E175 – What are Some Ways to Test and Improve CTR From Google and Bing

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By The Business of Digital Podcast, Mat Siltala, and Dave Rohrer. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

All businesses want more traffic. You work your tail off to make Page 1 and then more time to get into Top 3 and maybe even #1. But the traffic never comes? Maybe you have a horribly low CTR but solid conversions?

This episode will dig into some tests, some resources and some ideas on what you can do to improve your own CTR in Google and Bing.

Improving CTR Resources

Thanks @aleyda and also, we should go deeper, more granular! Drop your tips for CTR boost below. pic.twitter.com/89mKMxLknP

— DEJAN (@dejanseo) September 12, 2020

And the a deeper dive by Aleyda can be found at her recent article that talks about this exact topic – improving CTR. As we talk about in the episode, notice the first step in the flow chart? Is the page relevant?

Before you even worry about your CTR, take a look at your page and make sure they are relevant.

Not SEO but we have seen people test emojis in Title Tags and some interesting data non the less. SEJ did a big test of their emails for a month, Emojis in Email Subject Lines: Do They Affect Open Rates? [DATA] and reported on their findings – some good, some bad but all somewhat interesting.

At Moz there is also the recent article and test Title Tags SEO: When to Include Your Brand and/or Boilerplate which is another test and angle around improving your CTR.

Professional vs. Increasing CTR

Whatever you do or test, how will things impact your brand? Will using ALL CAPS or emojis make your brand look bad, childish, amatuer or will it have no effect?

No matter what you test, note the Moz study in all the things they watched. How do the changes you make impact rankings, clicks, impressions and even conversions. Do you get more clicks but not more conversions. Is that good traffic? Or what if you get less clicks but more conversions? What is your goal?

Follow the Pack but Know When to Hang a Left

If you were to target “canva alternatives” and notice that everyone has a list that includes a number – think what you can do to be slightly different.

  • They list numbers – can you have more or less?
  • Instead of a list of ALL, what are the 3 best?
  • What can you do differently?
  • Is the query even relevant to you? Is the page ranking relevant?
  • Test everything.
  • Add brand. Remove brand. Try different call outs. Remove call outs.

Full Transcript

Matt Siltala: [00:00:00] Welcome to another exciting episode of the business of digital podcast, featuring your host, Matt and Dave roar. Are you guys excited to have you join us on another one of these exciting podcast episodes? We’ve got Dave over there. How’s it going? Dave? Dave

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:18] is here.

Matt Siltala: [00:00:18] All right. So

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:20] present and accounted for

Matt Siltala: [00:00:24] gotcha.

Well, let’s just jump into it. So today, I don’t know if this came from a tweet that you saw or an article that you read, but the title that we’re going with right now, guys is ways to test and improve your organic CTR. And so, maybe Dave just kind of set us up and, and, what made you think of this one?

And we’ll go from there. Well, it

Dave Rohrer: [00:00:47] come from, a test I did with a client last November, December, and then I’m working with a client right now where we just did something in recent weeks. And we’re already seeing, bumps and jumps and [00:01:00] traffic and impressions and clicks and rankings, but it’s working on and improving your CTR from Google and being, and, you know, you’ll.

You’ll see tons of doomsday predictions and yes, we are seeing less clicks from organic traffic and even less organic opportunities. Yeah. okay. At least from a typical blue link, you know, you can have images and videos and you can, we can argue that separately, but we’re just talking about, you know, your normal page, trying to get traffic from, you know, that number two, you are number one or number eight, listing on Google and being, how do I get more people to click, even if I’m a little bit further down.

Or number one, even how do I keep getting that high amount of traffic? And it came from that. But then I also saw, a lady did something recently, Cyrus over at Moz just posted something. And then there’s been some other stuff where, SEJ tested 3.9 [00:02:00] million emails, just a few, over a month or two, I think it was.

And they tested putting emojis. And their emails.

