Increasing organic CTR is one of the goals of website SEO. It will get you more traffic for your existing content. More traffic with little tweaks to trigger more clicks. You can increase traffic with the same amount of impressions and stay at the same search engine rank position.
Creating content and getting quality backlinks are generally time and resource consuming. While increasing CTR can be considered as a quick win using your existing content.
In this guide I will explain how to increase your organic CTR with examples.
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What is Organic CTR?
CTR stands for Click Through Rate and is calculated by percentage of clicks related to impressions. Organic CTR means click through rate for impressions on organic search engine results page. Organic CTR is click through rate in Google search.
When users search for information on google they will see top 10 results on page one and click on one of them. Our goal is to get more clicks by standing out from other results and inviting more users to visit our website.
Why is it important to increase organic CTR?
Here are two main reasons to increase organic CTR:
Reason 1: Get more traffic from same position
Your content is already ranking for target keywords on Google results. You can try to get to the number 1 spot in search engine results but it is very difficult and not possible for every keyword on your website. So What you can do is increase your CTR for existing positions.
For example if your article ranks on the first page for target keyword and gets 100 visitors per month with CTR is 3%. If you increase your CTR to 6% you will double your visitors from that keyword.
Reason 2: Organic CTR is ranking signal
There is an average CRT for every position on a search engine results page. Results on position 1 have much higher CTR compared to other positions. Mainly because users see result at position #1 first and click on it if that is what they were looking for.
In the same manner there is a known average for every position. What happens when you increase your CTR your content will behave like it belongs to a higher position. Google measures it for some period and after making sure that you are not cheating with CTR ranks your content higher.
CTR helps to understand search engines’ effectiveness of their algorithm and what type of result users want to see.
How to increase Organic CTR?
Here are 9 steps that will increase your organic click through rate.
1. Use [brackets] and (parentheses) in title
Brackets and parentheses draw attention to the title and highlight the main advantage of your article. Users instantly read content of the brackets and click if that is what they were looking for.
Also there is a study by HubSpot that measured 3.3 million titles where content with brackets gets 38% more clicks compared to titles without it.
2. Include numbers or current year in title
Page title with number or current year increases CTR. Check this titles:
- Sport shoes 27% off
- Best gaming laptops 2022
- 17 great locations to visit this summer
They all grab attention and will increase CTR for your articles. If you are using a big number then do not round it. For example “New York 13,482 apartments for rent” instead of 13k apartments.
3. Use emotions in title
Emotions make us human. We always make decisions based on positive or negative emotions. Use emotion words (free, awesome, great, happy etc. ) in your page title to get more clicks.
While using emotional words do not make your title look like a click bait. Users will leave your website once they realize that your content is not delivering what they are expecting.
4. Use Title Case
Title case is another way to grab attention. In the title case every word starts with a capital letter and helps to read and understand your page titles faster. This will lead to making decisions for clicking and visiting your web page faster.
Making it easy to read your titles gives perception of easy reading for content that you provide on your website.
5. Optimize meta description
Meta description is also visible in google search results. Write a custom description for each article. Do not leave it empty nor automate it with SEO plugins. Always write meta descriptions manually. Hand written descriptions will cover your topic better and give preview of what users will get from that page.
Most popular SEO plugins have custom title and description form for posts, pages and categories. You can also preview search engine result snippets for mobile and desktop devices. Tool suggests optimal character length for title and description.
Best practices when writing Meta Descriptions:
- Use the focus keyword in description in a natural way.
- Write an action oriented description that solves user problems or answers to user intent.
- Do not trick users for clicks by writing descriptions not relevant to your article. Make sure that your article provides what you offer in description.
6. Target for Featured snippet
Featured snippets are quick answers to user searches. They appear at the top (position #0) and are irrelevant to page rank. This means your content can show up in featured snippets even if your page is not in top 10 results.
Analyze what featured snippets show for your target keyword. Write short answers to user questions using simple language. Learn more about featured snippets from google.
Featured snippets are calculated from meta description of content that appears on the page. It is a way of showing quick answers to user questions or voice search.
