Improve your click through rate by yourself

Improve your click through rate this week without hiring an SEO

Click spelled out with coins If this is helpful tell me and I’ll do more in future.

Note this is beginner level stuff. I’ll be doing an advanced twitter strategy post with some original research very shortly.

So in the past I’ve been asked to do SEO work for people or give people advice on this subject.

I’ve always been very wary in this area for two reasons

1) While I know some stuff and I’m constantly learning, I’m not an SEO expert.
2) People’s expectations tend to be unreasonably high in terms of what can be achieved and in what time frame.

So like I said often people’s expectations are too high but they can also be too low. Specifically, some small business owners have said to me:

“there’s no point working on my search traffic because there are much bigger players after the same keywords and I can’t compete with their budget.”

The logic here is somewhat flawed because people tend to be thinking purely in terms of rankings in the SERPs (Search engine results pages).

The thing is though that search traffic isn’t just about rankings. Click through rate is also really important and the good news is that it’s easier and cheaper to improve than rankings in many cases.

As a result you could rank behind your competitors in the search results but, so long as you are still on the first page for the keyword, some CTR (Click through rate) work could really help you. Heck even if you are down below the first page, it could still be worth it so long as you are seeing enough impressions in Google Webmaster Tools.

So here’s what you can do

1) Set up your site with Google Webmaster Tools (Free).
2) Click the ‘top pages’ tab.
3) Pick a page that has a lot of impressions but low click through rate.
4) Click the triangle next to it and this will show you the most popular queries for that page.
5) Pick the biggest and make an precise note of it.
6) Go into your content management system and rewrite the title tag and meta description so that they feature this keyword. Make the writing snappy. Remember you are talking directly to a person and persuading them to click on your link.
7) Set up google authorship for the page if appropriate (won’t always be). This will give you an author snippet (picture of your google+ profile picture) next to the search result. Plenty of free blog articles online will show you how to do this so just look at those. Here’s one.

When rewriting the title and meta description tags consider

1) Keep the title tag under 55 characters and have the keyword as close to the start of the tag as possible.
2) Keep the meta description under 150 characters. You can’t actually control what Google uses as the meta description but, if the keyword is in the meta description you submit, the chances that it’ll be shown to someone searching with that keyword are pretty good.

In both cases try and think about the intention behind the query and write some snappy copy that will grab attention.

Again, for the third time, the snappiness of the copy matters.

So when will it start to work?

It may take some days before Google updates your appearance in the search results. Here’s a way you can speed up the process though.

I actually saw mine apparently being ‘rolled out.’ What I mean by this is that the new title tag and description appeared on my phone at first but not on my tablet or PC. Later it also appeared when I searched on my tablet and PC.

This has led me to suspect that Google may be testing the click through rate of the new meta description with a subset of users searching for the keyword and then showing it to everyone when they see that it beats what they were previously using as the meta-description. There’s probably an article somewhere on this that I’m ignorant of …

Anyway, here’s one I made earlier for the keyword “vegan bodybuilders” for which this page already had a lot of impressions.

Example of how to write your title tag and meta-description
Note how the keyword “vegan bodybuilders” has been put in bold by Google. This draws it to people’s attention.

This page actually already had authorship but, when I added the title tag and meta description, the clickthrough rate for the page as a whole went from 3% (uggggh!) to 8%. Not world beating but that’s a big improvement for very little work right? Also note that’s for the page as an aggregate and not looking at the specific keyword I was targeting. For the specific keyword “vegan bodybuilders” CTR for that page went from 5% to 11.5%.

Also note that the site’s ranked above me for this keyword don’t seem to have put in the same effort I have which makes it even more likely my clickthrough rate will go up.

My search result versus my competitors

Now some of you will be saying this is basic and it is but many people don’t go to the trouble or don’t know how to do this so I thought this might be helpful for beginners.

Again, quality copy makes a difference here. You may find that you get results for some of the tags you rewrite and not for others. In that case, it’s worth trying to rewrite the tags again for the page with (still) stagnant CTR. In my case I rewrote tags for two pages but didn’t see the same dramatic improvement for the other page which didn’t have as good copy. As a result I’ve rewritten it again and with any luck it’ll take off like the vegan bodybuilders page.

I’m aware there will be similar posts about there about this but perhaps people haven’t seen them. Anyway if this was helpful say so and I’ll happily do more like it, if not I’ll probably stick to more advanced stuff.

Did you try this? If so let me know how you get on.