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After implementing SEO best practices, you have managed to get your pages ranking on the first couple pages of the search engine results page for your target keywords. Congratulations!
…but your traffic is not increasing much.
Frustrating, isn’t it? How could your pages be performing so well in the SERP and still not bring in the organic users that you worked so hard for?
The issue here is probably click-through-rate. Users are not motivated to click on your page. Don’t worry, we can fix that.
CTR optimization is the act of optimizing your appearance in the SERP to increase clicks, and therefore your organic traffic. CTR (in SEO) stands for click-through rate. This is the rate of clicks versus impressions. AKA, how many users are clicking on your hyperlink compared to how many times your link is seen in the SERP.
There are many different factors that encourage and motivate users to click on your web page above the others. Let’s go through them and how to optimize for their improvement.
Our team has tried and tested many different methods of improving click-through-rate organically. The following are the most successful techniques to increase CTR.
To start, you need to identify which pages are lacking in the CTR category. To do this, make sure you have Google search Console set up for your website. This tool allows you to see the amount of impressions, clicks, and the Google search click-through-rate that each page on your site gets.
Filter your pages by amounts of clicks, and then check to see which pages are receiving a high amount of impressions, but a low CTR.
The best way to skyrocket your traffic and CTR is getting a featured snippet spot within the SERP. Featured snippets are tools that Google implemented to provide users with quick, easy answers. They come in many forms and there are multiple ways you can attempt to target them.
1. Create genuinely quality content. Google is trying to pick the page that provides the user with the most accurate and informative content.
2. Ask and answer questions that users will have. You can predict this by looking at the already-existing FAQ featured snippets and answering these in your content.
3. Create numbered lists to answer the keyword’s question.
4. Look at current featured snippets or other pages ranking in that SERP. Where is there a gap in their answer to users’ questions? How can you better those questions?
5. Use images and videos in your content. We will discuss this more later.
Structured data, or schema, is another top tier method to improve CTR in SEO and boost the credibility of your page in the SERP. Google search implemented this tool to enable special search result features and enhancements.
Schema not only helps your site become more recognizable in the site, but Google considers it a ranking factor.
Structured data comes in many forms, from FAQ to recipes to job posting. Below is a picture of the FAQ schema, one of the most common.
The first step to implementing schema is deciding which type you want to target. Once you’ve done that, you now need to ensure that your content is applicable to this type of schema, and that it is quality enough for Google to pick up.
This means something different for each kind of schema. For example, in FAQ Schema, you need to ensure that your page asks questions and then directly answers them within your content.
You also need to make sure that your answers to each question are quality answers, just like for featured snippets.
Next, use a schema generator in order to create the schema code and post on your page using Google Tag Manager, WordPress, or placing it directly in your site’s code.
Video SEO is the process of ranking your videos within Google’s SERP and using videos to increase organic traffic to your site. There are multiple ways that you can use your brand’s videos to optimize CTR.
First, you can use schema.This schema will allow Google to easily find your video and index it. Implementing a video schema can make Google display a ‘rich snippet’, a thumbnail of your video and title and description. This puts you above the competition in the SERP.
The second way you can utilize videos to increase your CTR is creating and optimizing a Youtube channel. Google is providing a lot of discoverability to Youtube content through its interactive “video carousels”. Getting your video on these carousels can help drive a lot of traffic to your videos, and increase interest in your service.
and description of your page within the search engine results page. Both the meta title and the meta description should include the keyword, as well as a call-to-action. The call-to-action is important because it invites the user to click on the link, and gives them that extra push.
In our case, Google is choosing to not display our meta description. This happens often, and there is not really another choice other than changing your meta description, and optimizing it differently.
12.5% of SERPs show image pack results. Image packs are clusters of images (drawn from Google images). If this type of Google search tool ranks above your site, your CTR is going to decrease greatly.
In order to get your image to rank highly, it is important to utilize alt text. This is the text that visually impaired users hear read to them to describe the image. Use your target keywords in all of your alt texts, while still making the alt text accurate.
The image will also rank well if the page that image is on has a relevant title, URL, image caption, and surrounding text.
Breadcrumbs are a line of text in the SERP above your link that allows the user (and Google) to see your site structure without even entering your site.
Breadcrumbs make it easier for the user to determine if (a) you are the type of site that they are looking for and (b) there is possibly another page on your site that they are interested in. It can also make their search process quicker (by being able to understand your site structure right off the bat).
There are multiple ways you can add breadcrumbs, including using schema and using Yoast SEO, a tool for WordPress.
Your meta description and meta title may be worded well, but even if the user likes your content, they still might not feel compelled to take action. CTAs, or call-to-actions, inspire the user to do something in the moment.
