I talked a little bit about impressions, clicks and click through rate in my articles about Google Search Console. I want to delve into those topics deeper in this article and cover a different concept. This concept is the idea that you cannot solely rely on a single metric to measure the overall traffic of your website. Each metric has its role and you should take a holistic approach in truly understanding traffic. This is especially important when your website experiences slumps and downturns in traffic. When you feel that your traffic is taking a nosedive, you need to look at the other metrics to compensate for the drop in that one single metric. That is the focus of this article, to look at different traffic metrics and being able to handle and cope with the loss of traffic in a single metric.
What Are Impressions?
Impressions measure every single time that one of the pages on your website shows up on a search engine. Each time that this occurs, it counts as a single impression. These impressions are important because they help you get your name out there and noticed. This is how people find out about you. This is why you need to show up on the search engines as much as possible so that the more people who see you, the more your website will be known and recognized. Of course, this is a very time consuming and lengthy process. Brands are not created overnight.
Why Are Impressions Important?
For New Websites: This Is Where They Start
I know that this is a common theme on this blog. Impressions are what matter at the beginning of your blogging journey. Unfortunately though, not everything that you write and publish will make it to the search engines. Unless you have discovered that super hidden niche no one has yet, chances are you are in a niche that everyone else is in. So you might have to write quite a few articles before you find out what sticks and what gets you impressions. Even with keyword research, there is no guarantee that anything that you write will be high up in the rankings.
So this is why chasing impressions can take a long time and your journey might be at the early stages of blogging for more than you expect. This is why you can expect to write a lot of content and see what works and what does not. This is why at the beginning, you should really just blog for fun and see if you can build a viewership first. Since consistent clicks will not be coming in anytime soon, you will not have to worry about monetizing.
Creating Brand Awareness
For now, you just want people to know who you are and what you are about. As you write more, people will see what you know and what you have to offer on a wide variety of topics. You just need to showcase what you know and the people will come to you. The best part about impressions is that you can get them organically through the search engines without spending a single penny. The only cost involved is taking some time out of your day to write and get something out there for the world to see.
Impressions Are Really Just Gateway Traffic
Eventually though, you will find your way and discover what truly works for your blog. This is when you realize that people are clicking on your pages and you are getting real traffic. Are impressions even traffic? I mean they are traffic that is leading people to your website but they do not represent actual traffic on your website. Impressions can be seen as gateway traffic or pre-traffic if you will. Impressions help you know what topics are bringing people toward you, even if they still are standing right outside your website and have not entered yet. That is still an achievement because at least you are getting close. This is about appreciating every aspect of blogging and knowing that someone somewhere actually found your blog. Pretty exciting right? It is when you start to see things come together.
What Are Clicks?
When you show up on the search engines and someone actually clicks on your page, that is a click. Clicks are hard to come by since a crowded niche has so much competition to deal with. Why would someone want to click on your page over someone else’s? That is where the meta title and description come in. It is simple to say write compelling and alluring copy to attract users and earn those clicks. There is more to it than that. Your ranking plays a big role on whether or not you get that click. People tend to click on the top results of the first page because they trust that Google knows what is best for them. For the most part, yes. Google tries its best to rank the best results at the top but there are a lot of good pages people miss out on if they just stick to the top of the results on page one.
The Three Steps of the User Journey: From Impressions, To Click, To Conversions
Clicks are what comes after impressions. If impressions are like window browsing, then clicks are actually going into the store. The last part of the user journey after they land on your website would be a conversion. A conversion can be anything that you want it to be. Typically, conversions are some kind of event or action that takes place. This could be a user signing up for a newsletter, filling out a contact form for more information, or an actual sale. You need impressions, then clicks before you can convert your users. The reason why is that conversions happen when users land on your website and not when they are outside it.
Why Are Clicks Important?
Clicks are crucial because they bridge the gap between an impression and conversion. You need something in the middle between the two in order to convert and that is where clicks come in. When clicks become conversions, then that is when your website starts to become successful. This means that people want to do more than just read your stuff. They want to do more than that. They actually want to interact with your website. Maybe they are interested so much that they might even contact you about something. When you start to think about how many different kinds of conversions there are and how important they are for a successful website, you will understand why clicks are so important.
Developed Websites: Shifting From Impressions to Clicks
After you start to gain some impressions and your website has been around for awhile, you should focus on getting clicks. You should naturally get some clicks based on how many impressions you are getting. This is where it gets hard because as stated earlier, a lot of people just click on the top results and are usually satisfied with the results. If you are getting impressions but are several pages from the front, then you might be waiting a while longer for clicks.
Patience on Getting Clicks: There is So Much To Do for Your Blog
The best you can do is to continue to focus your blog and see if you can build more backlinks. Sometimes content is not even though it is the main activity for blogging. Finding what works for you really does take awhile because it is not just about you. This is also about the search engines and other websites out there. This is why it is very hard to predict how long it will take for your blog to be successful. Realistically though, being successful will take as long as it needs. So you should really take breaks when you have writer’s block or engage in other activities when you need to take your mind off your blog.
Having an Established Routine While Your Traffic Fluctuates
This is why it is good to have a maintenance routine to do while you stop writing for a while. Traffic fluctuates a lot so one day you might get a good number of clicks and then that number dips the next day. It is not even getting clicks as it is satisfying the user’s visit to your website. Did users read your content and gain what they were looking for? This is not easy to know because some people just read your pages, get what they need and leave. Hopefully, you made a good impression and they will come back later when you have written some more articles for them to read.