Matt Siltala: [00:02:09] Yeah, that one was the interesting one. And we were chatting about this a little bit ago, but I,

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:14] no,

Matt Siltala: [00:02:15] I haven’t read that. Well, I do when we’re, you know, we’re when we’re chatting back and forth, but not in an email subject line, but it’s like, I was telling you when I see any kind of emoji or anything like that in an email, I automatically deleted it.

And I didn’t read that case study. So you’ll have to let me know if it kind of coincides with their findings, but. Anytime I get anything like that. I usually just delete it. Cause in my mind, I’m like spam. I don’t care about your stupid emojis. Get it out of my email inbox

Dave Rohrer: [00:02:43] and that the, it basically their data showed and their data was for, you know, SEJ so it’s targeting professionals.

If you want to call us that, that to SEO, social media, PPC, content marketing for so-and-so. What’s that

Matt Siltala: [00:02:59] somewhat [00:03:00] professional,

Dave Rohrer: [00:03:00] somewhat professional for the most part we’re professionals, but it actually showed, you know, based on their data and their AB testing, what they could, the emoji open rate was lower for the month or two that they did the testing.

Matt Siltala: [00:03:16] And it would be interesting too. And that makes sense, like with what I just told you, whether it also, you know, it makes me think about other things like. You know, back in the day when I used to sell a lot of stuff on Craigslist, now it’s just easier to sell it through, you know, a group on Facebook or something marketplace or whatever.

but, I look back at some of the things I used to do and I used to put a bunch of like asterix and then like, big words and then like just something to get your ad. Yeah, exactly. Draw your eyes to it, you know, probably against the terms of service, but like, I used to do stuff like that. And it would draw people’s eyes to your ad and it would get a lot of people clicking on it and it, and it was a successful.

And so I wonder if there’s a difference between using an emoji [00:04:00] in like, a situation like that, where it’s in a, it’s in a headline versus an email subject line.

Dave Rohrer: [00:04:06] Well, and they even pointed out that, you know, if you’re a serious business, you know, like a lawyer or. You know, you’re targeting professionals, you know, maybe another B2B putting emojis probably makes you look not professional.

Yeah. So same thing, putting emojis or other, not traditional things, all caps or all lowercase or something in your page title and your meta-description when you’re trying to increase your CTR. Yes. You’ll stand out. But are you going to take a hit from. You know, not looking professional,

Matt Siltala: [00:04:44] unless it’s pizza hut or Domino’s or someplace, you know,

Dave Rohrer: [00:04:49] that’s part of your brand, you know, does it make sense?

Matt Siltala: [00:04:53] Yeah. Yeah. That’s

Dave Rohrer: [00:04:54] interesting. Which I think is a good segue into the [00:05:00] data or the testing that Cyrus did with MAs, where they decided to test in their SEO or their title tags, including your brand boiler plate category. And they kind of went down the list for the white board and a couple other things. Do they take out the category name?

Do they take out the brand name? Do they leave it in? When do they leave it in? what’s the boiler plate look like? When do they try it? When do they take it out? Does it improve rankings? Does it hurt rankings? Does it improve CTR? Does it hurt CTR? And these are all things that you can easily test and should, should be testing.

Matt Siltala: [00:05:35] Well, that’s what I was going to say. You should be testing because. one of the articles that was pulled up and before I even looked at it, I was going to tell you, you know, just in, in my workings and what I’ve done over the years, you know, the thing that has improved the most for me is when I’m working those, title tags, honestly.

And so, I looked at the, I can’t remember which, are, I think it was the SEO clarity one. [00:06:00] But, one of their biggest tips was crafting compelling title tags and meta descriptions. And for me forever, like if I want to improve something or if I have a page that I think is doing well, or the could do do better or versus a page, that’s not, that’s one of the first things I’ll go and do, and I’ll go and work in a again, like I’ll have my focused keyword that I want, you know, the point of that page and what I want to rank.

