How To Improve Organic Click Through Rate (CTR)

Fancy a 30-50% increase in your website's search traffic, overnight? It may sound crazy, but its not just possible.. but easy. 

Nobody wants to visit a dull website.. But writing for Google instead of humans has lead to some of the most boring headlines known to man.

What if you wrote for your audience instead of a robot? By taking your audience's feelings, emotions and fears into account you can pull more eyeballs and clicks to your website.

The incredible thing about working to boost your organic CTR is that it can take such a small amount of effort. A tweak here and a sprinkling of emotion there and you could see results within days. 

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What is an organic click through rate (CTR)?

Your organic click through rate is a measure of how interesting or relevant your website's page appears for a particular search.

Every day people search Google to find information. Some phrases get searched tens or even thousands of times a day. If your site appears in the top ten for this search then each time someone searches this phrase you earn an 'impression'. If your site appeals to that searcher, then they might click on your result. 

The more enticing or attractive your listing appears, the more likely they are to choose your site over someone else's.

By tweaking your title and description to draw more attention to your own listing you can see significant increases in traffic

How is click through rate calculated?

To calculate your click through rate: Divide the number of clicks your get by the number of impressions (the times your listing appears). 

For example, if your site appears 100 times and gets clicked 5 times, your click through rate is 5%.This gives us a simple formula for calculating CTR:

CTR = Clicks / Impressions * 100


How does an organic click through rate differ from a pay per click (PPC) click through rate?

The biggest difference is that rather than measuring results from paid advertising we look at traffic from organic SEO. This presents a different set of challenges: while paid search marketers can split test limitless variations of ad copy, SEOs can only test one at a time.

Accurate measurement is also challenging. With a delay between making changes and seeing the new titles on the search engine result page (SERP) manually collecting data can be a chore.

As a result organic CTR optimization gets less attention than other SEO strategies. Yet to neglect it would be a waste - in SEO it's rare to be able to see such immediate gains.

I built A/B Rankings to make testing new titles and descriptions and tracking results a breeze - take a free test drive today!

What is a good organic SERP click through rate?

In simplistic terms your organic search CTR will depend on the position at which you rank in Google. The higher up the page, the more visible you are and thus the more clicks you will get. But it's a little more complex than that...

Average SERP click through rates


The average click through rate (CTR) for a keyword can vary wildly between keywords depending on intent.

 A navigational or branded keyword may see a average CTR of over 40% at position one, while an unbranded #1 may only see 25%.

 Long tail queries can see a far greater distribution between ranks #1 and #10, as people try to seek out pages that answer their specific question. 

Likewise, a commercial or 'transactional' keyword may attract a much higher search click through rate at #1+2 as shoppers hurry to fill their carts. 

Research queries will warrant a deeper inspection of the search engine results, so the clicks will be more evenly spread across the top ten.

We are using Advanced Web Ranking's great data research to analyze a site's performance against the industry average click through rates.

Want to see how your site's CTR compares to the industry average? Enter your domain and see your potential for improvement!


How can I increase my Organic CTR (Click Through Rate)?


To raise your organic CTR, you need to speak directly to the searcher and their desires.

Much as a tabloid headline writer will write copy to pull readers in to the article, your SEO titles must pull attention from other links on the page.

To do so, consider any of the following steps:

  1. Match your title and description to the search queries
  2. Use simple but powerful language
  3. Use power words and emotional language to attract attention
  4. Use bold, potentially controversial statements
  5. Add numbers, facts and figures to your snippet
  6. Ask a question
  7. Create a sense of urgency
  8. Leave a sense of mystery
  9. Help your audience ('How to's and advice)
  10. Show your comprehensiveness

You may struggle to fit them all in one title - so why not test different titles and descriptions to see which is the most effective for your audience?

Match your title and description to the search queries

It may seem obvious, but one of the key reasons your click through rate may be low is that it simply isn't relevant to the search query used.

If you're not using your audience's language in your title and meta description then your search snippet is unlikely to appeal.

You need to ensure you are covering the main keywords that your page ranks for - or at the very least, a close synonym.

This doesn't mean you need to stuff every possible variation into a tight space; rather you should try and imply that your page answers a query.

As an example, consider the following long tail search terms:

  • how much less can you offer on a house
  • negotiating house price after survey
  • house sale negotiating tactics
  • offer on house rejected now what
  • how to make an offer on a house below asking price
  • negotiating house price after offer accepted
  • How much less can you offer on a house

(terms taken from 'people also search for')

While they all cover the same broad topic, trying to cover each query in the same title would be a real mess.

Instead, you should try cover the most important keywords, while at the same time highlighting your article as an authority. This way the searcher can see that you can answer their specific query too. 

For example:

Save Over $10k - 8 Tactics To Negotiate A Lower House Price 

 Get your dream home at bargain price. Strategies and advice for every step of the buying process, from offer through rejection to completion

Here we've tried to include all the 'parent topics', such as strategies, negotiation, offer. While specifics such as 'how much', 'after a survey', 'after offer accepted' and 'below asking price' didn't make the cut, they are still implied. 

The 'Save' / 'Lower' headline make it clear our article aims to save the searcher money, while the description emphasizes we cover all stages of buying.

Are you missing crucial words from your snippets? A/B Rankings will check every page on your site to highlight valuable keywords missing from your snippets


Use simple but powerful language

Eye tracking studies show searchers scan a page quickly to check its relevant. 

You have milliseconds to make an impact, so it's vital you don't over complicate your titles.

The readability score of your title and description determines how easy to read and digest the information given. 

By using simpler language and vocabulary instead of jargon your audience need to think less before clicking.

Use power words and emotional language to attract attention

We all love excitement in our lives, and nobody wants to read a dull website. 

So why do we write plain, 'matter of fact' titles such as

Maldives Holidays 2019 | Senior Voyages

Leather Boat Shoes | OK Fashion

Job Interview Techniques |

rather than emotive headlines that people just can't resist clicking?

Instead you should use 'power words' - words that trigger curiosity or an emotional response such as fear, pride, envy, happiness or anger. 

By rewriting your titles and aiming to stoke emotion you end up with a far more enticing headline:

  • Unforgettable Luxury Holidays In the Maldives
  • Stylish Leather Boat Shoes For The Distinguished Gent
  • Slay Your Next Job Interview With These Proven Techniques


Add numbers, facts and figures to your snippet

Numbers are a great way to draw attention. 

Whether you use a price, a percentage or statistic, or even a list such as '8 top ways to.. X', numbers convey a range of feelings.

Statistics show proof of your authority, as it shows you use evidence to support your content. 

Even better if you can pull out a shocking statistic from your article or social proof!

Lists help signify a level of completeness while keeping the information easy to digest. There's a reason the listicle is a popular trope - it really works to pull people in! 

Whether you aim for a focused 'Top 3 Reed Diffusers' or an ultra comprehensive '37 ways to skin a cat', a list can really stand out on a page of drab articles.

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