It is becoming increasingly difficult to generate organic traffic for Google. Organic competition and SEO costs are increasing rapidly, while Google introduces new search factors that divert searchers away from organic results.
Getting your site to rank high takes more time and work than it did 5 years ago…
But what if I told you that you may increase organic search traffic without raising your rankings?
Sounds impossible, doesn’t it?
It is, in fact, fairly doable. You may boost organic traffic to your blog by raising the click-through rate for your present positions, i.e. making your search snippets more clickable.
1. Make titles that are irresistible
I understand that this is easier said than done. Everyone thinks your headlines should be powerful, but what does it actually mean? Page titles are frequently used by Google to construct the most visible element of the search snippet.
There’s an in-depth essay on how to write better titles, as well as a list of resources to help you create click-worthy headlines. Make sure to look into both of these options. I’ll only summarize the most important aspects of Google’s search snippets:
- If you put the most important element of the title first, Google may truncate it.
- Make an effort to make them shorter. It has long been accepted that keeping your titles between 15 and 40 characters is the best SEO practice. My dear friend Lior Krolewicz of Yael Consulting suggests keeping your titles to a maximum of 55 characters.
- Finally, make your title into a question. Titles with a question have been proven to generate 14.1 percent more clicks than those without a question.
Check out Text Optimizer, which utilizes semantic analysis to generate a list of questions based on your target search query, for some ideas on how to come up with a decent question.
Google’s People Also Ask boxes, which feature pertinent questions to your current search query, are another wonderful source of question ideas.
There is no single recipe here, once again (otherwise everyone would have been using it by now until it loses effectiveness). Experiment with several ideas and approaches to find which one produces the best results. There are various WordPress plugins, including this one, that allows you to A/B test headlines to find the most effective one.
2. Create Meta descriptions
Google frequently (but not always) use Meta descriptions to generate the page description that appears beneath the title in the search snippet:
Several studies (like the one cited above) claim that meta descriptions improve organic clickability because they can be as eye-catching as feasible. The more elements you can manage in SEO, the better.
- Make it concise: About 3 sentences are enough
- Include keywords and their synonyms (those will be bolded in search)
- Ask questions in your meta description as well
3. Keep your content up to date
This is another difficult assignment. Google would show dates immediately into the search snippet for many inquiries (especially those that deserved it.
Without a doubt, click-through rates are affected these days. As a searcher, I’m frequently drawn to dates that are more recent.
Google pulls that data directly from the page. When there are multiple dates on the page, Google’s option is frequently the top-most date, but it is also frequently random.
The two big takeaway here is that:
- Keep your dates fresh on each article
- The best idea is to only have one date to prevent Google from guessing
Again, it is easier said than done. How do you keep ALL of your content currents? Should we update the dates on our blog posts?
According to Google’s policies, simply changing the date without making a “substantial” adjustment is a poor, deceptive strategy. While there haven’t been any sanctions imposed on blogs that do this, there is a risk there as well. I won’t recommend it here because I don’t know whether it’s safe or not.
What I recommend is that you keep an eye on your most popular posts and update them once a year. Google’s Search Console is your best buddy when it comes to identifying those. Log in to Google Search Console, then go to the “Performance” report and click on the “Pages” tab
This is a list of pages to be on the lookout for. You can save the list as an Excel spreadsheet.
Another technique to identify pages that need to be updated is through your web analytics tool. For example, here is my Finteza data, which plainly shows a decrease in clicks that should be addressed.
Once you know which articles may need a refresh:
- Check for broken links
- Change the publication date
- Update the screenshots
- Remove outdated information
- Re-upload images for their URLs to have a newer date
We’re not sure what constitutes a “major” update, although it never hurts to include a phrase or two highlighting updated tools or adding more recent data.
In addition, include a more recent video.
One of Google’s more recent initiatives is to display a date derived from a video included in an article. Here’s what I’m referring to:
This can quickly go awry, especially if you embed an older video or keep an older video after manually editing an article.
If you see a decrease in click-through, investigate to see if this date is the source of the problem. You have three options at this point:
- Remove the video code
- Re-upload the old video to a new date (note that this will break links to your old video if any)
- Create a new video which is probably the best option, especially given that it is not that hard these days. You can easily turn your existing text and images into videos and create fresh content.
