Guide to drive clicks and engagement

How does SEO Click-Through Rate influence SERP and why it is important?

But most importantly, how can you improve it? Many of us ask these questions for a simple reason: those who want to generate organic traffic must appear within the first results.

There are search engine optimization strategies that enhance the click-through rate, and consequently, the page’s position on the search engine.

If you’re pondering these questions, it’s because you’re fascinated by the mechanisms of SEO or you’ve recently created a website and want to be found by your online audience without spending exorbitant amounts.

I recommend approaching your business professionally and not amateurishly by enrolling in high-quality training like the SEO Course and Digital Marketing Program.

Are you new to digital marketing and SEO strategies? Don’t waste time; get a precise idea of how it works and how to leverage SEO CTR for your business.

What does SEO CTR mean?

CTR is an acronym that stands for click-through rate, translated as the percentage of clicks. It’s an indicator that evaluates the effectiveness of an advertising campaign.

This Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is crucial because it determines the percentage of clicks generated by content in relation to its impressions.

The term “impression” refers to the number of times a banner, an advertisement, a video, or any other content on the web is viewed by users.

In Search Engine Optimization, to simplify, we talk about SEO CTR, indicating how many people have seen your organic search result (not paid).

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How is CTR (Click-Through Rate) calculated?

CTR is calculated as a percentage. It’s calculated by dividing the number of clicks, a link has received, by the number of times it has been viewed by users (impressions) multiplied by 100.

If content is displayed 100 times and only one person clicks on it, the click-through rate will be 1%.

ORGANIC CTR = (number of ORGANIC clicks) / (number of impressions)

Remember that organic clicks do not incur a direct cost for the publisher, as in the case of paid ads.

This metric, based on the percentage of clicks, represents users’ interest in that specific message. A high CTR is important!

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Why is CTR important for SEO?

It’s logical! SEO CTR is important to drive traffic to your website. If few users land on your website, the likelihood of conversion is unlikely.

click through rate seo definition

It goes without saying that if the click-through rate improves, you’ll have more visitors and greater chances of making a sale or getting a lead, achieving the set goal.

Hence, the need for a high Click-Through Rate. This already presupposes how the relationship between CTR and SEO is very close. If hundreds or thousands of people see the result in the SERP but no one clicks on it, you’ve wasted your efforts.

Investing in optimizing CTR in your SEO strategy can lead to an excellent ROI.

Does Click-Through Rate SEO affect SERP?

Google’s goal, like that of all other search engines, is to find the best possible results for its users’ queries while also driving traffic to its properties in the SERP.  This is the starting point for optimizing a website in terms of SEO.

If the site doesn’t meet the searcher’s intent, is outdated, amateurish, or slow to load, it’s very likely to be abandoned immediately.

The user will return to the SERP to click on another result, resulting in a missed conversion and an increase in the page’s bounce rate. Low-quality pages have less chance of ranking.

Your page might appear at the top of Google’s organic search engine results pages (SERP), but it might get a few clicks because it’s not optimized.

What matters most isn’t the views, i.e., impressions, but the traffic your page generates. There are contents at the top of Big G’s ranking that don’t generate conversions!

To improve organic CTR, you need to work on search engine optimization.

Does a page with a higher click-through rate rank better on Google or other search engines?

If you enter the world of SEO, you’ll do nothing but collect and compare data. What can be observed is that the first blue link in Google’s organic search results gets the highest percentage of clicks, approximately 30% on average.

As you can see in the figure below, it’s almost instinctive to click on the first result due to a trust factor. The second result receives significantly fewer clicks.

There’s a drastic drop in the click-through rate from the fourth and fifth positions.

higher ctr rank

Figure 1 – Average CTR based on thousands of keywords in November 2020 worldwide – Source: Advanced Web Ranking

It’s clear that higher positioning results in a higher click-through rate (CTR), but nowadays, this is not the only factor that attracts clicks.

We know from personal experience that before deciding to click, we look beyond the very first results until we find the snippet that best suits our needs, one that promises answers to our queries.

We can state that improving your SEO CTR means generating more traffic to the website without necessarily having to improve your ranking (the position in search engines like Google).

When a user makes a request, the search engine responds with a list of results. People tend to click on the first results on the SERP.

Clicks decrease as you move down the positions, and they drop drastically when you reach the second page. Therefore, a page’s ranking and its CTR are two variables that depend on each other.

Ranking in SEO refers to a website’s position on the search engine results page.

Various ranking factors influence whether a website appears higher or lower on the SERP, such as the relevance of the content to the searched term or the quality of backlinks pointing to the page.