Meta Titles and Description Are Actually Working For You
I can tell you what you have already heard about meta titles and descriptions. How you need to write something that gets people to click on your link. There are a couple ways to go at it. Either you can be serious and just provide facts and what you can do to help someone. Basically, do what you should have been doing all along and provide solutions to problems. Another way to say it is, provide answers to a question. You can get straight to the point or spruce up your copy a bit.
The other way is to write your meta copy is to make it sound exciting so that people will click on your page over your competition’s. Sometimes you have to exaggerate a bit to get someone’s interest. The important thing to do is to make sure that if you embellish a bit, that you remain as accurate and factual as possible. Do not falsify your articles in order to present your content in another light. Yes, make it sound interesting, but keep it truthful also.
Tracking User Engagement
Clicks are great for tracking user engagement because they get people inside your website. This is where you can start to measure user activity and see what they are doing and what pages they are visiting. One of my favorite reports in Google Analytics is the path exploration report. You can actually see what pages your users enter and see what they clicked on after that. I just love seeing people visit all sorts of pages and hopefully showing them a thing or two in the process.
What is Click Through Rate (CTR)?
Click through rate (CTR) is the percentage of clicks to impressions. Naturally, higher CTR is better than lower CTR. This is because you are getting a good amount of people going to your website as it shows up in the search engines. Let us take a look at a few different scenarios that involve different ratios between impressions and clicks.
What If CTR Remains the Same With Increasing Impressions and Clicks?
Let us take a look at an instance where both your impressions and clicks increase at the same rate. This would mean then that your CTR will not change. Is that a problem? Tough to say. Some people will think that if your impressions and clicks are both going up, then that is great. You are getting traffic before and on your website.
However, many think that if your clicks are not outpacing your impressions, then you are not getting enough traffic to your website. Some worry that your CTR might be stagnating. This can be partly due to your search engine rankings and you are still too far from the front page. Even being on page two is still too far away from the front. Getting to the front page is tricky. Being on the second page or lower might as well mean the same thing. Either you are on page one or might as well not even be on Google at all. It really makes that much of a difference.
What If CTR Increases? Clicks Are Outpacing Impressions
This is the scenario that people consider to be ideal. You are getting more clicks than impressions. This means that your impressions are getting a good amount of clicks. This might be due to two factors, your high ranking and good meta copy. Either way, your impressions are high quality but consider these situations where your CTR can still increase but you are actually losing traffic.
What Happens If You Have a Steady or Increasing Amount of Clicks But Your Impressions Are Decreasing?
What if your clicks remained the same, but your impressions started to go down? This combination results in a higher CTR but think about what it means when you lose impressions. Remember from before that the user journey to your website starts with an impression. Users cannot visit your website from a search engine without impressions. Impressions open doors to your website so you must value them just as much as clicks. If your clicks remain the same or even go up but your impression declines, your doorway is getting smaller and smaller.
If your impressions are decreasing then your meta copy has lost its luster or you are getting pushed further up the page in the rankings. This might be a good time to update your articles and update your meta copy with something that can grab those users back. As long as you notice this trend and keep an eye on your traffic, you can do something before your impressions dry up. Early detection is the key.
What About When Your Click Are Going Down But Impressions Going Up?
The last scenario can occur if you are losing clicks but your impressions are going up. This means that the quality of your impressions to convert to clicks has diminished, but you can just follow my advice from the previous section and get your clicks back. Updating stale articles and meta copy can help. Maybe you can snag some backlinks while you are at it also.
Unfortunately, this means that your CTR is going down. Not all is lost because your impressions are going up and they matter a lot as clicks do.
How Impressions and Clicks Rely on Each Other
Impressions and clicks have this mutually beneficial relationship with each other, where one cannot exist without the other. You need impressions in order to get clicks. Since impressions come first, you cannot have a click without an impression. Also, impressions need clicks also. What is the point of showing up on a search engine if no one is ever going to click on it. Clicks show that your impressions have value and impressions would be nothing without clicks.
Why is Click Through Rate Important?
CTR is important because it tells you the quality of your impressions. High quality impressions lead to more clicks. On the other hand, low quality impressions usually means fewer clicks. As I have presented in my sections earlier, there are cases where you cannot rely on increasing CTR as the sole indicator of a website’s traffic. This is why I mentioned early in this article about how relying on a single metric to determine the quality of website traffic is not entirely accurate.
You have to analyze the relationship between impressions, clicks and click through rate and know what it means when one value goes up and another goes down. When you take the relationship between each metric then you can truly understand what is going on and with your website’s traffic.
What is More Important: Impressions or Clicks?
Since both impressions and clicks rely on each other, neither is more important than the other. You need impressions to convert to clicks and you cannot just have impressions that never lead anyone to your website. This is why you can choose one over the other and why CTR is so important because it represents the vital relationship between the two.
Impression, clicks and click through rate are all very important to your website traffic. Impressions represent an entry point into your website through the search engine. When someone clicks on an impression, that becomes a click. The ratio of how many clicks you get for how many impressions is called click through rate.
Impressions serve as a way to create brand awareness as you start your blogging journey. As your blog grows, then you want to shift your focus on getting more clicks now that more people know about you. Clicks are crucial as they are the start of tracking user activity and engagement once they enter your website.
Once users are in your website, you can focus on converting them. So the user journey starts with an impression, then a click and finally a conversion. Conversions are what we ultimately want but in order to get them, we need impressions and clicks.
The relationship between impressions and clicks are important to know. You should be aware of what it means when one metric goes up or down how it can affect click through rate. This will help you what action to take as you try to convert your users.