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.