Optimizing CTR is useful for two reasons:

  1. It improves organic ranking (those ranking high receive more clicks).
  2. If more people click on your search results, you generate more traffic – which is undoubtedly positive.

Click-through rate is important for SEO for more than one reason.

Firstly, do you want people to click on your site when they see it in the SERP? The goal is to convince people to click and engage with your content.

Optimizing CTR has an inherent advantage here. Secondly, although Google does not confirm it, it seems that Google actually uses the organic click-through rate as a ranking factor.

It is confirmed that the search engine uses organic CTR for personalized search results. It is also known that SERP results with a higher CTR than expected improve, and those with a lower CTR decrease.

In any case, optimizing CTR will yield results, especially if done on a large scale. To succeed, you need interesting and engaging content, as it’s well known that “content is king“.

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How to improve organic CTR?

Increasing the organic click-through rate is no small feat. SEO specialists do it systematically and often deal with Google algorithm updates, so it’s impossible to establish long-term best practices to perfect organic CTR.

However, we can rely on commonly known SEO strategies and tactics to outline the six best practices that everyone can use.

The top 6 practices to improve SEO CTR:

1. Optimize the title

Titles that generate a higher SEO CTR contain a question, are between 15 and 40 characters long, and include a reference to a positive or negative sentiment – the so-called “emotional” titles that make you recognizable.

2. Optimize your meta description

The meta description itself is not a ranking factor, but if written well, it can increase the click-through rate.

The meta description tag should serve as ad copy, enticing readers to a website from the SERP, and telling potential visitors what to expect from the link they are clicking on. It is a very visible and crucial part of search marketing.

3. Optimize your URL

Structuring the URL is another non-trivial SEO skill. The presence of keywords in URLs impacts the likelihood of clicks from users.

The URL should also be understandable, readable, preferably short, and ideally paired with titles. Your page’s URL is an opportunity to implement a long-tail keyword.

It is one of the few things that appear in the preview of your link to attract clicks. When publishing blog posts or web pages, it is essential to categorize them correctly and subcategorize them.

It adds more keyword opportunities and increases visibility in search engines.

4. Research long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are a vital part of every SEO strategy. By integrating them into your website, you will significantly increase the related organic query volume for which you rank.

Long-tail keywords are key to building a robust sales funnel. While individual keywords can build the top of the funnel, long-tail ones create your middle and lower funnels.

For instance, when a user searches “how to improve SEO CTR” or “meaning of CTR in SEO,” they are clearer than when they search for “CTR” or “CTR SEO”.

5. Create content with images

Images are worth a thousand words when it comes to click-through rates. Images also increase engagement on all social media channels.

You might have noticed that visual content played a significant role in being included in infoboxes. Make sure to include original and relevant visual content in as much content as possible.

6. Optimize site speed

Imagine clicking on a link that takes several seconds to load; what would you do? I would close the window and look for another result to click on, and you?

Perhaps the same. Loading speed is crucial for user experience and improving the click-through rate.


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Google Algorithm: 2021 update

Don’t forget that Google occasionally updates its algorithm, which changes the factors it considers to determine which page is better or worse.

Since May 2021, the update has taken into account user experience for search results ranking. Google will also test displaying a visual indicator highlighting pages in search results that provide an excellent experience.

Google believes providing information about the quality of a web page’s experience can be helpful for users in choosing the search result they want to visit.

On the SERP, the snippet or image preview helps provide current context to users about what information a page may contain.

Soon, Google will show visual indicators on results identifying pages that have met all the criteria of user experience for search engine results pages.

In this context, the report Core Web Vitals in Google Search Console is an excellent starting point to gauge your site’s performance.

Also, AMP won’t be necessary for articles to appear in the carousel on the first page of the search after this update.

It’s still unclear what impact this will have on ranking, but many SEOs expect it to be relatively low, as many of the Page Experience signals are already part of Google’s search algorithms.

Considering these algorithm changes is essential to increase SEO CTR.

Where to begin? Useful tools

What should you do before thinking about search engine optimization to improve your click-through rate? Simple! Analyze your site or landing page with:

  • Google Analytics, which helps you study your site’s traffic.
  • Google Search Console, which allows you to check indexing status and helps optimize site visibility.
  • Specific free SEO tools like Seo Hero, Ubersuggest, or Suggestmrx, or paid tools like Semrush, Searchmetrics, Seozoom, Ahrefs, and many others, assist in drafting an efficient content strategy.

Is what I wrote above clear to you?

I covered SEO CTR. In short: organic search traffic is crucial for any digital marketing plan. These are free customers exploring your business, brand, products, and services.

The only way to get this traffic is to generate clicks from Google and other search engines. SEO allows you to improve click-through rates, and increase overall organic search traffic, and conversions.


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