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Why Your Organic CTR Will Be a Ranking Factor
Posted by Cameron Francis on July 22, 2015 in SEO

Organic CTR as a Ranking Factor banner

Google has been keen to improve how its algorithms work over the years. For an SEO expert who has been practicing for a while, this is not news. You have not just seen, but also experienced these changes. Each one of them has affected you one way or another.

Apparently most of the changes implemented by Google are geared towards polishing the page ranking factor. Everyone wants their page to rank well above the rest. And Google as a moderator must be smart enough to effectively level the playground.

This is not exactly a simple task. If Google does it well, it deserves some credit.

The PageRank Factor

PageRank is Google’s algorithm for assessing the value and relevance of each webpage. Different pages within a given website are given different page rank evaluations. Google usually assigns each page a number between 0 and 10.

Different factors together determine the value that a page is going to be assigned. The main factors among them include the age of a page. Pages that have existed longer on the net seem to have an advantage over those that are new when it comes to page rank.

Other factors include internal links, site structure, page load time and quality as well as the number of external links directed to the page.

The manner in which, and how much each of these factors affects page rank has changed a lot over time. Some of the changes that are underway are expected to alter the page age factor. We may soon have a scenario where a page will not be favoured simply because it has stayed on the Web too long.

You will notice that there is no way we can talk of PageRank in isolation of Google’s SERPs, or the place where your website appears on the search engine’s results. The two (Page Rank and SERPs) are so closely intertwined that, in most cases, they are referred to jointly when speaking of SEO.

They are affected by the same factors with little notable differences. Page rank directly determines SERP. All these are directly based on value of content and use of keywords and links. And Google has been busy enhancing fairness in its SERPs.

There is a lot that we can predict based on the latest trends in page ranking. A few of the latest changes by Google have provided a precise picture of what we should expect. Google’s Panda Update, the search filter instigated in early 2011, and updated from time to time stops websites with low quality content from working their way up to Google’s top search results.

The Penguin Update introduced in April 2012 is useful in catching sites that are spamming their search results. Those who bought or obtained links through link networks are no longer safe with this update. Google will find out if you are receiving links that you don’t rightfully deserve. And there will be a penalty for that.

In 2016, we expect to see Google take an even stricter measure.

With the launch of an algorithm that is based on factual information on a website, it will be even more difficult to cheat the search engines and walk away with it.

What does this trend indicate? Google appreciates recommendations from third parties. You can only achieve such a recommendation if you genuinely deserve it. And you owe it to yourself only if your site has something valuable. This is where the idea of organic page ranking comes in.

What is Organic Web Page Ranking?

Organic ranking results from non-paid efforts. Search results that are listed because they most closely match the search query requested by the user are what we term as organic search results. These normally depend on search engine optimisation efforts. The position where your page appears is determined by the page ranking factors mentioned above.

Basically, ranking high in organic search results is what SEO is all about. Your primary concern when implementing SEO is to improve your organic rankings. That way your page can get more traffic from the search engines.

You can always influence these results. That is why Google is moving toward forms of organic traffic over which you have less control. Top among these is the organic click through rate. We are talking about the organic traffic coming to your website not just as a result of unpaid search results, but with little control from your end. What you have done is to create something that elicits interest in users to actually click through to your website content. It is great to rank highly, but that greatness is amplified if searchers click through to your site.

Why Organic CTR Matters

Google makes the work of SEO less complicated in a number of ways. In case you have not noticed, visit Google Webmaster Tools, select Search Traffic and then click Search Analytics. You open a treasure-trove of data showing the performance of your website.

For the purpose in this particular case, you will notice that the biggest data point emphasised by Google is the click through rate. The logic here is simple. There is little you can do to influence people to visit your content. If they do, it means you have succeeded in appealing to their needs. That is a definite measure of efficiency in delivering value; exactly what Google is interested in.

The Next Logical Question is, “Why?”

Google constantly refines its search engine with the objective of showing only the most relevant, unique and valuable information available. Click through rate is one such way for Google to objectively and accurately determine what to show for a given query.

According to Google, a high click-through rate is a worthy indication that users are finding your content helpful and relevant. Put differently, a high CTR is a clear indication that web searchers find your organic search results relevant and useful. They click through to make use of the content.

Of course, this reality is just particularly useful if your page appears in the top 10 results. Few users ever click to look through the other pages listed in SERPs. This means that the chances of your content benefiting from a high CTR if it is not on the first page are limited. What does this imply? The rule remains the same: SEO elements must all come to play to achieve a favourable ranking for a web page.

Within the first page though, you are much safer. A high CTR can make the difference between ranking number 10 and ranking in the top 3. Again, it’s about the content itself. You do not want the impact of wonderful click bait with any value below it. Because then, your result will be getting high CTR but with an equally high bounce rate. The low average time on your page will likely diminish your ranking over time. Your organic result will most probably be demoted in time if a high bounce rate persists.

Time to Boost your Organic CTR

Let’s begin with a simple approach. A simple tweak to the page title could pull you up from driving 3 percent to driving 20 percent of users to your landing page. The reason is simple: people need a reason to be curious about what you have to offer. That is what happens when there is a variety of options to choose from. So many elements can determine your organic CTR. You, therefore, have no choice but to learn them.

Careful Keyword Selection

Your very first equipment in the organic CTR boosting toolset is the right keywords! These keywords must be highly relevant to the actual stuff you intend to sell. Or they should be directly reflective of what you are producing the content for. So a slight mention of the material leads searchers directly to you.

Quality Content

Excellent metadata selection may be a great click bait. But whether you retain that status and grow better will be determined by the quality and kind of content you offer. Content is as important as your keywords. You must, therefore, have content that is relevant to targeted search queries so that people click and indeed use your content.

Create Captivating Titles

Titles are the first point of contact with your audiences. Just a slight tweak and you may get all the people clicking to see your content. People make judgements based on the title which is what they meet first. To be safe, create interesting titles.

These are not the only things you can do to boost your organic CTR. There definitely is more. But, the above offers enough information to get you started and keep you on top of the game – especially now that you know your organic CTR is a prominent ranking factor.

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Cameron Francis

Co-Founder

Cameron Francis is the CoFounder & Managing Director of ETRAFFIC, Melbourne's #1 Creative & Digital Marketing Agency. For over a decade Cameron has been providing growth marketing and digital strategies for over 2,000 small businesses, start-ups & entrepreneurs around the country.
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