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Blue Hat Technique #12 - Improving CTR In Organic Results

Posted By Eli On July 20, 2006 @ 4:30 pm In Blue Hat Techniques | 212 Comments

Once upon a time I actually stole this idea from a small software directory. I don’t remember what site it was or even if they are still around. So I’m not going to bother attempting to give proper credit. Just know that this idea, although very rare and hardly used, is nothing new. It is infact quite old and proven to work.

This technique accomplishes two VERY important things
1) It improves the CTR (click through rate) onto your site within the organics. Simply said, it makes your site stand out more when people search for your terms. So if done right you can actually rank #2 in the search results and yet pull more traffic from the results than the #1 site. You see the advantage of this already. :)

2) Since Googles inception of tracking click through rates, it is naturally understood that they will factor in CTR into which sites they should display first. Yahoo has been doing this for years. Its very simple and obvious, if the #2 site gets a much higher percentage of click throughs when visitors search for ____ than the #1 site. Than #2 must be a more relevant site for what the users are looking for. I haven’t done any testing with Google but I can tell you this for sure about Yahoo and it can be assumed for Google as well: Improving your CTR in the organics WILL improve your rankings over time.

How Is This Done?
In the jist, improving your CTR in the organics is simply done by making eye catching adjustments to your title tag. Don’t you wish there was a way to make your title tags show up as heading tags or giant bold letters in the SERPS? Yeah keep dreaming buddy. Thats impossible, but you can however add common nontypable(not on keyboard) english characters to your title tag to make them stand out above the rest of the results. Every writer knows that bullets and arrows draw the readers eyes to important key points of a paper. Why not use that on your website.

Usable Characters
Here are the usable characters that I have found will work:
^ ¢ £ ¤ ¥ § ¬ ° ± º ø þ
Also:
« note: Only works properly in Google

There are other non english characters you can try that look and stand out great, but i have never used them for fear of the engines thinking my site is non english. I suggest you take the same precaution. Use these english characters to form a title tag that stands out, yet won’t hurt your rankings. The nice thing about these characters is that you can put them in your title tag and yet the engines will pretty much ignore them when they rank your site. Other title changes will sometimes cause a temporary drop then rise again in the serps while they attempt to see if your site changed topics. These seem to have absolutely no affect other than being displayed in the SERPS.

Here’s An Example
ø Blue Hat SEO ø
A stupid blog you should never read.

See the difference? If you would like test this on a site you don’t care too much about and take an unbiased look at it in the results page. You’ll notice your eye naturally gets draw right too it. The biggest difference you will notice is the immediate traffic jump. Once the engines update your title tag in the SERPS you’ll instantly notice more traffic from each phrase you rank for. I really don’t mean to be selling you on this technique, but for how simple this technique is, the results are too amazing to not witness yourself.

What characters do I typically use?
I am personally a big fan of ø and ¤. They just seem to look nice when placed in front and in back of a title. So now that I’ve finally written up this technique, you people can quit emailing me and asking me whats wrong with my giant “character rich” title tag. :)

Here is how the characters look in each one of the engines. I put the « in front so you can notice how it won’t show up in Yahoo and MSN.

Me in Google

Me in MSN

Me in Yahoo

Further thoughts for PPC Campaigns
The whole point of this article wasn’t to tell you to put characters into your title tag. Its to draw some of your interest into a very important aspect of SEO that normally gets overlooked. There are many ways to improve your CTR in the organic results. The best point I can possibly convey is to use your creativity. Your a webmasters so I already know your chock full of that.  I would also like to add the significance of this in PPC campaigns. Why pay an extra 10 cents/click for the #1 spot when you can get the same traffic while paying for the number 2 spot. It’s not all about writing a good ad that describes your site. Use some creativity to also draw their eyes to your ad. This is a basic 101 concept from back in the banner CPM days that still applies today.


212 Comments To "Blue Hat Technique #12 - Improving CTR In Organic Results"

#1 Comment By Emmanuel On August 27, 2006 @ 3:20 pm

Meta Description is also important, since sometimes used by search engines in the listing. Probably a good idea to start using these characters in the meta description?

#2 Comment By Eli On August 28, 2006 @ 5:03 am

Thats a good idea Emmanuel. I guess whatever can prove to improve your CTR rate is definitely worth the extra trouble. Also don’t forget the noodp command. Google now supports it so you don’t loose your descrip to the ODP

#3 Comment By Paul On November 12, 2006 @ 5:32 pm

Interesting stuff. I’m gonna try it out. Thanks

#4 Comment By Ed On December 26, 2006 @ 3:18 pm

Why don’t you use these symbols in your title tag anymore?

