast (a favorite) or RankMath (an excellent contender with some advanced features we like) to not only write SEO savvy copy, but also write what actually appears on Google, and other search engines, when your post or page ranks. In the above image, we can see how using the RankMath plugin allows us to custom craft meta descriptions (titles too) and also how WordPress has a built in “Excerpt” field that will also increase click throughs from your category and tag/top archive pages (sometimes these rank higher than individual posts or pages) and also from your email newsletters. Then it’s time to get your wordsmithing game on and use the following “magic words” to pull click-throughs:
- Words like “Learn” and “find out” engage interest.
- Words like “secret” and “little known” inspire curiosity.
- Sometimes numbered lists (ie. “Top 5 ways to…”) work well in excerpts if they are not already in the headline.
Organic Click-Throughs Meta + Excerpts… Bingo, Bango, Bongo. Above we showed you how to craft compelling descriptions in your search returns, using SEO plugins in WordPress. Guess what? By using the “excerpts” field built into WordPress core, you’re not only using smart copy persuasion in SERPS (Bingo); but also on tag and category archive pages (Bango) — and… Bongo… in social media auto posts. Three way win. Note, that we also recommend that you avoid “robo-posting” in social media by crafting a series of social media tweets sent at different times to different networks — all designed to pull click, of course. Bonus Bongo Win: Hey… the same “excerpt” also appears in your newsletters fed by RSS feeds (ie. via MailChimp), so there too, you now have an opportuning to pull more click-throughs.
You’ll find more helpful tips, tactics, and techniques in our SEO topic section, and also in Content Marketing. You may also be interested in our Digital Marketing Checklist for Chief Marketing Officers.
Scott serves as CMO & Chief Optimizer on the Webdirexion LLC agency digital marketing team for both development and content marketing strategy, and is the author of the new book, “The Marketer’s Concise Guide to CRO” (Oct. 2015). He is a career marketing communications professional with niche industry specialties in healthcare, law firms, and hotel marketing and holds recent certifications in Google Analytics Mastery (Udemy), and RACE Digital Marketing (Smart Insights). He is currently working toward Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) in Digital Marketing through the American Marketing Association which also requires annual training and 3-year recertification.
Scott has also taught business, web programming and eCommerce courses at colleges in the Portland, Oregon area. He currently teaches WordPress Content Marketing Power, an online course through Udemy, and has spoken at several Content Marketing conferences. When he is not geeking out on a Mac, Nexus 7, or Google Chromebook, he enjoys Tai Chi, walking with his dog (Steggman), and camping trips. Scott says he survives on Coffee and Pizza.