But then, you know, I craft that title tag around it to get people. You know, to do what I want them to do, you know, to click on it. And so like, that’s one of the things that, that I’ll do. And I, I noticed in that article, I get was one of the first, you know, things that they suggest. So that was, that was spot on.

Cause that’s something that I’ve been doing for a long

Dave Rohrer: [00:06:42] time now. Yeah. I mean the very first thing, whenever I start to write title tags and meta descriptions, it’s the same one. I’d start writing, ad copy for paid. What are other people doing one, you assume it might be working, you can also assume that they’re testing [00:07:00] something.

So, you know, especially for paid, but for an SEO, it’s like, okay, what are they doing? What, what were we going to do? What makes sense for the brand and how can we. Well look similar, but also stand out just a little bit, like if everyone has, and you know, I have the SEO clarity example open. If everyone talks about balloons, bargain, balloons, special balloons, and then one just lists off like, you know, just keyword stuffs.

Well, keyword stuffing. Yeah, sure. They’re ranking. Well, but yeah,

Matt Siltala: [00:07:30] that’s not going to get me to click on it. Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:07:32] Yeah. It’s not going to get you to click on it. So, you know, one other one has something about sale. Some has special, what can we do in between those that make sense? When you say largest selection, do we have, you know, the fastest shipping?

What is our, you know, unique? I think about our company or our product or service or business that we can use to help one cell, but also help [00:08:00] encourage that click.

Matt Siltala: [00:08:01] No, and I gotta tell you, the, the users, so to speak are starting to get a lot more savvy, for example. I’ll pay attention a lot of times to stuff like my wife says, and you know, she’ll be looking for something and she’ll make us a snavy comment about, Oh, this was just a, excuse me.

This is just a keyword field, a title tag here, moving on. And I’m just like, I laugh at it because I, and again, obviously, you know, she’s been around me a lot, but she’s also, you know, it’s one of those things that, that they’re paying attention to. Like, they’re getting. We’re we’re in this industry long enough.

And we’ve been doing this long enough that, you know what, like give the people what they want. They’re like, they’re not giving the information they want to know. Like, I love this example that you were talking about with the balloons, because, you know, I can see right here from the title it’s I got 50% off and it’s four balloons and I’m looking for a cell and I can even look into the meta-description and see [00:09:00] what it’s doing.

Discount prices. And it’s going to make me want to click on it versus something that’s just giving me none of that information and lots of keywords period.

Dave Rohrer: [00:09:08] Yeah. And then the meta-description for those in that example, as well as the same, it’s like one clearly is just keyword stuff too. The other one, I don’t, they must not mention balloon anywhere because.

it looks like it’s just scraping everything from the site. and then that one is somewhat weirdly crafted with the percentage and stuff, but yeah, like you should be testing, not just your page title, but also your meta-description.

Matt Siltala: [00:09:37] One of the first things that I do too, is I’m, you know, and I’m glad that you mentioned this earlier because I’m always going and seeing like I’ll type in a specific phrase that I want to try to rank for, or if.

If, whoever I’m working with, it’s like, Hey Kim, can we do, like, just the other day I had someone, one of, one of my good buddies was like, Hey, we’re offering air purification systems. Obviously it’s something that’s [00:10:00] a big deal on the East coast now since we’re all or a West coast, because we’re all burning up and fires everywhere.

And so people are like worried about the air quality. And so like, we started looking at those kinds of phrases and what it would take to rage and get them to come up and. One of the first things I do, Dave, is I pay attention to what my competitors are doing, which ones are coming up, you know, first of all, paying attention to what they’ve done, SEO wise, to be able to get there.

But then also looking at those simply for the, which one of these would I click on if I were looking to do this and, going about it that way. So

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:34] yeah, I’m trying to think of a product,

Matt Siltala: [00:10:37] This

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:37] is probably a horrible example.

Matt Siltala: [00:10:40] Horrible examples.

