Organic click-through rate (CTR) is one of the most important SEO metrics.
Because a high CTR means that your content resonates with your audience and they are clicking through to your website from search engine results pages.
In this post, we’ll cover what CTR is, why it’s important, and how you can improve it to increase the number of organic clicks.
- What Is Organic Click-Through Rate?
- Why Is Organic CTR Important?
- What is the Average Organic Click-Through Rate?
- How to Measure Your Organic CTR
- How to Improve Organic Click-Through Rate
- Organic CTR FAQs
What Is Organic Click-Through Rate?
For example, let’s say your content is ranking number three for a specific keyword:
If it appears 100 times in the SERPs and gets clicked on 10 times, your organic CTR would be ten percent.
Why Is Organic CTR Important?
If you are serious about SEO, you need to learn how users interact with your content.
A high organic CTR is essential because it indicates that your listing is relevant and appealing to searchers.
It also means that you’re more likely to rank higher in the SERPs, which can lead to even more clicks and organic traffic.
And, of course, more clicks mean more potential customers or clients for your business.
Larry Kim has written an article at Moz, where he explains the direct correlation between organic click-through rate and search engine rankings:
While Rand Fishkin tweeted about what an engineer at Google stated:
Next time I hear a Googler say "we don't use query/click data in rankings," I'm pointing to https://t.co/qETZpGEbm9 pic.twitter.com/m9DO3cBVXb
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) March 17, 2016
Does it look complicated?
Put simply, it means that Google (thanks to RankBrain) monitors organic CTR to understand what users prefer in SERPs.
Also, Larry Kim stated that there are a few things you can do to increase the organic click-through rate.
Among them, improving other user engagement rates, such as:
- Dwell time
- Time on site
- Bounce rate
It’s important to point up that organic CTR is also heavily connected to the featured snippets:
In fact, Hubspot saw an increase of over 114% when its content appeared as a featured snippet.
To confirm all this, take a look at this tweet by the Search Public Liaison Danny Sullivan, who has written that Google is watching clicks to evaluate results quality:
Google confirms watching clicks to evaluate results quality. FYI Google still won't say if clicks used as rank signal pic.twitter.com/jzNGc5reQk
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 25, 2015
What Is The Average Click-Through Rate?
FirstPageSage team conducted an analysis in 2022 and found out that the first position in Google rankings generates a CTR of 39,6%.
While the second position makes the half (18,4%), the third one takes just 10,1% of all organic clicks:
And here are the remaining spots, from 5 to 10, if you want to check them out.
For example, position #5 gets just around 5% of all clicks.
Note that the first position, if shown as a featured snippet, generates a stunning 43,7%!
In fact, as stated by Sistrix, when there’s a featured snippet in the search engine result, the organic CTR for position one decreases by an average of 5%:
Organic CTR is also changing based on the SERP features:
How to Measure Your Organic CTR
Now that you know what is the average organic CTR, you may be wondering how you can measure your own click-through rate.
Fortunately, you can use Google Search Console, and find your website data by visiting the “Performance” tab:
Below the graphic, you will find all your web pages with the specific CTR:
Now, filter the pages to find the ones with low CTR and try to fix them.
For example, look at pages that get a lot of impressions, but not so many clicks:
How to Improve Organic Click-Through-Rate
Now that we’ve covered all the aspects of the organic click-through rate, it’s time to look at some strategies to improve it.
There are a few things you can do to increase the CTR of your pages and get more people clicking through to your website from the SERPs.
Try to implement these tips:
- Focus on Improving Title Tags
- Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets
- Use Short and Attractive URLs
- Experiment Using Brackets In The Title
- Try Using Numbers In Your Title
- Optimize Your Meta Description
- Add the Year In Your Title
- Do Not Use Clickbait
- Sparkle Emotion
- Use Rich Snippets and Sitelinks
- Use a Table of Contents
Focus on Improving Title Tags
One of the most important things you can do to improve your organic CTR is to focus on improving your title tags.
Your title tag is the blue clickable link in the SERPs that searchers see before they click through to your website.
It’s also one of the first places people look when they’re trying to decide whether or not to click on your listing.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your title tags are relevant, appealing, and keyword-rich.
Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets
Featured snippets are short, featured answers to searchers’ questions that appear at the top of the SERPs.
They’re designed to give searchers quick and easy answers to their questions without having to click through to a website.
And, if you can get your content featured in a featured snippet, you’re likely to see a significant increase in organic CTR.
To optimize your pages for featured snippets, start by identifying the questions that people are asking about your topic.
Then, create something that directly answers those questions.
Make sure that your content is well-written and easy to understand. Avoid duplicate pages and keyword cannibalization.
And, most importantly, make sure it’s better than the competition.
Use Short and Attractive URLs
When it comes to URLs, shorter is almost always better.
That’s because long, complicated URLs are often seen as less trustworthy by searchers.
And, of course, if people don’t trust your URL, they’re not going to click on it.
So, make sure that your URLs are short, keyword-rich, and attractive.
Experiment Using Brackets In The Title
Another tip for improving organic CTR is to experiment with using brackets in your title tags.
For example, if you’re ranking for a competitive keyword like “SEO,” you could try something like this:
“The [Ultimate] Guide to WordPress SEO.”
Or, if you’re a local business, you could try something like this:
“[City] SEO Company.”
Using brackets in your title tags can help you stand out from the competition and improve your organic CTR.
Try Using Numbers In Your Title
Another great way to improve organic CTR is to try using numbers in your title tags.
Numbers are often seen as more trustworthy than words, so including them in your title tag can help increase clicks.
For example, you could try something like this:
The Top SEO Tools of 2020
The [Ultimate Guide] to SEO: 50 Tips to Boost Rankings
Including numbers in your title tag is a great way to make your listing stand out and improve organic CTR.
