SEO campaigns, while strategic and extremely technical in execution, sometimes overlook the most basic principles. Even periodically evaluating organic click through rates of key landing pages on your website and making tiny adjustments, such as rewording a title tag, could lead to a significant increase in traffic.
Many marketers focus too highly on SEO KPI’s such as increased traffic and improved rankings. Even if both of these metrics are performing favorably, there could be a wealth of untapped possibilities to boost already successful metrics. Conversely, if SEO has yet to make an impact, this is where a quick win or two could be unearthed.
Here are a few steps to improve organic SEO by identifying opportunities within existing landing pages and ways to increase click-through rates:
Identifying Low-Performing Landing Pages in SERPs
First, find out which pages on your website pose an opportunity for improvement. While there are a few tools to consider when looking at click through rates in SERPs, one of the quickest and easiest is through Google Search Console’s Search Analytics dashboard.
Once a property has been selected, navigate to Search Analytics and choose the “Pages” view. To get the largest pool of data possible for evaluation, use the drop-down under “Dates” and choose “Last 90 days.” Pay close attention to “Avg. CTR” underscored in yellow. It will be used as a benchmark in the next step.
Once the data has been refreshed, a full dashboard will load that presents the top landing pages from search, as well as impressions, clicks, click-through rate and position. Look for any key pages with a click through rate below the overall site average.
Find Which Keywords Drive, or Could Drive More, Traffic to Your Page
After identifying a page that could potentially be attracting a higher organic click through rate based on data in Google Search Console, it’s time to gather more information about how users are finding the page. While a bulk of keyword data in Google Analytics is now not provided, there are still some ways to examine this information by determining a pool of queries that return the focal page.
The quickest way to do this in the Search Console is to click on the landing page we want to examine. Once our page has been filtered, click on “Queries” to see a list of keyword searches for that page. Since we already know that the Avg CTR for this page is below our site average, we’ll want to pay closer attention to keywords that are performing below this number. In this case, many of the queries are branded so a portion of the results have been blacked out in order to mask sensitive data regarding the site used in this example.
Although the keywords above have been concealed as a group, here is an example of a non-branded query in Search Console that is performing below average for our target landing page.
Google Search Console also has the ability to filter by device. Considering that mobile searches now account for more user queries than desktop, we highly recommend taking this next step to identify any queries that stand out across desktop, mobile and tablet individually.
Google Search Console isn’t the only place where you can obtain this information. However, in this case, it is the best free tool that is available to site owners and marketers with all levels of experience. For marketers with paid tools at their disposal, additional correlations between landing pages and query data can also be made using SEMRush or AWR Cloud.
Look for Opportunities to “Improve” Landing Page Optimization
Before getting into the real grunt work, there are still some preliminary conclusions to be made based on the steps already taken–especially if poor organic click through rates are exclusive to one device type. The first thing to consider is the average rank of our target page and for queries leading to it (especially those with high average search volume and low clicks). Though some of this can be addressed in the following steps, it could just be that the page needs more off-page signals to be competitive.
Once we have uncovered an opportunistic landing page and isolated a query or group of queries to focus on, the real detective work begins.
First, perform manual searches within Google for any and all of the queries in question. As an example, we’re going to look at the top search engine results for “Las Vegas hotels.”
While we cannot share the specific client in question, the target landing page does not appear on page one of the SERPs for this particular search term. Although, the screenshot does not include the entire page, many of the following results mirror the first two snippets below the local map “snack pack.”
Drawing Conclusions and Making Adjustments
The steps above are only a fraction of how far we can go with our analysis. In some cases, we may find that there is no need to change anything at all. What if the landing page WAS on page one, but our client ALSO showed up in the local “snack pack?” The landing page snippet may register an impression, but the user is more likely to click on the richer, featured map listing. Landing page reports would show a high number of impressions for the query with low clicks, but our client would still be benefiting from the page’s authority and favorable listing.
Here are a few takeaways learned from this specific example:
- The non-branded portion of the title tag includes “Best Las Vegas Hotels.” While this specific phrase shows up in many of the page 1 search engine results, the listings are either online travel agencies (OTAs) or other lists featuring choices for the user. Our page is the general hotel information page which includes features and amenities specific to our client’s property. This doesn’t offer options to the user.
- Does our listing serve the perceived user’s intent for this query? In short, does Google believe that the user in this case would prefer a broader list of options or a singular hotel’s information page? Based on the results, it seems pretty clear that the answer is the former.
- In some cases, a simple title tag or meta description rewording may do. However, our client likely will not want to feature other properties on one of their top navigational pages so we have to consider other options:
- Beef up local SEO efforts
If our property obtains a spot in the local map listings for “Las Vegas hotels,” someone may or may not click on it, but it’ll definitely increase the amount of qualified traffic we are driving to the site.
- Create Other Forms of Content
There is solid evidence to suggest that Google prefers to show its users a variety of options. Even if we could get our existing landing page to rank highly, it probably wouldn’t serve the end user’s goal at this stage in their journey. Our page could quickly fall out of favor for any achievement we did see simply by being a risk for high bounce rates. This is where blogging and other forms of content marketing could come into place.
Our team could create a guide for travelers showing the best hotel options in Vegas based on a number of qualifiers. We could use insights from social listening tools such as Netbase to determine which medium and topic would be the best choice. The hard sell would be getting our client to buy-in to the concept of potentially promoting other hotel competitors. We could hedge some of this concern by proposing to focus the topic on the best option per region (ie: Downtown Las Vegas, The Strip, and Henderson). This will reassure them that their property would be the featured option for their location of Las Vegas.
These are just some of the ways we can examine landing page engagement in order to constantly improve SEO. It can be a great exercise to uncover some quick wins by simply adjusting title tags or rewording meta descriptions to better address how Google perceives intent for a given query. It can also be a powerful tool for diagnosing weaknesses at the start of a campaign and building a full strategy.
If you enjoyed this post, please let us know in the comments below. And for the sake of this discussion, tell us what brought you here. Did the post’s title stand out in an email or social post? Did you perform an organic search, and if so, what was the query? What was it about this page’s snippet that got you to click?