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Click Through Rates (CTR) low for organic search
CTR low for organic search Google
bartn




msg:4160728
 3:19 pm on Jun 28, 2010 (gmt 0)

I hope someone can shed some light on this.

For a long time now, my most popular keywords (related to my niche) that have been on the 1st page in Google, have been receiving terrible click through rates (close to 0%), while impressions are in the thousands (per month/keyword). Longer tail keywords and keywords not directly related to my niche get about 20-25% CTR with impressions in the 200s.

I don't think it's related to the (page) title/anchor text, because I used to have decent CTR and conversions from the same keywords and anchor texts.

It seems to me that some re-direct is taking place as I expect some people to click the search result links, but for some reason the page never loads and is not being counted by Google analytics.

I have looked at re-direct code on my server, but haven't able to find anything.

Any ideas what can cause this?

Thanks.

 

artek




msg:4163614
 6:49 pm on Jul 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

For a long time now, my most popular keywords (related to my niche) that have been on the 1st page in Google, have been receiving terrible click through rates (close to 0%), while impressions are in the thousands (per month/keyword).


Are you talking about the visitors coming from your title and description listing showing on the 1st page of G search results for particular keyword or are you talking about click through rates on your ad showing on the 1st page of G results for this keyword?

bartn




msg:4164999
 12:25 am on Jul 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm talking about organic search listings on the 1st page of Google.

artek




msg:4165906
 4:48 pm on Jul 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok, so what happens when you click on few occasions from different computers and browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, etc.) on your G organic listing, do you see your website page every time?

bartn




msg:4166497
 2:05 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

When I click on my organic G listings from home or work or even using proxy servers, everything looks fine.

So I really don't understand what's going on. I only receive traffic from a handful of search phrases that don't have a lot of search volume. My high traffic search phrases barely get any traffic, mostly from myself and Google in other countries (no dot com).

My site had the Wordpress hack a year ago, and everything was "flipped": traffic from high traffic search terms, but none from the other search terms.

artek




msg:4166727
 6:55 pm on Jul 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Just to be sure that you do not have DNS problem I would check link of every page of your website letting XENU run through your sitemap in form of html file. It may show you if there is redirect.

Do you use <base href="http://www.yoursite.com/"> or <base href="http://www.yoursite.com/page1/"> in <head> of your pages? It is always good idea.

Now, how do you know if impressions in thousands are still there, maybe keyword(s) are on the decline? The keyword statistics are misleading sometime. For example when one visitor type-in single exact keyword and phrases like below:

"widget" "blue widget" "small blue widget" "small blue widget used"

The published keyword statistics would often count them repeatedly like:

widget (4)
blue (3)
small (2)
used (1)
blue widget (1)
small blue widget (1)
small blue widget used (1)

where in reality there was only one visitor, four impressions, and he clicked on "small blue widget used" in the end or not at all.

Maybe your listing still, lets say, on the third position in results got visually pushed by Google 2-3 inches below the place on average screen where it used to be and it is less visible now?

Maybe your page title and description lost its previous appeal and, or your competitor' titles and descriptions are more appealing to click now?

bartn




msg:4170009
 2:31 pm on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thank you for your tips. XENU is really great; I used it, but didn't find any re-directs other than some avatars from my blog doing a 302 to a shortened url.

I have been using the base href for a long time now.

It could be the anchor used in the titles as you suggested, but these are the same anchors I have used for 2 years now and the position of these pages in the SERPs has only improved.

I used to get much more traffic before this problem started, when the listings were much lower.

So, just to clarify, this problem started in 2008, right after a copyright dispute with a competitor. So this wasn't a gradual thing. It affects all my product pages on google.com, yahoo.com, bing etc. It doesn't affect traffic coming from google outside the US.

For example, if I add a new product page to my site, the page will be listed after 3-4 weeks (perhaps 3rd page). I'll receive visitors for a couple of weeks and have a few sales and then it stops (almost completely).

This has happened to me on 3 different hosts, 4 different servers. I have searched for all kinds of obfuscated javascript or other code that shouldn't be there, but haven't been able to find anything.

marketingmagic




msg:4170125
 6:01 pm on Jul 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

What position are you in specifically?

