Organic click through rate (CTR) may be hard to predict these days. To get a good CTR – a higher percentage of searchers clicking on your link – you now have to rank well on the Google search engine results pages (SERPs). And ranking well means so much more than ranking first.
So, what should a brand or business do to rank well and attract more clicks in the process? The key is to optimize your pages not only for search rankings but also for other SERP features.
What are these SERP features, and why are they essential to your click-through rates? We’ll answer these questions and outline best practices for boosting organic CTRs in this blog. But before we reach the central part, here’s a brief tour of Google SERPs basics:
• SERPs: When you search for any subject on Google Search, it returns your query with pages and pages of results. This response is what search engine optimization (SEO) experts call SERPs.
Note that the results are not random but ranked based on an algorithm that filters the most relevant pages across the web. Past trends told us the highest-ranking result attracted the most clicks.
• Paid search results: Technically, these are advertisements. They are displayed above organic results or in Google SERPs’ right sidebar to catch people’s attention immediately. This significant piece of digital real estate is snagged by the highest bidder for specific search terms on Google Ads.
• Organic search results: This placement is earned, not paid, but entities can compete for the top position. The highest-ranking result appears right under the paid or search bar if there are no paid results for the query.
The Anatomy of Organic Search Results
For the longest time, the search results design looked more or less the same. Here’s what searchers in 2006 saw after submitting their queries to Google:
This is Google SERPs in 2010
Source for both images: MintTwist
A quick search will show you that things look different today, but the common denominator between then and now remains: traditional organic search results. Also called standard snippets, this search results page staple is recognized for its three essential elements:
• Title or headline (in blue): The most prominent component, it’s what searchers click on to reach your page.
• Page description: Two lines long, it provides searchers with some information about the page.
• URL path (in black, used to be in green): Also clickable but appears only to support the title or headline.
Introducing the SERP Features
As we said, non-traditional search snippets now also populate the SERPs. These additional features satisfy search intent without the need to drive users to a different page – what experts call zero-click searches. As a result, Google has been criticized because these rich snippets tend to eat into websites’ organic click-through rates. But on the contrary, with their attention-grabbing images and layouts, SERP features present brands and businesses with the opportunity to bolster their Google CTR.
The table below lists the most common search results page features according to Moz. Of course, we won’t discuss all of them in detail. But check out our top picks, a brief description of each and how to obtain them for your site pages after the table.
|• Adwords (Bottom)
• Adwords (Top)
• Featured Snippet
• Image Pack
|• In-Depth Article
• Knowledge Card
• Knowledge Panel
• Local Pack
|• Local Teaser Pack
• News Box
• Related Questions
|• Shopping Results
• Site Links
Unlike the standard format, featured snippets provide the descriptive text first, followed by the title and the link. They are usually found above organic listings, in what is called position zero of search engine results pages.
This SERPs feature works for informational questions. That’s because it extracts specific information from the target page, allowing searchers to find answers to their questions easily.
How To Get a Higher Google CTR With Featured Snippets
Moz said featured snippets have higher CTRs than standard organic search results. So you might as well learn how to increase organic search traffic by getting your page featured in position zero:
• Any professional organic SEO consultant worth their salt would know that aiming for or already being number one in the SERPs is the key to achieving position zero. And so, continue churning out superior-quality content to stay competitive for your target keywords.
• In your content, be as informative as possible. Focus on providing clear definitions, ordered lists, unordered lists (bullet points such as this portion), tables and similar formats.
This data widget appears at the top of desktop search results. It displays basic information using a graph, table or image pulled from the Knowledge Graph. This is Google’s collection of data entities and their relationships extracted from various databases – from open web sources to private data partnerships.
Is appearing in a knowledge card easy?
Even the best SEO expert would agree that this feature benefits users. But the knowledge card can be inaccessible to most sites because it gets information from the Knowledge Graph. However, if you want a workaround, you can pay attention to and prioritize the keywords affected by Knowledge Graph results.
Knowledge panels are similar in concept to knowledge cards. They provide information about entities – people, places or things – from the Knowledge Graph. But the information is expanded to include a title and summary, a longer description, photos, related facts and even social profile and website links.
