How To Increase Your SERP Click-Through Rates are hard to come by nowadays. Higher click-through rates (CTRs) are only possible if you are on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP). In fact, in a 2013 Google CTR study conducted by Catalyst Search Marketing, 83% of organic clicks are mostly devoted to the first four organic rankings. Unfortunately, digital marketers, in general, have no control over what the users will click while browsing. However, there are specific elements that are in your control and can drive up CTR.

1) Title tag

Displayed as a blue link in SERP, the title tag is your page’s title. The decision to click the blue link largely depends on the title. Hence, crafting your titles in such a way that piques the curiosity of the searchers must be prioritized. A good title tag contains the keyword and is less than 65 characters. Aside from this, the best performing titles chooses the words wisely and matches the query almost exactly.

2) URL

Directly below the title tag is the URL. Users judge the relevance of the page based on the title and the URL. So do search engines. There are friendly and unfriendly URLs. The former provides context to the query while examples of the latter include, /example and /image. Thus, when developing URLs, make sure that the site hierarchy (or breadcrumb navigation) is apparent, if applicable. The URL must be matched to the title and avoid dynamic parameters.

3) Meta description

Below the URL is the meta description. Meta descriptions are like overviews of the page’s content. Depending on what was written on the description, a user may or may not click on the link As such, meta descriptions must not be ignored especially for the site’s high-priority pages. You can think of these descriptions as a free advertising opportunity where you can put your call to action. Just make sure that it is within the 160 character requirement otherwise Google will truncate it.

4) Rich snippet

Rich snippets are detailed information pertaining to the query. The snippet is very visual
and almost always result to a higher CTR because of the quick accessibility to information that the page contains. In fact, companies that implemented rich snippets realized 20 to 30% increase in their CTRs. This serves as an additional layer of optimization for website owners, manipulating the short blurb to their advantages. Nonetheless, rich snippets vary depending on the type of content that the user is searching for. For example, for a product query, the SERP may show the picture, rating, price range and availability of the item. Implement if you want to show rich snippets, but make sure that you are using the right markups.

5) XML sitemap

A sitemap is an XML protocol that informs Google and other search engines about how your site is organized. Each URL in the sitemap also includes meta data that helps search engine in showing up the page for particular queries. The success of a sitemap implementation manifests in the presence of site links or the sub-pages that appear on the result. This means clicking not just on your main page, but also to the internal pages. Site links, thereby, can also increase the amount of click your site receives.

True enough, due to competition, online businesses are seeing declines in their CTRs. Don’t be a part of this statistic by optimizing your website so it will appear in SERPs especially above-the-fold. Check the factors identified above. Perhaps, improper implementation of these factors are the reasons behind your low click-through rates. Make the necessary adjustments if these are affecting your CTR.

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Tristan Jasper is a marketer, entrepreneur and a freelance blogger. He's currently working as a digital marketer at one of the top digital marketing agency in the Philippines.

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