One of the best ways to decrease digital marketing spend and increase sales is to generate more qualified clicks from the content you already have. In other words, focus on increasing your click-through rates.
What is click-through rate (CTR)?
Click-through rate (CTR) is the number of clicks you receive divided by the number of people who see your result in organic search results, also known as impressions:
For example, if 10 people look at organic search results and 5 of those people click on the Wikipedia result, the result will have an organic CTR of 50%:
Why It’s Important to Increase Your CTR
If people constantly click on your title more than other titles in the SERPs, Google will push your page up in the rankings. This is great news, as moving up just one position in organic search results can increase your click-through rate by 30.8%.
Additionally, increasing your CTR will allow you to allocate your marketing budget more efficiently, as you can generate more sales with the resources you already have.
If people aren’t interested enough to click on your title, it doesn’t matter if you have great content, because no one will read it without clicking on it.
But the best part is, unlike paid ads or social media, there is no cost to increase your clicks.
8 Proven Tricks To Increase Your Organic CTR
Here are some simple ways to improve your organic click-through rates.
Add the Year to Your Title Tag
One of the best ways to automatically increase your CTR is to update your title tag to include the current year. ClickFlow data also supports this, showing that title tags that include the current year receive a 50-150% CTR increase.
As you can see, Google also tends to show results that include the year in the title, especially in rapidly changing industries (like marketing):
The only caveat with adding the year (or even the month) to your title tag is that you have to update it not only in the title tag but also in the content itself to match current trends.
For example, if you have a Search Engine Optimization Guide for 2021, but it contains outdated tactics like keyword stuffing, not only would it be irrelevant in 2021, but information that was previously useful is now really harmful to the reader.
By the way, there is a lot of information that says that you can have the Yoast SEO plugin automatically update the year on all your title tags, but unfortunately, they discontinued this service a few months ago so the information is no longer relevant:
Therefore, when updating the title tag, make sure the information in the article or blog post is also up to date.
The good news is that taking the time to update your content along with the year in the title tag will give you a considerable SEO boost. One study showed that 51% of companies said that updating old content was the most effective content marketing tactic of the past year.
Learn Copywriting Basics
Quality copywriting has a powerful impact on conversions. British advertising mogul David Ogilvy famously said:
“On average, five times more people read the headline than the body of the text. After writing your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
The art of copywriting essentially studies psychology to understand why people click and how to optimize content for them to click.
If you want to dig deeper, here are some great resources you can use to learn how to write:
- Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene M. Schwartz
- The Boron Letters by Gary C. Halbert
In the meantime, here are some of the best writing tips to instantly increase your conversions.
Add some emotion to your words. Emotion is a powerful psychological tool that you can use to simulate clicks. In fact, bonds that include a positive sentiment generate a 7.4% higher CTR, and even bonds with a negative sentiment generate a 7.2% higher CTR than neutral bonds.
For example, a title like this evokes emotion: this wedding session is changing the perception of people with Down syndrome.
An example of a B2B emotional headline might be: How I Escaped the Content Hamster Wheel.
These headlines are emotional, not because of the language used, but rather because of the topic. Which leads to the next writing tip …
Avoid using powerful words, such as:
Today, many powerful words like these are perceived as click-inducers and receive 13.9% fewer clicks as a result:
Another great writing trick to increase your click-through rate is to turn your title into a question. Titles that contain questions have a 14.1% higher CTR than those without questions.
This is most likely because voice search is on the rise, which is why people are phrasing their questions in full sentences directly on Google.
You can use a tool like an Answer the Public to find the most popular questions on your topic, and then use the most relevant one as a title. Typing in the keyword “copywriting” generates 57 questions containing that keyword:
Finally, if you want some smart headline templates, go to Buzzfeed, a company that knows how to create intriguing headlines. Here are some examples of title templates that you can swipe (just remove any powerful words):
- 25 Amazing TV Characters That Kind Of Sucked In The Beginning, According To Fans
- This Stunning Birth Photo Captures Something That Occurs In Less Than 1 in 80,000 Births
- The Seven Benefits of Green Tea (Number Six Will Shock You!)
- This Incredible Bridal Shoot Is Changing Perceptions Of People With Down Syndrome
- Most People Have Trouble Naming 19/25 Of These Yellow Things — Do You?
Entice Your Audience with On-SERP SEO
As Google tries to improve the user experience, more and more searches result in zero clicks. In fact, one study found that more than 50% of Google searches end without a click, which is detrimental to your organic click-through rate.
One way to help combat clickless searches is with SERP SEO, a strategy in which you optimize your blog post or page for the highest possible visibility on the results pages. The more your brand appears in the SERPs, the greater the chance that someone will click on your page.
