Manipulating Your Click-Through Rates: Is It Worth Your Time?

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There are plenty of search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that can help businesses snatch a spot on the first page of Google search results. Some of these on-page SEO techniques include keyword-driven content writing and link-building. One of the most controversial is CTR manipulation.

CTR (click-through-rate) manipulation is popular yet debatable. Popular because many SEO specialists are using it; debatable because the technique contravenes Google’s guidelines. The method aims to artificially increase your click-through rate by tricking search engines into believing that your website page is more authoritative than it looks.

But before we dive into the art of manipulating CTR, let’s first define CTR and why it matters.

What is CTR and Why Is It Important?

Click-through rate is the number of clicks received by your ad divided by impressions (aka whenever your ads show up to users). It is a tool used by SEO specialists to gauge the performance of their ads, keywords and free listings.

A high CTR indicates that users find your listings and ads relevant and helpful. And the more relevant or useful your page appears to users and search engines, the higher its rank on the SERPs.

As mentioned above, CTR manipulation aims to increase your CTR artificially by using micro workers and traffic bots. These bots can trick Google and other search engines into thinking that your website has more authority than it actually has.

What is CTR Manipulation?

SEO experts use CTR manipulation to appear as organic traffic and click-through. By manipulating the CTR, you’re increasing the threshold of clicks to the ratio of impressions for a particular keyword, which leads to a page’s increased popularity. This SEO technique mimics the behavior of users and uses user-generated signals to trick search engines into believing the page is more authoritative than it is.

The most popular method of CTR manipulation is the use of CTR traffic bots, click bots and automated software. However, this strategy can be risky since Google continues to improve its ability to identify traffic bots.

How To Do CTR Manipulation

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Is CTR Manipulation worth your time? (Photo by George Morino via Pexels)

CTR manipulation is a black-hat SEO technique used by webmasters as a last-ditch effort or a final touch. We do not strongly recommend using these techniques; however, it helps to know some of them.

Use CTR Bots. As mentioned, using search bots to generate clicks is one of the most popular ways to manipulate click-through rates. But it is a risky effort due to Google’s improved ability to track bots. Some webmasters, however, buy search bots when there are several websites to manipulate.

Use Third-Party Websites. On sites like Amazon Mechanical Turk and microWorkers, webmasters can use CTR bots/human search. In the same way you’d use bots to tap on your page link and let the bots spend time on the site, third-party sites have people who can perform the same tasks as bots. To use third-party websites as CTR manipulation tools, you can:

  • Visit the website that you want to employ services from and create a task
  • Hire individuals who want to make extra money by doing these tasks
  • Once you’ve confirmed the individuals who’ve completed the task, you pay them to trick the search engines believe that your page contains what people want.

Are There Any Risks Associated with Using CTR Manipulation Tools?

Technically, manipulating CTR can be considered a black-hat SEO technique. If Google suspects you of trying to manipulate your click-through rates, it will penalize you. If you choose to try this SEO technique, know that CTR manipulation contravenes Google’s rules. If you are decided to push through with this technique, there are different VPNs and proxies that make the process anonymous.

How To Increase Your CTR Organically

If you’re uncomfortable with using this SEO hack, know that there are other SEO practices that can still increase your CTR (without raising Google’s suspicions). After all, nothing beats organic traffic. So, in case you experience a sudden increase in click-through rates, you can explain everything to Google.

Here are some ways to increase clicks without manipulating your CTR

Push Notifications

Push notifications are effective and efficient ways to engage with your customers (via their mobile phones). These notifications should be engaging enough to capture the attention of your customers; otherwise, they will just swipe the notification away.

Email Campaigns

If you have an email list, create an email campaign to drive more traffic organically. Each email should have a clear objective and must offer relevant information to readers. Cap off the campaign calls-to-action that encourage readers to visit your website.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords (or other ad platforms) are helpful in catching the attention of potential website visitors and directing them to your site. However, this method can be pricey.

Paid Social Media

All social media platforms offer paid ads. But if you want to target all these platforms, you won’t get the best bang for your buck. Before you cast your net to a larger lake of consumers, understand where your customers spend most of their time. For example, if your target audience prefers Instagram over Facebook, invest in ads on Instagram.

If you are still unsure as to where your customers are, start with Facebook. The social media platform is a great place to extend your reach and build awareness.

Is There a Good Time to Use CTR Manipulation?

While this black-hat SEO technique isn’t always recommended, there are times when you might have to use it. The best time to consider manipulating your CTRs is when your website seems “stuck” on the second or first page of Google. If your web page doesn’t move up the rankings despite all of your SEO efforts, click-through manipulation is an option.

In this scenario, CTR manipulation can give your page the boost it needs to reach the top of the SERPs or move to a position where you think the page should be.

The Bottom Line

Click-through manipulation is a debatable SEO tool that, if done well and organically, can positively impact your digital marketing efforts. However, its nature as a black-hat SEO tool might increase your chances of being penalized by Google. Instead of worrying about penalties, maintain a consistent click-through rate by being consistent and committed to a strategy of white-hat SEO techniques.

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