Before sitting down to write a completely different article I decided to do my usual research. I thought it would be interesting to look into the best way to increase click through rate for our next post. Not surprisingly, I found endless articles about how to improve the click through rate of your social posts, your emails and advertisements. However, one thing did strike me, none of them mentioned how the link itself that’s being shared can increase click through rate.
Since at Rebrandly we’re the link management experts I thought it would be interesting to write about how you can use your links to improve your click through rate.
But before we get into it let’s talk about what click through rate is exactly.
What is Click Through Rate?
Click Through Rate (CTR) is the number of times a link was clicked divided by the number of times the link was viewed expressed as a percentage.
In other words, if your link is viewed ten times but only clicked one of those times your click through rate is 10%. Got it?
But why is click through rate so important? Let’s say you’ve created the best piece of content ever made. Anyone who reads it is going to have their life changed forever. That is of course if they read it…
You could be the next Shakespeare but if no one ever reads what you’ve written there isn’t much point. So whether you add your link to a social media post, send an email or run a paid advertising campaign you’ll need people to click that link.
How to Increase Click Through Rate By Optimizing Your Links
Let’s talk about different ways you can increase the click through rate of the links that you’re sharing starting with the three elements of your links. The domain, the top-level domain and the URL slug.
Below are the 8 ways to increase your click through rate using only the power of your links.
1. Include Your Brand In The Link
Let’s talk about the first part of your link which is the domain. (Unless you’re using a subdomain). When sharing links online it’s imperative that you include your brand name in the link. You may be thinking, “Of course my brand name is included on my links!” but many people use link shortening tools when posting on social media, sending emails or running advertisements. They do this simply to make their links shorter. What they don’t realize is that if you use a link shortening tool most of the time your domain (and thus brand name) will no longer be visible.
The is a huge missed opportunity for your brand name’s exposure. Take a look at the Tweet shared below by Shopify. The top version shows how the Tweet was shared, using a generic short link. The image below that shows how it could look if they used branded links.
Much better! Why limit your brand exposure by using a generic URL shortener?
The same is even true of offline marketing campaigns. Including your brand name in an offline campaign can often be more difficult. Take for example the picture below. There’s no mention of which Zoo this is or their brand name in this link at all. Another missed opportunity.
Using a branded link tool like Rebrandly means that you can use your own domain and keep your brand name in the links that you’re sharing.
Branded links (also known as vanity links) have been found to increase click through rates by up 39%, this occurs because of the increased trust viewers experience by seeing the brand’s name in the link. Even if viewers don’t know your brand you will still gain added brand awareness by including your brand name in your links.
Many spammers have taken to using generic URL shorteners to direct people to phishing sites. By using your own domain you’re using your brand name which guarantees viewers that they can trust this link and they will be directed to relevant content rather than spam.
2. Use a Unique Top Level Domain
After your domain, the next key element of your link that can help increase click through rate is your Top-Level Domain. A top level domain (TLD) is the part of your URL that comes after your domain name. For example, .com is a TLD, .net is a TLD and so on.
There are now tons of TLDs that you can use. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the more traditional ones like .com etc but why not stand out from the crowd and get extra exposure for your brand?
For example, if your brand writes about the latest tech trends then you can use the TLD .tech for sharing your links on social media posts, over email or more. If you’re an online retailer you could share links with .store to give further clarity on what the link is about. The graphic below explains the three elements of a branded link that will help you increase click through rate.
3. Include Your Keyword
The last part of your link is the URL slug. (The part that comes after the slash). Most Marketers know that one of the key places to include your keyword is in the URL of your page. But most URL shorteners don’t allow you to choose what your URL slug looks like. Even with tools that do allow you to customize your URL slug your chosen keyword is often already taken.
Branded links allow you to choose the keyword that you would like to use. Since you’re using your own domain as we discussed above, you won’t have the issue of your chosen keyword being taken as long as you haven’t used it before yourself.
