Guide to Increasing Organic Traffic through CTR Optimization

Like with every classroom, there is the quite kid who sits in the back and everyone else just doesn’t seem to notice him.

The ironic thing is – often that kid is worth noticing. 

Perhaps he is really smart, or has some power that others don’t posses and its not until many years later when is a millionaire, that his ex class mates actually take notice.

In the world of SEO/Content Marketing that kid is definitely CTR on SERP’s.

Even on this awesome blog, I only found 2 articles that relate to this topic directly, and frankly speaking they are a little superficial.

Improve your ad copy”. Well, yes…but how?

Careful use of keywords”. Right.

Everyone knows the kid exists, but the ‘Build Quality Links‘ & ‘Write Awesome content‘ kids are just that much louder.

Some people even know this kids name, but no one really knows where he lives or what he does.

Here is a detailed guide on how to improve your CTR & drastically increase your traffic (potentially).

Lets go make friends with the kid.

Step 1: What To Optimize? 

To make this article more actionable and clear I will use a clear case study of one of my biggest projects: diveadvisor.com

Head over to our good old WMT tools > Search Traffic > Analytics.

Make sure to have CTR, Impressions, Positions and Pages selected in the filters.

Next, export all that goodness into a Excel File and get ready for some little hacks that I have recycled, aggregated and improved.

Webmaster Analytics Tools

I am big believer in the power rule and thus I like to just focus on the inputs which can bang out the biggest outputs.

For instance, DiveAdvisor has around 40,000 pages and I’m not really interested in all of them.

This is what I want to get: Pages which ALREADY rank on page 1, have a large search volume (induced through number of impressions) and have poor click through rate.

Through the use of Filters in Excel, we will dig out the gems.

Here are the rules that I have set for myself.

  1. Position must be less than 10
  2. Impressions must be more than 200
  3. CTR must be under 50%

I ONLY want to weed out pages which fulfil all those criteria.

This can be done in under 2 minutes through the use of filters, see GIF below.

Weeding Out Data

That was quick and easy – pat yourself on the back – what you have in front of you is the lowest hanging fruit for improvement in the entire SEO game.

For more advanced users I’d like to add a little note – this article will be focused on a ‘page’ basis i.e: finding pages which rank but don’t convert to traffic, however if you want to take this even further – you should repeat the process with QUERIES and correlate the too. 

For example, diveadvisor.com/mexico might have a high CTR for Queries like ‘Scuba Diving in Mexico’, but a low one for ‘Cheap Diving in Mexico’ EVEN if it ranks at the top for both.

That is very time consuming but literally that document will the holy grail of CTR wisdom for your site.

Step 2: How To Optimize?

Naturally, your priority, or rather the order in which you work through this list should start from the terms for which you have the highest position but the lowest CTR, i.e: Position 1 and CTR of 0%.

Now – be realistic with yourself, if you have a large site this task isn’t something that you can whip up in an hour – and most importantly don’t rush it.

So, what next?

Conventional ‘wisdom’ will tell you to A/B test. 

Lets be real with ourselves. 

That’s an enormous amount of work!

It implies creating new meta stuff for each page, coming back to it months later and endlessly working on the CTR.

Not happening, atleast for me.

Here’s a little trick that has helped me.

Run the KW in a google search and be happy seeing yourself at the top of the pile.

There are a few things that you may see here.

The first thing you might find is that either through your laziness, carelessness or a problem with your CMS, the results look crappy.

Perhaps you never bothered to craft a custom Title & Description, perhaps its too long etc. 

Either way, this is good news, in this case simply creating custom on page meta tags you will make a massive improvement.

On the other hand, if you are seeing what you want to see and everything is tidy, you will need a ladder to eat that banana, and that ladder is PPC mixed in with a little empathy.

Here’s the logic.

If someone is paying daily for clicks, you best be assured that he will find the time to A/B test, or atleast spend more time on crafting his AD than you did on your meta title/description.

Use this as a creative stimulant.

BE WARNED: changing your title tag may actually throw you back in the gutter for your result so be very cautious.

Most likely, the keyword which you are ranking for, or a synonym/variation of it is in your meta title. You need to identify this and make sure that it stays there.

Next, look to your PPC results on the same page for qualitative analysis. 

Step 3: Lets Optimize Something Already!

So through some basic analysis I have identified the first target.

diveadvisor.com/indonesia ges a whopping 5000+k impressions ranks on page 1 always but has a puny 0.03% CTR! 

So frustrating to see that, since just having a higher CTR would bring in 1000’s more visits to that single page!

(Note: its ok to let out a little curse word out loud at this point just to focus your chi).

For e.g if I run a search ‘Scuba Diving in Indonesia’ I see a PPC ad with this meta.

Resorts, dive cruises and courses Hassle Free Dive Planning!

Searching Through PPC Ads

This tells me that perhaps a stronger emphasis must be placed on ‘booking’ and ‘dive planning’ i.e: that someone searching for Scuba Diving in Indonesia isn’t just interested in reading about – but is looking for more actionable mechanisms.

My own results (title):

Complete Guide to the Best Scuba Diving in Indonesia

I guess the people running those queries are not interested in a ‘guide’, they are looking for a way to book their diving.

My Description:

Situated in the middle of the Coral Triangle, scuba diving in Indonesia means you are diving in the world’s epicenter of marine biodiversity.

One thing I’d like to add here is use a little ‘empathy’. A word very rarely heard in the SEO space but is perhaps the most important of all.

Try and visualise the person who is searching for that KW and the questions he may have. 

E.g: “What is the best place to scuba dive in Indonesia?”

“How much does it cost?”

“How do I get there?”

“How can I book a dive trip?”

Based on the insight from the PPC results and my 30 second meditation of empathy I will update my meta tags to:

Title: Scuba Diving in Indonesia: Dive Advice & Business Directory

Description: Learn about the best places to dive in Indonesia, how to arrange your logistics & get a directory of all Dive Shops & Liveaboards for hassle free dive planning.

Conclusion

People in the SEO/Content Marketing Space sometimes are a bit zombie like, and follow some mantras collectively, often ignoring some basics which are right under their nose.

Finish the food on your plate before you go back to the buffet table for the next link building guide book.

Bonus Section

Since this is my first post on bloggingtips.com I want to really tickle some bellies (or fail trying).

This little tricky has helped me in the past and I very rarely see posts on how to do this, despite it being so common sense.

The traffic jump between being the top result on the 2nd page and the last result on the 1st page is HUGE.

Even the difference between being on the bottom of the first page and the top of it is huge.

Here is what I like to do. 

Look through your list that you made and find some gems.

  1. Avg. position around 9,10 or 11.
  2. Search Volume – significant.

Next, once you have identified which page on your site the KW ranks for, you need to build some juicy internal links.

For me, the easiest way is to open AHREFS, run my own site and click ‘Top Content’.

Next, I simply create links from those top content pages to my page which is on the verge of breaking through.

Hope you found that useful! Would be glad to help out in the comments section below!

 

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Disclosure: In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that the site owner is benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website. This is not to say that is the case with all content, as all publications on the site are original and written to provide value and references to our audience.

7 Comments

  1. Steve Ceaton October 1, 2015
  2. Arbaz Khan October 3, 2015
    • Timur October 6, 2015
  3. local web design October 4, 2015
  4. Todd Watts October 4, 2015
  5. Anjali October 5, 2015
  6. Muhammad Hassaan Zeb October 8, 2015