Taming the Elusive Click Through Beast

By Melanie Prough on Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Filed Under: Zen Cart Marketing, Zen Cart SEO

No matter where your store pops up in organic searches you are at the mercy of the searchers desire to “click through” to your website. While this has always been an important aspect of your SEO and marketing efforts, it is even more important as we see search engines move to keep people on search pages longer. The very act of delivering more information (text, images, prices, previews, reviews etc)  causes shoppers to remain on search pages longer… and sometimes never need or have the curious impulse to click in to your website.

It would be easy to moan and complain, but this inevitably accomplishes nothing positive. Instead, you the shop owner must manage the fine line between the necessary information to impulsively cause a click through and the over informing which can cause the need to click through to slip between your fingers. This line is not only fine, but you will need a common sense approach and a keen understanding of both your products and target customer base to tame this beast.

For the purpose of this post we will concentrate on Google, their listing format and techniques to get a better click through rate.

First, do you know where to locate your click through rate for Google?

From your Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard click on the domain you wish to view information for. Then from the domain dashboard summary click the More >> link under Search queries. Now you will see a graph and data tables underneath. You will have to check this frequently, as Google will only give you a little over a month of data.

Google Webmaster Click Through Data View

Google Webmaster Click Through Data View

In this page we can get a clear picture of our “seemingly” top Google queries, their impressions, clicks, CTR and average position, with their growth and losses. We also (down below) have the opportunity to download the data. I suggest you do so for future referencing as you proceed to optimize your click through rates.  From here I suggest you grab a few queries which seem to need help or that you have great margin on… or maybe you are featuring something special. Just limit yourself to a few so that as you optimize these click through opportunities you can easily measure your results (good or bad).

Optimizing Your Google Search Listing for Maximum Click Through

We are going to break this down anatomically. We will identify the area of the listing and then provide you tips and information to optimize them for maximum click through.

Google SERP Anatomy

Google SERP Anatomy (Click to Enlarge)

Optimizing your page title for click through is both highly effective and important for your search rank as well. Some tips here are short, straight to the point, informative and unique. You will see me use the term unique several more times in this post… Get used to it, Google likes unique. For some pages it is also effective to include model numbers, prices and/or phone numbers in the title. Depending on your products, these can help a searcher to more easily become a shopper.

Optimizing your Meta description for click through is again very effective, but substantially tougher. You see, Google not only requires uniqueness here, but it needs to be at least 100 characters and must be “seemingly” relevant to the searcher’s query. This is a fantastic argument for landing pages. You see, if you determine your page is about green bananas, but the searcher is looking for fresh imported green bananas Google will likely pull a snippet from the page which is mathematically more relevant. So we lack “ultimate” control here and must endeavor to supply good relevant Meta descriptions and good targeted, unique on page content as well. The on page part is best accomplished by properly formatted (yes you NEED paragraphs and headings) and descriptive on page text. The Meta description does not help you rank, so put text here that is relevant and engaging.

Optimizing your snapshot preview is a bit more challenging. Make no mistake we pushed up the redesign of PRO-Webs as it would not have fared well in the new snapshot platform. Ideally you want an impressive snapshot that moves the searcher to click in. This is probably the time to increase both the size and detail of product page images as well. The real estate at the top of the page will get the most attention, so you might consider moving to a less vertically hog of a header.   Check out the snap shot below and see WHY you will still want good, organized textual content.

Google Snapshot Snippets

Google Snapshot Snippets

Lastly, optimizing site links, bread crumbs and expandable listings is far more advanced and not suitable for this post. I will say that a clear and logical navigation, use of on site bread crumbs and great content are the key. Here is a nice post about optimizing for Google listing extras.

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