What Is Organic CTR?

Organic click-through rate (CTR) is the measure of how many users click on your link on the search engine results page (SERP). For example, if 100 people search for your target keyword each month and 10 of those people click on your URL, the organic CTR for that keyword is 10%.

There’s a lot that can influence organic CTR. How highly your URL ranks is the main determiner, but organic CTR also depends on:

  • Title tag
  • Meta description
  • URL
  • Rich snippets

In this article, we’ll talk about why organic CTR is so important and how to optimize your content to get more clicks.

Is Organic CTR Important?

Yes! Organic CTR is one of the most important metrics you’ll track.

First, the higher the organic CTR, the more traffic your website will get. To continue with the example above, if you optimize your content and end up with 20 of 100 searchers clicking on your content, you’d double your organic CTR to 20%.

Second, organic CTR is a Google ranking factor. That means Google uses CTR to determine how well your content matches the search query it’s optimized for. The better the CTR, the more Google thinks your content is on point, and the higher it will want to rank it on the SERP.

Improve Organic CTR With These Best Practices

There are several ways that you can increase organic CTR. Let’s get into them!

Appeal to the User’s Emotions

It’s no secret that emotional marketing can perform better than neutral marketing. By adding an emotional trigger word to your title, you can increase organic CTR. Plus, these words or phrases don’t have to be dramatic to appeal to emotion. Here are a few examples from Popupsmart:

Emotional trigger words to increase organic CTR.

Include a Number in the Title

There are a lot of ways to use numbers in your page or post title:

  • Current year
  • Days or hours to take action
  • Discount
  • Number of clients/customers served
  • Number of items in a listicle
  • Statistic
A headline with a number in it.

According to organic marketing platform Conductor, using a number in your title can increase CTR:

A graph showing how numbers can increase CTR.

However, there have also been studies that show the opposite. For example, Semrush’s experiment showed better results when numbers were removed from titles.

Still, it’s a common belief that adding a number can improve CTR. Some SEO plugins for WordPress even consider having a number part of title readability:

Rank Math suggestions for readability.
Source: Rank Math

Since results may vary, this is a good opportunity for A/B testing to determine which of your headlines perform better with a number.

Add Brackets to the Title Tag

HubSpot’s report called Data Driven Strategies for Writing Effective Titles and Headlines found that the HubSpot blog increased post views by 33% when brackets were used in the title.

A graph showing how brackets can increase CTR.

Here’s an example of a HubSpot blog post that uses brackets in the title:

Article title that includes brackets.

It’s possible that brackets make users feel like they’re getting a sneak peek into the content. This removes a barrier and makes the user trust the content more, which encourages a click.

Keep the URL Short

Short URLs are more SEO-friendly than long URLs. Include your target keyword in the URL, but don’t use the whole blog post title or the date.

An example of an SEO URL.

Whenever possible, steer clear of dynamic URLs, which are auto-generated based on user action — and usually very long and unreadable.

An example of a dynamic URL.

In general, users prefer short URLs because they’re easy to understand and, therefore, more enticing to click.

Write an Appealing Meta Description

Your meta description is where you can write up to 160 characters that tell the user what your content is about and encourage them to click.

A meta description written to increase organic CTR.

Here are a few ways to maximize this space:

  • Grab and keep attention with emotional appeal. Here are lots of suggestions for emotion-based trigger words to add.
  • Add the current year. This lets users know that your content is relevant right now.
  • Stick to the character limit. Your SEO plugin will tell you if you’re in the right zone.

Overall, this is your chance to sell your content — use the space wisely.

Utilize Structured Data

Structured data is presented in a format that’s easy for both web crawlers and human users to understand. Since structured data — also called “rich snippets” or “rich results” — are so visually appealing and are placed high in search results, they lead to more clicks.

Sangria recipes to show how rich snippets can improve organic CTR.

Google Search Central has a section dedicated to structured data, complete with examples. Google also has a tool that lets you test if a URL supports rich results.

Rich snippet testing tool results from Google.

This article dives deeper into schema and how to use it for your content.

Don’t Stoop to Clickbait

While clickbait may temporarily increase organic CTR, it’ll do more harm than good in the not-so-distant future.

Be careful when you use emotional trigger words so that you don’t go overboard. Is what you’re writing about actually “shocking,” or is “unexpected” a better way to describe it?

Furthermore, does your content actually deliver on the promises that your title and meta description make? If not, you may get a click but the user will leave your site right away, which will increase bounce rate and lower dwell time — and hurt your ranking as well.

Wrapping Up

There are lots of ways to improve organic CTR, and many of these options are excellent for A/B testing. That way, you can really narrow in on what works best for your audience.

With all the work you’re doing to increase organic CTR, make sure you’re watching Google Search Console to see if your efforts are making a difference. The CTR report can also give you an idea of which pages to start on when improving organic CTR — it’s smart to begin with the lowest-performing pages.

You may find our article about SEO positions helpful, too. Check it out here.

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