21 Ways to Improve Google Organic CTR
Search engine optimization is an ongoing process since you always need to adapt your website to user search intention and search engine updates.
New categories/services, optimized landing pages, new blog posts, etc. may give websites the chance to rank for new search terms. In that way, websites can go further to increase their organic clicks, conversions and so on.
In this article, I aim to give you ideas about improving organic CTR(click-through rate) levels so that you can first focus on your website’s already ranking keywords.
1- Increase Your Organic Positions
In order to talk about CTR on Google organic, your website should be able to get some clicks from the search engine.
Since CTR is calculated by clicks divided by impressions, there should be some keywords that your website ranks considerably high.
(Generally, landing pages on Google’s 1st-page have impressions and they might have the chance to turn that number into clicks.)
That’s why the first and inevitable item is to increase your rankings on Google.
Backlinko’s comprehensive study on CTR also states that;
“The #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average CTR of 31.7%.”
“On average, moving up 1 spot in the search results will increase CTR by 30.8%.”
Source: Backlinko – Google CTR Stats
2- Use Google Search Console to Detect Opportunities
Although it is a fact that top positions on Google will benefit you with high CTR levels, you cannot simply take industry average CTR numbers for your rankings.
The only way to look at your website’s CTR performance is your Google Search Console account.
Google Search Console might be the first tool to observe organic performance data.
It shows the number of impressions, clicks, CTR and average position metrics for each keyword/landing page that earns visibility.
However, when it comes to downloading data, Search Console restricts the number of rows by 1000.
While optimizing CTR levels, you need to make sure that you have a significant number of search queries and landing pages exported.
In most cases, 1000 rows are not sufficient for good analysis.
That’s why let’s quickly dive into some alternative methods to pull out CTR data for your queries and pages;
2.1- Supermetrics or Search Analytics Add-on
The first alternative method, Supermetrics, is one of our favorite tools. You can use Supermetrics as an add-on on your Google spreadsheet.
After you connect your website’s Google Search Console account here, you will be able to extract up to 1,000,000 rows for selected metrics.
Then, you can play around with the data on either spreadsheet or data visualization tools like PowerBI.
The alternative add-on is Search Analytics which also helps to retrieve Search Console data.
2.2- Google Data Studio
Google Data Studio offers 150+ database integrations, and Google Search Console is one of them.
After Search Console is connected to Data Studio dashboard, you will have the chance to create custom tables/graphs to pull out data.
In this way, there will be a larger amount of data shown in table formats.
2.3- Search Console API
Besides the methods mentioned above, you can use Google’s API as well.
You can follow Google’s documentation on how to use it;
If you want to connect it to Google spreadsheet, then I recommend to look at Netpeak’s guideline;
P.S: Please keep in mind that there might be spoiled/missing data while you use the API method.
3- Page Title & Description Optimization
If you are in this section, I assume that you already exported all impressions gained search queries for your website.
Page titles and descriptions are mostly what users first see about your website. In addition to that, optimized titles are considered to be one of the ranking factors on search engines.
Just because of these reasons, it is still important to optimize page titles and descriptions and make them clickable.
3.1- Make Sure Target Terms are on Title & Description
Detailed keyword research on user search intention is crucial to understand which search terms would generate organic traffic or conversions.
After mapping keywords with landing pages, it is time to use keywords on page titles and descriptions.
Remember that there is a pixel limit for page titles and descriptions, so use them wisely.
3.2- Use Questions, Emotional Statements
According to Backlinko’s CTR study;
“Title tags that contain a question have a 14.1% higher CTR vs. pages that don’t have a question in their title.”
“Emotional titles may improve your CTR. We found that titles with positive or negative sentiment improved CTR by approximately 7%.”
To extract questions for target terms, you can use the following methods/tools;
- Add questions (how, why, who, where, etc.) to before or after of target search terms
- Analyze forum websites to understand users’ real questions
- Search the term on Google, and pull out <People also ask> questions
Here is Backlinko’s graph on how emotional statements work on CTR levels;
3.3- Test out Changing Titles of #1 Ranking URLs
Do tests on page titles for keywords you rank on the first spot on Google. If there is no change in the ranking after you change the page title, then it will be a good experiment to see which page title generates how much CTR in percentage.
