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How Higher Click Through Rates Help Maintain Your Higher Rankings

Once your site achieves a first page search engine ranking, your listings’ click through rate plays an important factor in whether it will remain there.  Once you learn how to increase your click through rate it will not only help you keep that top ranking, but also improve your rankings over time.

Obtaining a high ranking for a competitive phrase can be difficult, but maintaining it can be just as hard.  Google’s algorithm allows them to track the click through rates on your listings and determine if your site is worthy of keeping that top ranking.  While density, keyword location, placement and PageRank™ may have had a lot to do with you initially obtaining the ranking, your visitors and how they select the listings they wish to visit will determine your ability to remain at the top.

That’s the secret! Having a good strong click through rate can help you keep your rankings!

Understanding the Thought Process

Put yourself in Google’s shoes for a moment.  If your primary goal is to show the most relevant results to your visitors, then you may be able to build your initial results through density, but with millions of searches being completed each day, visitors can help further assist with the selection process by adding that human element a search engine wants to emulate.

For example, if your website was listed in position 4 for “Red Scarves” but visitors clicked on the listing in position 5 over 70% of the time, then it would make sense that your site be moved to position 5 and their site take your ranking.  Their websites rankings would improve because they received more clicks than yours. This would move the more popular sites higher up into the rankings allowing their visitors to locate the more relevant sites faster.

If this process was carried out on the search engine rankings over a period of time, then Google is essentially allowing their visitors to aid in the selection process of what they wish to be served.  As SEO’s, you may think that this takes away from your abilities to keep a site ranked in the top of Google, however this is untrue.

Maintaining & Increasing Your Rankings

In order to maintain and increase your site’s rankings in Google, you will need to have access to the Google Webmaster Console for that website and have it verified.

Once this is completed you will want to allow data to be collected for at least 1-2 weeks.  When you have enough data to see a large enough sample you can view the top search queries for your site.  This information will tell you about the top keyword phrases your site was ranked for and the positions they were in for that selected time period.  Review the click through rate of the top 10 keyword phrases and record the position you are listed in for that period.

For example it may say that you were ranked #4 for the keyword phrase “red scarves” and that when you were #4 people clicked on your listing 12% of the time.  If you look at the previous weeks data and you see that you were listed #2 and your listing was clicked on only 4% of the time, then it would be easy to see why your listing may have moved down, allowing a site with a higher click-through rate to be shown higher in the results.

Now there are two things that you can do; say to yourself that this is just the natural order of things, the site is getting a higher click-through rate at position number 4 and that is fine; or you can determine what causes visitors to select other sites and make the needed changes to your listing to increase your click-through rate.

Increasing Your Sites’ Click-Through Rate

To increase your website’s click-through rate there are a few things you need to do.

The first thing would be to identify the other sites that are listed within the top 10 for the keyword you are targeting.

Once you have done this, begin to study their rankings.  Just as your site bounces around a few positions at various times of the day / week, their sites do also.  Begin to study if they are always in the same position, or if there were number 5 today, 8 another day etc.

If you see that their site is bouncing around, it is likely because the search engines are determining whether they get a higher click-through rate at various positions, and if other sites get a higher click-through rate in their position.

Now you will want to begin studying their actual listing, and compare it against your own.  Ask yourself a series of questions to gather the information you need:

  • Is their title catchy?
  • Is their listed page the home page or an interior page?
  • Is their page on topic?
  • Does their page directly provide the solution to the visitors search query?
  • Is their description a snippet, or is it the actual Meta description?
  • Do they offer a discount, or sale within their listing?

Once you have gathered this data, answer the same questions for your own site.  Your goal is to determine what your site is lacking so that you can make the necessary adjustments to increase your click-through rates.

After making the needed adjustments, simply implement them within the site, update your Google Sitemap and continue monitoring your rankings and click-through rate through the Google Webmaster Console.

Learn more about Click Through Rates in Google and Bing or how our SEO Services can address poor click through rates for your website.

Are you using your site search bar to your advantage? 60% of E-Commerce Execs Don’t!

Does your website have a search bar or box?

If not did you know that 30% of users will use the search box on an e-commerce website? (source: Beacon Technologies)

Site search bars have plenty of benefits including making your site more “searcher-friendly” with instant gratification and a better user experience. But have you stopped to think about how you could use the data from site searchers to make more intelligent decisions and further fine tune your marketing and advertising?

A recent study by LSI Systems found that 60% of companies do not use the search data collected from their search bar for marketing programs (Source: MarketingCharts):

  • 56.9% – I currently don’t use site search data for marketing programs
  • 26.8% – I create SEO landing pages populated with site search results/ custom banners
  • 24.8% – I integrate site search data into our email marketing campaigns
  • 13.1% – I use our regular site search to power our mobile search
  • 11.1% – I integrate site search results/ banners into retargeting ads
  • 11.1% – I integrate site search with various social media channels
  • 10.5% – I integrate site search results/ banners into display ads

 

Key Takeaways on How to Use Your Site Search Data
(because chances are your competitors are not!)

The statements used in the survey give us a lot of insight in how you can use the data.

