So you’ve managed to score a few sweet positions on Google Page One by delivering great content with tried and true SEO best practices. Are searchers (customers) clicking on your results or have you not received an increase in traffic with your newly found rankings? If the latter is the case then you need to make the following adjustments to improve the click-through rate of your content on search engine results pages.
How to Increase the Click-Through Rate of Your Content on SERPs in 5 Easy Steps
1. Use Accurate, Optimized, Yet Eye-Catching Title Tags
The title tag is the large bolded blue text that identifies your result on Google. Too often title tags are neglected when it comes to using words that tell searchers that you have what they’re looking for. Many websites display only their brand name or a cluttered mess of keywords (see the first result in the picture below). Some are even guilty of having the cringe worthy “home page” listed as the sole text for their title tag. The same can be said about the h1 tags used for blog posts and other pages of article content. You want to make sure that your title tag is filled out to state exactly what you offer on the page that is being delivered to users on search. You want this to be done in a manner that encourages them to click the result. Tell the customer that you have what they are looking for (if you have what they are looking for) in the title tag and they will click the result. In the example below, it’s safe to say that even though the first result may rank better, customers searching “custom ukuleles for sale” are more likely to click the third one because the title better matches their query.
2. Write Engaging Yet Succinct Meta-Descriptions that Include a Call to Action
Meta-descriptions are the black & white text (sentences or strings of words depending upon how the webmaster posts content) below the title listed on Google search. They allow webmasters over 150 characters to expand upon the information in the title and ultimately have a big impact upon whether or not a searcher will click your result. Meta-descriptions need to entice the user to click by telling them what they will find when they follow the link down the rabbit hole along with a call-to-action that promises some sort of an offer. Follow these 5 best practices for writing meta-descriptions and you can cross this item off of your checklist of concerns regarding click-through rates.
3. Use Structured Data to Mark Up Your Content
Rich snippets are bits of detailed information that Google extracts from your website and delivers on their search engine results page (SERP). These snippets vary by industry. A restaurant result may display an aggregate star rating of customer reviews and price range for menu items. Real estate sites may enjoy the benefit of having actual listings of homes for sale complete with addresses and pricing right there on the SERP. To score these snippets for your website you need to use microdata to markup your content. You can do all of this beginning with Google support here.
4. Use Google+ Authorship Where Appropriate
Set up Google+ Authorship for your website’s primary editorial content contributor/s. The photo and name attribution beside the search engine result encourages click-throughs because users tend to “trust” visible authors over bland brand-only results. While the recent Google+ Authorship update separated author driven content into classes (some content displaying without author photos) consistent high-quality content may very well result in Google+ Authorship being attached to your blog posts and articles which in turn increases the click-through rates for your content. Note: Google+ Authorship should not be overused and added to everyone on your content team as it can have a diluting effect.
5. Add Rich Media to All Pages and Content on Your Website
Google is displaying images and video in general search (search not specified for “images” or “video”) more than ever before and they are expected to continue down this path in the future. Searchers click these results more than they do plain text ones. Take your best shot at getting your search result clicked by creating and using original rich media (photos, graphics, and video) on every page of your website and with every single post that you publish.
Getting on Google Page One is an admirable feat within itself but it must be complemented by tactics to encourage click-throughs as well. By following the five steps above you ensure that not only are the proverbial horses being led to water, but that they will drink as well.