Search engine optimization (SEO) is an ever-changing science. New methods, rules, and updates keep the act of reaching out to customers fluid and versatile. However, specific SEO strategies, like CTR manipulation, stand out amongst the crowd.
But first, what is CTR? You'll likely recognize if you've spent any time in the digital marketing space.
Plus, stick around for some SEO tips a little later!
What Is CTR?
CTR stands for 'click-through rate,' and it's an essential metric to measure how well a webpage performs with a target audience. For digital marketers, the CTR is a key insight into what pages perform well and which pages need some SEO improvement.
Finding your click-through rate is as easy as following this formula:
Clicks divided by the number of page impressions.
If your brand new page on SEO Press Releases gets 400 clicks and 5,000 impressions, your CTR equals 8%.
In short, a CTR shows Google and other search engines that there's some content of value on websites.
What Is A Good CTR?
While 'good' can vary from business to business (and ad to ad), a CTR of 10% to 20% is something to shoot for.
A CTR shouldn't necessarily be categorized as 'good;' or 'bad,' though. It takes away a lot of the nuance of what a CTR represents.
Most of all, it's the metric that clues website designers, SEO experts, and digital marketers to better understand what they can achieve.
With that in mind, it's time to define CTR manipulation and determine if it's a good practice.
Defining CTR Manipulation
CTR manipulation is an SEO strategy that aims to trick Google and other search engines into thinking a site is popular. SEO strategists will artificially boost the popularity of a site.
When done correctly, an artificial or manipulated CTR will signal search engines that a site is providing good content. And most importantly, readers should take notice of it.
Is CTR Manipulation Against The Rules?
Does this sound similar to black hat SEO to you? While not all CTR manipulation is outright negative, artificially boosting a ranking via software or CTR traffic bots is a no-no in our eyes.
CTR bots will go to work clicking on links and, you guessed it, boosting your site's ranking.
Is there CTR manipulation similar to 'white hat SEO'? Well, yes. Think of sharing a link from your site on LinkedIn for all your connections to see. Technically, that's a sort of CTR manipulation, albeit an organic form.
You can also consider email marketing as a form of CTR manipulation. Especially email blasts that go to all your chosen contacts. If clicked upon, your CTR will improve.
Google And CTR Manipulation
As you can probably surmise, CTR manipulation is frowned upon by Google. In fact, Google will quickly pick up on any shady CTR manipulation and likely flag a site for it. And Google is thorough in its crackdown on any shady activities.
While CTR manipulation can work under the right circumstances, it's not something a good search engine optimizer will want (or need) to use. A high rank will often come and go quickly. Circumventing organic methods just adds to your trouble. And if you're a small business, it's just not worth it.
And, much like other black hat SEO practices, shoddy CTR manipulation can have instant results, but at a cost. As with keyword stuffing, duplicate content, or backlink buying, click-through rate manipulation is a fleeting reward for SEO strategists opting for it.
The Case For Ditching CTR Manipulation: Doing Things The Sprinkles Way
At Sprinkles Media, we believe in doing things the right way.
We offer comprehensive SEM and organic SEO efforts. Through organic SEO, we firmly establish a site as a resource that helps customers find products and services.
Improving CTR Organically
Why take the easy (and potentially risky) way towards success?
When you approach improving your CTR manually, it allows search engines to
- Not penalize you for artificially boosting a site's rank
- Recognize your site as an authority in your industry
These should encourage SEO strategists to improve a CTR organically.
Here are some tips on improving your click-through rate.
Write Good Copy
Above all, writing good copy is essential to establishing a site or small business as a trustworthy resource.
Good copy is much more than having good grammar and avoiding run-on sentences; it's about informing your audience. It allows your site to rank higher with well-sourced and well-researched information. Simply put, if you have accurate and helpful knowledge in your field, there's no need for CTR manipulation.
Work On Your Meta Descriptions
When search engine users search for a keyword, their results will have a meta description. Think of this as a short summary of what's on the page.
Be sure to commit to a meta description!
If you don't provide one, Google will auto-fill the space with the first written content on the page.
And remember to add your primary keyword into the mix!
With click-through rate manipulation, results are quick but also short-lived. Achieving a higher CTR through honest, organic SEO has serious staying power. What use is being at a high Google SERPs position if it'll just go away in a flash? And again, avoiding a Google penalty is paramount here.
The Importance Of Titles
Your title, of course, should entice readers and draw them to your site. If you have a properly optimized title for search engines, your CTR could significantly boost over time.
To properly optimize a title for SEO, ensure that your primary keyword is the first thing readers see. If you can't fit the keyword organically, at least make it appear in the last words.
Likewise, adding numbers, emotion, and other keywords can go a long way.
For example, a title like:
You Need To Try Facebook Ads Today
It seems incomplete. It’s more of a thought, rather than an SEO title. It just doesn’t cut it.
Instead, go for something like:
Facebook Ads: 5 Ways To Quickly Improve Your Performance
The second title is right to the point. It then offers a secondary aspect; the five reasons. Readers love to see these lists, and it's easy to see why. People love lists, categorization, and well-organized content. With five distinct reasons to use Facebook ads, users know they can get succinct, helpful tips.
Get Digital Marketing Help With Sprinkles Media
At Sprinkles Media, we know there's no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to growing your brand. We work with brands in multiple industries to help them achieve the recognition they deserve.
Whether you need organic SEO assistance or help in branding your website, experts at Sprinkles Media help you every step of the way.
Have any questions about digital marketing? Get in touch with us! We'd love to help grow your brand! We love working with our clients and work hard to get them to rank high in different search engines.
Oh, and again, we do it the right way. Contact us for a digital marketing consultation today!