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All you need to know about CTR (Click Through Rate)

Your ranking in Google search results is no better than your CTR (Click Through Rate). After all, what's a first place ranking worth if no one bothers to click through to read your content?

Just. Therefore, there is plenty of potential to increase traffic and conversions just by optimising your click-through rate.

If you work with SEO and don't already have CTR as one of the guideposts for your organic content, I hope that will have changed by the time you finish this blog post.

You'll find answers to seven of the most frequently asked questions about CTR - and finally a guide on how to get started with optimisation.

Webamp The team
- Specialist
Last updated: 12. dec. 2022

1) What is CTR?

CTR stands for Click Through Rate and is a measurement of how many people click on your content when they see it somewhere online.

In English, it is also called "click rate", but the abbreviation CTR is the most commonly used term when working with digital marketing. 

All organic landing pages collect data when they are displayed to a user - and record every time an exposure ends in a click. 

This applies to: 

  • Organic search results → therefore it is a key figure when working with SEO.
  • Ads → therefore it is also a key figure when working with PPC. 
  • Social media posts → therefore a key figure for both organic and paid posts.

In this blog post, I focus on optimizing CTR in the SEO area, but if you have questions about click-through rates in PPC and social, you can always reach out to my colleague Emil. He's a whiz at it! 

2) How do you calculate your Click Through Rate?

Calculating your click-through rate is easy - divide the number of exposures (people who have seen your advert) by the number of clicks on the advert itself and multiply by 100. 

CTR = (clicks : views) x 100

Therefore, if 100 people have seen your post and three have clicked on it, the calculation is as follows: 

(3 : 100) x 100 = 3 → your click-through rate is 3 percent. 

3) How do you find out what a page's CTR is?

There's no need to get out the calculator, because of course you can look up your CTR. 

Google Search Console is the only place you can see the relevant data for CTR. Here you can see the total number of clicks and exposures in a given time period, and it's easy to view the calculated click-through rate on specific keywords, landing pages, user devices and more. 

There's plenty of data to delve into, so take your time to geek out and understand why things are going well or badly. 

4) What is a good CTR?

What a professional or company considers to be a good CTR can be very individual. Audiences, keywords, history, budget and industry can all influence views and severity. 

There is also a big difference in expectations (and hopes) when working with click-through rates in SEO and PPC respectively. 

In advertising, for example, a CTR of more than 1% is not expected for banner ads. Conversely, in SEO , a CTR below 10% is considered unsatisfactory and requires action (and should be 20+%). 

In other words, a good click-through rate is a very relative quantity. Make it a habit to review your Click Through Rates frequently in Google Search Console, as this is where you can identify the low hanging fruit and increase the amount of clicks on your particular content.

5) What happens if I don't improve my click-through rate?

Of course, you don't want people to click on your landing page, ad or Facebook post for the sake of your blue eyes. 

You have some objectives for your content that you want to achieve. Whether it's sales, traffic, brand awareness or something else you're working towards, a low CTR will result:

  • That you're missing out on traffic to your site - you've got the exposure, but not the clicks.
  • That in the future you may get lower organic rankings or a more expensive CPC (Cost Per Click) on your ads because the algorithms will judge that your content is not relevant or good enough. 

If you've been in doubt until now, that's why you should always keep a close eye on your Click Through Rates. 

6) Why don't people click on my search result?

When, despite a given number of views, you don't get the clicks you want, it means that your content is either not relevant - or not appear relevant to the target audience. Therefore, a qualitative analysis of each search result is required to find out why your target audience is not clicking on the search result displayed.

Whether it's for a keyword, a landing page or an ad you want to optimise, it's essential to start with what users see: namely the organic SERP snippet or the ad itself. 

The SERP is the text that appears in Google's search results and is also called meta tag. It consists of a meta title, a meta text and sometimes structured data like rich snippets.

Google decides what appears in search results - and the meta text may be a selected piece of text from the landing page, not what you've specified yourself (for example, via Yoast!). 

