Short practical tip on how to increase your traffic from search

Have you ever done something so stupid that when you realized it later you seriously couldn't believe it?

I had a true moment of "What the hell were you thinking?" just recently.

Some time ago, I created two pages that were supposed to be my main lead magnets. One featuring a website checklist as a mind map, and another, the same thing as PDF for less advanced website owners.

I spent 2 months researching and 10 days of intensive labor to make everything ready for publishing, living off sandwiches and sleeping 4 hours a day.

I was really proud that those posts started ranking for the keywords I had in mind on page 2 right away, despite my website being new.

So I just sat back, relaxed and prepared for the subscribers to rain.

Initially, it went great, because a couple of people shared it with their engaged communities. One of the pages were converting at crazy 25%!

But after the initial wave of social shares, it suddenly became quiet.

The clicks from search I was relying on never happened.

First, I thought I need to wait a couple of more weeks for the pages to rank better, but even after they climbed higher, I was getting zero organic traffic.

What the hell was going on?

Then I opened my Google Search Console (former Webmaster Tools) and saw this:

Click-through-rate: Initial

Almost 200 people saw my post in the search results, but just 1 person clicked!

How many potential subscribers did I just lose?!

And it wasn't going well for the other pages, super important pages either.

This can't be right!

I started thinking what the reason for this could be.

So, people are searching for stuff. They get a number of stuff shown to them. How do they decide what to click and what not?

Right, titles and meta descriptions. I decided to check those.

For the page with the website review checklist, my title was to the point:

"Interactive Website Review Checklist for Solopreneurs & Small Businesses"

The words one searched for are right in the beginning, so that it seems relevant to the searcher's intent. And by using "solopreneurs" and "small businesses" I clearly state whom it is for, so it will catch the eye of my target audience.

"Hundred points", as the aunt of my husband who used to be a school principle would put it.

But when I looked at my meta description I couldn't believe it!

Meta data: Original

(1) - Irrelevant -> Because everyone who needs a website review checklist thinks "I want something where I don't need pen and paper!" #sarcasm

(2) - Boring -> How is it different from any other checklist out there?

(3) Unclear -> - Totally unclear how this is supposed to work. Trying to be clever, eh?

(4) I can't even... -> Yes, let's put the most relevant words at the end! #moresarcasm

What the hell is this? I couldn't believe this was my own doing :(

I built this beautiful house that I knew my visitors would love. But I was so exhausted and sleep deprived from all the work that at the end, I forgot to put a clear sign on the door.

And who goes through the door if they don't know what to expect from the house? 

Without hesitation, I changed the meta description to this:

Meta data: Changed

(1) - Relevant to the searcher's intent -> Words one has searched for appear right in the beginning.

(2) - Targeting specific audience that is more likely to love this -> Whoever already knows how to use a mind map will appreaciate this much more and is more likely to subscribe.

(3), (4) Strong benefit -> Comprehensive list about everything website.

This is much better!

I waited for about a week for the post to get reindexed by Google, and already a couple of days after that I saw this:

Click-through-rate: After

Hello, my new subscribers! 

I repeated this exercise for 2 other pages that had high number of impressions with close to no clicks, and now they also perform better. 

What can you learn from this screw-up of mine?

Lesson 1:

It doesn't matter how exhausted or sleep deprived you are. If you want your content to do its job, you need to do your best with its every aspect and element.

I put so much effort into my posts, but I slacked on the very last but very important step, and it cost me quite some subscribers.

Take a break if you need. Do it tomorrow. But do it right.

Lesson 2:

Meta titles and meta descriptions are super important. If the door to your beautiful house is shabby and has no clear sign, nobody will enter it.

How to write meta titles and meta descriptions that people also click on

1). Indicate the relevancy of your post to the searcher's intent.

Make sure the keywords you are optimizing your post for appear close to the beginning.

2). Don't be afraid to use specific terms that will make it appealing to those 20-30% who would love your content.

If you don't make it clear in the title and description, people who won't be interested may click anyways but bounce soon because of the content itself. This will lower your click-through-rate, which will have negative impact on your ranking.

3). If you can't be clever and clear at the same time: Be clear. Don't be clever.

4). Describe a strong benefit or evoke any kind of emotion that will give the searcher an extra incentive to click on your post - curiosity, surprise, etc.

Do this in the next 5 minutes to get more organic traffic by next week

  1. Open your Google Search Console (former Webmaster Tools).
  2. Go to Search Traffic -> Search Analytics.
  3. Check the boxes "Clicks", "Impressions" and "CTR" (click-through-rate) in the first row, and select "Pages" in the second row.
  4. Sort the results by CTR, descending to see what pages have the lowest CRT.
  5. Select the pages that are already ranking and getting some impressions daily, and change the meta titles and meta descriptions of those pages the way I just described.
  6. Check back on your stats in a week to see whether there was some improvement.

Sometimes getting more organic traffic is as easy as fixing some basic mistakes :)

This would be it from me for the week. So much for the *short* story. On the other hand, my last post was 4000+ words, so this here is definitely shortER.

Write to me if you have any questions / comments (some of you do, and I find it great).

Have a great week,

Gill (you know, from

P.S. Almost forgot:

A really cool tip re great meta description: Google your keywords and check out the meta descriptions for the relevant ads. Those ads were optimized to have a high CTR. See if you can adopt some of their points for your meta descriptions.

Gill Andrews