Getting your pages to rank on the first page is no easy feat, but once you get there, you should increase the click-through-rate in order to get more traffic from the same listing. Another important reason to maintain a high CTR, would be to signal Google that your page is relevant for the search query. Pages with low CTR do not remain on the first page for long.

The most important place to optimize for CTR is the Meta Description tag. What used to be a ranking factor some years ago, is no longer so, but it’s your most valuable real estate on the first page – around 160 characters of text that you can craft to compel users to click. Having no Meta Description tag at all is the worst thing you can do (second to having duplicate description tags) as it forces Google to display random text from your page, which might not be in your favor.

When writing your description tags, you need to “sell the click”, not the product. The on-page copy should sell the product. Here are a few tips to improve the CTR of your organic search listings:

  1. To begin improving your CTR, you need to know where to start from. In Google Search Console, browse to ‘Search Analytics’ and check the box marked CTR to see the average CTR for your keywords. In addition to ‘Queries’, also check the ‘Pages’ results, and sort the pages with low CTR to start with, as they are in danger of falling off the SERPs. You can export the results to a spreadsheet for easy sorting.
  2. The majority of searches are done on mobile devices, so check the ‘Devices’ section in ‘Search Analytics’ as well.
  3. Think of your Meta Descriptions as a “free Google ad”. Type your main keyword in the search, and carefully examine the paid results. See what they are doing in the ads descriptions. After all, they are paying for their ads to show up, and they are probably testing different copy to maximize their CTR.
  4. Search Buzzsumo for your keyword, analyze the best performing headlines and try to figure out what makes them stand out that they generate lots of social shares. Use them as a template for your headline and description.
  5. Figure out the biggest question your audience has in regards with the search query, and answer this question in your Meta Description.