Organic Click Through Rate Optimisation

Jordon Goodman

Jordon Goodman

A well-known secret that can help you increase organic traffic (almost) instantly –

Organic Click Through Rate Optimisation

How to increase organic CTR


Why you MUST optimise organic click-through rate?

To explain this, please let me take you through the process every marketer goes on when working on AdWords campaign (Google Adw now). Why AdWords when you want to improve your SEO? Well, click through rate optimisation is often overlooked by SEO’s; we all talk about rankings, technical SEO and backlinks. For some reason, many people are more concerned with a pixel length of the title tag and meta description than CTR (Click through rate). These elements generate  hence

I want you to step into AdWords specialist shoes to discover how important CTR really is.

Your Adword ad is the first thing potential visitors see after they perform searches on search engines (from now on I’ll refer to search engines as Google, sorry Bing…. Yahoo….), the copy of your ad must persuade them to stop, read and click on your ad. Otherwise they will never see the great offer you have on your website, they would never enquire and they would never buy.

Your job as a search engine marketer is to get people from the initial search to your website where they’ll find all the answers they’ve been looking for. Your offer could be the best in the industry, but if they don’t click on that little ad, they will never know about it. You lose they lose…

The one difference between PPC and SEO is that with PPC you don’t pay if they don’t click on your Adwords ad, however, you still have to invest budget and effort into improving your rankings to the position where people actually see your organic listing even if they don’t click on it.

This is the main reason why you MUST optimise your title tags and meta descriptions to generate the highest CTR possible without affecting your ranking.

You should start with an end-goal in mind then reverse the process to optimise each step.

The boring stuff now – What Click Through Rate is and how position on the page (possibly) affects CTR

Definition by Google Ads

Click-through rate (CTR): Definition

“A ratio showing how often people who see your ad end up clicking it. Click-through rate (CTR) can be used to gauge how well your keywords and ads are performing.”

In SEO world CTR is calculated this way:

CTR = Clicks / impressions * 100

You can check your current CTR in search console performance report. We will come back to this report later on.

Why should you even bother about CTR when it isn’t a position on the SERPs – the holy grail of SEO?

There is a strong correlation between ranking position and CTR you can check it here. However, I strongly believe you can drastically improve organic traffic without actively working on improving your rankings through other means like content, backlinks etc.… I think at this point we might lose some readers, but stay with us! I stick by my theory, let me show you one example.

By changing the title tag on a single page, I managed to increase organic traffic by:

30% compared to November 2018 last ‘busy’ month before I applied the change (Nov 18 – 2,691 ‘Users’ vs Jan 19 – 3,523 ‘Users’), and 68% year on year (Jan 18 – 2,085 ‘Users’ vs Jan 19 – 3,523 ‘Users’)

  • 30% more visitors without spending any money on SEO
  • 30% more visitors with one little change.

How would that help your business?

Ok, before you jump into your CMS, you have to decide what would generate the best CTR – WITHOUT AFFECTING YOUR RANKINGS!

Read that again; you can’t just change your title tag to whatever you want as this element is one of the very important ranking factors.

Here’s how to test what would work best

My formula is simple ‘call to action + keyword’ simple isn’t it… so why do most people do not do it?

The pattern I often see is ‘keyword | brand name’

Organic CTR optimisation

It’s automatically applied so most people do not bother changing. Unfortunately, they don’t understand how much they can gain with a simple change.

Let me show you how I test my assumptions, I have two different strategies to do it properly.

  1. The fast way
  2. The slow way

I’m thinking about copywriting the above naming convention before someone snap it from me…

The fast way – if budget allows I jump straight to AdWords to test my ideas, remember your title tag and meta description have two jobs, one is to stop people scrawling down the SERPs and click through to your site. You have a few seconds to persuade them with very little space. Fortunately, Adwords allows you to test many different ads copy at once so soon you will have winning CTA ready to implement as your title tag and meta description.

The slow way – make your changes directly through CMS, one at the time and wait for meaningful data, you will have to be patient as you can only be able to test one version at the time.


Important: The changes you will make MIGHT affect your current ranking. Generally, CTR isn’t listed as a ranking factor, but from tests I ran, I can see somehow rankings improved when CTR improved, (no other optimisations were done long before or during test period). I’m not an official SEO guru so don’t take my word for it alone, but even Larry Kim in this article suggest that CTR can positively affect your rankings and another from Rand Fishkin.

Copywriting advise from a dyslexic guy

‘Click here NOW + keyword’ probably won’t work, you have to understand intend behind the search and level of awareness your potential visitor is at, at that moment. In the greatest marketing book ever written ‘Breakthrough Advertising.’ Eugene Schwartz explains this in more details.

All I want you to remember that your call to action and copy on your site must tap into existing desire, desire to find the answer for the search your potential visitor performs. This could be in form or information, service or product.

In the example I mentioned earlier I knew people are searching for something that is free, I also knew that many of them are at the beginning of their journey in this field, so I followed my formula + my (limited) copywriting knowledge.

Free, Easy to Follow + Keywords

This little change helped me increase CTR and most importantly massively increase organic traffic to the site. As you see, I tapped into simple human desire, something for free, something easy and Google gods rewarded us for that. Visitors win, we win!

Is that all you can do?

Of course, there are other elements you can try to implement to claim more space on the SERPs, which would potentially improve your stats.

Schema markup is one of them, but more about that in my next post.

Kaizen – Constant improvement

Optimisation never stops, you should always strive to do better than your last test, this can be tricky in a busy corporation, but if you want to beat your competitors and constantly improve your ROI, you should always try to beat your last best result.

Shameless plug:

We are a small agency with a huge determination to help you improve your ROI on all your search engine marketing efforts. You can read more about what we can do for you here, or you can choose ‘faster and easier way’ and speak to us about your needs by calling us on 0113 237 5100

Jordon Goodman

About Jordon Goodman

Meet Jordon, our Technical SEO and PPC expert. Originally from Lancashire, he can eat for England and tends to be a bit of a clown.