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January 12, 2017

How to Boost Organic Click-Through Rates on Your Content

Image courtesy of (BrianHolm) /

Quick question: if you could take a simple step to improve the organic click-through rates of your content, would you? If you’re like most people, the answer is “of course!”

Fortunately, you can, and it’s easier than you might think.

Today, I’m here to talk about how you can boost your organic click-through rates on your content, and why it matters. Read on.

Defining Organic CTR

First, a refresher course. What are organic click-throughs (CTRs)? Unlike paid clicks, which come from advertisements you’ve paid to place someplace online, organic clicks originate from a user searching a term in Google and locating your content organically. In many ways, they’re more valuable and authentic than paid clicks, especially since 60 percent of paid clicks are accidental.

Why Does Boosting Your Organic Click Rate Matter?

The equation is simple: boost your organic clicks, enjoy a higher ROI. People who find your content and click it intentionally are likely more ready to convert, more interested in your product, goods, or services, and are more qualified than accidental clicks. Plus, boosting your organic click-through rate will save you money on advertising and allow you to create better content across the board.

Think, for a moment, about why click-through-rate is so important. Even if you publish the best piece of content on the Web, it doesn’t matter if nobody clicks it. The best way to showcase your work and enjoy the benefits of that approach is to boost your organic clicks and ensure that people see your content where it matters – in its natural environment.

The Secret is in the Headline

One of the most critical components of your content is the headline. In addition to the fact that your headline gets more exposure than your body content (80 percent of people read headlines), it’s also the first impression people get of your online material, and it has the potential to instantly and dramatically influence the way that people feel about your online material. Give readers a well-written, unique headline, and they’ll be more willing to click your content in the future. Present them with something dull and dry, and they’re likely to keep walking.

With these things in mind, it’s clear that optimizing your headline is one of the best ways to boost your organic click-through rates massively.

While there are dozens of ways to optimize content, in general, to be more readable and compelling, optimizing it for organic click-through typically comes down to evaluating the headline and improving it in several key areas. When this is done right, it makes your content look more appealing and relevant in the search results and improves the organic click-through rate naturally.

Although many marketers are concerned about the fact that the majority of people only read headlines, smart marketers can use that truth to their advantage and boost their organic click-through rates regardless.

10 Simple Tips to Boost Your Organic Click-Through Rates

So, you want to boost your organic click-through rates. You’re sold that it’s a good idea and all that remains is figuring out how to do it. Great. Welcome aboard. Here are 10 tips to get you started:

1. Find the donkeys in your field

According to Search Engine Journal, low-performing posts are called “donkeys.” To improve the organic CTR of your content, you’ll need to find these things and identify them. To do this, you’ll need to consult your Google Search analytics, which you can find in the Google Search Console. Once you’ve done this, make an Excel sheet that plots the organic CTR and the organic search rates next to one another. Once you’ve done this, locate any keywords or pages that sit far below and fix them by optimizing titles, re-evaluating keyword strategy and taking any other action that may be needed.

2. Get rid of keyword-stuffed posts

Most marketers have stuffed a post full of keywords like it was a Thanksgiving turkey before, and that’s OK. It’s time, now, however, to undo those things. This is particularly the case in any post that features keyword-heavy titles since they tend to be dull and uninspiring for readers. If your headlines are feeling formulaic, see if you can swap them out or change them up without damaging your headline structure. The more attention-grabbing and less obviously marketing-focused your headlines are, the more useful they’ll be for your readers.

3. Use emotions to make users want to click

The more emotionally compelling your material is, the more likely your readers will click. Emotions like rage, grief, amazement, terror and ecstasy make people want to click headlines, and incorporating them into your material is a fantastic way to make all of your written material more compelling than ever before. To find out where your headlines rank regarding their emotional impact, use a tool like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer.

4. Make your headlines relatable for your audience

Readers want to click on something that feels like an old friend is giving them advice, and who could blame them? To help them find what they’re looking for, make your content, and especially your headlines, as relatable as possible. This will enhance their value to readers and make them more unique and exciting than ever before.

According to Search Engine Journal, highly relatable content comes from one of the following personas:

  • The comedian
  • The villain (or the hero)
  • The bearer of bad news
  • The feel-good friend

5. Use lists in your content

Lists are a sure-fire way to make your content more clickable and exciting. Consider the difference between the following two topics:

“How to Write Better Content” vs. “10 Actionable Tips for Writing Killer Content Today.”

The second title communicates ease to your readers since it offers a solid number of how many tips will be included: 10. Readers love this, so use it to your advantage.

6. Use a headline format

A headline format is the ultimate secret weapon in improving your organic click-through rates and enjoying higher levels of content conversion. To make your content convert like crazy, start with an emotional hook word, like “Powerful” or “Shocking.” From there, move into the type of content you’re offering — “facts,” “strategies,” “images,” etc. Next, comes the subject “to help you convert,” for example.

The whole thing would look like this “10 Powerful Strategies to Help Your Content Convert.” While it’s a simple approach, it’s one that’s proven time and time again to be effective.

7. Bring power words into your meta description

While the meta description is commonly overlooked, it can be a fantastic place to make your content more appealing to readers. To beef it up and make it more exciting, add power words throughout. These words grab reader attention and make the description more compelling for people catching your content in the SERPS. Words like “huge,” “proven,” and “instant” are fantastic for beefing up your descriptions across the board.

8. Make your URLs more descriptive

A platform like WordPress will give you a generic URL or allow you to customize it. If you have the second option, take it. Search Engine Journal reports that more descriptive URLs earn 25 percent more clicks than their less expressive counterparts. What’s more, making your URL more descriptive helps your users connect with your material and makes it obvious what, exactly, they’re looking at.

9. Run A/B tests with your headlines

Headlines are something you should be testing. If you’re not, you’re missing the opportunity to improve. By trying out various headlines and comparing their performance, you can boost your organic click-through rate and ensure that you’re publishing quality headlines your readers want to click.

10. Use tools to test your headlines

In addition to the headline analyzers that are out there on the Web, you’d be wise to use a tool like Google AdWords to test your headlines and make sure they’re up to snuff. Google AdWords has a PPC tool that can be helpful for this, although there are many such tools on the Web. You can also use Facebook to boost your organic CTR and enjoy higher engagement rates.

The Secret to Out-Performing Your Competitors

While there are dozens of ways to optimize your content, optimizing your headlines for organic click-through is critical. By locating your low-performing “donkeys” and replacing them with higher-performing “unicorn” headlines, you can make your content as compelling as possible on the SERPs and ensure that it gives off the first impression you want: one of quality, relevance and authority.


Julia McCoy is the founder of Express Writers, a serial content marketer, and bestselling author. A dedicated self-starter since an early age, by age 13, she'd written a 200-page book and taught herself Internet marketing. At 19, Julia dropped out of college and a nursing degree to follow her passion, teach herself online writing, and start her agency. Within two years, Express Writers grew by 400 percent, and today, Julia’s agency serves more than 5,000 clients. Julia is a bestselling author, the creator of The Practical Content Strategy Certification Course, host of the Write Podcast and Twitter Chat #ContentWritingChat. She just published her second bestseller, Practical Content Strategy & Marketing, November 2017.

One Response to “How to Boost Organic Click-Through Rates on Your Content

    Excellent article with great information. For us, January is a slow time, so this is probably when we should start going through some of the old content and sprucing it up for the year ahead. Thank you for the great tips, keep up the powerful writing!

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