CTAs can be as simple as “learn more”. They also can be practical orders, like “start improving your ROI” or can tug on emotional heartstrings like “get help for your loved one today”
For example, our homepage currently ranks #2 for “boutique digital marketing agency”. While our CTR will be naturally high due to its position, there is an ad and a featured snippet box above our page that can dramatically decrease the amount of clicks.
To stay competitive and achieve a higher CTR, we pose a question and an opportunity for the user to take action to find the answer to that question. As you can see, the sites in position #3 and #4 do not include CTAs in their meta description, setting us apart.
When choosing a target keyword for any type of web page, it is very important to look at the SERP first to evaluate what kind of pages are ranking.
For example, if you are trying to make your therapy service page rank for ‘how to stop overthinking’, you will find that the SERP contains purely educational blogs. This puts your service page at a massive disadvantage in both ranking and CTR.
For one, Google recognizes the search intent of each SERP and will not rank your page if it does not match the intent of the other results. This, of course, will decrease your CTR.
Double check the search intent of the SERP for your target keyword and make sure that your metadata and the content of your page matches up.
Google has a recommended character count for both meta titles and meta descriptions. The maximum number of characters for meta titles is 50 and the maximum for meta descriptions is 160.
While you can go slightly over and still rank well, I recommend for CTR purposes that you try to keep our metadata short and sweet. Having your complete description of your page displayed in the SERP without being cut off makes your page look cleaner, more credible, and more informational.
If you are a local business, Google My Business is one of the most important tools to use when looking at click-through-rate.
GMB dominates local SERPs and can make it difficult for even the top ranking results to get much traffic.
Once step one, setting up your Google My Business account, is over, it is time to optimize your profile. The factors that will help your GMB profile rise in the SERPs are:
Let’s flash back to your high school English class when your teacher told you to include a hook in your first paragraph. A hook to rope the reader in like a fish and encourage them to continue reading.
We already discussed having CTAs in your metadata. However, CTAs are not the only part of metadata that can encourage a user to click on your link to read more.
Include a piece of information that will catch the user’s attention and gets to the root of why they googled this query. To fill a need or ask a question that will speak to them.
If a user searches “dual diagnosis for teens” and sees your page in the SERP, they will be much more drawn to clicking if you appeal to their intent. For example, a meta description that says “Do you worry your teen has an undiagnosed mental illness that is leading them to dangerous and risky behaviors? We can help. Get in touch.” uses pathos to reach the user and incentives them to click.
When users are looking to choose a result in the SERP, they often look at the date that page was published. This is a CTR factor in some SERPS more than others.
If you are trying to rank an educational blog, the user is definitely going to look for the most recent blog, because that information is the most up-to-date.
Is your blog older? Compare it to the highest ranking results in your desired keyword’s search engine results page.
If it is older than all of the results, do not fear, it is simply time to update your blog and utilize existing content optimization. Add in some more recent information, or edit any out-dated information. Your updated blog will now have a better chance at having a higher CTR.
Yoast SEO is an extremely useful tool that allows you to easily implement metadata onto your pages, while showing you a preview of what it will look like on both mobile and desktop SERPs.
This useful tool allows you to make sure that your meta title and description are good lengths and don’t cut off any information you want the user to see.
The search engine results page on mobile and desktop can be completely different, especially when looking at local SEO vs national SEO. You may rank #2 for your target keyword on mobile, but #12 on desktop.
If you check Google search Console and are concerned that a high ranking page still has a low CTR, research where your users are coming from and which SERP you are ranking in.
For example, your Google Analytics may show that users are mostly landing on your site from mobile devices. However, the page you are concerned about ranks on the first page in the desktop SERP.
Some keywords, like drug rehab related ones, are much more searched from mobile phones than desktop computers. This means that even if your page is ranking well on desktop, relevant users are not seeing your page in their SERP (mobile).
This means that your page does not necessarily have a CTR issue, but instead is just not ranking highly enough in the device (mobile or desktop) SERP that your users typically use.
Click-through-rate on Google search is a very important metric to pay attention to when measuring your website’s success. Without this metric, there is very little traffic, and therefore very few conversions.
Figuring out what is causing your CTR to dip and increasing your clicks is a time-consuming process. At MGMT Digital, a behavioral health marketing agency, we know you need to focus on your crucial work; saving people’s lives. We are here to help take care of your marketing needs, from drug rehab seo to social media marketing for Healthcare, and beyond.
MGMT Digital can help with all your marketing and branding needs to establish and grow your brand. Contact us with details on your next project and we will get back with you.
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