Google tip on how to increase the click rate in search results

The click rate (English click-through rate or CTR) describes the percentage of searchers who click on your page via Google search. How do you get searchers interested in this click? By presenting yourself as attractively as possible in the search results list. This solution sounds as logical as it is simple. Nevertheless, many website operators neglect the optimization of the snippet, the excerpt that appears in the search results list. Here’s how to stay one step ahead of your competition.

Excursus: How is the CTR determined?

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Attractive headings: Optimization of the page titles

Searchers should not only find your website via Google, but also click the link. On the one hand, this brings you more visitors and, on the other hand, a better placement in the search results list. Google rates a high click rate as an indication of a relevant page.

It is therefore important that the presentation of the search result makes you want to click. In the simplest variant, a search result consists of:

  • a page title that is also the link to the website
  • the url
  • the meta description

The page title serves as a heading for the entire subpage. Like any good headline, the title is meant to entice the reader to look at the entire text. Therefore, formulate a separate and meaningful page title for each subpage.

EXTRA: CTA & Headlines: The 2 essential tricks for online marketing

What does a good page title look like? Two examples

You have about 55 to 60 characters available for the title. The main keyword of the subpage (book massage oil or wellness hotel) should be at the beginning as possible. The reader recognizes the topic of the page at first glance. The graphic separation by the straight line “|” attracts attention.

It is also positive to mention highly searchable verbs such as “buy”, “book”, “reserve”, etc., if they match the content of the page. Any brand names are at the end of the page title.

Avoid over-optimizing and uninformative page titles

Both examples are too long. The first example is simply composed of a series of keywords that do not offer the reader any added value. The second page title doesn’t even leave enough space for the hotel name.

Brief descriptions that make you want to continue reading

In addition to the page title, you should also create an individual meta description for each subpage. Although the short description is not part of Google’s ranking factors, it works like the teaser in a newspaper article: A well-formulated meta description arouses the curiosity of the reader and accordingly helps to increase the CTR.

An effective meta description follows the AIDA principle:

  • It attracts attention.
  • It arouses interest.
  • It triggers desire.
  • It finally leads to the action – the click on the website.

How do you formulate a good meta description?

About 156 characters including spaces are available for the meta description. The keyword on the subpage is as close to the front as possible. The further short description offers the readers added value through concrete information.

In the second example, special characters also attract attention and thus attract attention. If appropriate, call the reader with a call-to-action for an action, as shown in the 2nd example: “Compare massage oil prices and buy cheap at idealo.de”.

EXTRA: 11 copywriting tips [Infographic]

Avoid too long and uninformative meta descriptions

In the first example, the keyword “massage oil” does not appear at all. The meta description is also too long, as is the case in the second example, which does not provide the reader with any further information.

Increase the CTR with structured data: rich snippets

Rich snippets are enriched with further information.

The following can be found under the title, for example:

  • Rating stars
  • opening hours
  • Event dates
  • Product Information
  • Author information on specialist articles
  • Recipes with a picture

These markups make the search result more conspicuous and provide the searcher with further information. Rating stars also increase trust in your company or your product.

If you want to generate rich snippets, mark the respective pages with HTML microdata.

Schema.org, an overarching initiative of the search engines Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yandex, provides a uniform standard for this structured data. Machines can read out this data in a structured manner and process it independently.

Rich cards

In 2016, Google added rich cards to the display of search results. Search results such as recipes, events, reviews or products appear with an image, the title, the source information in green, a rating and, in the case of recipes, sometimes with details of the preparation time and the calorie content.

#Google quietly expands #richcards worldwide https://t.co/4rJlGXwo0z #Marketing #Advertising #ecommerce pic.twitter.com/usOakzWStl

– Sean McElroy (@seancmcelroy) April 16, 2017

The large images and clear data are intended to entice smartphone and tablet users in particular to click on the search result.

For display as a rich card, the HTML elements of the source code must again be marked with HTML microdata according to schema.org.

If you’ve already done this for recipes, films and events on your site, you don’t have to change anything.

Test rich snippets with the Google Developers Tool

The implementation of rich snippets increases the click rate, but is not entirely risk-free.

Even small errors in the code can mean that your entire page description can no longer be seen. Google Developers offers a free tool for webmasters to check rich snippets to ensure proper integration.

Featured snippets

Featured Snippets have been on Google since 2015. This answer box contains a concise, precise answer to a question or brief instructions. Often there is also a picture with a link to the source underneath.

Now you might think that readers would have little interest in clicking further to the page if they can already find the answer in the search results. In fact, the opposite is the case: Many studies show that the answer box can increase the click rate enormously. Websites received between 73% and up to 500% more Google traffic when their content was displayed as a featured snippet.

In order to get a placement as a featured snippet, you have to optimize the content of your website:

  • Think about which of your content fits a specific question.
  • Formulate this question as precisely as possible.
  • Name the question once in a heading.
  • Under this heading, write a logically structured answer of 40 to 58 words. The rest of the text should answer the question in more detail.
  • Name related questions in the text.
  • Link the core question internally.
  • Use pictures and, if appropriate, videos.

These steps aren’t a guarantee that your page will appear as a featured snippet, but they will increase the chance.

Conclusion: Invest time in page titles and brief descriptions

It is worth investing time in the formulation of an appealing page title, an informative meta description and structured data. An attractive snippet invites searchers to click on your website and thus increases the CTR.

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