4. Create an on-page table of contents.
In general, the more clickable links you can build within your search snippet, the more clicks it may potentially receive. Web users are taught to look for links to click on.
Every detail counts, and an on-page clickable table of contents can be extremely useful.
Here’s an example of a table of contents that generates additional links within a search snippet:
These links are made by utilizing HTML anchors, which are simple to make. While there are WordPress plugins that can generate this table of contents for you, I’ve always had greater luck manually constructing these. You can experiment with both to see what you think.
5. Use Schema.org
Google supports a number of Schema markups, which allow content providers to build “enriched” search snippets that include more information than the conventional link + description. These “rich” snippets always stand up in search results and frequently include additional clickable links for searchers to click.
5.1. FAQ Schema
This is one of the newest supported Schema types, yet it is still the easiest to obtain. There are no limitations to where you can use it as long as you answer more than two questions on a page. A list of questions extracted from a page is included in the rich snippet. Each of the following questions can be expanded to provide an answer:
You can use the Ultimate Blocks accordion block or a specific FAQ schema plugin like this one to implement this schema.
5.2. Examine Rich Snippet
This one appears to be the most beautiful in the search, but it is also the most dubious. A star rating is added to this rich snippet, which may also include the reviewer’s name. Google officially enables this markup to be added to the following content types:
- Software App (Tool)
This rich snippet is deemed problematic by me because Google has a history of penalizing websites that do not adhere to their criteria (which also sometimes change). To cut a long tale short, you must nest the review within using the supported markup. To put it another way, if you are reviewing a tool, you must utilize the Software app schema to explicitly identify this page as a review.
This rich snippet concerns me because Google has a history of penalizing websites that do not meet their requirements (which also sometimes change). To cut a long story short, you must use the supported markup to nest the review within. To put it another way, if you are reviewing a tool, you must clearly identify this page as a review using the Software app schema.
I’ve had good results using this plugin to generate review schema for my reviews, but there are plenty of others to test. Learn more about WordPress schema plugins in this article.
5.3. How to Create a Schema
This rich snippet generates some extra information on how to finish a certain instruction. It may entail a number of steps, as well as the time and equipment required. It is commonly used in the DIY industry:
The rich excerpt is also interactive on mobile devices, allowing you to open each step to see the details:
Yoast can assist you with incorporating this schema into your lessons.
6. Add tables
Finally, this is arguably one of the least-discussed tricks: Google favors material that is formatted as a table>. They would frequently take a portion of the table and display it in search results. These search results are referred to as “structured snippets,” and they stand out by being lengthier and bolder than ordinary search snippets:
Tables and charts can be used in far more ways than you might realize. To use a table, you do not need to organize a large amount of data. To construct a table, create a quick summary or overview of the mentioned tools.
In conclusion, how can you make your search results more clickable?
Why it works
|Create click-inviting titles||The title is the most prominent element of a search snippet. It is also clickable.|
|Keep your content fresh||Google pulls publication dates to search snippets and searchers are likely to choose a result with a fresher date.|
|Add clickable table of contents||Google often uses HTML anchor to create mini site links for a search snippet. These are extra links searchers can click to get to a particular part of your article.|
|Use Schema.org||Google uses structured markup to generate “rich snippets”, i.e. search snippets enhanced with additional data like star ratings, FAQs and steps to complete a tutorial. All of these rich snippets stand out and attract an eye.|
|Use tables||Google pulls information from tables to create “structured snippets.” These snippets look more detailed and include bolder font, so they stand out in SERPs.|
Of course, optimizing search snippets for all of your old material is impossible. So, first and foremost, I recommend focusing on your rankings #2-#6 and attempting to improve them.
Make it a practice to re-evaluate your top material on a regular basis: perform a fast audit quarterly to check if there are any pages that want your attention.
Optimizing your current Google placements for increased click-through is a low-hanging fruit that is well worth the effort. Furthermore, many of the above tactics (such as answering questions, adding summarizing tables, working on your titles, and so on) are likely to help you increase your rankings as well, so it’s a win-win situation!