Recently I’ve discovered that sticking to basic tactics isn’t nearly enough to increase the website CTR (click through rate). Changing how title tags and meta descriptions are written can be effective, but they’re a bit too simple for truly making your website thrive. Another easy strategy often used is adding sales promotion to the meta description. In fact, a study by Adobe found that CTR increased by 86 percent when they replaced unbranded messaging with branded messaging. I’d like to take this opportunity to step beyond this simple yet useful techniques to bring you more advanced strategies that boost website CTR quickly.
1. Test Headlines Before You Publish
Headlines are known for selling newspapers and magazines. Your website is no different. It’s advised that you have several headlines for the content on your web pages and test each of them for CTR. Using this WordPress plug-in is very helpful here. Of course, there are numerous other tools out there that allow you to display different titles to a set of people over a period of time. This is often referred to as A/B or split testing.
You can then look for the title with the best CTR before publishing it to all of your website’s readers. Before naming his book, Tim Ferriss had tested several titles through AdSense. “Four-Hour Workweek” was crowned champion and eventually became a best-seller. Your website could also garner the same success by doing extra homework on headline choices.
2. Keep Website Content Up-to-Date
Publishing evergreen content is vital for receiving a better website CTR. For instance, would you click on a title in your Google search results that reads “Best Relationship Advice for 2011?” You certainly wouldn’t thanks to the old date. This web page might still contain content that is relevant today though. If your website contains such posts, it’s best to change the titles so that they can remain dateless and be re-crawled by the search engines.
Most importantly, you must also remove the post dates. In an experiment by ShoutMeLoud, the website removed its post dates and received around 10,000 page views daily. When the dates were added back in, views plummeted to 5,757, which was nearly a 40 percent drop in traffic overnight. Eliminating post dates will make readers continually drawn to your content, even months or years from its original publish.
3. Check for Spam Red Flags
Being viewed by the search engines as spam is one of the top reasons for websites to have a low CTR. If Google believes your website offers no real value to its users, then it won’t give you a good ranking or feature your website in the SERP. Use a magnifying class to carefully search your website for these prominent red flags:
– Your website is huge, but there’s few links.
– Most of the links to your website are from a few domains.
– Your web pages consistently have little content.
– Your URL contains a numeral.
– Your site’s pages don’t show any contact information.
– There’s a large number of external links and only a few internal links.
– Your website has an abnormally long domain name stuffed with keywords.
All of the above are warning signs that you’ll be sent to the doghouse and considered spammy by the search engines. If your website is sporting several of these red flags and others not mentioned here, you’ll need to get your hands dirty cleaning it up. Take advantage of online tools like Spam Score by Moz to help eliminate spam-like features on your website.
4. Leave a Trail of Breadcrumbs
Having a breadcrumb tail aids in navigation for both site visitors and the search engines. If your website has one, Google will most likely display this in the search results. The appearance of a breadcrumb trail in the results can urge potential visitors to actually click on your links and enter your website. Actually, Google prefers breadcrumbs. Ensure that you have a proper hierarchical structure so that browsing becomes easier and more meaningful to your viewers. This is a crucial component of semantic markup.
Let’s explore the idea of semantic markup in a bit more detail. Breadcrumbs enable navigation of your website by following a hierarchy. For example, an online store may use the hierarchy of Apparel > Men > Trousers to help men find the company’s pant options. If you use breadcrumbs to markup information in this manner, Google will replace the URL of your website and display the breadcrumbs. Potential visitors then receive more relevant information to fuel their clicking decisions.
Getting into the nitty-gritty of achieving this, you must know that Google recognizes the breadcrumb title and URL along with the subsequent breadcrumb, which is called the breadcrumb child.
The last page should not have anchor text to self URL and more detailed info on breadcrumb structured data is explained by Google.
5. Cook Up Better CTR with Recipe Markup
There are thousands of websites floating through cyberspace that speak about recipes and cooking. The question is how to get ahead of competitors and gain better website CTR. Enabling rich snippet data for recipes could be the perfect answer.