So how can you motivate the reader to click on your result, even if they get the answer in the featured snippet?
For example, if you already have the featured snippet, consider adding a few extra points so the reader has to click through to see the full results. Google usually shows the first 5 to 7 points before including a link to your website that says “More Items…”:
Just be sure to keep monitoring your snippets, as a study by Britney Muller shows that Google sometimes pulls you out of the snippet if your result is too long. However, this generally applies more to a featured snippet in paragraph form (rather than bullet point).
Also, try adding an element of curiosity to one of your tips to encourage the reader to click. For example, the first tip in this example is followed by “(not what you think it should be)”:
This adds mystery, which intrigues the reader when they click on your website. The only caveat is that you must have something really surprising or interesting to say in your article. Don’t resort to clickbait or your bounce rate will increase!
And even if you don’t get the click, try branding yourself on the SERP so that users are familiar with your branding. Adding your brand name to the title tag is a great way to do this.
Use FAQ Schema Markup
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) page contains a list of questions and answers related to a particular topic. Properly marked FAQ pages may be eligible for improved search and action in the Google Assistant, which can help your site reach the right users.
Tagging the FAQ scheme allows you to capture more properties in the SERPs, even if you are not in the first place. It is similar to Google response cards, but instead of Google getting responses from multiple sites, it only gets information from your site.
Here is an example of FAQ Schema markup:
Neil Patel’s data shows that if you rank lower on the page (numbers 3 to 10), you will see an increase in click-through rate by adding the FAQ schema.
However, if you are already first in the ranking, you can see your organic CTR decrease. So use this tip carefully.
Keep Your Titles Short
Although writing your own titles is one of the best practices for digital marketing, the reality is that Google can change them however it sees fit. One of the best ways to prevent Google from changing your title tag is to follow their guidelines for keeping title tags below 600 pixels with the help of this Google SERP display tool from SmartSearch Marketing:
A shorter title tag not only prevents Google from changing it, but it also shows an increase in organic clicks. Research from ClickFlow and Backlinko shows that title tags between 15 and 40 characters have 8.6% higher CTRs than those outside this character range:
This data also makes sense, as the cut title tags do not allow the reader to fully understand what the post is about:
Another way to increase your organic click-through rate is to include keywords in the URL.
Research shows that including the keyword in your URL can increase your organic CTR by up to 45%:
Additionally, Google’s best practice guidelines state that you should use friendly URLs, which contain your main search terms. Specifically, they state that your URL must include “words that are relevant to the content of your website.”
Including your keyword in the title tag is also good practice. When writing your title tags, put your keyword at the beginning, not the end.
There is also a slight correlation between higher rankings and title tags that contain keywords. A higher ranking, of course, also offers much more chance of increasing your clicks:
To find relevant keywords and exact language permutations that people use when searching for your solution, you can use a keyword research tool like:
Use Google Search Console
Most people use keyword research tools before writing their content, but few go back and make adjustments after their post is published. While we do our best to select keywords that the post has a good chance of ranking for in search results, the reality is that many pages end up being ranked for keywords that we never intended to rank for.
For example, let’s say you have a post titled: Why You Should Take Advantage of Video Marketing
In Google Search Console, however, you may notice that the query that receives the highest impression count is “video engagement.”
If you adjust your title tag to include the keyword “video engagement,” your click-through rate will skyrocket for this search term because it is now more relevant to what people are searching for.
To find this information in Google Search Console, log in and click on “Performance”:
From there, click on “Pages” and select the blog post you want to work on:
If you have a lot of blog posts, you can filter them by clicking the filter button and typing the URL:
After selecting the page, it should appear at the top. Now click on “Queries”:
Finally, you should be able to sort by impressions and find keywords that have a lot of impressions and few clicks.
Ideally, just add one keyword to the title tag, although you can also add a few to your meta description and even boost your rankings by sprinkling some into your text:
Write Meta Descriptions
There has been a lot of debate in the SEO community about whether or not it is useful to include meta descriptions simply because Google seems to rewrite them frequently.
Ahrefs recently did a study that showed Google rewrites meta descriptions 62.78% of the time:
So is it really worth writing a meta description? Despite the fact that Google often rewrites its meta descriptions, the data shows that a page with a meta description still receives about 5.8% more clicks than those without meta descriptions:
So, take a few more seconds to write a meta description to increase your organic CTRs.
Increasing organic click-through rates is one of the most underrated digital marketing tactics, such as:
It takes very little time to adjust a title.
There is no cost to increase your clicks
The more qualified clicks you generate, the more likely you are to make a sale.
If you are familiar with the 80/20 rule, this is one of the 20% that can actually produce 80% of the results. Start incorporating this into your weekly digital marketing routine.