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Have titles and search CTR become more important recently?

 1:30 am on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was just looking over my own GWT reports while answering a similar question in another thread - www.webmasterworld.com/webmaster/4529110.htm - and I noticed that my "top web pages", excluding images, all have a solid CTR from search according to the reports. The CTR from search for each individual page drops the further down the page I go.

Does Google now rate a page "best" when it gets a good CTR in search, which is something titles influence a great deal, or is it just coincidence that my best pages, according to GWT, all have an outstanding CTR?

Is Google likely to display your page more often if it has been getting the click more often? I don't remember it being that way before, I distinctly remember seeing pages with lots of impressions have a very low CTR and vice versa.



 2:12 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I don't want any of my competition to realize this.

From my experience most webmasters do not understand that titles and CTR matter. You can debate how much it matters and if it has a direct or indirect influence. Having good titles, snippets and even using Google authorship will boost CTR. Quality clicks are the first step in making your website profitable and that is why I care a lot of titles and CTR.


 5:35 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've seen a quite a few instances where about the only thing that could justify the rankings were where pages got the initial "freshboost" and then sustained the CTR.


 10:19 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

Where is a grandmaster title ninja when you need one.


 11:19 pm on Dec 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

...and that is why I care a lot of titles and CTR.

Exactly. We know titles matter because Google and Bing modify them in results. CTR tells Google something is attractive about your title/description (then we move into bounce rate, time on page and pageviews: once you have the user you need to do something with them).

Another thing that can be debated by degrees is the value of the actual position in SERPs because we have pages that do better at #2 and #3 than #1, I'm looking at a homepage that dropped rank and doubled click throughs. That said, "I" believe both are important to SEO but the CTR part is based on position and how eye-catching our titles are. When Google adds our old form of the page titles themselves you can see they stick out past most other titles on the SERP page and actually do stand out better visually.

One thing that probably won't work is changing titles based on your position because they aren't going to change in the SERPs immediately and may not at all. Like many CMS sites, in some of ours the site name is added to titles of all pages after a hyphen or pipe "Blue Widgets - House Of Widgets". After removing that sitename from titles months ago we find about half of that site's titles include the " - House of Widgets" in SERPS but not in the cached pages or on site, usually when the search term contains terms in the domain/site name.

Do I adjust the titles? No, I believe Tedster or another admin replied to someone else on the topic not to fool with changing titles, let the search engines do it themselves.

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