Improving your SERP CTR, or organic click-through rate, is one of the keys to ranking higher in the search results.
That's because CTR is a ranking factor: pages with high CTR get pushed higher up the search results.
Here are 25 tips for improving the CTR of your SERP snippet.
But first of all, what is SERP CTR?
What Is SERP CTR?
SERP CTR, also known as organic CTR, is your click-through rate from the search results.
As you probably know, it's not enough to rank on Page #1 of Google. You also need to get people to click through to your web page.
And that means optimizing your SERP snippet.
A SERP snippet is the 4 or 5 lines of information about your web page that appears in the search results. At a minimum it consists of:
- meta description
How To Find Your SERP CTR
The first thing to do is to find out what is your current SERP CTR (aka organic CTR). To do this, go to your Google Analytics account and click on Acquisitions > Search Console > Queries:
SERP CTR and Organic Ranking
It’s important to watch your SERP CTR and try to improve it.
The reason for this is that there’s a strong relationship between organic CTR and where a page ranks in the search results.
The search engine has ‘expected CTRs’ for each position in the search results.
In other words, if your site ranks in Position #2 for a given search query, Google will have an ‘expected CTR’ for that position that's different for the expected CTR for Position #7.
If your snippet exceeds the expected CTR for your position, you go up, but if your snippet fails to meet the expected CTR, your snippet goes down.
SERP snippets with low CTR are assumed to be less relevant to that particular search query. And so the algorithm will move those snippets further down the page.
So CTR is a ranking factor. And that means it’s vital to monitor CTR and try to improve it.
35 Experts Share Their Secret Tips and Hacks For Boosting SERP CTR
I reached out to content marketers, bloggers and SEO experts and asked them: "what's your #1 SEO tip for improving CTR from a SERP snippet?"
Here are their tips and hacks for improving SERP CTR:
#1. Use numbers in your title
Numbers grab our attention faster than words and make your title stand out from the others. Try to find a way of including 2 or 3 numbers in your title. For example, 5 Powerful Ways To Get 1000 Subscribers in 30 Days.
My number 1 tip for increasing CTR from SERP snippet is to make sure that your snippet looks enticing by adding numbers to your titles.
This makes your title look more professional, plus it clearly gives the readers an idea of how rich your content will be. Hence, they are more likely to click on your SERP snippet.
The key here is to include any kind of number. Even at times when your post is not talking about a list, you can use the number 1, instead of going for a title without any number.
- Ted Liu
It's been shown that using numbers in your title tags will increase your CTR.
In fact, a study by Conductor found that numbers increased CTR by 36%. You can test different variations but, when possible, always try to incorporate a number (e.g. 7 Ways to Boost Your Organic CTR).
Also, use the current calendar year: people are searching for current, relevant content. An easy way to show that your content is relevant to them is by simply including the current calendar year in your title tag/meta description.
- Justin Smith
Odd numbers have a way of grabbing peoples’ attention.
Articles like 7 Things to… and Our 13-Step Guide to… get 20% more clicks than articles with even numbers in the title.
There’s a saying in design that goes, “Even numbers create symmetry, odd numbers create interest.”
When we’re confronted with an odd number, our brain subconsciously wants to investigate it and figure out why there isn’t an even number. This applies to meta titles, too.
This doesn’t mean that you have to format all of your articles as odd-numbered lists or how-to guides, either. If your article is an 8-point guide, make the meta description something like 7+ Points to Help You… Just having that 7 in your meta title will increase the page’s CTR.
- Chris Zacher
#2. Tease the SERPs with curiosity
I'm a big fan of reeling people in and getting them to click by making them feel like they are missing out on something.
In order to do that, I simply stop the meta description in the middle of a sentence when it sounds like it's about to get to the best part.
And I do this by putting the three dots (...) like the sentence continues if you just click through. It's crazy how well this works to improve CTR.
- Kevin Jourdan
I'm a big fan of using those old school Viral Nova-style sentences to entice someone to click through to the site. For instance, something like "We've got 13 tips for increasing organic CTR - and you won't believe how well #9 works!"
With this tactic, you're promoting curiosity and FOMO, which often results in a high CTR. Of course, it doesn't work for every article, but when you can make it work the CTR difference is quite noticeable.
- Isaac Bullen
#3. Remove your brand name from the title tag
Remove your brand name from your Meta Title.
It's an old habit but still blankets the results. This gives you that much more real estate to use keywords and craft a title that calls out your specific audience.
