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Organic Click Through Rate Optimisation Tactics - MKGO - June 2018


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Here are the slides from a talk I gave at MKGO in Milton Keynes, June 2018.

I talked about optimising organic click through rate using some tactics I've experimented with over the past 18 months.

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Organic Click Through Rate Optimisation Tactics - MKGO - June 2018

  1. 1. How to Drive More Organic Traffic (Without Increasing a Ranking) Stacey MacNaught @staceycav #mkgo
  2. 2. After 9 years in SEO, I’ve heard this a fair few times… @staceycav #mkgo
  3. 3. In my head, what it really means is… @staceycav #mkgo
  4. 4. But sometimes… @staceycav #mkgo
  5. 5. Getting organic traffic isn’t easy. @staceycav #mkgo
  6. 6. And for all the changes over the years, it’s still very much the case that… @staceycav #mkgo
  7. 7. …you don’t drive traffic if you don’t rank for the right phrases. @staceycav #mkgo
  8. 8. So a focus on rankings is, in my view, still essential (following solid keyword research) @staceycav #mkgo
  9. 9. But being visible for something isn’t the only thing you need to consider if you’re going to drive the traffic. @staceycav #mkgo
  10. 10. Click Through Rate. @staceycav #mkgo
  11. 11. And then we’re back to… @staceycav #mkgo
  12. 12. So, why does it happen? @staceycav #mkgo
  13. 13. @staceycav #mkgo 1. The Query Has No Volume.
  14. 14.
  15. 15.
  16. 16. 2. You’re not really ranking where you think you are consistently @staceycav #mkgo
  17. 17. 3. Your click through rate is poor. @staceycav #mkgo
  18. 18. 3. Your click through rate is poor. We can fix this! J @staceycav #mkgo
  19. 19. So, what’s a good click through rate?
  20. 20. Meh.
  21. 21.
  22. 22. Treat datasets like this as a starting point only.
  23. 23.
  24. 24. 29,899 websites. 22 categories. 1,359 sites per category if an (unlikely) even split.
  25. 25. It’s an excellent study. But then… @staceycav #mkgo
  26. 26. Another study suggests that 35% of users on desktop don’t click at all. @staceycav #mkgo
  27. 27. And that 57% of users on mobile don’t click at all. @staceycav #mkgo
  28. 28. @staceycav #mkgo
  29. 29. These studies often contradict one another. But here’s what we do know for sure…
  30. 30. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo Sometimes, users simply don’t need to click.
  31. 31. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo And SERP layouts affect CTRs hugely.
  32. 32. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  33. 33. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  34. 34. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  35. 35. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  36. 36. @staceycav #mkgo
  37. 37. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  38. 38. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  39. 39. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  40. 40. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  41. 41. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  42. 42. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  43. 43. @staceycav@staceycav #mkgo
  44. 44. CTR is (of course) influenced heavily by your position @staceycav
  45. 45. Device affects click through rate @staceycav
  46. 46. CTR is different in different sectors. And can even fluctuate seasonally. @staceycav
  47. 47. So, while studies are a good starting point, don’t take them as gospel.
  48. 48. If you want to improve your CTR, you need to know what it is right now.
  49. 49. Search Console is your best friend. @staceycav #mkgo
  50. 50. @staceycav #mkgo
  51. 51. @staceycav #mkgo
  52. 52. Find the keyword(s) you’re most interested in from your query list @staceycav #mkgo
  53. 53. Click through for further detail about each one. @staceycav #mkgo
  54. 54. @staceycav #mkgo
  55. 55. @staceycav #mkgo
  56. 56. You’ll get an export that looks a bit like this. @staceycav #mkgo
  57. 57. Delete all but CTR and position columns @staceycav #mkgo
  58. 58. Remove decimals From position column @staceycav #mkgo
  59. 59. Order by position and then get an average for each position. @staceycav #mkgo
  60. 60. Then create a shorter sheet just with the average CTR for each Position you have data for. @staceycav #mkgo
  61. 61. A full how-to on getting position based CTR data for your own websites: -organic-click-through-rate/ @staceycav #mkgo
  62. 62. Now you have at least some data about your own query level CTR by position. This will be a key reference point in assessing the impact of any CTR optimization work you do. @staceycav #mkgo
  63. 63. A little housekeeping before we talk techniques.
  65. 65. My test environment 19 websites in varied sectors ranging from 3,000 to 150,000 monthly organic visits. Some live commercial websites, others specifically set up for testing. @staceycav #mkgo
  66. 66. My test environment I don’t have as much data as the studies. And my test environment almost certainly wouldn’t qualify as “scientific.” @staceycav #mkgo
  67. 67. My test environment While I’m testing things, other things are happening in SERPS, Google as a whole and with competitors. @staceycav #mkgo
  68. 68. My test environment But I often find “tried and tested hands on by me” to be more useful to me than third party studies in developing techniques and experiments. @staceycav #mkgo
  69. 69. Now to the useful stuff…
  70. 70. Techniques I’ve tried and tested to improve click through rate from organic search
  71. 71. Compelling Adjectives