I have ultra competitive terms on the "1st page" - but unless they are in the top 3, CTR's are non-existant.

bartn




msg:4186752
 8:09 pm on Aug 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

It doesn't matter what position the pages are in, it affects all product pages. Blog pages and most info pages are un-affected. Like I said before, I have hundreds of very competitive search terms, many of which are on the 1st page.

Here is another example of the problem, affecting the ability to check-out on my site: When previous customers use a bookmark or type the url in the address bar, then they don't have any problem checking out. If, however, they look for my site in Google, many of them can not check out. What I see on my end is that the forms do get transmitted, but all the form fields are blank. When they complain to me and I tell them to go to the site directly, then there is no problem.

I have asked several friends and family to test what they see when they search for me in Google, searching for specific terms. People in my home state report no problems, and I can see their clicks in my web logs.

From people in other states, I can only see 25% of their clicks in my logs. This seems strange.

After spending more time on this, I believe there is a problem with my DNS. If I use DNS stuff, I often find "extra" hubs with lowered TTL and the overall time to reach my site is often higher. I can see 2 firewalls: my own firewall and a firewall 2 hubs upstream.

If I do a traceroute from my computer, I see several lines with 3 hubs in a row (like this: 26.ff.5746.static.#*$!.com (IP1) 80.965 ms nn.aa.1234.static.#*$!.com (IP2) 80.113 ms nn9-2..#*$!.com (IP3) 81.631 ms -- they're all on 1 line)

If I lower my TTL setting in my zone file, the "extra" hubs often disappear within 30 minutes, only to come back in an hour or so.

If anybody has additional thoughts or insights on this matter, I would love to hear it.

artek




msg:4186888
 1:53 am on Aug 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

This has happened to me on 3 different hosts, 4 different servers.

I presume that you have dedicated server(s) and one static, dedicated only to your website IP number.

After spending more time on this, I believe there is a problem with my DNS.

Is your dedicated sever also your DNS name server and stores your DNS records?

I would check with your domain name registrar if your name servers are listed properly if yes, I would reenter your info again to refresh listings at the zone administrator servers.

bartn




msg:4187932
 8:35 pm on Aug 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have 1 dedicated server, which also runs as my DNS server. I also have secondary DNS service. My DNS server stores my DNS records. I have checked everything, and all seems correct.

I have refreshed everything and will see what happens.

Now that I host my own dns server, all websites (5) on my server are affected similarly. At my previous host, which took care of DNS for me (host nameserver), it was just my main site that was affected.

To me it looks like some sort of Man-In-the-Middle attack. What do you think? How do you protect yourself from these issues?

artek




msg:4188386
 9:37 pm on Aug 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

It is possible that your main site got hacked in the past and now you are moving from hosting to hosting with some nasty software in your main site backups.

I think you need to get on the phone and call up the security team engineers at your hosting company and ask them to take a good look at your server configuration and your websites coding.

I hope you change your server login names and passwords every time you move from host to host, plus you check your server logins log from time to time.

bartn




msg:4188622
 1:15 pm on Aug 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

I always change login names and passwords regularly and when moving servers. I also re-installed software fresh from source (e.g. wordpress).

When I refresh at my domain registrar, everything looks normal for about 20-60 minutes after it propagates.

I also have secondary DNS for backup. Ten days ago, they (my 2ndary DNS service) experienced a full-blown DDOS attack on their system. During the attack, I noticed "normal" traffic (e.g. equal traffic to all my product keywords) and even an order. When the attack was over, everything went back to how it was.

I just realized my BIND and OpenSSL versions are out of date and I will upgrade soon.

artek




msg:4188918
 1:12 am on Aug 19, 2010 (gmt 0)

I also have secondary DNS for backup. Ten days ago, they (my 2ndary DNS service) experienced a full-blown DDOS attack on their system. During the attack, I noticed "normal" traffic (e.g. equal traffic to all my product keywords) and even an order. When the attack was over, everything went back to how it was.

Talk to the security team engineers at your hosting company they will resolve your DNS problems in no time.

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