CTR (click-through-rate) manipulation is a technique that is used by webmasters to generate fake clicks to their websites. So, the generation of fake clicks will trick search into thinking your website is popular and will, in turn, improve rankings.
There are two ways that webmasters use to generate fake clicks. These are:
- Using Bots – these bots would be designed to generate automated clicks to the specified website or web page. The internet is filled with free bots that could help generate clicks to a site. However, some view this technique as black hat SEO, so you need to proceed with caution when you use this technique.
- Using incentivization – this is a strategy that uses people, also known as micro workers, to search for a particular term and then click on the specified website.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss the importance of CTR and how to generate clicks to your site without the use of bots and micro workers.
Does CTR Manipulation Improve Rankings?
There is some indication that shows that CTR manipulation works. For example, in 2014, Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz, experimented on Twitter. In this study, he asked his followers to search for a particular term on Google then click on his website. At the time, his website was in the seventh spot on SERP (Search Engine Results Page).
Within a few hours of Fishkin’s request, his website had moved from seventh place to first place. This experiment was the first definitive evidence that CTR influences ranking. Also, the experiment proved that CTR manipulation works. Since then, other industry experts like Chris Palmer and Dan Petrovic have conducted similar studies and have received the same results.
Thus, the take away from this experiment is that the more a page exceeds the expected average CTR for a given position. The better the position on SERP will be.
Why Is CTR Important?
CTR is important because it is one of the metrics that Google and other search engines use to gauge whether a website or page is worthwhile for users. So, the more people click on the website, the better the ranking. However, we need to keep in mind that CTR is not the only metric that influences rankings.
Google also uses CTR as feedback on whether it is providing users with the best possible content available on the internet.
Automated Clicks Only Work Short Term
While generating clicks through bots may help for some time, in the long run, they may not be good for your website. There are three ways that CTR manipulation may not be good for your site. There are:
- The dwell time (the amount of time a user spends on a page before returning to SERP) may be negatively affected because real users won’t be consuming your content.
- Your bounce rate will also be affected, especially when actual users leave your site too quickly because they didn’t get what they needed.
- Google may be alerted to suspicious activity, especially when the bots are used for an extended period. These days Google algorithms are getting sophisticated.
Tips and Tricks to Effect Organic CTR
Here are six ways that you can use to improve your CTR without using bots or micro workers.
1. Use Brackets in your Meta Title
Hubspot conducted a study that found that the use of brackets in headlines may increase clicks by 38%. According to the authors of the study, brackets make headlines stand out. Plus, they give users a preview of what to expect in the content. For example, insert
in the headline to indicate that you are presenting a video.
2. Insert Numbers in the Meta Title
Many SEO experts believe that inserting numbers in the meta title will increase clicks. Also, the numbers will help the headline stand out, similarly with brackets.
In fact, according to Neil Patel, users are prone to gravitate more to headlines with numbers that end in zero than those that don’t.
3. Use the Current Year in the Title and Description
Inserting the current year in your title and description will indicate to your users your content is current and relevant. Google tends to favor content that is written for the current year for users.
4. Avoid Click Bait
We’ve seen with CRT manipulation that it might drive users to your site; however, it won’t make them stay. Therefore, a high bounce rate plus low dwell time results in lower rankings.
5. Use Power Words in Your Title
When you use power words, you ensure that you trigger an emotional response from users. As a matter of fact, studies have shown that people respond to emotions, not words. Therefore, creating content that evokes emotions is more likely to be shared.
Also, studies have shown that certain power words will trigger curiosity and will most likely receive engagement from users.
6. Make Use of Headline Analyzer Tools
Using an analyzer will help you determine whether you are on the right track or not. There are a lot of free tools on the internet that you can use to analyze your title tags.
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