The important ingredients that make up this data markup are an image of the recipe, preparation time, ingredients, nutritional information, and recipe reviews. The Google Developer’s website gives detailed information on HTML codes for recipe markup. There’s specific guidelines listed on how to go about creating this markup too.
6. Speak the Language of Search Engines
It’s the duty of webmasters to make it simple for search engines to find their websites and provide a great ranking. This can be achieved by speaking the language of the latest search engine algorithms. In other words, you should be incorporating structured data markup to get ahead with website CTR.
Keying in certain special codes around specific information will immediately grab attention from the search engines. These codes urge Google to display rich snippets on your SERP. Some of the content types that can be highlighted include products, people, lists, events, and recipes. Webmasters looking for coding information and specific data markup structure should head over to schema.org.
7. Obtain More Secondary Clicks
High-quality online directories almost always feature at the top of search engine results. Web surfers are more likely to click on them and find your website if you’re offering what they’re searching for. Take advantage of these directories to garner more secondary clicks to your web pages and drive up your website CTR. Make certain that the description of your business is rich with relevant keywords in these directories for best results.
Another method that can be used to draw in more secondary clicks is by sponsoring stories. Content syndication networks like Outbrain and Taboola allow you to set a budget as small as $10 per day while sponsoring their content. The pricing generally works on a cost-per-click model. Using this advanced tactic can provide a shortcut to premium publishers on the World Wide Web for increasing your website CTR.
8. Go Local with 7-Pack Results
After its Pigeon update, Google has increasingly placed an emphasis on location by using the distance between searchers and businesses in crafting search results. This is actually fantastic news for local businesses seeking better CTR. Google displays about seven results in vertical order that provide specific information about businesses. Local customers will immediately see the company name, address, phone number, and review ratings. The best thing about these results is that they’re organic.
So, how can your business benefit from it? Follow these steps to grab your well-deserved spot in the 7-pack results:
– Your own website: It’s an absolute must that your business has its own website.
– Google Local and map listings: Claim your local listing on Google Local and ensure that all information is accurately filled out. The location of your business on Google Maps must be perfect too.
– Local directories: List your business in all local directories that you come across. The ones that use Google Maps should attract special attention from you.
– Consistency in data display: You can’t have addresses that vary from one website to another, especially in local directories. Stay consistent.
– Increase your website authority: This can be achieved through gaining relevant citations and backlinks that matter to your local business.
With mobile searches becoming more geo-centric today, 7-pack results can drastically improve your website CTR. Mobile results don’t always come in sets of seven though and may go down as low as two sometimes. According toMoz, the 7-pack SERP of retailers and general merchandisers is around 29.6 percent. Travel and tourism has the highest impact at 36.2 percent. This means CTR of local businesses is highly dependent on 7-pack results.
9. Enrich Your Snippets
Creating rich snippets on SERP means adding good information for display right below your website link in search engines. Snippets give data like ranking, reviews, price range, and specialties. Simply put, it’s about adding a five-star rating on the rich snippet with review markup. Rich snippet data is geared towards imparting more knowledge on readers to allow users quicker clicking decisions. Google recognizes such data and ranks the web page higher.
Google even prescribes specific markup formats for this purpose so that crawlers can easily recognize the rich snippet data. Ultimately, the result will be a higher website CTR. For help with data markup, you can always visit the database displayed on schema.org. According to Search Engine Land, retail firms can increase their traffic up to 30 percent through structured data. Even auto giants like Volkswagen and Renault are reaping these benefits. The moment you start using review markup, you’ll gain the attention of search engines.
Overall, you must understand that visibility is vital for garnering enough clicks. With Google being very specific about what it indexes, you must conform to the search engine’s results. It goes without saying that remaining on page one of search results is key. Studies have shown that 71.33 percent of organic clicks are acquired by websites on page one. Pages two and three account for just 5.59 percent of the clicks. Make certain you’re using these advanced tactics to increase your rankings and website CTR for a better online presence.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant, named the #1 social media consultant in the nation by PROskore Power Rankings. He has expertise in business development, online marketing and is an SEO specialist who has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and a number of A-list celebrities.