#5 Comment By ebook6.com On January 22, 2007 @ 2:19 am

Thanks

#6 Comment By Matt On January 29, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

I recently made a change to my adsense and I’ve seen an increase, however one of my ads was disapproved by Google for using symbols. The others have not been though. Has one of my competitors complained to get my ads removed?

#7 Comment By Nick On February 1, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

I believe this isn’t working in google organic SERPs anymore? It seems they strip out these characters. Can anyone else confirm this?

#8 Comment By Eli On February 7, 2007 @ 7:38 pm

It still works. search for Blue Hat SEO in Google. :)

#9 Comment By David Kubicka On March 8, 2007 @ 10:09 pm

Watch it on this technique. I’ve noticed Google will demote you a bit if you overuse special characters. One or two is okay, but more than that and it looks spammy.

#10 Comment By ruby On April 19, 2007 @ 6:59 am

So that’s why your title has those theta-like characters :)
I used to wonder about that..

#11 Comment By Flory On May 17, 2007 @ 11:47 am

Google will definitely demote sites overusing those characters

#12 Comment By shoedeluxe On June 4, 2007 @ 1:07 pm

Have used the ** characters in my sites, which have worked wonders! The strange thing is, I don’t see any of my competitors doing it, even though some of my sites are in a fairly competitive marked.

#13 Comment By Kamran On June 6, 2007 @ 12:46 pm

The instructions given to increase the CTR are really useful. But why did you stop using symbols in the title tag. Is there any restrictions by google to use these symbols?
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#14 Comment By ?屋 On August 8, 2007 @ 8:15 pm

It still works. search for Blue Hat SEO in Google.

#15 Comment By Internet Marketing Blog On October 20, 2007 @ 6:41 pm

Great tip. SEO’s are often so concerned with where their sites rankings that they forget to work on other ways to increase CTR.

#16 Comment By Paula Mooney On December 9, 2007 @ 7:43 am

Thanks for the tip.

I’m trying it now.

#17 Comment By Secma On January 19, 2008 @ 9:24 am

Excelent ideia ! I’m going to try and see what happens…

#18 Comment By neil strauss On January 22, 2008 @ 10:04 am

Excellent. I have a page ranking on 5th position have tracked the number visits over a period of time. i think I will be using ø in the front and end of the title (i.e. 2 symbols and no more). If it works well, I want to do this for all the important pages on my site! Do you think google would demote me if I do that?

#19 Comment By Milf addict On February 20, 2008 @ 8:52 am

This is a very creative way to increase CTR. I gave it a shot and it really increased my visits. Thanks for sharing!

#20 Comment By OBP On February 24, 2008 @ 3:55 pm

Neil I still see you on the 1st page of serps (searching 4 ur name).

#21 Comment By rent back On April 1, 2008 @ 3:11 pm

this is very clever and has made me think of ways to improve my own ctr.

thanks again eli, i keep finding nuggets of good info on your blog

#22 Comment By Gary Roberts On April 6, 2008 @ 11:05 am

It still works. search for Blue Hat SEO in Google.

#23 Comment By Comic On April 6, 2008 @ 11:07 am

Interesting stuff. I’m gonna try it out. Thanks

#24 Comment By download wii games On May 30, 2008 @ 6:46 am

Eli,
Why did you abandon this technique?
I see more recent page titles do not have these characters in them.

#25 Comment By Portland Marketing On July 21, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

This is a very though provoking article. The more I focus on improving rankings, the less I focus on basics. Saturating my titles with keywords, rather than making them enticing, has probably made my click through rates suffer.

#26 Comment By glaydenty On July 28, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

where do you get this inspiration huuh. -_*, nice

#27 Comment By Ps3 On August 15, 2008 @ 6:47 am

This is brill, i love this blog. Thanks using this technique now! Works great!

#28 Comment By Atlanta SEO On September 1, 2008 @ 4:01 pm

Since I first read this post I have used this technique with one of my sites and I have seen a huge increase in traffic which I attribute to the good ole CTR. Thanks Eli.

#29 Comment By Beijing On September 4, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

This sounds to easy to implement, I give surely give a try

#30 Comment By iPhone 3G On September 7, 2008 @ 8:10 am

Thanks for this.
Although i was told not to use characters in the title. But now that you say so, i am at least going to try it!

#31 Comment By PS3 Addict On September 16, 2008 @ 3:30 am

Good article, i wasnt sure if the characters would affect my ser

#32 Comment By iPod Touch On October 14, 2008 @ 10:55 am

You highlight the problem I’m having exactly. I have the traffic but the conversion is pretty poor. I need to makes sure the ctr on my site is a lot better. It would increase my earnings dramatically!