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:41] Yeah, I know. I was trying to think they know there’s no, what’s something that would have an ad. That’s an alternative. I don’t know,

Matt Siltala: [00:10:48] alternative

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:48] to Nike, Nike shoes alternative. I don’t know. I’m just thinking of random.

Matt Siltala: [00:10:53] Oh yeah. Like,

Dave Rohrer: [00:10:54] cause I’m just thinking, seen some, ads on brands or, You

Matt Siltala: [00:10:59] don’t like, if you don’t [00:11:00] want to pay the Columbia price, what’s Columbia, Columbia boot alternative or something.

Dave Rohrer: [00:11:04] Come on here.

Matt Siltala: [00:11:07] Hey, I work Columbia in Norway and they kept my feet warm. So

Dave Rohrer: [00:11:12] I may have a pair. yeah, it’s all best winter boots. I think it’s gotta be like a SAS solution or, Oh, you know what? Like Canva,

Matt Siltala: [00:11:22] there you go.

Dave Rohrer: [00:11:26] Yeah. So there it is. same type of thing where people are using the page title to clearly call out Canva alternative 10 of the best Canva alternatives, meet snap, easy alternative to canvas.

So first they lead with their name versus not AppSumo has gone the way of creating a list. Whereas another actual product. another, most of them we’re all loose, so kudos to snap up for getting on there. everyone else has a list. There’s someone, you know, AppSumo is doing an [00:12:00] ad for a competitor that they have a deal for where it says, you know, they actually don’t mention that it’s an alternative, which is interesting with the keyword, but then Google lists out a bunch of tools, but it’s the same thing.

It’s like, Everyone’s got that numbers. So, you know, this, another thing, if everyone’s listing out numbers and you don’t have a larger number, you know, people are going to go, Oh, well, you know, you only have five, but they have 30 and they have 40. So if you only have five, you need to make sure that you’re explaining why, you know, five of the best alternatives we won’t waste your time.

You know? Well,

Matt Siltala: [00:12:40] that even gets me thinking about like a lot of the service industry brands and whatnot that. But I work with, I’ve seen, you know, things that I’ve done that have felt their CTR on this kind of stuff. By putting in simple things. As like, for example, we’re here in Arizona, it’s hot AC services, things like that.

We’ve talked about it a lot, but a lot of [00:13:00] times, it, you know, your, your air conditioner cuts out at you at inconvenient times at like 10 o’clock at night. And you’re always wondering, well, Is there anyone I can even get ahold of where you do a quick Google search and you’re able to find in the title 24 hour service, things like that, letting them know that Hey, 24 hour emergency services, things like that, that we’ve thrown in on to certain pages has helped the CTR, traumatically.

So, I mean, just think about the simple things like that.

Dave Rohrer: [00:13:35] And I’ve done that for Sivers companies where we cut the normal items, our normal, the normal offerings for service, for service. It’s a question of when do your normal service hours end at 5:00 PM at 7:00 PM at 9:00 PM. When does it become emergency?

And then we shut off the ads at that time. And we flip on new ads for emergency that speak to it. [00:14:00] And then they go to a different actual landing page because it’s a completely different thing. There has to be a phone number. and then, one person I worked with, they actually didn’t have a lot of people on staff.

So they actually didn’t want a lot of that traffic, but we wanted to make sure that they were at least there for some of it. And so we would just set that budget and that campaign for small. So it was talking about improving your CTR. It’s also for PPC side of things, just getting the right people to the, getting the people to the right page under the right circumstances as well.

And I think that’s something you should also look at. later had a really good, she did a presentation. If you can read Spanish. I will drop in a link to her SlideShare. She did because the presentation is in, went Verna into the first Spanish one she’s done, but she actually came up with, like a flow chart of what to do to improve poor CTR in [00:15:00] organic search results, besides improving rankings and the very first question.

And I think a lot of people skip this one is, is the query relevant? So when you go into Google search console, pull up the queries that are driving impressions and clicks for your that page. And if that overall CTR is low for that page, is it because it’s ranking for a lot of nonsense words that really don’t make sense.