7. Use rich snippets and images
Rich snippets have extra formatting that makes search results more informative and attractive. Use structured data (also known as schema markup) to show rich snippets in search results to increase CTR. Rich snippets can include image, user reviews with star rating, offer price, item stock status, recipe steps etc.
Rich snippets can be added to WordPress with SEO plugins. For article pages structured data will include the featured image. I use Rank Math so featured images in WordPress posts automatically added to article structured data. Learn more about using images in structured data.
There are many schema content types that have different fields. Select the appropriate one for your content.
Using structured data provides more info about your content to search engines. But they do not guarantee showing them always. Google algorithm decides when and which provided information in the search results page.
You can check which structured data collected for pages on your website using Google Search Console reports.
8. Get sitelinks by using table of contents
Sitelinks appear within search results allowing navigation to particular sections on your page or website. When users see related areas on your page they are more likely to click. This will increase your organic click through rate.
Screenshot above shows how table of contents (jump links, section links, links with hashtag # ) is displayed as sitelinks for pages in search engine results.
To create sections to be displayed as sitelinks use a table of contents inside articles. You can crease section links manually switching to HTML view in WordPress.
It is possible to automate section links with WordPress plugin. I use the Easy Table of Contents plugin on my blog. With the plugin you can enable it per article or turn on for all articles. Plugin will use your subheadings (H2, H3) as link text where subheading location will be link destination.
9. Find pages to improve low organic CTR
CTR for organic search results can be viewed in Google Search Console. You can access it after adding your site to search console. Navigate to the “Performance” page and order posts by impression in descending order. At the top of the page click on “Average CTR” and “Average position” button so they will be shown in the performance table.
You will see sea search queries with most impressions. Take note of search terms with low CTR. Look for CTR values smaller than 3-5%. Then click on the search term and take note of the page URL for it. After finding pages to work with, check if recommendations listed in this article for improving CTR can be applied to them.
If you have queries with CTR 0% and page position bigger than 10 then you can filter them out. Those articles are not ranking well. You may need to improve content for them if they are old articles. Or add more relevant pages and give some time (a couple months) if they are new articles. You cannot improve CTR of articles that are not on page one in google search results.
Keep in mind to check CTR for its corresponding position as well. For example position #1 has average CTR 42%. Try to increase keyword CTR if it is smaller than this average on potion #1.
Other than improving CTR for existing content keep in mind these suggestions for future articles as well. So they will be already optimized when they reach the first page on google.
Google organic CTR breakdown by position
Organic CTR varies by position of the page. First result always has a higher click through rate. I have analyzed organic CTR values for this website and they are close to results published by other researchers.
Chart created using search console data for veppa.com website for the last 3 months in July 2022. Average CTR for the website is 11.1%.
Using CTR distribution for Organic search results we can see what should be click through rate for each position. If you have a page at position 6-10 then you should aim for CTR value close to 5%. For position #1 CTR should be around 42%.
Not optimizing your content for expected CTR may lower your search engine position in the future. So it is advised to optimize for organic CTR.
What is a good organic CTR?
Generally good organic CTR is 3-5%. It depends on website location, industry, type, result position, competition etc. You can see the average CTR for your website using Google Search Console. Good CTR will be just above the average value.
Here are good organic CTR values per position in search results (they are just above average):
- Position #1 → CTR 43%
- Position #2 → CTR 15%
- Position #3 → CTR 13%
- Position #4 → CTR 8%
- Position #5 → CTR 7%
- Position #6-9 → CTR 4%
- Position #10 → CTR 1.5%
Why is my organic CTR dropping?
There might be several reasons for drop in organic CTR:
- Website ranking might be affected by Google algorithm update.
- New content which is not ranking well yet can drop overall average CTR a bit.
- Keyword cannibalization (when more than one page qualifies for the same search query) can be the reason for drop in CTR.
Increasing organic CTR is possible using optimizations that will show in the search engine results page. By increasing CTR you will get more traffic. It is difficult to move your ranking up but it is easier to optimize your content to increase CTR on existing positions. When your content gets more CTR compared to higher search result positions then over time you can outrank them.
Keep in mind these optimizations and always use them when creating new content. This way your content will always be optimized for higher click through rate.
Learn more search engine optimization tips.