It is always sad to see that the content you worked your best on does not get tons of desired clicks. However, great content alone is not enough to draw visits and conversions, but with the help of snippets, it can grow the click or traffic because users will see snippets in the SERPs first.
So, you have to ensure the organic SERP snippets look attractive and informative. How should you do this? Find some easy tips in this guide.
What is Organic CTR?
Organic CTR or click-through rate is the ratio of clicks on a link from the organic search to the number of impressions (the number of times search engines show the link to people in response to a certain query).
The formula to count organic CTR is as follows:
CTR = (Click / impressions) x100%
How to Differentiate Good Organic CTR?
Actually, there is no single definition of what CTR is good and bad. CTR depends greatly on the industry you operate in — in some cases, a 30% CTR is not enough, while in other cases a 3% CTR is more than perfect.
CTR also depends on the position your page ranks in and the type of SERP. Luckily, you can make things clearer with Advanced Web Ranking. You get to know the CTR benchmarks depending on the SERP features present and the position a page occupies.
Keep in mind that the search intent and emotional appeal of your snippet also matter to CTR, so one of your primary tasks is to identify what lures users the most and later apply your findings to your content.
4 Steps to Optimize Organic CTR
Step 1. Identifying search intent
There are four types of keywords’ search intent. Each type corresponds with the stages of the customer journey:
- Navigational – These are general queries searchers use to find a particular place or website. For example, Twitter login, Pizza Hut Berlin, Gmail, London Eye.
- Informational – People use these keywords to find any information but not to buy anything yet. For example, how to repair a car engine, how to grow a blog on a budget and the best ways to clean the oven.
- Investigational – Investigational keywords indicate users’ intent to pick something and maybe buy it (still, maybe not). For example, iPhone 13 review, best vegan facial masks, low-code development pros and cons.
- Transactional – These keywords are the most converting ones, as they show that users are ready to buy something. For example, Nike Lebron 19 buy, bike rental Amsterdam, Hell’s kitchen LA book a table.
Keywords with different intents trigger different types of pages. For instance, informational keywords will most likely trigger how-to’s, investigational keywords tend to trigger listicles and reviews, and transactional keywords are perfect for product pages.
Keywords’ search intent is clearly signalized with special intent markers. Use these markers as a hint when you choose keywords to optimize pages and snippets, so as not to end up optimizing, say, your product page for some informational query. Users will not appreciate the mismatch of the intent and result, which will only increase the bounce rate.
Step 2. Identifying focus keywords
Not all keywords on your website are worth optimization effort. Here is the way to check the website performance: Go to Google Search Console and switch to Performance > Search Results. Enable Average CTR, Average position, and Total impressions.
Scroll the table paying attention to the position, the percentage of CTR, and the number of impressions. Queries that rank well enough and have a large number of impressions but with a low CTR mean that your snippets are underperforming.
In another way, it showed that some of your website pages have optimized for the target keyword, but people do not click on the snippet. Probably, the reason is that SERP ads or your competitors may have a rich snippet. All in all, these queries have the biggest potential for organic CTR improvement.
Now it’s time to turn underperforming snippets into performing ones.
Step 3. Optimizing titles and meta descriptions
The first two things are Google uses to form SERP snippets are the page title and meta description. Thus these aspects are your primary target. Here are some pieces of optimization advice:
Check if your titles and meta descriptions feature the target keywords
Title and meta description should always contain the keyphrase you target with a certain page. This is the first thing that users see if the page is relevant to their query. Best SEO practices suggest placing the keyword closer to the beginning of the phrase. Still, don’t overdo it. Titles and meta descriptions should not look like a plain set of keywords. Moreover, Google can rewrite your titles and descriptions if they seem to carry no sense using other HTML elements on the page.
Mind titles and meta description length
Google’s new habit to rewrite titles and meta descriptions also show up if the length of the elements is too big or too short. So here are some tips to avoid any of your titles and descriptions rebuilt in SERP. As for the titles, the best idea is to keep them around 60 characters. For meta descriptions, the optimal length is around 160 characters.