Our article, Vanity URLs: What are They and How to Create Them discusses the SEO relevance of using your keyword in your branded links in more depth.
4. Link Length
Now that we’ve optimized the three elements of our URL mentioned above it’s time to look at some other methods that we can use to improve click through rate. Your link length for example. Long URLs, don’t get me started on long URLs! Having too many words in your URL significantly decreases the readability of your Link. Having a difficult to read link means that viewers will be less willing to click it. This also makes the URL much harder to remember for sharing later. Moz summed it up nicely in the image below.
As I’ve mentioned in this article already though a short link can be optimized much further than just simply making it short by following the other steps in this article also.
5. Use Https://
Another key part of your links that can help increase click through rate is one that you may not give as much thought to. The http:// or https:// that appears before your links. Don’t worry it’s not as confusing as it sounds. You may have heard that https:// before a URL means that the website is ‘secure’. But what does that really mean?
Https:// is added to a domain when it has been granted an SSL certification (Secure Sockets Layer). This is a certification that proves the connection between the website’s server and your browser is safe and encrypted. Instant SSL explain very clearly what this means in their article What is HTTPS?
Aside from the extra security of using https:// on your site, it also gives you an SEO boost. Back in 2015 Google announced that having https:// could push you ahead of a competitor trying to rank for the same keyword if you were tied with all of the other ranking factors. According to Blue Corona, nowadays 40% of Google’s page one organic search results feature a https:// website.
You can share branded links with https:// easily and for no additional cost with Rebrandly and Cloudflare integration.
6. Capitalize First Letters & Use Hyphens
Capitalizing the first letter of each word in your URL can make it much easier for humans to process and thus more likely to click. Let’s put it to the test. Take for example a media company called ‘Breaking News Reports’. Which of these URLs is easier to process?
The second version allows you to process the information much more quickly and thus increase the likelihood for you to click. Remember when people scroll through social media you only have a few seconds to grab their attention!
7. Keep Your Promise
When you share a social post, send an email or run an advertisement make sure that what you’ve promised your viewers is what they get. If every time you clicked a link from our brand it brought you to unrelated content it wouldn’t take long before you stopped clicking our links altogether. (Don’t worry Rebrandly would never do that ).
8. Make Them Memorable
One of the coolest things about branded links is that you can create a memorable link that people can share offline, even verbally! This isn’t just for the sake of being cool, it’s a tool for increasing click through rate. When links are memorable it makes it easier for people to tell each other about them, share them and come back to them.
Think back to the example we looked at above of the zoo using a short link on one of their signs. If they were to optimize this link by creating a branded one it would mean that people would find it much easier to remember this URL. Thus, they would see an increase in traffic to that page.
Another example is a travel company could advertise their summer travel deals with a branded link such as Summer.fun/deals. This could be used on billboards, posters and more, shared verbally and remembered easily.
Hope This Helps!
We looked at the three elements of a link: the domain, the TLD and the URL slug and how they can increase click through rate. We then looked at other methods and best practices with our links like link length, https, memorability and more.
The best thing about everything we’ve covered is that it’s so simple to implement. If you’re already using short links then using branded links instead doesn’t change your processes at all and you get the benefit of an increased click through rate.
If you follow the steps in this article with your branded links you’ll be increasing your click through rate in no time. If you’d like to get started using branded links right now you can sign up for a Rebrandly account. Rebrandly.Rocks/Free-Signup. (Don’t worry, this link will bring you where I promised. )
Here’s some of the other articles that I read through while researching how to increase click through rates across different mediums that I think you’ll enjoy:
- Email CTR: 14 Powerful Tactics to Improve Your Email Click Through Rates
- Adwords CTR: 9 Ways to Improve Adwords CTR
- Social Media CTR: How to Triple Your Clicks | Increase Click Through Rates 341%.
- Branded Links vs Short Links
- How To Increase CTR: A Simple and Practical Guide
- 39% Additional CTR With Branded Links
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