10 Methods to Increase CTR and Traffic

One of the most important things about SEO has to do with click-through rate (CTR) and the effects this has on actual traffic.

As you well know, a site with a good ranking in the search page isn’t the only thing of importance when it comes to receiving traffic. A CTR that’s not as good can minimize the importance of results.

To get a realistic estimation of your site’s CTR, the best tool you can use for free is your webmaster tools account. After you’re logged in, click on Search traffic > Search queries and check the CTR column that’s available in your account.
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You also have the With change option at your disposal. This lets you view the trend the search has in terms of positioning and CTR percentage. The webmaster tools account also offers valuable info about the number of searches you made for a certain keyword as well as data regarding the number of actual clicks and traffic for each search.

Factors that influence click intention

The most important factors which influence the click intention are these:

  • Page title;
  • Description quality;
  • The way the page URL is displayed;
  • User’s trust in the site (in case they’ve already visited one of the website’s pages).

Given that these elements are known, you can come up with a strategy to increase the CTR by influencing them.

Your final purpose is to increase the number of clicks on the result offered by your site’s page to the detriment of your competition. You need to understand that these elements are a promise of the fact that visitors will find the info they’re interested in as soon as they click on the respective result.

Ways to improve the CTR

Modifying page titles

It’s been shown that a well-written title holds a high importance on a user’s decision to click on a certain result.

  1. To increase the CTR value it is essential that pages’ titles attract users’ curiosity, thus making them choose the respective result instead of the one on another page. For example, something like “How to increase your site’s traffic” is less appropriate than “10 tested ways of increasing traffic“. The latter title is more likely to make the user click on the respective result.
  2. Re-writing those titles which don’t sound attractive to a user.

If you already own a site with a lot of published posts / pages, it’s difficult and not recommended to do a mass change in titles. One of Google’s patents relating to spammer detection talks about frequent changes in titles made by spammers.

So, in case you own a website, we recommend to only modify the titles of those pages that will be published. If you decide to make changes at this level, you can start with the pages that have a big number of views (according to Webmaster Tools), but a small number of clicks and low traffic. You can make this changes gradually while at the same time looking at data concerning CTR shown in the WT account.

Meta description

The most important element that influences the CTR apart from a page’s title is meta description. Situated right under the title in the results offered by search engines, the meta description plays a major role in click intention. A less inspired description makes the user avoid the respective result. That’s because they think the page doesn’t offer the info they need.

Even though it no longer plays a role in terms of positioning, the meta description is very important in attracting users. As a general rule, this meta description must talk about what the page actually contains. Don’t add info which has nothing to do with what the page is about. The meta description can increase the CTR value in the short run, but it determines a high bounce rate and a big value for return to SERP followed by a click on another result. A fake meta description may have unwanted consequences for your site on the long run. This can make Google add the site to the low-quality category because of users’ behavior.

To increase the meta description’s visibility, you can use the following methods depending on the characteristics of the site you want to modify:

  1. Delete the date from the page’s source code. The tests I personally conducted showed an increase of 10% for the pages whose info regarding the publishing date was removed. Google practically displays this date in SERP. A date that’s been deleted decreases the interest of users. The latter will consider that page outdated;delete-publish-date
  2. Rewrite the description of all pages to improve the CTR. This action can be done any time you want as long as you comply with rules related to quality;
  3. Use rating stars in the case of products listed in virtual shops or review sites;rating-stars-review
  4. Use standards offered by schema.org in case of, say, recipe sites. Using this standard makes it possible to show images of respective recipes in SERP, which will determine increased values for the CTR;recipes-schema.org
  5. Use schema.org to display product prices and stocks in the case of virtual shops;
  6. The use of authorship can increase the CTR values. Although it appears that Google gave up on the authorship at the moment, it seems this element continues to display the author’s name in the searches, without displaying the photo. This can be an advantage if you produce quality content.

The way the page’s URL is displayed

Google displays in SERPs, right under the description, the URL of the page it refers to. This can play an important role in case it contains keywords that make the result a promising one for the user. To increase the probability of a visitor to click on a result, you can use these methods:

  1. Add breadcrumbs / navigation ways in the site’s structure. These are displayed in the search results in a specific way which may lead to an increase in the CTR. It has also been shown that sites using this method appear to be more trustful for users.breadcrumbs-example
  2. Rewrite URLs if the site uses a method that’s not SEO friendly. It’s recommended to delete, from the URLs generated after they’ve been rewritten, liaison words (and, in, to, how) and keep keywords of interest used for the search. In case you already have a SEO friendly structure, you can change the structure of the links as long as there’s a 301 redirect from the old page toward the new one.

User trust in the site

A quality site is one which offers users the info they need without having to wait too long after visiting the page.

Considering these aspects, you need to understand that, in order to earn the trust of people visiting your site, the info displayed must be high in quality.

Don’t try to deceive your visitors’ trust via unorthodox methods. The latter will turn against you and your site will be avoided.

Conclusion

Improving the CTR is an ongoing and difficult process. To obtain long-term results, your sites must offer quality info so that the clicks done on results get a high conversion.

By applying these 10 strategies of improving the CTR, you can increase the site’s visibility during searches. That way you will obtain clients and a targeted traffic.

Catalin Nichita is the founder of SEOVerse.com project. Catalin has about 6 years of experience in SEO and is specialized in penalty removals and website audits.

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