- Derek Iwasiuk
#4. Use schema markup
- Clicks increased by 43 percent
- Impressions are up by almost 1 percent.
- Average position also increased by 12 percent.
You can add structured data using a plugin such as All In One Schema Rich Snippets
My #1 SEO tip is to use schema markup.
This makes it much easier for website crawlers to understand the theme and content on your website's pages.
The different schema markups also provide additional features for how your website shows up on search results - a ratings schema will add ratings to your search result, the local business schema can include your opening hours, business address and contact information, and a video schema will crawl video content so you can show up on Video search.
Your search result will have more information included about yourself and you also occupy more real estate on the page, leading to an increased CTR.
- Logan Mallory
One of the best ways to increase organic CTR is by adding schema to your page.
Not every schema affects the SERPs and not every schema relates to every page, but if you can find a schema that works for your website and affects the search results you'll definitely improve your CTRs.
For example, one form of schema that always shows up on the search results for any kind of page is Breadcrumb schema. When Google sees your breadcrumb schema it will replace your URL with a breadcrumb "map".
This makes your listing stand-out from the others (who only have URLs) and confirms to potential visitors that your site has much more to offer.
- David Zimmerman
Adding structured data is a low-hanging fruit that is overlooked.
Well-written content is great but adding structured data or around articles gives an extra CTR boost.
Not a ranking factor but it helps users find what they are searching for. Rich snippets give more context to what the page is about on SERP. Entries with rich snippets also look better with no snippets.
- Francis Angelo Reyes
One way to improve organic CTR is to implement an aggregate rating schema markup.
This lets Google show website rating. CTR is higher when people can trust your website even before clicking on it.
- Semil Shah
To assist search engines in pulling crucial information into your SERP snippet, use Structured Data Markup.
When structured data is added to the site:
- number of clicks increase
- impressions increase
- average position also rises
You can use a plugin like All In One Schema Rich Snippets to add structured data.
- Ben Richardson
#5. All-round tips for better SERP CTR
Include your target keyword. It is best to put your focus keyword (and, if possible, a long-tail keyword too) as close to the title’s beginning as possible..
- Green Maxi Dresses - Long Green Dresses | Example Shop Online
Include your domain- or brand name. It is particularly important if your brand is likely to be recognized by users. For example:
- Brown Shoes for Women | Exampleshop.com
Keep your titles neat and tidy. Use a similar format for all your titles (but never duplicate them!). Our eyes and brains love patterns, so please the searchers by incorporating a certain title tag format.
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Avoid truncation. A title tag should be short. Despite the fact that Google doesn’t ignore the title keywords that exceed a specific number of pixels, it still means that no one will be able to read your full title tag if it exceeds 60-70 characters.
Add numbers if possible. Numbers tend to capture people’s attention much faster than words. For example:
- 13 Best Podcasts for Marketers
- 7 Tips for Optimizing Your Video Content
- Agata Kucapska
There are a few technical ways to increase your organic CTR from search, but I’m going to focus on the content.
Your page title needs to be informative and descriptive, but you can also get a little playful here, particularly if it’s blog content. Titles containing numbers often perform better (such as “10 ways to increase your CTR”) and make use of brackets to highlight the content type e.g. “10 ways to increase your CTR (2021 guide)”.
Next up is the URL itself. This may seem obvious but make sure it’s descriptive and keyword-rich. For example, for a product page the URL shouldn’t just be the product code - it should describe the product.
Same with a blog post - some may default to a URL that includes the date of the blog post, but you’ll usually have the option to create a custom, optimised URL.
The meta description is the place to really capture your user’s attention. Using power words (terms that encourage emotion such as ‘secret’ or ‘amazing’) in descriptions can help trigger a response that leads to that all-important click
- Emma Williams
#6. Look at what’s already working
My #1 SEO tip for increasing CTR from a SERP snippet is this: Reverse-engineer success.
You don’t need to “guess” what is going to work for CTR – check what the top competition in your industry/niche is doing and reverse-engineer their success.
If you’re a web designer in Denver, check what the top web designers in big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, or San Francisco are doing. And use their SERP snippets as a reference to create your own snippet. If it works in a huge city like Los Angeles, you can bet it’ll work in a smaller, less competitive city.
- Mark Balliet
While it might be tempting to play around with innovative titles that sound great on paper and tactics that convert elsewhere, your title tag is not the place to be trying to go against the norm.
The best practice is to identify what the top results have in common. If they all include the current year, you should have that too. If they all have a number or phrase, again, you should have it too.
