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How to Increase Your Website's Organic Click-Through Rate (CTR) in the Search Results

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Standing Out in Organic Search Results will help your Click-Through-Rate
Many webmasters overlook organic click-through rate (CTR) as a performance metric and instead focus their attention on traffic and conversion volume. You'll experience greater success with your website, however, by optimizing it for a high organic CTR. As your site's organic CTR increases, so will its traffic, which can help you generate more conversions.


What Is Organic CTR?



Organic CTR refers to the percentage of search engine users who click your website's listing after seeing it in the search results. A high search ranking alone won't necessarily bring visitors to your website. You must entice them to click your website's listing, which is where organic CTR comes into play. Tracking this metric allows you to see how many users clicked your website's listing relative to the number of users who saw it.

Organic CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks your website generates in the search results by the number of impressions it generates. If your homepage generates 10,000 impressions and 1,500 clicks for its target keyword on Google, for example, its organic CTR for that keyword is 15 percent.


How to Measure Organic CTR



You can measure your website's organic CTR on Google using Google Search Console and on Bing using Bing Webmaster Tools. These free web-based services provide analytical data on your website's performance in Google's and Bing's search results, respectively.

To view your website's organic CTR on Google, pull up your site on Google Search Console and click the "Performance" menu on the left, followed by the "Pages" tab in the middle. By default, the Google Search Console only displays the number of impressions and clicks your pages have generated for the given period, but you can view your pages' organic CTR by clicking the white box titled "Average CTR" directly above the performance graph.

To view your website's organic CTR on Bing, log in to Bing Webmaster Tools and click "Page Traffic" under "Reports & Data." This will reveal a chart displaying your pages' clicks, impressions, organic CTR, and other search performance metrics.


Optimize Title Tags



The title tag is an HTML element that helps visitors understand what a page is about without looking at its content. Web browsers like Chrome and Firefox display a page's title tag in the tab in which the page is viewed. And, in most cases, search engines will display a page's title tag as the main headline for the page's listing in the search results. Therefore, you can achieve a higher organic CTR with your website by optimizing its title tags.

Give each page on your site a unique 50- to 60-character title tag that explains what it's about. If the page contains an article or blog post, you can use the headline of the article or blog post as the title tag. To generate even more clicks, try to include a number in your title tags, such as "7 Ways to Increase Your Website's Traffic" or "10 Marketing Mistakes to Avoid with Your Website." Using numbers distinguishes your website's search listings from the dozens of other pages listed alongside it, driving your site's organic CTR higher.


Optimize Meta Descriptions



Optimizing your website's meta descriptions can also increase its organic CTR. Like title tags, every page on your site should have a unique, relevant, and concise meta description. Visitors won't see the page's meta description in their web browser, but search engines may use it to create the page's search listing. When search engines crawl a page, they'll look at the meta description included in its HTML. If the meta description is relevant to the search query for which the page ranks, search engines will display it in the page's search listing below the title.

Technically, there's no limit to how many characters you can use in a meta description. It's added as to the page's HTML, so it won't be displayed as text on your site. Since Google and Bing currently display 160 characters in the descriptions of their search listings, though, you should limit your meta descriptions to this length. If they are longer, Google and Bing will only display the first 160 characters, truncating the rest.

When creating both title tags and meta descriptions for your pages, the most important thing you can do is include the primary keyword for which the respective page ranks. Search engine users will see their search query included in your page's listing, so they'll feel more inclined to click it.


Use Descriptive Page URLs



The URL of your pages can affect their organic CTR as well. A study conducted by Microsoft found that pages with a descriptive URL outperformed those with a generic URL by 25 percent. Rather than using a random string of numbers and letters, use the title tag of a page for its URL. Of course, you can't include spaces in URLs, so you'll have to separate words using a hyphen instead. Even with hyphens, though, your URLs will look cleaner and more relevant in the search results, resulting in more clicks.


Include Unique Images in Content



You might be wondering how images can affect your website's organic CTR. After all, users won't see them until they visit your site, right? On Google's and Bing's desktop search results, standard organic listings contain just a title and description. But if you browse either of these search engines on a mobile device, you may see a thumbnail image displayed alongside listings for certain search queries. These visualized listings tend to generate more clicks than standard images. Google and Bing will only display a thumbnail image for a listing, however, if there's a relevant image on the page.


Install an SSL Certificate for HTTPS



More than 92 percent of all pages listed in the search results are secured with HTTPS, according to MozCast. Identified by the "HTTPS" prefixing the domain name, they typically attract more clicks than listings for HTTP pages because users trust them more. HTTPS indicates that all communications between the page and its visitors are encrypted, meaning no one can eavesdrop on the data visitors send to the page, such as their personal information. To secure your website with HTTPS, you'll need to install an SSL certificate on your server. It's somewhat complicated if you've never done it before, but your hosting provider should be able to walk you through the process.


Use Schema Markup



If you're comfortable tweaking your website's back-end code, consider using schema markup to increase its organic CTR. Available at Schema.org, it's a form of structured data that changes the way in which your site is displayed in the search results.

There are dozens of different types of schema markup, each of which introduces new content to a page's search listing. The ratings markup, for example, displays a one- to five-star aggregate customer rating in search listings for product pages, whereas the event markup displays a business's upcoming events in its search listings. According to Search Engine Land, using schema markup can increase a website's organic CTR by up to 30 percent.

Search rankings are just one way to measure the performance of your website in the search results. Organic CTR is equally, if not more important. With a high organic CTR, your website's traffic will increase, allowing you to generate more sales or conversions.
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