What? What Gibberish am I speaking? How can it happen? Even if clicks are going down due to a loss in trend, how can the CTR go down? Well, the exact question was in my mind when I was reading about it at first. But believe me, this is a fascinating insight that, I think, will be valuable to all digital marketers (especially SEOs). So without wasting any more time, let’s get to it.
The Background (Important)
It all started when a question was asked on Twitter by a Travel Blogger (@Valerie_Valise). You can check it below –
This is a classic case of Google’s erosion of organic traffic: position is UP in the current period over last year, but CTR is down, impressions are down almost 50%, and clicks are down 70%! pic.twitter.com/iDiCeqgdR6— Valerie Stimac 🚀 (@Valerie_Valise) October 19, 2020
As you can see, she compared the search report of the last 3 months from the past year, and the results were rather confusing. The average position went up but Clicks, Impressions, and CTR; all went down. Now you might be thinking that it is an exceptional case that can arise due to any error or indexing issue between that time. But hang on, she shared another one –
Here’s another one. How can *increased* position cause a 41% loss in impressions, 60% drop in CTR, and 76% decrease in clicks, @searchliaison? pic.twitter.com/40vyhNjWmi— Valerie Stimac 🚀 (@Valerie_Valise) October 30, 2020
So, I hope that you are more convinced that it is not an exceptional case. And now that you are really excited about it, let’s get to it.
Why did No. of Clicks and Impressions go down?
You would have probably guessed it – Because it is a travel-related blog, and obviously, people are less interested in it this year because of the COVID situation. In fact, that’s also the answer (apart from other answers) she got from Google’s representative (@dannysullivan). But before you go, there’s another interesting question that’s left unanswered – Why did the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) go down?
Why did the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) go down?
Actually, this is the interesting question that we are looking for. Now, this is what Danny had to say on this –
What about position rising but CTR down. Yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if the date is coming into play. You have a nice page. Lots of details. It makes sense unlike some of the others you have a date on it. That could be an advantage. But right now, it’s saying “TWO YEARS OLD”… pic.twitter.com/N9gqGOKiBJ— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 30, 2020
The query was “northern lights greenland” and if you noticed all the other pages didn’t mention the date except the middle one (the page we are seeing changes for). Generally, it helps for SEO to show date in search results but here, it was showing negative effects because the date was 2 years old. Let Danny explain more on this –
Anyone searching right now is probably thinking “but what about pandemic restrictions?” And that page has nothing about this. All it needs is an extra section with whatever the latest info you can gather, then makes sense to update the date, and you have a better page….— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 30, 2020
Danny took this query from a searcher’s intent and explained it accordingly (and that’s what we wanted). What we shouldn’t forget while targeting a keyword is that one keyword can mean different things for different searchers. While one person searching “northern lights greenland” could just want to look at some fascinating locations, someone else could already be making plans to go there. And that person would love to see a page which also tells him how to travel in the pandemic situation. So the person would automatically ignore the page which points out that it doesn’t have that information (in this case by showing the date).
Note: If you want you can check the original conversation on Twitter by clicking here.
What you can learn from here?
That you should always update the post date for better SEO –
One key takeaway is that whenever you have a problem with SERPs first thing you have to do is – analyze it from a searcher’s perspective. And try to see what your page is missing for that query. You can take inspirations from other pages who are ranking above (but without being the fool who try to copy their content). Another thing that I do myself is check the “related questions” for that keyword and answer that in my page with “FAQ Schema”. I have improved my rankings significantly with this method.
Another point to remember is that always update your content. In my experience (the little experience that I have), I took a page from 20th to 1st position by updating the content with the latest information (while others didn’t). Of course, that wasn’t the only factor as I did a lot of other work too. But I am sure that keeping it fresh gave a huge boost to my rankings.
And the last (but most interesting) insight is that sometimes you see a loss in rankings for one keyword because you are gaining positions for other keywords. Fascinating, right? How does that happen? Well, I shared my knowledge on this in the next blog.
The blog is over, but you can continue till the final goodbye…
Pardon my jokes if you didn’t like them. And now, coming to the blog post, I know that many SEO Enthusiasts (like me) love to read such interesting cases and insights related to this field. Even I was fascinated when I first read about it, so I wanted to write a whole blog on it. If you want, you can follow me on Twitter, where I regularly share my thoughts.
So that would be all. And if you found any mistakes in my blogs or have any constructional criticism, please reach out through comments or contact page. Believe me. It won’t alter my blood pressure. I would love to write my wrongs (this mistake was intentional).