So you did all that SEO (search engine optimization) on your website and you’re finally ranking in Google, but how do you actually get people to click through to your website?
Today we’re talking about how to optimize your meta titles and descriptions to increase your clickthrough rate from your Google search results. Essentially, once people see your website listed on a Google search results page, how do you get them to click on your results instead of someone else's?
How do you increase search engine optimization and, more specifically, how can you increase clicks from the Google Search Results page to your actual website?
When a user searches for something on a search engine, they’ll be shown a page with multiple results, each of which has a title (shown in blue) and a small little text blurb underneath that title.
Those are your meta title and meta description.
Every page on your website has one of these, and optimizing them is an important part of search engine optimization.
If you’ve ever heard me talk about SEO before, you’ve probably heard me say that this title and description are more for the user than Google. This small bit of text is all the user has to decide whether they’re going to click on that result. And with 10 organic results and a few ads on each page, you’re competing against a lot of other websites for that user’s attention.
The good news is that there are still A LOT of website owners that don’t optimize this at all, or leave the content blank and let the search engine populate the content, so even just putting a tiny bit of effort can go a long way.
But, you’re an eCommerce badass, so you never want to do the bare minimum, right? Of course not! That’s why you’re listening to this podcast.
So today I wanted to share 10 ways that you can increase your clickthrough rate just by updating your meta titles and descriptions.
I recently saw this information presented by Neil Patel, a leader in the SEO space. These 10 recommendations all came from data that was gathered by ClickFlow which is an SEO testing tool.
Now, I haven’t used this tool myself, but the gist of it is that you can A/B test different meta titles and descriptions to see which ones have the best clickthrough rate. The tool ain’t cheap so it doesn’t make sense for most people, but the data that Neil shared is super valuable so I wanted to break it down and help you discover how you can implement these tips into your own business.
One last note before we hop into it, Neil is generally speaking from a blog posts perspective vs. products and collections. Though some of these tricks do apply to any page on your website. Don’t discount the idea of having a blog even as an eCommerce business. In fact, they are a great way to attract new users to your site and to provide more value to your existing customers.
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1. Put a question in your meta title
Having a question in your meta title can increase your clickthrough rate by 14%, and it makes perfect sense if you think about it. When most people are searching Google, they’re looking for answers to questions, right? So it would make sense that if they saw a title that was their exact question or very similar to it, it would trigger them to click on it.
For instance, if you sell bridesmaid gifts, you might create a blog post about how to propose to your bridesmaids.
If you’re not sure what questions your customers might ask related to your product, use a tool like Answer the Public to find out. When you put in a couple of keywords related to your product, Answer the Public will give you the questions people are asking, phrases that start with how to, what, etc.
2. Put the exact query in the URL of the post or page
Using that same example, How to propose to your bridesmaid, Neil saw a 45% increase in clickthrough when the URL of the page matched the exact question the post was about. That’s a huge difference.
Now in most cases, if you don’t edit the URL it will default to the title of your post, so if you’re already titling it with the question you’re answering you might already do this without even realizing, but it’s worth it to go back and check.
3. Add years to your meta title
Let me ask you a question. If you were looking for information on the latest trends in an industry, let’s say what are the current hair trends… which would you rather click on?
- The hottest haircuts for summer 2021 OR
- The hottest haircuts right now
Putting the year in the title tag lets the user know that the information they’re going to read when they click on through is going to be up to date and relevant. The caveat with this one is you have to actually keep the content up to date. Pick a few of your top posts, or the top queries and commit to updating them regularly, but you don’t necessarily have to do this with every blog post you have.
Going back to the bridesmaid gifts example, maybe you have a blog post that is “The Best Bridesmaid Gifts *insert year here*” and then you update that on a yearly basis.
4. Make your meta titles sound educational
The title of this podcast episode, and many of my podcast episodes, fall into this category. Adding the words “How To” is the quickest way to do this and it can increase your clickthrough rate by 10.4%.
Are you starting to see a trend here? Ultimately, when someone is searching the internet, they’re generally looking to solve a problem or learn something new. The more you position your content to answer questions and teach them something, the better off you’ll be.
5. Add power words to your meta title
What is a power word? Power words trigger emotion in the reader. It’s a copywriting trick that has proven to increase click rates in all sorts of marketing, and the same is true for your meta titles. Some examples of power words are easiest, forbidden, effortless.
Weave these into your titles and you could see a 10.4% increase in clickrate.
6. Add emotion to your meta title
Adding emotion to your title tags can increase your clickthrough rate by 7.3%. Refer to those power words I mentioned to help you do this.
7. Evoke curiosity
Leaving the reader wanting a little bit more is a great way to entice them and get an increase in clickthrough rate of 5.9%. You’ll definitely get some ideas from the power words I mentioned here as well, but another great example of this is: “The 7 Benefits of X… #5 will shock you.”
8. Make sure you add a meta description
It seems simple enough, but truthfully there are still so many people that are not writing their own meta descriptions which means google will fill it in automatically, usually with the first few sentences of the post, which might not be enticing enough for the user.
It’s definitely worth it to take the time to write your own meta description to make sure you’re showing the user the important information they need to click on through. In fact, the data Neil shared showed that having a meta description increased clicks by 5.8%
9. Use 15-40 characters in your meta titles
The number of characters you can use for your meta titles tends to change over time and what actually gets displayed can depend on the device the user is on when searching the internet, but it’s generally around 70-ish characters. At least at the time of this blog post.
But the data actually shows that titles that are between 15 and 40 characters get a higher clickthrough than longer titles. This sweet spot can give you an overall lift of 8.6%. I would recommend you get closer to the 40 character mark so you can make sure you have your keywords in there, but don’t stuff the title for the sake of stuffing the title.
10. Get inspiration from paid ads
If you’re not sure where to start with writing or updating your meta titles, take a peek at the ads that show for the queries you’re optimizing for.
Because Google gets paid on ad clicks, they have a metric called quality score that they assign to each individual ad that is run on their platform. If Google determines that the quality of the ad is low, for example, it has shitty titles that never get clicked on, it will stop showing the ads because they know they can’t make any money from it.
As an advertiser it is in your best interest to put a lot of time and effort into optimizing for quality score, which means they are a great way for you to get inspiration on what to write in your own meta titles.
Which content should you optimize first?
When you’re thinking about which of your posts you’re going to optimize, start with the most evergreen pieces of content, the ones that answer those basic questions your potential customers are searching for. And make sure you give it at least 30-60 days to really see results. Remember, everything SEO takes time, so be patient.
Make sure you have Google Search Console installed and running so you can track your results.
Listen to the Episode
12. How to Get More Awareness for Your eCommerce Store
Answer the Public
700 Power Words by Optin Monster
Google Search Console