Imagine the target search term is <Mazda 3 Review>
Current #1 Position Page Title;
You can test different page title to see if there is any change on the CTR level, in this case for example;
3.4- Analyze Google Ads Copies
If you bid on Google Adwords, you will have the chance to analyze the Adwords Search Query Report. This report gives the exact match keywords performance and you can match them with ad copies used to attract user clicks.
Ad copies with good performance is a good way to test on page title and description.
3.5- Scrape Competitors’ Title & Description
Competitors also do search engine optimization, and they also optimize their landing pages’ titles and descriptions.
There can be unused search terms or different jargon related to your target keywords which you can use in your page title and description.
4- SERP (Search Engine Results Page) Features
Google search results depend on user search intentions.
If Google thinks users want to see a video for a particular search term, then it will show videos on SERP. Alternatively, if users ask questions and want to learn more about a certain topic, then you might see <people also ask> feature on Google results.
While Google shows different features on its results page, it creates opportunities for websites to own those assets. Most of the search engine results page features enhance snippet’s dominance as it makes the result look bigger. Thanks to this opportunity, websites increase their CTR levels by holding larger real SERP estate.
I want to include 6 SERP features in this article as I will analyze SERP features in more detail in another article;
4.1- Answer Cards
There are 3 different answer cards your website can own;
Keyword tracking tools like Nightwatch, SEOMonitor, GetSTAT or all-in-one SEO tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, etc. can show which keyword populates answer cards on SERP.
4.2- People Also Ask
<People also ask> feature contain users’ real questions. By addressing user questions within content will create a chance for your website to be listed under one of the questions;
4.3- Google Maps
In order to be listed on Google maps results, first you should create a Google MyBusiness account.
The description and the company name plays an important role to match your business account with target search terms.
Know which keywords trigger video results on Google. This will help to set up your website’s video marketing strategy more accurately.
User search interest on Youtube will also help to develop this further.
Aleyda Solis has recently created this presentation deck on Youtube optimization;
Do not forget to use images to visualize your content.
Good image naming and alt text still work to make images discoverable. The image XML sitemap is also important to increase images visibility.
4.6- Google News
Google news also boosts CTR as it holds a large space on SERP.
There are some requirements to be listed on Google News;
- Website content should be in line with Google’s guidelines.
- Landing pages should not have any issue with technical index guidelines.
- Google News sitemap would be ideal.
- Creating at least 1 content in 2 days may ease submission approval.
- Submit your website for inclusion.
5- Schema Markup
Schema.org offers a wide variety of data definitions to structure your data. Then, search engines will be able to parse out information from your website more easily. Moreover, when search engines display your result snippet, they add the markup’s functionality to the snippet as the result becomes more dominant.
We advise using only relevant markups and testing CTR change.
Sample images are taken from Google.
FAQ markup is considerably new, but it owns a dominant space on Google SERP.
You need to markup questions and answers to be able to own a spot with FAQ.
Here how it looks like;
Events can be marked up so that event URLs would be more discoverable.
On e-commerce websites, probably the most commonly used schema would be the product. Information about product listing can be shown;
Articles can gain positions under the Top Stories section with Schema article. Since this section is pretty big and generally shown on the upper side of the 1st-page results, it can generate CTR you can get from Google SERP.
Here is the full list of Schema available;
You can use many other Schema such as recipe, review, logo, course, etc.
- The ultimate way to have a decent CTR level is to increase organic positions. Users tend to click more on better ranking URLs.
- There should be a query and landing page based analysis to obtain a comprehensive analysis.
- Since Google Search Console enables you to download 1,000 rows for each report download, you may need to use alternative methods.
- Supermetrics and Search Analytics add-ons, Data Studio and Search Console API are three sample ways to do it.
- Detect opportunities on search terms and try to understand which keywords might bring more CTR than their current numbers.
- The page title and description optimization is crucial to test CTR levels.
- Using target keywords, questions or emotional statements are good ways to improve CTR. Ad copies and competitors’ snippets may also give ideas to improve further.
- Search engine results are such a source waiting to be discovered and analyzed. SERP features like answer cards, people also ask, videos, images, Google news, etc. can improve CTR.
- Since schema markups give a URL more dominant real SERP estate, better CTR can drive more organic traffic.