Click-through rate (commonly known as CTR) refers to the number of users who view a web page by clicking the link provided in the search results. Basically, it is the number of clicks a particular search result gets. So, you might ask:

  • Is it really necessary to improve CTR?
  • If a website is on the first page of the SERP, how much traffic are we talking about?
  • If a website gains the top spot, is there a noticeable difference?

Well, all these questions (and more) will be answered on this blog post. 

1: In Google, the top search result has a higher CTR than the 10th result

When Backlinko analyzed approximately 5 million results, they proved that the No. 1 search result will get the highest CTR out of the links. To be specific, the No. 1 spot receives 31.7% of the total number of clicks. That’s nearly one-third of all the clicks!

Obviously, other search results will receive fewer clicks.  A sudden decrease in clicks is noticeable starting from the second page of the search results. Honestly, only 0.78% of the users clicked a link that’s found on the second page of the Google search results.

With that being said, you can see that you absolutely have to aim to get a spot on the first page. Once you reach the second page of the Google search results, the chances of getting clicked are terribly low. The No. 1 spot will always be the most valued one. Inherently, Google users will always choose the first search result, thinking that it is the best. 

2:  One spot higher guarantees a 30.8% CTR increase

Basing from the same Backlinko study, they discovered that moving a step higher in the Google search results will enhance the click-through rate by 30.8%.

One fair warning though, the increase is not uniformly shared. At the end of the day, the CTR increase depends a lot on the current position. For instance, jumping from No. 9 to 8 will only yield a 5% difference. Not much, if you ask me. However, shifting from N0. 6 to 5 will give your website 53.2% more page clicks.

3:  Better page titles also mean better CTR

When Backlinko compared the usual page titles versus the titles that are in the form of interrogative questions. Which titles fared better? The question titles! 

So, this is a reminder for you to write your titles in the form of a question as much as possible. Think of the 5Ws: “What,” “When,” “Where,” “Who,” and “Why.” Of course, it is not only limited to these questions; you could also use “How.” The bottom line is that the page title end with a question mark.

Compared to plain, declarative sentences, the interrogative sentences were better titles because these gained a 14.1% increase. Without a doubt, questions have better click-through rates due to the fact that people naturally seek Google when they need an answer to their pressing questions.

Once users see a question title, they can easily say that this particular search result has the answers they need. Start revamping your page titles and convert them into question form.

4: Page titles with 15 to 40 characters are reported to have the highest click-through rate

Since we are on the topic of page titles, you might be curious about the perfect title length. The thing is that you shouldn’t make your titles short or long.

If the title is too long, chances are it will get chopped off. When you have longer titles, it also means more keywords to your website will end up receiving a lower click-through rate. Plus, it feels “off” to read an unfinished title on the search results.

Thus, you need to find the right balance; it should be anywhere between 15 and 40 characters. If you can construct a title within these limits, then expect to receive the highest possible CTR. This could mean an 8.6% increase!

5: Using power words on titles may affect CTR … negatively

Contrary to popular belief, power words don’t actually help much. In fact, the practice can yield a negative effect. Many people think that power words help in making titles and headlines attract attention, but it’s just not true.

For you to have an idea regarding “power words,” refer to the post created by Smart Blogger.  To summarize, power words are grouped into seven distinct categories.

Here is a list of some often-used few power words:

  1. Free
  2. Unbeatable
  3. Perfect
  4. Breathtaking
  5. Money-Saving
  6. Crazy
  7. Proven
  8. Life-Changing
  9. Captivating
  10.  Annoying

According to Backlinko’s data, there actually is a decline of 13.9% when you use power words on titles and headlines. For sure, they will grab your readers’ attention, but for the most part, it looks to them like a seems to them a concerted effort to gain more clicks. Rather than helping you, using power words do the exact opposite because, to the reader, the page appears to be some kind of fishy clickbait scheme.

There’s no real harm in using one (or two) power words. Just don’t overdo it. Once you exaggerate, you are no longer believable. No users would want to click, to be honest!

Power words are more useful on social media as they can grab the attention of your followers. However, don’t use them excessively on titles or you risk seeing that 13.9% drop that Backlinko discovered.

Wrapping Up

Search engines, like Google, value click-through rate (CTR) for the simple reason that when a user clicks a page, it means money for search engines. Hence, more clicks mean more money. 

CTR is also important to online businesses. When someone uses a search engine, this tells different companies that there’s a need for their services. As a website owner, this is your chance to tell these searchers that you have what they need. You can provide an answer to their question.

Ultimately, you are there to satisfy the needs and wants of the users. So,  maintain a high CTR because this means that users find your website and its contents to be extremely relevant and valuable.


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