Can't Outrank Them? Out Click Them!

Jul 5, 2011 • 8:56 am | comments (20) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

title tag CTRThere is a great new thread at WebmasterWorld on the topic of SEO strategies.

Specifically, one SEO has always outranked his main competitor for his main keywords. But one day his main competitor made a small change to his title tags that didn't necessarily improve their rankings but did improve their click-through rate (CTR).

So while he still maintained his number one ranking, the competitor who had the number two ranking was able to take away clicks from the number on ranking by having a more enticing title tag.

He explained what his competitor did to drive a higher CTR and take away clicks from his own better ranking pages in Google.

The change: He/She added the word 'every' in front of all of their titles. The result is 'every widget for sale'. Although this hasn't shaken up our rankings, or even the order in which we rank, it has impacted my CTR a little.

Smart move and every SEO needs to think beyond how well they rank and look also at if the title tag will entice a click to the landing page. And if the landing page will entice a user to complete a desired action. And if the desired action will be profitable and result in returned business.

So if you can't outrank your competitor, out click them!

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Koozai Mike

07/05/2011 01:03 pm

Phew for a second I thought this was a 'click fraud' article. But yes absolutely you should be trying to make the Meta as engaging as possible to sell the click. If your advert was on page 5 of a magazine and your competitor was on page 3 you'd try to make your advert as good as possible to get the business. Same logic applies to the SERP's.

Atreya Chowdhury

07/05/2011 01:04 pm

never knew it would impact the CTR rate that hard.

Curtis Sinclair

07/05/2011 01:05 pm

If you're using PPC, top performing CTR's on your ad copy can be a great source of inspiration for on-page optimasition.

Black Seo Guy

07/05/2011 01:17 pm

I use little things like this in my titles just a smart way to get the readers attentions. "Black Seo Guy "Signing Off"


07/05/2011 01:29 pm

how do they know it is ctr and not just more searches overall?

Barry Schwartz

07/05/2011 01:31 pm

Ask them at WMW.  Just reporting the SEO story. 

Barry Schwartz

07/05/2011 01:31 pm

Stop dropping links, they don't pass anything from this site anyway. It is a waste of your time. 

Nick Stamoulis

07/05/2011 02:30 pm

I know some marketers think that meta tags and descriptions aren't valuable, but they are actually very important. Even if they aren't used to determine rank, they are what will convince a user to click to one site over another. It doesn't matter if you rank number one if no one clicks on your site.


07/05/2011 02:40 pm

i've been saying this for years!  this is where the marketing comes into play.  as much as us SEO-ers hate to admit it at times; SEO is a marketing tool and a lot of the same principles apply as they would in more 'traditional' channels and mediums.


07/05/2011 03:18 pm

Might I offer a point of clarification… this discussion is on the use of the Title element. Please see the World Wide Web Consortium's 7 The global structure of an HTML document 7.4.2 The TITLE element as opposed to 7.4.3 The title attribute. Just so when discussing on–page SEO we're all on the same page with what's an attribute, element, or tag.

SEO Expert

07/05/2011 04:19 pm

Yes I accept this concept.

Joshua Dorkin

07/05/2011 05:02 pm

It goes to show you that SEO isn't everything . . . you have to have a marketing component to your titles or will lose out to more creative competitors.


07/05/2011 07:15 pm

How does he know his competotors traffic?

Scott Bauer

07/06/2011 12:14 am

Nice! Using the titles to better market and compel. 


07/06/2011 12:59 pm

Excellent information.. thanks for let me know  about the header information.. while doing onpage to my sites I will consider viewer mind...


07/11/2011 02:24 pm

Another wannabe SEO. He calls himself Top Rank Express, and he did not know that the title and meta description tags have impact on CTR. Embarrassing!


07/11/2011 11:57 pm

I dont think he did know their traffic. Rather, this is educated speculation that the reduction in his own click-through rate was due to his competitor 'poaching' clicks through the use of a more compelling title tag. Thought provoking stuff.


07/12/2011 12:10 am

Google Webmaster Tools > Your site on the web > Search queries report This report shows your CTR % for individual keyword phrases (most popular first) and the + / - change over the previous reporting period, so even with fluctuations in search impressions this figure remains relevant, being a relative measure. I'm guessing this is how the CTR reduction was highlighted.


07/12/2011 12:16 am

Spamming a high profile SEO blog, how very embarrassing. Fail.

James Spacey

07/13/2011 09:14 am

That's really interesting how one little word can mean so much. A title does have to catch attention quickly and the first word is probably the most important of them all (particularly if you can attach a small and compelling word).

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