Instructions: How to Use Google Search Console to Improve Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
1. You must have Google Search Console set-up for your site and at least 3 months worth of data. If you do not have Google Search Console set-up, here are instructions to help you.
2. Log into Google Search Console and navigate to the Performance tab
3. In the top, set the date range to at least the last 3 months and make sure the search type is set to Web
4. In the top right corner, hit the Export button
5. Open the exported Excel file, then add a filter on the top row of the Queries sheet by navigating to Data, then hit Filter.
6. Sort the Positions column from smallest to largest. Remember, you want to hone in on the queries where you are ranked at least 20 or above.
7. Now, start to look through the data. You want to find queries that have a large number of impressions and a low CTR. Highlight those rows.
8. Look through the highlighted rows and try to find similarities in the queries. You will notice that many of the high impression/low CTR queries are similar to each other. This will help you hone in on which pages to fix.
9. Once you have found a number of similar queries, do a Google search of one of the queries to see which of your website pages shows up in search results. Repeat this process for the other like queries to make sure it’s the same page. You can also use the Pages tab in your Excel sheet to confirm the page you think has a low CTR does in fact have a low CTR.
10. Once you know what page you want to fix, you want to see how it looks in Google search results. Again, do Google searches of those queries you honed in on. How does it look in search? Here are possible problems, and fixes that can help:
- If the title tag is cut-off, make it smaller. Ideal title tags are between 40-60 characters
- Does the title tag entice users to click on it? Add words that let users know exactly what type of media the page has. If the page contains a video users can watch, add the word “VIDEO” to the title tag. Does it contain how-to instructions? Add the word “INSTRUCTIONS” and make sure the words “how to” are in the title tag.
- If the meta tag is showing but is cut-off, shorten it to below 160 characters.
- Make sure the meta tag further entices users and contains a call to action (“watch this video”).
- Is the meta tag not showing, but instead it’s showing a snippet from the page? Try re-writing your meta tag to include terms from the queries related to the page you’re fixing.
- It’s possible the page is ranking for search queries that aren’t really related to the topic of the page. In this case, there isn’t much you can do to improve CTR.
These are just a handful of suggestions. Use these in conjunction with what you know to be true about your customers or readers. Are serial numbers important to them? Are users enticed by knowing an “expert” wrote the article? Is knowing that pictures are included in the article important to your readers?
11. Once you have fixed your title and/or meta tag, make sure to check back and see if the changes helped overall CTR for the page.
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