Not only does Google tend to like homogeneity in things like this, but it's also a good indicator to the user that the article is matching their intent, since it's the same as everyone else.
- Mark Webster
#7. Test your titles on social media
Just use the regular A/B testing to find the best headlines for your articles.
To make it easy, use WordPress, it can automatically publicize your posts.
From social media, you can see how many click-throughs, retweets, and likes you get using one title. If the alternate title wins, use them. It will boost your SEO results.
- Tim Absalikov
#8. Use a ToC and get rich results
Adding an automatic table of contents to every article is the biggest quick win.
As a result, jump links will appear in the SERPs, increasing space and CTR.
To improve your titles, include brackets around sections of a text and include the year and month. If you have RankMath or Yoast, you can automatically do this by doing (%currentmonth%, %currentyear%).
Use a ‘Table of Contents’ plugin or code.
The jump links (of Table of Content) that lead to various sections on a post can not only improve the reader experience but also can appear on the SERP snippet. If used headlines intelligently, these tags may appear as sitelinks to your specific post.
For example - When someone searches "blogging explained" on Google, the first result they see is my website (which leads to my home page) and the 2nd result is my "how to start a blog" guide with sitelinks of it (H2 headlines with a link) as you can see below:
To make this happen, your post must be built logically with sensible headlines in a contextual manner. And not to forget low-hanging fruit "Interlinking".
In summary, smart headings have the chance to appear in featured snippets, meaning, users can understand better about your post, which in turn increases your CTR and drive more organic traffic.
Bonus tip - Try to use:
- H1 - Try to put your main keyword (even LSI works)
- H2 - Relevant subtopic or concept related to H1
- H3 - Preferably FAQs with long-tail keywords
- Mudassir Ahmed
#9. Use bracketed disclaimers
There are few things you can do to increase organic CTR.
My favorite strategy is to use bracketed disclaims along with short, spicier URLs.
Google loves short URLs, so I try to simplify them as much as possible while still conveying the message.
I also use bracketed disclaimers to maximize CTR and entice the audience. If your content includes a video, just add [Video] or [Video Guide] in the title.
The same works for [Step-by-Step Guide] or [Research/Data] types of articles.
Users love brackets to find the best content formats for their particular needs, and short URLs are simply awesome from a technical SEO standpoint.
- Aaron Agius
#10. Take a cue from Google ads
If you are in a niche that has websites that advertise with Google AdWords, the best way to increase your click-through rate is to take your direction from those ads.
Many tests have been done by companies that use AdWords, refining the headlines and the copy underneath those headlines in order to get the most clicks.
'Borrow' those headlines for your title tag and the ad copy for your meta description. The testing has already been done for you!
- Dave Hermansen
My number one tip for increasing CTR is to optimize your SERP titles.
The title has the largest font and therefore will be the first thing a user sees (and often the only thing they read). A few ways to do this include: Keep to under 20-30 characters, ask a question, and inject an emotional direction. Use what you know about your audience to lead with their pain point.
And, of course, it’s wise to always research your competitors. Look at what they are doing, and mimic it with your own spin. Do it better.
- James Parsons
#11. Make your SERP snippet match the search query
We've seen more and more searches where the search results that gain the most click-throughs aren't those with the best keyword profile, most backlinks, or even the most significant authority.
We see that websites with content, titles, and descriptions that are doing the best job of answering the searcher's query are actually winning.
Understanding the intent of the search engine user is vital. Assuming the webpage has relevant content that solves the user's problem, the page title and meta description can make a significant improvement with the click-through rates if it thinks like the user:
- Will this help me achieve my goal?
- Does this company/website look credible?
- Are they different or better than the others on this page?
- What will I see when I visit this page?
Think instant gratification. Search intent is particularly helpful when trying to identify where the user is at in relation to their journey. Ideally, you want them to end that journey with you/your product or service.
- Alan Spurgeon
My biggest tip is to make sure that you incorporate keywords into your title tag, meta description, and URL.
This will get your site rated higher, which is essential because rarely do people scroll to the second page on Google.
Adding more keywords also means that your link will match exactly what someone is searching for. If the description that appears on Google search describes what someone is wanting, they are more likely to click on that page.
- Chloe Sisson
My #1 tip for increasing CTR on SERP is to match the searcher's intent i.e. the main goal a user has when typing a query into a search engine.
This helps you in optimizing your meta title and meta description that ultimately determine your CTR.
If what the searcher is looking for and what your title and description suggest do not match, there's very little chance of him clicking on your result even if you are ranking on number one.
