Boost CTR with a Killer Hook

Knowing how to improve organic CTR is anything but easy. The first page of Google is a hotly-contested battleground of website results, and fighting your way to the top is HARD.

But does it have to be?

Turns out there’s an easy way to boost your Click-Through-Rate with SEO that all the top pages on Google use right now.

It’s called the “Killer Hook.”


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Sites that have an awesome Killer Hook have an average CTR of 13.2% according to a study by seoClarity.

Here’s the best part:

In this post, I’ll show you how to improve your organic search ranking right now... just by implementing what I call the “Killer Hook” on your content that already exists.

Let’s find out how.

The Searcher’s Journey: A Tale of Two Doors

CTR SEO is crucial to ranking on Google, here’s why:

The more clicks you get, the more it shows Google that your content is something people find useful.

A word of warning:

Don’t specifically ask people to search and click on your page. This is considered an unethical Black-Hat SEO practice and should be avoided.

Of course, this is only one of many factors that decides how you rank, but CTR plays a key role in your SEO ranking.

Besides, more clicks means more traffic to your site, and that’s always a good thing.

But:

Before we can write a Killer Hook for our content, we need to understand the Searcher’s Journey. If we don’t understand how people find results, we can’t target them.

Here’s the average search process, which I call “The Two Doorways”:

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The Searcher’s Journey - A four-step process.

First, the user searches something on Google.

Second, they look at the title of the results.

Third, they look at the description of the results.

Fourth, they pick a result they like and click on it.

This is interesting because it means for someone to click on your site, two things need to happen:

The searcher needs to see your title as useful, AND they need to see your description as useful.

So:

In order to get someone to click on our site, we need to get them through the two doorways: our title and description.

But to get to the description, they have to go “through” the title first…

...if they never get past the title, it’s all over.

We need to “hook” the user with our search result.

Let’s find out how to do that.

Baiting Your Killer Hook

The Title - Doorway #1

The first part of the hook is the title, which needs to tell the user that our page will have the answer to their search.

Your title needs to both reflect your content, and draw the user in.

Let’s look at an example on a recent post, People-First SEO:

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Targeted searches for this post were things like “rank higher SEO” or other similar queries.

The “How To Rank Higher” lets the reader know that the post will be a guide to improving your site’s ranking, and the “People-First SEO” is a branded term that I came up with.

Here’s why it works:

From this title alone you are able to get the general idea of what the post is going to be about and have the confidence that you will get the information you need.

So how do you perfect the first doorway?

Follow these steps:

Step One: Start with your content and write a title that includes your target keyword.

Your title is no good if it doesn’t tell you what the article is about, and having your target keyword in the title is crucial to a high ranking page.

My first title was, “Rank Higher with People-First SEO.” This is okay, but let’s make it better.

Step Two: Sprinkle in modifiers to spruce up the title and make it more grabby.

Here’s a list of handy modifiers that will instantly improve your title:

“How to…”
Easy
Step-by-Step
Best
Top
Amazing
Fast
Expert
Checklist
Tips
Ultimate
Simple
Smart

These words can not only grab the attention of a user, but they can also add some emotion to an otherwise bland title.

With the modifier added, my title ended up being: “How To Rank Higher with People-First SEO.”

I thought this title was great…

But I was wrong!

I could have made this better with...

Step Three: Add a number. Numbers drive people crazy, they love them!

After implementing step three, my title is much better:

“How To Rank Higher: An Incredible 2-Step People-First SEO Method.”

Other methods for including a number could go like this:

“25 Things __...”
“These 10 __ Will Blow You Away!”
“5 Simple Steps __...”

...And so on. There are a lot of ways to incorporate numbers, so be creative!

By using these three steps, your first doorway will go from boring to SCORING!

The Description - Doorway #2

After the user gets through the first doorway, the second part is the description.

This backs up the title with a deeper confirmation and a source of intrigue for the user.

Let’s explore the description of my previous post:

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The first line is promising that if you read this post, you will get a boost in website rank.

It’s promising a resolution to the searcher’s question.

The second sentence backs up that statement with evidence:

All the top sites use People-First SEO.

This accomplishes two things:

It piques the user’s interest about what People-First SEO is…

…and it tells you why you should use it!

Even better, it’s all followed up with a call-to-action at the end.

(In case you don't know, a call-to-action is a technique that has been proven time and time again.)

Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Promise a resolution to the user’s question.
  2. Back up your resolution with evidence and capture their attention.
  3. Follow up with a call-to-action.
If you execute all of this, you’ll be surprised at the results.

Killer Hooks in the Wild

Let’s take a look at some other examples of killer hooks for a few searches and examine what makes them good.

Tip: Researching what types of hooks other websites have used is a great way to find out how you can improve your own hooks. In these examples I’m just using some unrelated searches I thought of, but you could just as easily replace these with searches relevant to your post topics.

This is the result for the search, “cleaning hardwood floors”:

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I’ve highlighted some key points.

First, the title informs you that the post contains a video and a step-by-step guide. These are both elements that can help boost CTR.

Second, the description immediately contains a call-to-action, as well as the first few steps of the process.

Because of a Killer Hook, and a few other on-page SEO techniques (coming soon), this post was able to become a Featured Snippet.

Let’s try another example:

This time with a search of “summer lawn care”.

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Again, I’ve highlighted some key points here:

First, the title has one of the great modifiers mentioned earlier, “easy.”

Second, the description includes a call-to-action and two separate confirmations of this post’s authority. These are both great ways to increase your CTR.

Let’s sum it up:

The Killer Hook has two parts: a Title and Description. Both have to give the searcher the information they need.

Draw your reader in with the Killer Hook, then blow them away with your awesome content!

Give, and it will come back to you.

Now You Know

Now that you’ve learned about the Killer Hook and seen it in action, let us know how you plan to use it, and subscribe to our blog for more informational posts just like this one!

Writing your Killer Hook can be really tricky, but apply the lessons in this post and you’ll have it down in no time.

About The Author
Matthew Johnston

Matthew Johnston

Matthew is an introvert who enjoys his quiet time. He can speak Russian, but he can't shuffle a deck of cards. Occasionally he makes people laugh. Talking to him is guaranteed to change your life, sometimes for the better.