Incipia blog

2 Steps to Optimize Your Site’s SEO CTR

Gabe Kwakyi | October 19, 2016

After sitting down to do some strategy planning one day a few months ago, my business partner and I decided to make investing in content marketing one of our core priorities, in order to establish a strong inbound lead pipeline. With a successful content marketing strategy we would not only have more time freed up by not having to hunt down new clients, but we could also be more attractive on first glance for talent or investment, and more effectively convert clients by way of increased brand awareness.

The next step was to figure out what the central components of our content marketing strategy would be, and we decided that one would involve establishing a steady stream of website visitors. This would be a good way to leverage the experience I had gained while blogging as a search account manager at Microsoft Bing Ads, for the benefit of Incipia. Setting to the task, it was easy to boost the number of impressions as well as clicks by pumping out a steady stream of content, beginning in July.

Yet, after weeks of following the same strategy, we began to see a plateaued pattern in our impressions and clicks.

Incipia SEO performance

By looking at the reports we identified our poor CTR as the main culprit of the plateau, and decided to tackle improving this metric by optimizing our description and title tags for a subset of our blog posts.

For our title tags, we reduced the length to ensure the title was not truncated in the SERP, and for our description tags, we tested a slew of different “first half” opening lines and “second half” tag lines.

Then, we analyzed the performance of each variant and compared the pre-and-post change performance.

Report Color Code:

  • No shading indicates single digit improvement in CTR.
  • Olive green shading indicates double-digit improvements in CTR.
  • Teal shading indicates crazy gains in CTR.
  • Yellow shading indicates single digit declines in CTR.
  • Red shading indicates crazy declines in CTR.
  • Yellow/orange text indicates that the average position change was +/- 10%, which could have affected the change in CTR.

First Half of Description

Incipia SEO experiment first half  

Second Half of Description

Incipia SEO experiment second half

Interestingly enough, the first half variant (i.e. “this just in”) and the second half (i.e. “your go-to source”) that we thought would outperform did not do well; that’s just more validation that the science of data is a must for optimizing for performance, more-so than the art of hunches!

Test Caveats:

  1. This test does not take into account the influence of keywords on CTR; while we did not swap any keywords in the title or page content (just reducing some of the title keywords to be within the character limit), some blog posts were based on trending topics and could have seen CTR changes due to changes in the topic popularity or increased competition.
  2. Related to #1, we randomly selected blog posts to assign variants to, which could have led to sampling errors, where variants were assigned to posts with topics that naturally did better or worse.
  3. We looked at the improvement in CTR all-up (with impression weighting; average), rather than analyzing whether the most number of individual posts saw improvements (median), which means that strong gains from just one post could have skewed results for each post that the variant was tested for.
  4. Optimizing our CTR was a big part of our improvement, but we also did benefit from getting a couple organic links and writing about topics that were trending.

Next Steps:

  • Testing new first half and second half variants.
  • Analyzing the correlation between first and second half variants (i.e. combining “ever wondered? topic A” with a sensible second half variant, such as “Incipia offers coaching, webinars and speaking engagements on topic A“).
  • Optimizing title tags by adding a CTA and keywords that see higher impression volume, CTR and KPI conversions (i.e. email signups and contact form submits).

That's all for now, folks! Be sure to bookmark our blog, sign up to our email newsletter for new post updates and reach out if you're interested in working with us.

Incipia is a mobile app development and marketing agency that builds and markets apps for companies, with a specialty in high-quality code architecture and keyword-based marketing optimizations. For blog/video or speaking requests, business or press inquiries please contact us or send an inquiry to