Create SEO pages based on what people search for.

If people arrive on your site and are doing common types of searches then there are plenty more people doing these same searches in Google and Bing. Make sure your website is optimized for these terms and create landing pages based on popular search terms to ensure these visitors land on the most relevant page first rather than having to use the Search bar on your site. This will drastically improve your user experience and help reduce your bounce rate. Best of all these new SEO pages can attract additional searchers from Google and Bing!

Integrate search data into your email campaigns.

It is always hard work sitting down to create your next weekly or monthly newsletter. Thinking of what to write and more importantly trying to develop content that your readers will find interesting can be tough. Use the previous month’s most popular searches to help you think of new ideas, reinforce the content you develop for your newsletter or even offer special discounts or coupons for popular items.

Power your mobile user experience.

If you know what your users search for the most on your desktop website you can assume that your mobile visitors are also looking for the some of the same things. Make sure these items are visible and optimized on your mobile site. Because mobile websites are often stripped down versions of your website that make sure all the important information is available for the visitor and displayed properly on their phone’s smaller screen size.

Bring search and social together.

Only 10% of e-commerce professionals are using search data to influence their social media channels. Why not take the most commonly searched for products or product categories and promote them across your social platforms?

More Ideas on How to Use Site Search Data

Here are some more ideas of how to use your site search data for growing your business and SEO campaign:

  • Develop  new product ideas – are your visitors often searching for something you don’t offer or are searching for a product you have discontinued?
  • Learn new keywords that your visitors may be using to find your products and services.
  • Get a better idea of website usability issues. For example if your visitors are always searching for certain product categories there could be an issue with your navigation or products could be “too deep” in your website. If your visitors are always searching for your address or phone number perhaps these aren’t prominently displayed on your website.
  • Analyze what pages are triggering a Site Search which could indicate your visitors are getting lost, confused or unable to find what they are looking for.
  • Measure the quality of your internal site search bar by analyzing the percentage of search exits for popular terms. Are your visitors finding what they need with their site search or do they get frustrated and just leave the website?
  • Consider how visitors who search compare to visitors who don’t search. Are you searching visitors staying on the site longer and buying more? If so you can develop a strategy to attract more of these “searching type” visitors or make your site search bar more visible to get more ‘non-searchers’ searching.

Google Analytics can provide a wide spectrum of insight into how your visitors are using your site search – have you activated this area of your analytics? Contact our Google Analytics experts today if you need to do so!

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Track the Success of Your SEO Campaign

This approach is designed for businesses and SEOs who are looking for an additional way to look at the success of their SEO campaign beyond Traffic, Visibility and Conversion improvements.

It compares how much the traffic from your top organic keywords would likely cost if purchased in a Google AdWords campaign. As a reminder the “Paid Listings” through AdWords appear at the very top and down the right side of Search Results, as shown below.

PPC vs Organic Listings

In order to use this method you will need your Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools accounts synced as access to Google AdWords’ free Keyword Planner tool.

1. Determine which keywords are currently bringing visitors.

In your Google Analytics account go to Acquisition > Search Engine Optimization > Queries.

Set your date to the previous month, last 30 days or whatever period of time you want to measure.

How to use Google Analytics Queries - Step 1 700

Note: As Google encrypts more and more searches you will see the percentage of “not provided” results grow. We recommend using Google’s Queries tool for a more accurate picture of the keywords actually delivering traffic. Read more about Google’s move to make all data “not provided” here.

2. Enter above keywords into Google AdWords’ Keyword Planner

Log into your AdWords account and go to Tools and Analysis > Keyword Planner.

How to use Google AdWords Keyword Planner - Step 2

Select the Search Volume option and enter the top 10 – 20 phrases with the most clicks from your list in Step 1.

How to use Google AdWords Keyword Planner Search Volume

Based on the phrases you enter Google AdWords will provide several Ad Group ideas  with similar keyword ideas. Your original list of keywords will be in the first row.

How to use Google AdWords Keyword list

Click on the first row to see the Average Monthly Searches, Competition level, suggested bid price and more.

How to use Google AdWords to find suggested bid

Note: The suggested bid price is calculated based on the costs-per-click (CPC) that other advertisers are paying for the keyword in the selected location and Search Network settings. This amount is an estimate and you will find that actual costs-per-click will vary. We find that the Suggested Bid price is a very conservative estimate and most advertisers end up paying more.

3.  Export the keyword report with expected CPC

Depending on how long your list is you can export the data and then add the column into your original Excel Spreadsheet so that each keyword’s suggested bid price is in the column next to the clicks.

Insert suggested bid price into Excel file

4. Multiply current organic traffic by CPC for each keyword

Add an Estimated traffic cost column to the right of Suggested Bid and multiply the Clicks by Suggested Bid price.

Insert Estimated traffic costs

By multiplying the organic traffic you are getting from the top 10 – 20 words by each of their respective suggested bid price gives you a very conservative estimate of how much it would cost to “buy” the traffic through AdWords.

Run a total cost for traffic from the top 10 – 20 phrases and you will most likely see a dollar amount much, much higher than your monthly investment in SEO.