For example, if the searcher is looking for a 'Beginner's guide to SEO', and your article is perfect for him but your title and description do not contain the word 'Beginner', he will be less interested to read it. He might be a Beginner and the presence of that word could be really important for him.
So, in short, try to think from the searcher's point of view. What is his intent? What he might be looking for that your content can provide? And once you find out, make sure to highlight that in your meta title and description.
- Madhav Goenka
When you know the exact intent behind your target audience's keyword searches, then you'll write better copy and increase your organic CTR.
The difference in those who are writing with a mission versus those guessing what their audience wants is a mile wide.
How do you know?
Talk to these people directly. Ask your customers what they search to find your business. Call 10 people on your email list and ask them what they're looking for when they search this. Then include the exact intent and word choice they use in your page title and meta description.
This way your copywriting is specific versus casting a wide net or guessing. Your organic traffic will increase after executing this exercise.
- Brian Robben
#12. Measure your CTR and test your titles
Check your current CTR. It is always good to be updated on your current CTR. To improve your organic CTR, you can go to google analytics and it will display impressions, click-through rate, average search position, etc.
Improve your titles. Try to make your page title as effective as possible. Try out different headlines. Don’t stop at the first headline that pops in your head, instead of push yourself to think harder. Try alternate headlines and decide which looks great.
Focus on emotions. Try to choose a headline that is centered on emotions. Most decisions are motivated by feelings, including clicks. So one effective way to get people to check out your content is to focus on the emotions of the target audience.
- Christian Velitchkov
#13. Optimize your Google My Business (GMB)
My #1 SEO tip for increasing SERP snippet CTR is to optimise your Google My Business page.
Nowadays, users look for more local services or companies that can provide services near them. This platform allows finding your business either via branded searches, location-based, or business-related searches.
There are a few opportunities to be found. Besides, GMB collects reviews and ratings which means that the more people provide positive feedback about your business, the more likely Google will rank it higher in search results.
- Cristina Moraru
One simple tactic that can increase CTR is optimizing for Google My Business.
It may sound strange, but a lot of businesses do not have a Google My Business page or they haven’t updated it in a long time.
The process takes just a few minutes and should be completed as soon as possible because Google My Business results pop up in all kinds of searches - branded ones, location-based ones and even service based searches.
Once you have everything set up, you can also receive reviews which can boost your reputation significantly.
Make sure that you provide quality services/products so that people can leave you good reviews. It’s important for these to be real and as diverse as possible.
- Nick Chernets
#14. Use emojis in your title tag
My number 1 SEO tip for increasing CTR would be to try including emojis and special characters in your meta descriptions and page titles.
Google doesn't always show these, but if you're lucky these can really help you stand out in the SERPs. Check marks or ticks are the most commonly shown so using these are your best bet.
Bear in mind that the emoji should always supplement the text you're using. I've found that Google is more likely to show emojis when they're supporting the text in your metadata, rather than replacing it.
- Matt Thomason
#15. Ask questions in your SERP snippets
In order to increase CTR, title with question will invoke more clicks. It has been known in the SEO world that people tend to click on questions title, like, 'what', 'where', 'who', 'where' & 'when' on the SERPs.
Another great way to improve CTR is to insert a FAQ schema into the post, where there are other questions related to the topic the searcher was searching for.
- Cyrus Yung
My #1 SEO tip for increasing click through rate from a SERP snippet is asking a commonly asked question, then immediately and directly answering it by restating the question.
It's easier for Google to understand (NLP), and you ensure Google knows you're answering a FAQ.
- TJ Haynes
#16. Use the data in Google Search Console
1. First, check your CTR against every page/blog post in Google search console and Google analytics and check which keywords or search terms are used to search your content organically.
2. After Analyzing your CTR in the first step, create a list of keywords or search terms having more impressions, clicks, and Click through rate on your content. Try to use these search terms/ keywords in your content according to your content structure and add them where they can easily fit in your content sentences.
3. Make your blog post or page title interesting by including the keyword according to the topic of the content.
4. Make your URL more descriptive like if you are writing about social media marketing tips then try to create you slug or permalink like this (yourdomain.com/social-media-marketing-tips)
5. Try to make your meta description more interesting and related to your page page or post content.
Tip: Always try to write separate meta descriptions for your blog post or content, it will help you to boost your click through rate.
6. Try to improve your website loading speed because Google will boost the ranking of those websites/blogs having loading between between 2 to 5 seconds and it will also increase your click through rate.
- Tayyab Akram
Google Search Console is your friend!
