Following the evidence that RankBrain employs the Click-Through-Rates (CTR) as an important ranking factor gives one more reason to work on improving organic search listing. To get the percentage of your site’s CTR, simply divide the total clicks by the number of impressions.
What really influences CTRs?
Having removed the sidebar ads, Google now uses ranking on every listing. If a listing shows higher on the SERPs, the number of clicks will be more, and CTR % will go up. Users trust search engines place the most relevant and important pages on top. Therefore, most of them rarely bother scrolling down to see what sites are on the lower sections.
Note that many search results come with ads that in some cases make visitors to shy away from the site altogether. However, hitting the site will open the info you are targeting without getting bothered by the ad. The bottom line is that if your rank is low, the CTR will also be low.
CTR versus brand
Brands are very critical in influencing people’s decisions on what to click even when the results only show on the lower sections of SERPs. For example, when looking for products on e-commerce sites, it is not uncommon for people to include names such as eBay and Amazon on searches. For example, a visitor looking for a home refrigerator might include something like Home refrigerator Amazon or top home refrigerators eBay. This means that the visitor wants only to view results from that particular website. Many people have a lot of trust on brands they had dealt with before and received exemplary services.
Services or products created by specific companies can also affect CTR. For example, there are specific car brands, restaurant chains, beverages, and even smartphones that people always buy. Because every person has a preference for a specific feeling about a brand, this could raise or lower the CTR even when a brand is not doing very well on SERPs. Note that branded items can harshly alter the statistics.
CTR versus Result page number
Studies carried out in 2014 found that the second page of Google is rarely visited. Only 5% of people peruse to the next page to see what comes up! On mobile phones, Google only displays 8-10 results. However, most mobile phones have the option of jumping to the next page right away. This means that the CTR behavior could be entirely different.
The bottom line is that considering CTRs listed higher than number 9 might fail to follow a predictable trend because of second-page implication.
Getting the CTR data using Search Console
Google Search Console allows users to access data on their top 1,000 keywords. To download this report, you need to go to Google Search Console and navigate through search traffic> search analytics. Search console allows you to view the data for the last 90 days which gives a comprehensive report on CTR, Impressions, Clicks, and position. You can download the data to your Excel or Google Docs.
How to identify the best and worst CTRs
After downloading the data from search console, it requires some filtering to pull out the best and worst CTRs. Factoring various factors that influence CTR, it is advisable to delete or remove the rows with the following conditions.
- Remove all search queries that were related to the brand name: Most brand searches always yield higher CTR and could give wrong data. For example, a search with the name Amazon would generate results bearing the name Amazon.
- Clear all search queries that fall below position 8: This is because all these searches fall on the second page which is rarely visited. Results on the second page usually depict a different pattern compared to those on the first page.
- Delete any query that attracted less than 30 clicks: When a search gives very few clicks, they are statistically insignificant. It is important to factor the website popularity when picking this figure. The rule of the thumb is removing all results that yielded less than 30 clicks.
Having removed all insignificant content, it is time to scatter the clicks, impressions, CTR, and average rank on a scatter X-Y chart. Select the position (x-axis) and plot it against ctr (y-axis).
Hit the Display Equation on the Chart to get the equation for the trend line. You can, therefore, generate the expected CTR for every position based on the respective website's average. Go ahead and work out the differences between the expected CTR and achieved CTR to know whether your website performance is okay.
How to use CTR analysis data
You should consider starting to look at queries that have high potential organic traffic. These are the ones that attract higher clicks and depict a smaller expected difference.
After noting the queries that are problematic, follow back to know the landing pages that triggered them. Here, you need to ask questions such as how relevant were the page titles and description snippets. The title of a page could be the reason for low CTR if it does not relate completely to search queries. Note that if a meta-description is missing, Google will automatically generate one for the site. The auto-generated meta-description might have poorer or better CTR compared to when you do it.
The focus here is thinking of titles that connect to the audience emotionally. You also have to improve the meta-description to ensure that it answers the questions from clients, outlines the main benefits, and make the site outstanding. Besides, rich snippets will also help to make listings to stand out through the inclusion of review rating as more info takes the vertical space.
Irrespective of your website performance, there is room for improvement when dealing with CTR. Make sure to review the progress every few months to see the areas pulling the CTR down and work on them progressively.
The overall impact of better CTR on your site
- Higher free web traffic without having to pay for expensive ads or focusing on complex SEO procedures.
- Better Ranking because Google considers CTR as a ranking factor. This means that your presence will be boosted.
- Your brand will enjoy better brand presence. Even if you fail to get additional clicks, the top rank will make the brand to be recognized easily.
Therefore, do not simply stop at creating good content; extend to page titles, and review old meta- descriptions. The titles and descriptions done several years back might actually hurt your CTR. Rather, you should set the parameters to assess CTR every 2-3 months to understand the health and performance of the site.