John

#33 Comment By ipods On November 24, 2008 @ 4:31 pm

I tried something like this before, but i didnt notice an difference in results.
However im going to try again and see.
Thanks for the post

#34 Comment By Seo grup On December 16, 2008 @ 2:03 am

Where can I find the complete list of characters that work in google titles?

#35 Comment By lex On January 25, 2009 @ 1:55 am

Can the color of the title be changed using this technique?

#36 Comment By Jose On March 13, 2009 @ 10:23 am

This is such a good article and such a simple idea that just seems obvious yet I hadn’t heard of it until now. Why can’t I think of things like these!!!!

#37 Comment By Windows Vista Support On March 23, 2009 @ 6:25 pm

Thanks for this information

#38 Comment By rufman On March 28, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

this post is about three years old, does this still work?

#39 Comment By rufman On March 28, 2009 @ 10:04 pm

well, I have added these wierd characters into my title tags, we will see.

#40 Comment By Gry dla Dzieci On April 3, 2009 @ 6:07 am

Does this really work?

#41 Comment By Home Parties On May 6, 2009 @ 11:00 am

Just another comment…

I have been using these two characters for a long time with some great results with CTR…

• —

They are alt+0149 and alt+1051

Thanks Eli!

#42 Comment By SB On May 8, 2009 @ 11:52 am

Hi,

I’ve been trying to find out if it is okay to use the plus sign from the keyboard in the page title. For example, would “A + B” negatively impact any SEO versus “A and B”?

Thanks, SB

#43 Comment By lidanoraseo On May 12, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

ı will try this.

#44 Comment By ipod touch microphone On June 16, 2009 @ 1:20 am

still work? to where i put this code if i use seo wordpress plugin?

Thanks

#45 Comment By Custom Term Paper On July 16, 2009 @ 3:55 am

The images trick works really well. I’ve had good success with this targeting people who want stuff for their forum sigs.

#46 Comment By how to lose face fat On July 30, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

This is actually a very good idea. This is the first this I hear about this trick.

Even though your article is old, it still seems to be working. I just searched in google and yahoo for “bluehat seo” and I can see two cool characters in your title.

good idea.

#47 Comment By Acne On August 4, 2009 @ 4:32 am

This is such a good article and such a simple idea that just seems obvious yet I hadn’t heard of it until now. Why can’t I think of things like these!

#48 Comment By Dofollow Social Bookmarking On August 6, 2009 @ 2:31 am

This is a really great idea but this method is still working?

#49 Comment By Business Advice Forum On August 7, 2009 @ 9:22 am

I tried something like this before, but i didnt notice an difference in results.
However im going to try again and see.
Thanks for the post.

#50 Comment By Sanek On August 15, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

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#51 Comment By Sanek On August 17, 2009 @ 8:24 am

Спасибо. Как и всегда - отличный пост!

#52 Comment By John On August 26, 2009 @ 8:56 am

the technique to use those symbols seems like a really good idea to increase your CTR. I’ve tried using different symbols like TM or copyright but they never worked. I’ll try these ones thanks.

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Great tips, will try this.

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#63 Comment By werew On October 4, 2009 @ 2:40 am

Other title changes will sometimes cause a temporary drop then rise again in the serps while they attempt to see if your site changed topics.

#64 Comment By London SEO On October 4, 2009 @ 10:26 pm

The nice thing about these characters is that you can put them in your title tag and yet the engines will pretty much ignore them when they rank your site.

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I like the posting. I was looking for this kind of posting. Thank you for posting this kind of great posting.

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I like this v much… time to increase my CTR!

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#69 Comment By Acai On October 12, 2009 @ 9:28 am

Getting a site to rank in the organic listings of any search engine can take some time and it’s only half the battle.

#70 Comment By travel venture international On October 18, 2009 @ 1:30 am

Its very simple and obvious, if the #2 site gets a much higher percentage of click throughs when visitors search for ____ than the #1 site.

#71 Comment By Jason McKnight On October 26, 2009 @ 1:53 am

Thanks Eli,

I just implemented this. Question: I notice you only have it on the front page of the site. Is there some downside to putting it on every page?

#72 Comment By mimik On November 5, 2009 @ 9:49 am

i can’t add message

#73 Comment By mimik On November 5, 2009 @ 9:51 am

When this work would be great:)

#74 Comment By SEO Karachi On November 12, 2009 @ 5:23 am

well i once read an article and according to that article we cannot use special symbols in title as it can be a factor of low rankings however i personally think that from pshycological poin tof view it might work well so i m definitely gonna try it for sure and lets see if it works.first of all i m gonna implement it in my blog then i will share results here..

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That’s a very useful and original technique, I must admit I didn’t know it :)

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Thanks a lot!

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#79 Comment By Zenmed On December 24, 2009 @ 8:30 am

Does anyone have tried this strategy lately?

