As Search Ranking Goes Up Sometimes CTR Goes Down
You've optimized your website content and blog posts. You've updated your title tags, meta descriptions and you've finally moved up the ranks of the Google search results. Unfortunately, the higher you climb in the search results the lower your click through rate goes. What gives? Click through rate (CTR) is a uniquely important metric because it shows how good your "first impression" is to the people who find you in their search. Ranking well for a particular query tells you that your SEO is working, but having a good CTR shows that your content is actually resonating with your target audience. If your ranking is high but your CTR is low, that means that people are scrolling past you and clicking on other results.
Keep Your Target Audience from Scrolling Past
1. Simplify your Title Format
Simple, to the point headlines grab users attention and won't be cut off by the preview. Start with your keywords and phrases and try to keep your title under 60 characters. Anything over that, and Google will cut it off in the preview. If you are trying to marry two unique keywords that would require a longer format, try using a dash. A dash in a title can function like a parentheses to the main idea.
2. Write Better Meta Descriptions
You have 160 characters to give users a clear idea of what they will get from your content. Make the most of it by pulling out specific keywords and tell the user the value of the content they will receive if they click on your page.
Meta Description Format
If your Website is managed through wordpress, you can use an SEO tool like Yoast to updated your meta descriptions. Other platforms like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace have modules built in.
Optimum Character Counts
Typically, a description should be between 160 characters and 350 characters. Whether or not your description is long or short is not by itself a good performance indicator. The content and context of your description matter. It can helpful to test different descriptions to see which performs better. If your competitors all ah
Let's take a look at an example. When searching for "How to write good meta descriptions" which example would you choose?
Organic Search Result Examples
What Criteria Am I Looking For?
Up to date Information
Other relevant keyphrases
So which one did you choose?
Google chose A, because it's ranked higher than B, or C.
I chose C, not because it was the highest ranked result but because both the title and the description promised examples and appear to have been updated recently. Also, the description tells me exactly what the page contains rather than excerpting a random part of the page.
Dissecting the Top Google Search Result for Our Query
Notice anything wrong with this meta description? Despite ranking #1 for this search query, and humorously promising to teach you how to write great meta descriptions this title, link, and description are in need of some TLC. Now, it is likely that this blog ranked high for this query because it is keyword optimized and Neil Patel's site is well known, has high traffic, lots of links, and great domain authority. It's a great example of how you can rank high but still need to "practice what you preach" to optimize your content.
This title is more than 60 characters and is getting cut off by the preview. This is common and will happen often if you are going after several different keyphrases. In this case, Neil Patel is aiming to have this blog rank for "How to Write Meta Descriptions" and "Boost Your Rankings." The word "compelling" has been added to make it more descriptive and emotional.
This could benefit from a customized descriptive URL that contains the keywords we are targeting. As it stands, this URL doesn't tell me anything about the content on this page.
The Meta Description
This description is interesting but still a bit off base for me. The first sentence provides important context, but the second sentence is poorly excerpted and doesn't describe the things of value on this page.
My Revamped Version!
What I did:
3. Look At Your Competitors
Take a look at your competition to determine how you can stand out from the pack. For example, if you your competitors aren't using list format posts, you can stand out optimize your web page or blog in list format. Users will be drawn to easier to scan content that provides quick answers to their questions.
Ways to Stand Out
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