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Impressions, Clicks, Who Cares?

If you’ve analyzed traffic to your website, you have probably come across the terms “impressions” and “clicks“. And, a quick look at any SEO glossary will inform you that “impressions” refers to the number of times that browsers come across your site or ad in a search, and clicks- well, those are pretty self-explanatory. But what do they really mean for your business?

Assess to Impress

First impressions are everything, and search engines are no exception. Within a split second of viewing your sites description, viewers will either click or skip over your page, so it is important for website owners to be aware of what browsers are actually seeing. Your site will show up in search engines as a page preview with three basic components:

  • title tags
  • URL name
  • meta descriptions

Ask yourself: “do these areas describe the page or post precisely and concisely?” and “are they informative, engaging, and appealing?”. Think of impressions as window shopping for browsers. These little previews on search engines allow browsers to decide if they would like to enter a site. Sell your website!

Title tags should include specific keywords related to the subject, while simultaneously presenting information in a way that will engage viewers. Keep URL names simple and relevant so that the browser feels confident that they are entering the correct site. The meta description follows below the title and should serve as a brief explanation to inform the reader and spark their curiosity. The key is to make them want to read more.

impressions and clicks infographic

Cutting Out the Competition with Rich Snippets

If you really want to jazz up your site preview, implement rich snippets. In a search results page full of dull, lifeless page previews, rich snippets offer a modified layout of information which can include additional features such as images and specified details. Rich snippets markups highlight various site features according to the chosen style such as:

  • authorship and peoplerich snippets example
  • businesses and companies
  • products and reviews
  • recipes
  • music
  • events

Remember that web-surfers WILL judge a book by it’s cover. Using rich snippets markups can differentiate your site from your competitors and help you gain more traffic (find out how at “Why You Should Stop Ignoring Rich Snippets“).

See for yourself. Check out this snapshot of a search for “Byetta cancer cause” above with a rich snippet authorship markup on one of the articles. Which would you click on?

Impressions to Clicks Ratio for Dummies

On the back end of a page, website owners can use analytic tools to view data about impressions and clicks. They may just look like a bunch of random numbers, but understanding how to analyze impression and click values can help you gauge your site’s effectiveness. How can you tell?

  1. Utilizing an analytics service such as Google analytics, view your site’s traffic and note the number of impressions and clicks for the page you wish to evaluate.
  2. Compare total amount of clicks to the total amount of impressions for that specific page.
  3. Analyze the difference. Extremely low click values and high impression values can be a sure sign that your site has not been fully optimized.
Hint: Every site is different! There are no magic numbers.

Track your clicks and impressions so that you can perform tune-ups on pages that need help. While impressions may seem like a generally useless number, understand that impressions are essential to gaining clicks. Most of all, keep in mind that impressions can lead to clicks, which results in more site growth for you!

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