In the SERP itself, the three most common problems are:

  1. The text is not clear or lacking about the content of the landing page - maybe you forgot to do it when you created the landing page?

  2. Missing CTA (Call To Action) in meta title and/or description - have you made it clear to the target audience what they need to do?

  3. Users' search intent doesn't match the page's content - is the content on your page skewed towards what your target audience is searching for?

So what do you do once you've identified a problem? You fix it - and if you need examples, I'll give them in the next section.

7) Which pages should I CTR-optimize?

The bigger the site you manage, the more confusing it can seem to start CTR-optimising your landing pages. Because where do you start?

The short answer is: in Google Search Console. Here, under the "effectiveness" tab, you can see clicks, exposure, click-through rate and average ranking in Google. 

(Remember to select display of click rate and average position, only clicks and exposures are turned on automatically.)

Example of CTR in Google Search Console

Filter either "queries" or "pages" by highest ranking and then go to war with keywords/landing pages that appear on page 1 of Google.

Optimize all CTRs below 10 percent - or whatever you set as the lower limit for acceptable click-through rate. 

Why should you focus on the pages that are already on page 1?

You should, because almost all searches in Google get no further than that. SEO-media Backlinko has analyzed the user behavior of 1,801 sessions of Google users.

The study found that as few as 0.44 percent of visitors go on to page 2 of Google's search results. In addition, only 9 percent of users in the study got to the bottom of page 1 in their search.

If you work with SEO, it is therefore crucial to be in the top 10 to get exposure on your keyword - and preferably in the top three.

Because Google's algorithm is constantly improving, you are most likely to find the answer to your search in the top three search results.

So to sum up: The lower you rank on page 1, the less exposure and fewer clicks you get statistically. 

8) How to optimize your CTR

So how do you improve your click-through rate by optimising your meta title and meta description? And how do you find out what your target audience's search intent is? You can find out here. 

→ Meta tags

A good meta text is the difference between your page getting a click or not. Therefore, it is often a rewrite of the meta title and meta description that can increase your click-through rate.

It's easy to identify the problem when it's a missing metatext - because then the solution is to roll up your sleeves and fill in the blanks. 

Often you are in the situation that there is a text, but for various reasons it does not generate clicks. So what's wrong with it?

You can get more educated guesses by running the URL of the affected page through Webamp's meta checker - a program that catches and analyzes problems in your existing meta tags and can help you write a new one from scratch. 

What the meta-checker looks for is whether the text meets Google's technical recommendations and whether it uses compelling language (for example, numbers, active verbs, power words and call-to-actions). 

→ Search intent

If you're getting exposure but no clicks, there may also be something wrong with the context in which your landing page is displayed. This means that your landing page doesn't match what people are actually searching for. 

Let's say you sell wine and your red wine landing page is on page one for the keyword "red wine" in Google. You've written a long, thorough, comprehensive article about grape varieties, types, production processes, flavors and I'm coming after you. But your CTR, despite the great ranking, is 1.3 percent, so clearly something is wrong. 

When you do a search for "red wine" yourself, you can see that the remaining nine results on the first page are about buying red wines, and that all of them lead to webshops. 

So even if you've done everything right, the outcome is still wrong. That's because users' search intent is different from what you expected. 

Three search intentions are distinguished:

  1. Information searches. Here you want to know something about something - for example, a lot about red wine, Pokémon Go, dog breeds - the list goes on and on. 
  2. Navigation searches. Here you want to be directed to a specific place - it could be a specific brand, a company's website, a particular shoe. 
  3. Transaction searches. Here you will be ready to convert - for example in the form of a purchase, a call or want to get a quote. 

And this is where your landing page doesn't match what's being searched for: it's suitable for information search, but the intention of users is actually to buy red wine. With that knowledge, you can adjust the content both in the page's SERP snippet and/or on the landing page itself to meet users' expectations. 

Get help with your SEO strategy

A good start is half the battle. Bad beginnings are.... well, not good. If you don't have the resources to put together a well-thought-out SEO strategy, and would like help from an experienced SEO agency, feel free to drop me a line at seo@webamp.dk.

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