And why is that?

Matt Siltala: [00:15:31] Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:15:32] And that really should be the very first thing you do. Like when you can mess with the page title, you can mess with the description. But if it’s ranking for keywords, that really has no, you know, and I’ve seen this where it’s like, Oh, our organic traffic is crushing it, but we don’t, but it’s all junk.

And they all like leave. So if your bounce rate is, you know, 99%, it’s like, well, we’ve got a good CTR. We’ve got good rankings. We’re getting traffic, [00:16:00] but. It’s not for relevant queries, it’s not for relevant audience. So really

Matt Siltala: [00:16:05] what you’re saying sometimes is when we have to do some education though,

Dave Rohrer: [00:16:10] well, and you just have to do your due diligence to go, okay, is this page, what is the content like?

Who’s getting there. and we have that problem for one page, for a client where we get a ton of traffic to it, but it’s all not the buyers. It’s the users. And we’re trying to get in front of, you know, the people that make. Buying decisions, not the people that are trying to use this product. Gotcha. And so that page gets a lot of traffic.

And so we’re trying to create Gates and awareness on that page for, in the event that a buyer gets there. We’re like, Hey, you found this page great. But we think you want this page. You know, if you’re curious about the product or the service or whatever it is someone’s selling, you know, we’ve almost created like an interstitial and stuff.

And I’ve done that before for ’em. Calculators long ago, [00:17:00] we had people that would every month without fail, come and use these calculators. And we basically freeloaders instead of paying for a service, they would do it manually with these calculators.

Matt Siltala: [00:17:11] Yeah.

Dave Rohrer: [00:17:13] So every month I think it was like we had popups that would show up once a month or once a quarter.

I forget what it was. I think we tested it and something would pop up and say, Hey. We see that you’ve been here before you still keep using this thing. If you want to try the service for a month or a quarter or whatever it was, you know, we’ll do it for you and you can see how much time you save, because we think you’ll save time.

Yeah. You know, and that was our offer was like, Hey, you keep coming to use this thing. You’re doing it manually. We could do this for you and do it. Right. Yeah. You pick. And then they’d close it. Go use the free tool, you know, in a month or three later we would try again.

[00:18:00] Matt Siltala: [00:17:59] So Dave and wrapping things up on this one.

what are the, what are the big takeaways and, and what do you want people to get from this? Just give me the last tips for them.

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:10] I will include a Leidos little flow chart, which kind of. Creates it basically sums up everything. We’ve just talked about. The flow it’s is the page is the row is the query relevant.

Okay. Now what about your page title? Is it right? You know, how can you optimize it? Look at your category. Look at your boiler plate. Do you need your name on it? How can you shorten it? How can you make it unique? Personalize it? How can you make it a little bit different than what’s out there? and then look at your meta-description.

How can you optimize it just the same way and then test it. And repeat constantly

Matt Siltala: [00:18:47] rinse and repeat.

Dave Rohrer: [00:18:49] Yeah. I mean, people are, I, a lot of times they’re like, okay, page titles done. Like, no, no we’re done. Now. We’re going to come back. And, you know, four to [00:19:00] six weeks when we have some time, you know, at least for certain products, you know, the pages that get the most traffic, at least try those and then roll it out to other ones and see.

And do you see the same thing? And then again, just keep doing the same thing.

Matt Siltala: [00:19:16] Awesome. Well, and like Dave said, we’ll have all the resources and everything that we’ve talked about or reference it’ll all be in the writeup. And, just want to encourage you guys. we do this for you and we love doing it for you.

And, hopefully you guys are getting something from these episodes. please go to iTunes and give us a five star review. And like us, and that helps us continue to be able to, to provide these for you. And so, thank you guys for joining us for Dave worth Merseyside metrics. I met socially with avalanche media and we can’t wait to have you back on another one of these bye guys.

Dave Rohrer: [00:19:48] Thanks.

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