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Easy Way To Boost Your Search Engine Traffic

Let me show you the results of my recent testing. I’ve been exploring how the content snippets you see in Google search results can impact clickthrough rates.

The results should make every web designer and website owner sit up and take notice!

We normally assume that a high ranking on Google will assure a good amount of traffic.

But it ain’t necessarily so!

Part One – Collating and Comparing Data from Multiple Sources

In this first short video, I show you how I collect data from Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, and the Google AdWords Keyword Research Tool to test the link between SERP ranking and traffic.

Part Two – The Impact of Your SERP Snippets

In the second short video, I discover the true correlation between ranking and clicks – and find many exceptions to the rule!

Conclusions – What Website Owners Need to Know

This research shows clearly that “SERP snippets” have a significant influence on the clickthrough rates from search engine results pages (SERPs).

The click from the search engine results cannot be taken for granted. Web designers, website owners, and marketers should realise that the quality of the SERP snippet has a massive influence over clickthrough rates, and therefore search traffic.

  1. Of course good rankings do tend to give you a better chance of good traffic. To get the best share of traffic, you do need to be at the top of page one. But the results can vary massively!
  2. The typical clickthrough rates reported in large surveys only produce a neat distribution across a large sample of data. Look at your actual results, and you’ll probably see a very different picture.
  3. Results can under-perform and can also over-perform against the average. We’ve seen results at the top of page 1 with 1/400 clickthrough rates, and results down on page 2 getting nearly 10% CTR.
  4. Pay serious attention to the snippets shown in the SERPs.

10 Tips for Maximizing Your Clickthrough

  • Make sure your <title> tag gives a clean, readable overview of the page – and also sells the page!
  • Let the search visitor know, in as few words as you can, that they’re very likely to get what they want quickly from this link.
  • Keep <title> tags under 66 characters (for Google). Any longer and the title will be shortened, which may make an incomplete phrase and compromise appeal.
  • Avoid the temptation to stuff your <title> tags with multiple permutations of the same terms. You might get more good rankings, but if the title isn’t appealing, you could sacrifice traffic.
  • Always use meta description tags, and use them to sell the click as well.
  • Make sure the meta description contains your target search phrase, or Google may grab content from the page instead.
  • Keep meta descriptions under about 150 characters, or they will also be chopped off.
  • Keep your text short, punchy, to the point. Don’t feel you have to use all the space available. A short <title> or metadesc will be easier to read and could work better.
  • If you use WordPress, use Yoast’s SEO plugin, which will show you a preview of the SERP snippet, and check you have your keywords in all the right places.

Yoast’s SEO Plugin

Yoast SEO plugin screenshot

About the author

Ben Hunt

Ben has over 20 years' experience in web design and marketing, and is one of the most influential figures on the subject of effective web design. He has written a bunch of books and spoken at multiple conferences internationally.In 2015, Ben created Open-Source Marketing, which promises to turn the practice of marketing upside down.. Find out more at http://opensourcemarketingproject.org

Dave - 4 years ago

Good work Ben, rofl, did you go through and +1 all your own and your clients links in the SERP’s. I did that as well, how sad are we 😉

    Ben Hunt - 4 years ago

    Hi Dave. Yes, I love plus-oneing my own articles. I could do it all day! 😉

Fredrik - 4 years ago

Hi Ben!

Great post.

A couple of months ago I made pretty much the same conclusion. Love to see it documented and proved!

I had issues with catalog services ranking at nr 1 and nr 2. My site was ranking nr 3 and I struggled to rank higher.

But then I realized that their snippets are auto generated and poor so I tried to make a good looking snippet and got about 35 % clicks on third position. Much easier then trying to overtake them in ranking!

So yes, the snippets seem to have massive effect on the clicks. Auto generated snippets can destroy a perfect ranking!

    Ben Hunt - 4 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback Fredrik.

    You should get more eyeball at position 1, but it’s what you do with that attention that counts.

    I wonder how many sites spend a fortune on link building to get top rankings, then suffer from poor CTR without knowing it!

    The thing that’s challenging me at the moment is – how can we split-test these CTRs?? I don’t have an answer yet.

Atif - 4 years ago

What is +1? I am baffled!

    Jimmy Hughes - 4 years ago

    Hi Atif. Check out our write-up on Google +1. You may find it useful!

Chankey Pathak - 4 years ago

YOAST is awesome.

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