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6 Factors That Affect the Number of Clicks You Get from Google

6 Factors That Affect the Number of Clicks You Get from Google

So your website just landed on the front page of Google. The question is what you can do to make the most of your listing – and to get as many people as possible to click on your website listing rather than those of your competitors.

The reality is that there are six different factors that can affect the number of clicks that you receive for a specific keyword. Improve any of these factors and you should experience an increase in clicks; improving all of them together could result in sustained traffic growth for the long term.

Rankings

It should come as no surprise that the higher up the page your website ranks, the higher the number of clicks you should receive.

However as a website moves up the rankings, the increase in clicks is far from steady. According to research from Chitika, the number one ranked website for a given keyword receives on average 33% of the clicks. Position two receives 18%, position three 11% and so the numbers keep falling.

Here’s the chart produced showing these metrics:

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In other words it isn’t just that increased rankings mean more traffic; it means that once you break into the top 3 or 4 positions for any given keyword your traffic should increase exponentially rather than arithmetically. Put another way; moving from position 10 to position 9 will have a far lesser impact on your search engine traffic than moving from position 2 to position 1.

Brand Recognition

Of course while your website ranking is the single biggest factor impacting how much traffic Google sends you for a given keyword, this is far from the whole story. Indeed there are five other factors which can also have a marked impact on your clicks from Google.

Brand recognition is just one of these factors. Imagine for a moment that you did a Google search for the phrase “professional running shoes”. If the top result is a site that you’ve never heard of, but Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Sports Direct take up the other spots in the top five, there’s a reasonable chance you’ll skip over the first result and click firstly on one of the brands you know and trust.

Here’s an example of searching for “broadband deals” – it’s likely that consumer watchdog Which? is receiving many more clicks than they should, based solely on their brand recognition:

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The same can be said for smaller, more local markets too. If someone searches for “dog groomers in Croydon” and they recognize your name in the results you may well land a click over other companies that the searcher hasn’t heard of.

Increasingly in Google, strong brands = strong traffic.

Google Plus Connections

You might not be aware of this but if you do a search in Google and one of your Google Plus contacts has shared something related, it can show up in the search results.

For example, a Google Plus connection of the author just shared an article about making lavender bags. Look what happens when we search for this keyword phrase in Google:

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Not only does this content rank at #2 thanks to our previous connection, but it also includes her profile picture, helping to draw the eye.

If you’ve ever thought that Google Plus had no value, here’s your wake-up call. The more potential clients or customers you can connect with, the more likely you are to appear in their search results. Even better, you’ll “leapfrog” over other sites thanks to your connection on Google’s social network.

Use of Schema

Schema is a word that describes code that can be added to websites. This code can be read by Google, and then appears in the search results. So rather than just having the standard blue title and black description, you’ll also be able to show opening times, review scores and more.

Just look at this example of schema in action:

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See those stars? Yep – they help CDC General Builders to stand out from all the other listings. As a result, they’re likely receiving more than their fair share of clicks for that keyword.

And here’s an even fancier one for a recipe, which even gives the cooking time and the number of calories present:

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Trust & Relevance

Often akin to branding, some website listings instil trust, while others can look rather questionable. Either this is because their listing makes them look like a low quality site, or because it seems not to answer the searchers question.

Consider, for example, these two search results for the keyword phrase “best home humidifier reviews”:

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Your goal should therefore be to ensure that your listing (in particular your website address) looks reputable and reliable – and thus worthy of the searcher’s click.

Temptation of Title & Description

The final aspect that can affect the number of clicks that you receive from Google is how tempting you make your title and description. For obvious reasons the more tempting you make them to searchers, the more likely they are to click on your result.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re looking for a backpacking hotel in Brighton. All you’re worried about is finding a low-cost place to stay. Which of these two results for “backpacking hotel in Brighton” would be more appealing?

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I think you’d agree that the first result screams “cheap hostels in Brighton”. The second example, however, is for a hotel that is seemingly both (a) closed and (b) not based in Brighton. I doubt they’ll be getting too many clicks for this keyword!

While this is a rather extreme example, just to make a point, the reality is that you need to be trying to make your titles and descriptions as attractive and “clickworthy” as absolutely possible if you want to maximize your traffic from the search engines.

Conclusion

While your search engine positioning is likely to have the single greatest effect on the traffic that your site receives for a specific keyword, it is far from the only factor that affects your organic search traffic. By considering each of these factors in turn it is possible to grow your levels of organic search traffic – often without even needing to increase your rankings.