Add the emotional appeal
The best way to make your titles and descriptions emotional is to treat them as if they were your ads. Any time you write a title, think of would you and your colleagues appreciate the CTA and click a snippet if you are the searcher. In addition, there are dedicated tools that can help you here. For example, this headline analyzer will show you the appeal score, type of marketing appeal, and offers some ideas for inspiration and improvement:
Note that no matter how emotional your title is, do not use click-baiting. Even if you manage to attract users with a title like Wow! Boris Johnson is drunk in public, visitors will drop off seconds after they open a page and don’t see anything related to the matter. This will inevitably result in a bounce rate increase. Furthermore, Google can downrank pages where titles don’t have anything in common with actual content.
A/B test your snippets
The best way to check if your optimization effort has worked is to test how they perform compared to previous versions of your snippets. This feature is available in PPC advertising in Google Ads, as well as in different email marketing tools, such as Mailchimp.
Step 4. Optimizing content to earn rich snippets
As Google uses page content to build rich snippets and it really helps to get more clicks. That’s why you need to know the best practices of content optimization to make your SERP snippet look like, say, this:
Or even get a featured snippet like this:
Optimize content with keywords
If you want your page to rank for a certain keyword, you need to have this keyword on your page. What’s more, the keyword should be used in the relevant context. Google always said that you should create content for people, not for search engines. This means that your content should be easy to read and understand as if you’re talking to a friend. Be clear and descriptive.
With this in mind, you should not neglect content quality guidelines and be aware of what your competitors do. As for the latter, you can find some assistance in the Yoast SEO plugin (for WordPress sites) or the Content Editor module of WebSite Auditor.
Content Editor lets you analyze a page’s content based on your top SERP competitors. The tool will also suggest opportunities for improvement, for example, show additional keywords to use in your content.
Content Editor calculates the general optimization score for the analyzed page and lets you make improvements right in the tool.
Mind proper content structure
Content should be readable as well as meaningful. If you neglect content structure, people would hardly stay on your page trying to figure anything out.
One of the easiest ways to check readability is the Hemingway App. Just copy your text and paste it into the app to see the suggestions:
Don’t forget to use proper HTML formatting, as it helps search engines figure out the content and form rich snippets:
- use H2, H3, H4 headings
- use paragraphs and subparagraphs
- utilize word formatting (bold, italics, etc.)
- create alt texts for images
- add lists
Optimize for local search
If you operate a local business (a shop with a physical location, a cafe, a hotel, a barbershop, etc.), then you have to consider local SEO tactics to increase your positions as well as CTR. For example:
- create and fill out Google Business Profile (former GMB) listing
- add your business to Google Maps
- partner up with other local businesses to get mentions
- build NAP citations
- be active in social media
- use local landmarks to mention in your content
Embed Schema markup
Schema markup is a semantic vocabulary of tags added to a page’s HTML. These tags are super-easy to understand for search engines and help them identify what type of content a page features. Then search engines pull that data to SERP to form a rich snippet.
Some types of content trigger rich results more often, so you should definitely add Schema to your page if it features like:
- Book reviews
- Movies and songs
To add Schema to your page, you can go to Google Structured Data Markup Helper. The tool offers 12 types of schemas, which is more than enough for starters. All you need is to choose the type of schema, mark the elements on your page, copy the piece of code generated by the tool and add it to your page’s HTML.
If you are a more experienced user, you can choose various schemas at Schema.org.
Improving organic CTR involves both technical and creative work. Hope that it becomes easier for you now as you know where to find the best opportunities and what exactly you should do to earn the desired clicks. May these tips help you a lot!
About The Author
Zlata Verzhbitskaiais a writer at SEO PowerSuite. She loves to find curious SEO facts and live-test them during awesome field experiments to further provide readers with useful content.