In this article’s example we’ve used of one client’s top 6 organic keyword phrases and see a total cost of purchased traffic equal to $1,398.10.

Total traffic cost of top 6 keywords

Measure these costs over time

The best part of about this method is being able to track over time how much your SEO campaign has grown in terms of visitor value. As you become more visible for more queries your list will become longer and you will see the total “Paid Traffic” equivalent cost become more and more expensive despite your steady investment in SEO.

While these figure are very rough estimates they can still give business owners and SEOs a general idea into the value of an organic visitor and the amount of traffic each optimized phrase brings to the website.

If you are interested in starting an SEO or PPC campaign or needing help setting up Google Analytics on your website in order to make these comparisons, contact us today at 1-888-262-6687.

5 Ways Bing Webmaster Tools Can Help Your SEO

Only recently have I started to regularly log into Bing Webmaster Tools and explore all of the tools it has to offer to website owners and SEO’s.

If you have never logged into Bing Webmaster Tools or are only relying on Google’s Webmaster console then you could be missing out on some great  information to help your SEO efforts go even further!

In today’s post I will touch on five tools offered by Bing that I find extremely useful.

1.   Bing Webmaster Tools Dashboard

The first thing that you will notice when you sign into you Webmaster Tools is the dashboard. For those that prefer a quick and easy way to see how your website is doing, the dashboard is for you. Let’s admit it – we all have times where all we have time for is a quick overview.

The Dashboard’s Site Activity shows your overall activity in an easy to digest format. Within seconds you will understand:

  • Number of clicks from search
  • Number of times site appeared in Search
  • Number of pages crawled
  • Number of crawl errors
  • Number of pages indexed

The best part is that it shows these figures as a percentage change from the previous period which are color coded in red and green. Be sure to specify the period you want to compare.

Watch for any big changes in either direction and then determine why these changes could have occurred. Did clicks from search and appeared in search decrease at the same time because you lost traction on some of your big keyword phrases? Did you make a change to your server configuration that is attracting Bing to crawl more of your pages?

Tracking these metrics over time can help you understand what SEO efforts are improving your website and what efforts (or lack thereof) are hurting your website.

2.   Bing SEO Analyzer Tool for Optimizing Page Content

Feeling overwhelmed of where to start in cleaning up some of your page content? Start by making a list of all of your website pages in order of importance.

Starting at the top of your list, enter each URL into the SEO Analyzer tool found under Diagnostics & Tools. Using this tool to generate suggestions is much faster than manually sorting through your source code and trying to find the errors on your own.

This tool is still in Beta testing so hopefully we will be able to use it long term.

3.   Markup Validator

This tool is also still in Beta but can be handy as you implement markup and schema into your source code. Because it takes time for structured markup to properly appear in the SERPs this tool is a fast way to make sure you implemented the code correctly, in real time. Simply enter the URL that you are working on to make sure Bing can properly all the markup on the page.

For 1st on the List’s home page, Bing recognizes our Microformat and Open Graph markup data:

Like Google, Bing says that they may use this markup structure to display rich snippets for the URL. Seeing your markup display properly here doesn’t necessarily guarantee you will eventually see it in the SERPs.

4.   Keyword Research on Bing Webmaster Tools

You may already subscribe to paid keyword research tool such as Wordtracker, use Google’s resources or other free research tools available across the web. This beta-stage Keyword Research tool offered by Bing is one more way to explore keyword potential.

Simply enter one keyword phrase per line and get an immediate list of data showing you how many times the keyword  phrases were displayed in Bing’s organic search results. You can control the country/region, language and date range to get the most out of the keyword tool

The best part about this tool is the suggestions that it gives you in addition to your own keywords. It keeps you from overlooking other highly search phrases that you could capitalize on during your SEO efforts. Remember, Bing and Google search habits can be different. You don’t want to overlook ways you can better optimize your site for how Bing searchers may find you.

5. Monitor Changes in Page Traffic

This tool is especially designed for visual learners and doers! There are a number of features to highlight.

Near the top right you can specify the time period that you want to compare. Perhaps you made a change 2 weeks ago and would like to see if the change had an effect on traffic. With this tool comparing page traffic has never been easier.

The first thing you will see is a list of pages from your website. Again, Bing has conveniently color coded the data so you can see which pages have lost traction and which pages have gained traction.

For each page you can see how many visitors clicked on your SERP result (note that these are combined traffic values from Bing and Yahoo). Bing also tells you how many times your page appeared in Search Results to give you a click-through rate.

TIP #1: Look at the heading and description that appears in the SERPs for the pages with the highest click-through rates. Is there a common theme that makes these listings more attractive that you apply to other pages with lower click through rates?

TIP #2: Use the average search appearance position to see which pages are moving up in search results and which are dropping.

Bing also gives webmasters wonderful insight into what keywords are generating traffic for individual pages;  just click the blue (View) button on the chart.

The number of ways to use Bing for your SEO are endless so it’s best that you get setup and start exploring.

What about you? Do you have Bing set up for your website and do you log in regularly to view the data? What is your favorite or most helpful tool? We’d love to hear from you!