How To Improve Your CTR By Listening To Your Audience
The other day I was searching for something on Google with a person that barely knows what SEO stands for, and this person couldn’t find the right answer to that query. Then, as someone who has been working in SEO for some time now, I thought “How would an SEO optimise a page for it to show for this query?” and then there it was, I found it.
This is the best example of “how not to be an SEO” (consultant/executive/manager/whatever role). Of course, Google is getting more and more intelligent, and even though it can understand the context without the specific keyword, this keeps happening.
Sometimes, when we do keyword research and create a piece of content, and then publish it on a site, we forget we are writing that to someone who really needs our help (on the buying process, on deciding which article best suits their needs, etc.). We are not optimising that page to fulfil our ego or to publish it directly on the SEO Hall of Fame. Unfortunately, nobody will remember us for writing an article about which vacuum cleaner you should buy.
The work we do as SEOs is about remembering all the guidelines that we have read about helpful content, E-EAT, keyword intent, audience, and so on. Google doesn’t update its algorithm to annoy a bunch of SEOs; it does it because the better the results the user gets, the more the user will trust Google. Hence, that user will keep using Google and the cycle will continue.
Going back to the example at the beginning, it took us two searches to find something that could have been found in one. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones, the Zero-clicks study conducted by Semrush digs deeper into this topic. Almost 30% of people “either extended or refined their search in some way”, meaning that 1 out of 3 people couldn’t find what they were searching for on their first attempt. This means that a lot of people aren’t listened to by their potential providers. Of course, we can’t predict what a user is going to search for, but we can definitely understand them so we can curate the results better for them to be found in that first search. The user, our potential customer, should always be at the centre of the strategy.
Understanding Keyword Intent
User intent is one of the big game-changers in SEO. SEO is not about optimising and forgetting what was the page about; SEO is about investigating, analysing, and understanding the audience of the specific niche we work on. For one second, let’s forget about the search engines and think about users. Users keep evolving into a more demanding type of person, and we need to provide, we need to answer. Otherwise, we are doomed to irrelevancy.
Three out of the four keyword intents are becoming more liquid: transactional, commercial and informational keywords are starting to share more space on the SERPs. This means that Google is starting to offer commercial and transactional pages where before only informational pages were shown. In the “State of Search” published by Semrsuh, we can see that the transactional and commercial pages increased their presence in SERPs, while informational and navigational keywords decreased theirs. Even you, right now, can think of an informational keyword and try it yourself, are the 10 blue links purely informational?
Think about it this way: if the information the user is seeking can be answered on a transactional page thanks to a well-answered FAQ, a well-written review or a great description, why should Google add a step to the user’s journey? Another reason to properly optimise your PLPs and your PDPs besides writing an amazing blog post about vacuum cleaners.
That’s why, besides understanding the keyword intent, you should also check the SERPs, what is Google offering right now to the users? Are the results purely informational? Can you optimise your PLP to offer answers to the user’s query? Will you be able to rank for that specific keyword?
For all that, schema plays a fundamental role in this situation, and where well applied, it can lead to a higher CTR.
Relevance Of CTR And Schema
Although these two topics could give us enough content for two separate blog posts, discussions or presentations, we wanted to merge them into one section to talk about how schema can help with CTR.
Taking into consideration the previous examples, let’s imagine a SERP with mixed results: transactional and informational. If your page has reviews and the review schema applied, a user might not need to read information about the query, the reviews or the information within that result may convince them to click on your result.
That’s why a proper schema strategy on your pages will help you increase the CTR and the way your results are seen on the SERPs. Investigate the different types of schemas you can add to your site and to the different pages on the site: list, product, review, geography, and many more schemas are available for every single page of your site. You can find the full list on the schema.org site. After that, there are many ways of implementing the schema markup, but we highly recommend you use the rich results test that Google has to see if your code or your page has any issues before launching it.
Know Your Audience
As we were saying before, we are no longer people that search for 20 keywords and stuff them into some random content. We are people who understand our audience, our potential customers, and how search engines work. That’s why we need to investigate, analyse, and think how they think. This, saving distances, is the same process advertisers did more than 60 years ago, they couldn’t just say “Buy our product”, they started creating what we know today as modern advertising. Better targeted campaigns, money better invested, and more competition to fight against.
This is where we, as strategists, content writers or SEO workers, need to work on the content strategy to offer the most personalised content possible and engage our audience.
It is also fundamental to read the data we already have, everything is useful, so the more tools we have to understand users’ behaviours, the better. Use Google Search Console to see how users find your content, don’t just focus on keyword research. You’re not going to change users’ way of searching, but you can change your site for a user to find it on their first attempt. Read the available data and you will know who your audience is.
2022 Google’s update on Helpful Content wasn’t much of a surprise for us. Shouldn’t we have been doing that already before that update? In the end, everything we’ve been talking about in this post is about that: “focusing on people-first content”. Either if we want to reach our audience with an FAQ or with a product, people, our people should always be at the centre of our decision-making process.
Google rewards content that is user-focused, it doesn’t reward that keyword-stuffed content that nobody will read. Focusing on your audience and your potential audience will be beneficial for you and for that annoyed user that had to search twice because they didn’t find it. Or it will be beneficial for you because that user went through all the buying processes on your site.
Some Considerations To Wrap Up
Users are changing the way they search, and so should content. Of course, many zero-click searches occur because users found their answers on the SERPs thanks to a more direct answer provided either by an image or an answer box.
Yes, Google provides a less clickable experience, and above all this will rise as Bard becomes more intelligent and independent, but we need to keep listening to users and make our content helpful, visible, and above all, clickable. Yes, Google provides a less clickable experience, but for the moment, the transaction occurs on our website, so we need to give users reasons to click on our site.
User experience keeps growing as one of the most important ranking factors and society grows towards more impatient individuals that want answers as fast and easily as possible. We, as SEOs, developers, agencies, and everyone involved in digital marketing, should be able to provide the experience users are looking for.
Individuals need that immediate information and we need to know and use all the available tools to answer their questions. That’s why we need a high-quality content strategy to deliver the best possible results, so why don’t you get in touch with us at The Good Marketer and see how can you improve your CTR with a great SEO strategy? Maybe we can get to the SEO Hall of Fame together.