How SEO Public Relations Influences Google’s Click Through Rate

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 12.50.07 PMWhat does SEO public relations and your brand’s click through rate (CTR) have to do with each other? The top four organic listings on Google for most desktop users receive 83% of the organic clicks on a page. When it comes to mobile search, the number one position receives the highest amount of organic clicks. A recent report,  Under the Hood of Google Click Through Rates, by Catalyst Search Marketing  made me realize how important public relations influence is for your brand’s Google CTR potential. What in the world is CTR you ask? The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click for a website.

I’m a big advocate of public relations influencing Google search results so let’s face it: public relations equals content and Google likes content that is authored, optimized, shared, and newsworthy.  In today’s digital world; optimized public relations content can be a big influencer on a brand’s click-through-rate (CTR).  Say what?  Yes, it’s time all public relations professional take a crash course in best practices of writing for search engine optimization (SEO).

You have to do more than just show up in Google search results

It doesn’t really matter how often you show up in search results, It matters how often you get clicked-on, and then how often you take those clicked on visits and convert those to whatever you really want; sales, purchases, subscriptions, whatever it is you are trying to optimize for. – Matt Cutts: Head of Google’s Webspam team.

Why? Because great articles, stories, media coverage, news content missing keywords, links and basic optimization best practices can guarantee this – nothing, zip, zero. Google will not recognize your content, your brand will  not show up on the first page of a Google search results and the possibility of influencing CTR becomes a fluke.

What can public relations professionals do now to influence a better CTR and drive more quality traffic to a website or blog?

7 Social PR Snippets of Advice

Social PR optimization Diagram

Social PR optimization Diagram

* Keyword – First make sure your public relations content has an overall keyword theme and make sure it used in the critical area of content such as headlines, title tag, meta tag and throughout content.

* Headlines – Write strong headlines that pull the reader in and are also keyword-rich

* Title Tag – Front load with keywords and stay within 65 character length limit, watch word choice, query match and call-to-action! For a PR pro already writing compelling copy, this is just a slight adjustment and should eventually come as part of your everyday writing best practices.

* Meta Description – Again, be aware of character length of 155 characters to keep Google happy, word choice, query match and call-to-action. Need help? Check out this:

* URL – Check out the url that is formed if this is a page on your website or blog. Folder structure, word choice, query match, “breadcrumb navigation” are notable influencers.

* Rich Snippet SERPs – Is your content coming from a real person with a Google+ profile? Make sure your authors are properly set up according to Google’s recent best practices and your website or blog is using Google rel=”author” and rel=”publisher” appropriately. Keep in mind authorship, user-generated reviews, etc. make an online publicity difference.

* Brand Awareness / Brand Trust – positive editorial coverage from third-party resources such as industry publications or social media actions such as “likes” and “RTs” influences brand awareness and trust. Make sure you are active seeking positive editorial coverage from bloggers and the media.

Social PR Tip: Page titles differentiate your site from competing sites. See below example of the keyword “Social PR” in Google search, which Social PR link would you click on? Title Tags count!

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Basic SEO Terminology That Public Relations Needs to Know:

Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP):

A listing of results returned by the Google search engine in response to a user’s search

query. Google SERPs can contain several different “segments.” The screenshot highlights a typical SERP containing organic and paid results.

Organic Search Results:

A portion of the SERP that contains only “natural” listing results. These results are listed by Google‘s ranking algorithm and are not influenced by monetary bids (i.e., Paid Search Results)


The number of times pages from a website appeared in search results. These numbers can be rounded and may not be exact search volume counts.


The number of times a user clicked a website’s listing in search results for a particular query. These numbers can be rounded and may not be exact visit counts.

CTR (click-through rate):

The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click for a website.

Geeking out CTR and public relations ROI

The recent CTR report, in which Catalyst sponsored the research and peer reviews,  helps highlight the public relations and online marketing opportunities when brands can best understand why searchers click on certain Google search results v. others. The study provides a deep dive into CTR analysis across the top 10 Google organic search results and determines how CTR behavior is impacted by user search intent, query types and user devices. This report uncovered some examples of how public relations professionals can influence CTR, conversion and prove even more ROI. Want to know the whole CTR shabang? Go for the CTR report download.