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Finding & Optimizing Click Through Rates For SEO

Hi there I’m Chris Berkley and if you don’t already know I’m a digital marketing consultant who makes videos about SEO topics. In this one I’m going to talk about click-through rate which is not specifically an SEO concept, it really applies to any type of digital advertising but I’m going to look at it with more of an SEO lens. First, we’ll start with a definition: click through rate is basically just the number of – it’s a percentage it’s a fraction it’s a decimal – it is the number of times that somebody clicked on something divided by the number of times that that thing appeared.

Most of the time you’re going to look at those two numbers in terms of clicks and impressions with clicks being the number of times somebody clicked and impressions being the number of times it showed up.

So in the scheme of SEO click rate is going to be the number of times that someone clicked on your webpage divided by the number of times that your webpage appeared in search results. So that’s great but how do you get those numbers and how do you know what your click through rate is. The answer is Google Search Console which is something that I use almost as much as I use Google Analytics. It provides all these numbers for you and it’s free to sign up which I’ll show you how to do in another video as well. So let’s dig in a little bit and look at some of the ways that we can look at click through rate, clicks, and impressions in Search Console.

Once you’ve logged in to Search Console, in order to get any type of click-through rate data, you have to go to Search Analytics and click on that.

And then this will bring up the base set of data is going to be focused on clicks and queries. Clicks will be the number of clicks to the site and it’s going to look at it on a per keyword basis. For the purpose of click-through rate, this isn’t that beneficial because we know that the Meta Description is going to appear for most of the keywords that are driving clicks to the site and it’s not keyword specific so we’ll be better off to look at it at a page level. And then if we click on the CTR box up here this orange line will be the CTR so you can map out trends. You can also look at the aggregate CTR value (this is for all the pages on the site) but what’s probably most helpful is if you scroll down, scroll lower go over to the rightmost column and it’s going to show you the CTR data on a page by page basis.

That’s probably most helpful.

If you want to benchmark that you can pick a particular date range – there are a couple presets or you can do custom. So you might want to look at the click-through rate for a particular month – you can filter that data and then if you want you’re probably best off to export it and go all the way down the bottom, click download, and then get that data into a CSV or an Excel sheet. The ad then if you want you can run some tests, try some different meta descriptions come back after the tests have run and re-pull that data and then compare the numbers for before and after to see what the increase was.

There are a couple other things in here you can do as well – you can add filters for the country, filters by device – that may give you some insights into where you’re underperforming on a geographic or device basis and then that may inform the way that you do the tests a little bit.

Overall I think Google Search Console is a really underrated tool and this gives you some really crucial data that most people probably don’t look at as much as they should and may help you optimize your meta descriptions to get more traffic. So now that you know your click-through rates, or at least you know how to go get them and where to find them, the next question becomes: what do we do with this information? Obviously, a higher click-through rate is better because the higher the click-through rate the more traffic you’ll get but the question becomes how do you improve the click through rate? Well, one very simple answer is being ranked better.

Obviously higher ranked pages get a higher click-through rate than lower ranked pages because one, two and three are generally positions that receive more traffic.

That’s very easy to say “well yeah just get your page ranked better” but not always as easy as it sounds because especially in competitive industries we know that can be very difficult. So another way that you can actually influence a click through rate without being ranked better at all is to tweak the title and the meta description. The meta description in particular because since we know the description is not a ranking factor, it’s not as critical if we change what’s in it, or you know, we don’t have to worry as much about including relevant keywords so from there you know if we can improve our meta description then we can improve the click-through rate without actually being ranked any better which sounds like a pretty easy way especially when you consider that new meta descriptions are really easy to implement.

So from there you know you can look at using different CTAs, different language, making sure that your search result stands out from other people, you know trying different meta descriptions A/B testing them even over a period of time and comparing which one had higher click-through rate.

These are all things that you can do in order to improve that and one question you might have is “what’s the right number, what should my click-through rate be?” and there’s not really a great answer to that. It really depends on your business and the industry, your site. There are some numbers out there where people have done studies and said that in certain industries this is a pretty typical click through rate, but you know, it’s hard to tell how accurate those are and my general attitude is “let’s just look at where you’re at now and try to improve that and constantly get better at it.” I think that’s more productive – it’s easier to try to be better than you were than to try to aspire to a number that you may not know to be actually accurate.

Also worth noting that click-through rate can be looked at in a lot of different ways depending on the type of keyword. For example, we know that branded keywords are going to have a much higher click through rate. If someone is searching for a particular brand they’re more likely to click on that than they are a more generic keyword.

Also keywords in different parts of the funnel. So if you have keywords that have words like ‘cost’ or ‘signup’ – things like this we know that people have done their research, they’re ready to buy and they’re probably more inclined to click on those or your results as a result of that. So again, click through rate can be influenced a lot of different ways. I like to do it by tweaking meta descriptions and if you can get more traffic from that then that’s a positive thing

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