Optimize Your Meta Description
Your meta description is the short description of your page that appears under the title tag in the SERPs.
While it doesn’t directly impact your organic CTR, it can indirectly affect it by helping you improve the click-through rate of your listing.
Make sure that your meta descriptions are relevant, keyword-rich, and appealing:
You can even use LSI keywords when they fit naturally within the text.
And, most importantly, make sure that they accurately reflect the content on your page.
If people click through to your website and find that the content doesn’t match the description, they’re likely to bounce back to the SERPs and click on another listing.
Add the Year To Your Title
If you’re writing a post about something that’s time-sensitive, like SEO tips for 2022, be sure to include the year in your title tag.
This will help ensure that people know that your content is relevant and up-to-date.
For example, I added the year in my on-page SEO guide:
On-Page SEO: The Complete Guide (2022)
Do Not Use Clickbait
Clickbait is a type of title that’s designed to get people to click on a listing without actually providing any useful information.
Examples of clickbait titles include:
- You Won’t Believe What Happened Next
- This One Simple Trick
- Find Out How [Celebrity] Lost [X Number] Pounds
While clickbait can be effective in getting clicks, it’s not likely to improve your organic CTR in the long run.
That’s because people will quickly realize that they’re being tricked into clicking on a listing, and they’ll be less likely to click on your listings in the future.
So, while it may be tempting to use clickbait titles, it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Take for example this article:
If someone clicks it on the SERP and visits the site, he will quickly notice there’s almost no content, with a call to action to subscribe to a link-building service.
So, what will he likely do?
Click the back button on the browser right away, or close the web page.
This behavior will kill the dwell time and dramatically raise the bounce rate, which signals to Google that the content is not worth that position in the SERPs.
Long story short: try to sell your content, but don’t overdo it!
Another powerful way to improve organic CTR is to spark some emotion in your title tag.
If you can make people feel something when they see your listing, they’re more likely to click on it.
For example, if you’re writing a post about a sad or emotional topic, you could try using a title like this:
The Heartbreaking Story of [X]
Or, if you’re writing a post about something that’s sure to make people laugh, you could try using a title like this:
The Funniest SEO Jokes of 2020
Emotional titles are often very effective in getting clicks, so don’t be afraid to experiment with them.
You can also use the bucket brigade technique to add some emotional punch to your title tags or meta descriptions.
Use Rich Snippets and Sitelinks
Finally, one of the best ways to improve organic CTR is to use rich snippets and site links.
Rich snippets are special types of listings that include additional information, like images, ratings, and prices.
Sitelinks are links to other pages on your website that appear under your listing in the SERPs:
Both rich snippets and site links can help your listing stand out and improve organic CTR.
To learn more about how to use rich snippets, check out this link.
Use a Table of Contents
If you’re writing a long post, you can use a table of contents to help improve organic CTR.
A table of contents is a list of all the topics covered in your post, typically located at the beginning or end of the post.
By including a table of contents, you can give people a quick overview of what your post is about, which can help encourage them to click through.
If you are using WordPress, you can download this plugin to create a table of contents for all your pages automatically.
Organic CTR FAQs
Q: Is organic CTR better than paid CTR?
A: It depends on your goals. Paid search ads can provide immediate visibility and drive more traffic to your website faster, but organic CTR generally has a longer-term impact and will help you build sustainable long-term growth.
Q: What is the average organic CTR on Google?
A: The average organic CTR on Google is around 3/5%, but it can vary depending on your industry, keywords, and other factors.
Q: Does organic CTR impact SEO rankings?
A: Yes, organic CTR is one of the factors that can influence your SEO rankings. A higher CTR signals to Google that your content is worth featuring prominently in the search results.
Q: How to improve the organic click-through rate?
A: You can improve your organic CTR by:
- optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, and content for keywords;
- using clickbait titles sparingly;
- sparking emotion in your title tags;
- using rich snippets and site links;
- adding a table of contents to long posts;
- making sure your content is relevant and helpful to users.
Before You Go
Organic CTR is an important metric to track because it can give you insights into how well your website is performing in the SERPs.
But optimizing the user experience does not end here.
You should also make sure that visitors stay on your site for a long time:
Also, you should guarantee that your pages are loading quickly, and optimized for mobile devices:
Now, it’s over to you.
Do you have any questions about organic CTR?
Let me know in the comments below!
And don’t forget to share the article, if you liked it!
Lisa Sicard says
Thanks Erik, I have not heard of trying brackets in the title for getting into featured snippets. I wonder why that is ? How about FAQ’s? Do they help at all? Thanks for the tips and tricks in this post.
Erik Emanuelli says
FAQ can help with featured snippets because they often cover common questions and answers in a concise, easy-to-read format. This makes them a good resource for users looking for information on a specific topic, and also helps to improve your site’s visibility in search results.
I appreciate you stopping by and thanks for leaving your comment.
Nitin Dabas says
Once again you nailed it. This article is standalone sufficient to understand everything about CTR. Many bloggers including me often get low CTR, and this guide will definitely help us to improve the organic CTR.
I know some of the tips mentioned here but some are new to me and I’ll implement and test all of them.
Thanks for sharing.
Erik Emanuelli says
thanks a lot for your positive feedback.
I hope some of these tips can help you improve your organic CTR.
Vishwajeet Kumar says
Increasing CTR is very important to boost conversions. You have shared some helpful and practical tips to improve organic CTR. Thanks for sharing it with us all.
Erik Emanuelli says
Thanks for visiting and commenting, Vishwajeet!
Thanks for sharing this – really helpful.
Erik Emanuelli says
Good to hear it, Sarah.