Knowledge panels typically appear on the right side of the desktop search results page:
The search results design looks a bit more dynamic on mobile:
Source for both images: Google
How To Improve CTR Through Knowledge Panels
Google may take information from your business listing on its property, which we’ll discuss more below, and present it in a panel format. The panel may also include details pulled from wiki pages, social profiles and more. So then what is a good CTR boosting technique for getting into the Knowledge Graph?
• Create a Wikipedia page. According to estimates, Google pulls information straight from Wikipedia, which has 99.5 percent accuracy.
• Build and optimize social media accounts, starting with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
• Apply Schema markup on your site to help Google understand how to organize information from your site.
Searches with local intent may return a set of three local business listings known as the Google 3-Pack. Instead of taking results from Google’s index of websites, it pulls details from the Google My Business (now Google Business) directory. As a result, the top three most relevant listings appear above the fold in the SERPs.
How To Get to the Top of Google Search Results Through the Local Pack
If you have a physical location, it’s imperative that you claim your listing on Google’s online directory to get in the Local Pack and bolster your digital presence. You should also:
• Ensure the information in your listing – including your name, address and phone number or NAP – is complete, accurate and correct.
• Gather reviews on your Google profile.
• Boost your visibility by garnering backlinks, especially those locally relevant.
• Build your social media presence to drive traffic to your site, which in turn bolsters your organic search performance.
People Also Ask
Also known as related questions, this feature on the search engine results pages is a series of questions generated by Google’s algorithm. The questions are picked according to relevance to the original query, each expanding to show the answer, served in a featured snippet format.
How To Improve CTR With Related Questions
Aiming for a featured snippet placement already sets you up for snagging a spot in the related questions section. But here’s what you can do to enhance your featured snippet strategy using this other SERPs feature:
• Find featured snippet keyword opportunities in this section, such as those related to your existing keywords or check if the questions can be keywords themselves.
• Answer those questions concisely in your content.
Reviews with star ratings are often shown for items like recipes and products. They appear between the URL path and page description. According to Moz, listings with reviews have a higher chance of boosting their organic click through rate than those without.
How To Increase Organic Search Traffic Using Reviews
• As we said above, you should get more reviews on your business profile.
• Display reviews on your website.
• Generate more positive reviews through an effective strategy. In a 2020 Statista survey, 94 percent said positive reviews made them more likely to buy from a business or use its service.
Videos, especially ones from YouTube, may display as thumbnails and only for certain keywords. In addition, you can apply video schema markup to be eligible for video enhancements, such as key moments. This refers to the segments in your video that Google detects and displays to users based on relevance.
To amplify your Google CTR using videos, try these video-structured data techniques.
As you can see, there are so many moving parts to track. To elevate your strategy this 2022, your best bet is to partner with an affordable SEO company that optimizes your conversion rate alongside enhancing your SERPs position.
How To Get to the Top of Google Search Results in 2022
The evolution of Google’s search results design is centered around user experience. And the introduction of each SERPs feature follows that principle. That’s why optimizing for featured snippets, knowledge panels, related questions and more still means optimizing for real people who will be engaging with your content.
If you’ve been focused on how to increase organic search traffic and deliver value-adding content for some time, you probably have seen your effort pay off through an increased organic click through rate. Yet, you must also ramp up your strategy if you want to know how to improve CTR amid the challenges and opportunities brought about by the SERPs features.
If you are to pull this off, an organic SEO consultant or agency like Thrive can help you with that. We are an affordable SEO company with almost two decades of experience in positioning client websites atop the SERPs and driving organic traffic to them along the way.
We provide you with the best SEO expert to work with, complete with a solid strategy that aligns with your business goals. Our services include organic SEO, technical SEO, conversion rate optimization (CRO), link building and local SEO.
Should you have any questions about SERPs features and how to target them for a more profitable CTR, such as “What is a good CTR and how to achieve it through SERPs features?” – our team will be happy to figure out the answers with you. So reach out to us today to get started ASAP.