Use the search appearance tools to filter the URL of the page you’re trying to optimize CTR for and take a look at the queries that you are appearing in SERPs for.
Leverage this data to create Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions that match the most common search queries you’re appearing for.
- Datis Mohsenipour
The highest-impact thing you can do to boost organic CTR is tweak the title of your URL—it's the only part of the SERP appearance you have full control over.
Go to the Search Console, see results for the given URL and sort them by impressions.
Identify queries which yield lower CTR than other ones—pay extra attention to low-CTR queries for which you hold a high position. Then, try to use those words verbatim in your title.
I've found this technique extremely successful, way more so than going for clickbaity or more reader-friendly titles.
Human psychology in this regard is wonderfully simple: you see a word you use in your search and you click.
Just like that.
- Michael Tomaszewski
This is a really powerful tip: use GSC to find those queries that are underperforming for CTR and then just use the exact words people are using in their search query. Awesome tip!
#17. Use pros and cons in your titles
#18. Use this SEO title formula
This headline formula works well in SEO titles - it grabs the searcher's attention and makes them click on the snippet:
[Number] + [Emotional Adjective] + [Content] + [That Does What Exactly?]
Make sure to use this formula in your SEO titles.
#19. Use descriptive URLs
SERP snippets are much more effective when the URL matches the SEO title.
Use descriptive URL’s and not randomly generated URLs.
This is what a descriptive URL looks like in a SERP snippet:
And this is what a descriptive URL looks like in the address bar of a browser:
#20. Use your brand name in the title
If searchers are likely to recognize your brand name, then make sure to include it in your SEO title - brand name recognition can increase click-though rate from the SERPs.
#21. Add breadcrumb markup
When breadcrumb navigation appears in a SERP snippet, it provides the searcher with valuable context and additional clickable navigation options. This increases CTR.
If your WordPress theme does not already have breadcrumbs, you can add breadcrumb navigation using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Here are instructions on how to do it: 'Implement Yoast SEO Breadcrumbs'
#22. Target long tail keywords
Content that targets long tail keywords generates higher CTRs than content that targets head keywords.
The reason for this is that long tail keywords represent searchers who have a much clearer idea of what they’re looking for. And so they’re more likely to click on a SERP snippet for a long tail keyword.
The correlation between long tail keywords and higher click-through rates, can be seen in research conducted by Calculate Marketing.
Although this chart refers to paid ads, the findings apply equally well to organic search.
Put simply: long tail keywords produce higher CTRs than head keywords because people who type them into a search engine have a clearer idea of what they want.
#23. Get higher rankings
This might seem back-to-front reasoning, but the fact is: the higher you rank in the SERPs, the higher your CTR, as the following table shows:
(Image Source: Advanced Web Ranking via Moz)
So if you can improve your web page's SERP ranking, you will automatically improve that page's CTR.
#24. Improve your site speed
Search ranking is directly correlated with page speed: the faster your web page loads, the higher it will rank in the search results. And higher-ranking pages get higher click-through rates.
So increasing site speed leads to higher SERP CTR.
For tips on how to increase your site speed, see my article: 27 Easy Ways to Reduce Server Response Time in WordPress
#25. Use the data in Google Search Console
Find out which blog posts have a high organic CTR and which have a low organic CTR. Then compare the two, and try to identify the differences that give some of your blog posts a high organic CTR.
To do this, go to Google Search Console > Performance and then click on the ‘export data’ button. Choose ‘download CSV’ and then open the CSV file in Microsoft Excel:
Then just sort the CTR column from high to low:
Next, copy a search query (Column A) for a high CTR web page into Google and try to identify what it is in the search snippet that is producing the high SERP CTR.
Pay close attention to things like:
- Action words, emotional trigger words, numbers, and symbols in the SEO title
- Call To Action (CTA) in the meta description
- URLs that match the SEO title
Do the same for web pages with low CTR: look at the search snippet as it appears in Google and try to see how it’s different from a high CTR page. Have a close look at things like:
- Absence of numbers, trigger words, action words, and symbols in the SEO title
- Lack of CTA in the meta description
- URLs that don’t match the SEO title
Do this for 5 high CTR pages and 5 low CTR pages and you’ll begin to get an idea of what factors give your pages a high CTR.
Click-Through Rates (CTR) from search results are a vital part of SEO. This is because organic CTR is a ranking factor: the higher your CTR, the higher you'll rank in the search results.
Use these 35 tips to increase your SERP CTR and grow your traffic.
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