  72. 72. This is about identifying the adjectives that your potential customers associate as particularly positive in the context of your products and services @staceycav #mkgo
  73. 73. Then using them in your page title and meta description to compel a user to click. @staceycav #mkgo
  74. 74. Start by visiting the Feefo or Trustpilot page for the market leader in your sector. @staceycav #mkgo
  75. 75. @staceycav #mkgo
  76. 76. @staceycav #mkgo
  77. 77. Copy and paste the reviews into a Word doc or similar and filter out common phrases like “review,” “thanks,” “2018,” “insurance” etc @staceycav #mkgo
  78. 78. Pop the rest into any word cloud generator @staceycav #mkgo
  79. 79. It’s worth adding that this could help you to uncover new keyword opportunities too: @staceycav #mkgo
  80. 80. For speed, test in Adwords. I tested ad headlines including both “quick,” and “easy,” and “quick” had almost twice the CTR in paid search. @staceycav #mkgo
  81. 81. CPCs too High for Testing? Where possible/relevant, run the ads in other English speaking countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand) where CPCs can be lower. @staceycav #mkgo
  82. 82. Budget still an issue? @staceycav #mkgo
  83. 83. Budget still an issue? @staceycav #mkgo
  84. 84. Impact of adding “quick,” to life insurance landing page title and meta description @staceycav #mkgo
  85. 85. Like for like position 5 - CTR increase of 50%. CTR for the landing page optimised rather than one specific query as it’s a reasonably medium to long tail page. @staceycav #mkgo
  86. 86. 54% increase in organic traffic and a 62% increase in organic leads through that landing page comparing the 14 days prior to the change with the 14 days after. @staceycav #mkgo
  87. 87. Meta Descriptions…
  88. 88. In December 2017, Google increased length of meta descriptions shown in results pages to about 300 characters. @staceycav #mkgo
  89. 89. @staceycav #mkgo
  90. 90. @staceycav #mkgo
  91. 91. So, off I went and updated 300 meta descriptions on an ecommerce website from around 150 characters to around 300. @staceycav #mkgo
  92. 92. CTR increase on 87% of the pages worked on. @staceycav #mkgo
  93. 93. 41% CTR increase (though a small positional increase too) @staceycav #mkgo
  94. 94. 20% CTR increase despite a position drop over this time. @staceycav #mkgo
  95. 95. 22% CTR increase – slight position increase could pay a part @staceycav #mkgo
  96. 96. All in all, the changes were credited with delivering a 20% increase in organic traffic. @staceycav #mkgo
  97. 97. And then…. @staceycav #mkgo
  98. 98. Google reverted to the shorter descriptions showing in results: @staceycav #mkgo
  99. 99. Following, CTR dropped, but not quite to the levels previously. @staceycav #mkgo
  100. 100. This is likely to be partly down to the fact that their result is no longer the biggest on the page. @staceycav #mkgo
  101. 101. But I also wondered if the ellipses at the end of the visible description were causing a problem. @staceycav #mkgo
  102. 102. @staceycav #mkgo There are lots of examples of bad placement of these ellipses…
  103. 103. So far, 120 shortened. CTRs improved around 15%. @staceycav #mkgo
  105. 105. An improvement to the opening sentence, for example, might have had CTR impact regardless of the length. @staceycav #mkgo
  106. 106. But, it makes sense to have control over what is visible to users in results page. @staceycav #mkgo
  107. 107. So, the best advice I can give on meta descriptions… @staceycav #mkgo
  108. 108. Do write original ones. Do use the 150-155 characters. Don’t have them tail off if you can help it. And do test on your own sites! @staceycav #mkgo
  109. 109. And do read this: @staceycav #mkgo
  110. 110. Numbers
  111. 111. A study by Conductor found that you could improve CTRs by 36% by including numbers in a headline/page title. @staceycav #mkgo
  112. 112. Never one to take 3rd party studies as gospel, I tested it myself. @staceycav #mkgo
  113. 113. This is really easy to do for non commercial content like blog posts, buying guides or other informational content. @staceycav #mkgo
  114. 114. With the bottom title, the page CTR increased from 4.21% to 5.81%, an improvement of 38% @staceycav #mkgo
  115. 115. With the bottom title, the page CTR increased from 3.89% to 5.02%, an improvement of 29% @staceycav #mkgo
  116. 116. Made changes like this on 40 pages. CTR improved on 33. 82.5% success rate positive correlation rate. @staceycav #mkgo
  117. 117. But what about commercial landing pages? @staceycav #mkgo
  118. 118. Not as easy to test on BIG sites because it’s not always feasible to put specific numbers in. @staceycav #mkgo
  119. 119. What I want to do…. @staceycav #mkgo
  120. 120. So that’s ongoing for me. If any of you test it, do let me know how it goes (please?) @staceycav #mkgo
  121. 121. Pricing and Discounts
  122. 122. This one had mixed results. @staceycav #mkgo
  123. 123. With the bottom title, page CTR went from 2.12% to 3.13%. That’s +42% @staceycav #mkgo
  124. 124. With the bottom title, page CTR went from 1.21% to 1.43%. That’s +18% @staceycav #mkgo
  125. 125. But beware competitors with better offers undercutting you and slashing your CTR. @staceycav #mkgo
  126. 126. CTR dropped by 51% on a site on which we were specifying ”From £319,” when a competitor added “from £299,” to their title. @staceycav #mkgo
  127. 127. Position 0
  128. 128. @staceycav #mkgo
  129. 129. @staceycav #mkgo
  130. 130. The specifics of achieving featured snippets are a talk unto themselves. But here are some great resources: @staceycav #mkgo
  131. 131. @staceycav #mkgo
  132. 132. @staceycav #mkgo
  133. 133. @staceycav #mkgo
  134. 134. Measure Carefully.
  135. 135. Experiment confidently
  136. 136.