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Thanks, been battering my head over adsense takings since ages.

#81 Comment By Services SEO On December 31, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

I normally used to buy traffic from Traffic exchange sites. I guess thats a part of Blue Hat SEO as well. Thus it increases my impressions and my CTR. Some traffic exchange sites sells traffic like 50,000 for just $10. Thats a Good deal I think.

#82 Comment By Services SEO On December 31, 2009 @ 12:17 pm

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I am interested in this as well!

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Thank you very much for your work.

#85 Comment By tamaras On January 23, 2010 @ 3:49 am

Gray hat techniques are those that are neither really white nor black hat, and i think this gray hat will improve your ranking in G serps.

#86 Comment By Martha Jones On January 24, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

Actually, adding Meta description is optional as I learnt from my own experiences. It is good if you add it, but even if you don’t, Google will pull the Meta description from the first few paragraphs of your website content. Big G is getting smarter by the day, lol. :D

#87 Comment By Martha Jones On January 24, 2010 @ 3:25 pm

Hi Eli,

What is the noodp command? I am hearing it for the first time. :)

#88 Comment By Government Sales On January 29, 2010 @ 8:22 am

I have heard about black/white hat technique. This is the first time I am knowing Blue hat technique.
:) :) :)

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Building backlinks is a must for any link building campaign. Not only must these links be from highly regarde websites but the anchor text must all be relevant to the targeted website. Vary the anchor text to bypass the Google algo and gain top page rankings.

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#91 Comment By Creative Zen On February 13, 2010 @ 7:50 am

will people think its an error?

#92 Comment By gry ubieranki dziewczyn On February 15, 2010 @ 6:52 am

That’s a very useful, thanks a lot for this article

#93 Comment By SEO for Leicester Businesses On March 10, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

I have tried this in a Wordpress Blog with Adsense and have seen an increase in revenue.

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This is a very valuable resource! this advices will help me a lot, thanks

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Almost 4 years later, I still refer to this article. Seems to still keep working.

#96 Comment By Bolton based SEO company On May 3, 2010 @ 11:57 am

Cool technique, might give it a try. Has anyone else used this with success? It would be nice to see the difference in CTR, and it would actually be feasible now with the updated version of Google Webmaster Tools.

#97 Comment By Szale Apaszki On May 10, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

Great article. I love this. Thoroughly and on topic. Thanks!

#98 Comment By SEO Pakistan On May 18, 2010 @ 11:18 pm

Nice article. I must appreciate this blog. I can see that you used to use symbol in your title tag to look different from other to get more visitors. But now you don’t use that any more. IMHO Symbols are not SEO Friendly.

#99 Comment By Logo Design Blog On May 18, 2010 @ 11:20 pm

Yes symbols are not SEO friendly and are not good for long term ranking.

#100 Comment By Gry dla dzieci On May 21, 2010 @ 8:58 am

Useful Information there …. Just a quick note to say thanks.

#101 Comment By Cosyst On May 31, 2010 @ 4:35 am

Thank you , useful Information

#102 Comment By Super gry On June 22, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

Useful information there… Just a quick note to say thanks.

#103 Comment By Vancouver WA Homes For Sale On June 26, 2010 @ 7:27 am

This is a fantastic idea. I’ve seen folks using this in their Craigslist ad titles and their title certainly stands out. I’m off to experiment and test this! Thanks!

#104 Comment By rody On June 29, 2010 @ 10:42 am

so do we put this on the all in one seo homepage title or the sticky post title?

#105 Comment By Posicionamiento Web On July 3, 2010 @ 9:35 am

Thanks, been battering my head over adsense takings since ages.

#106 Comment By iPod Free On July 5, 2010 @ 7:33 am

This really helped me improve the click though rate on my latest site.

#107 Comment By iPad Free On July 19, 2010 @ 12:08 am

This technique is still working.

#108 Comment By Juegos de Cocina On July 26, 2010 @ 12:19 am

How can you comfirm this? I went to your site and didnt see you using any charectors?

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good thankks

#112 Comment By Harshit Singhal On August 4, 2010 @ 8:23 pm

No I dont like this technique. It will make that particular page look like a virus prone one and hence users wont click on it when the results are displayed in search engines. Its better to focus on white hat seo. That is what I’m doing and I’m getting 80% traffic from search engines in just 2 months.

#113 Comment By باب الحارة On August 5, 2010 @ 1:20 am

nice work

#114 Comment By belgesel izle On August 17, 2010 @ 1:29 am

I think it will be work thank you :)

#115 Comment By Fimo On August 18, 2010 @ 8:54 am

This sounds a great technique in theory.

However the problem you have is that the title tag is one of thegreat factors for helping your website rank.

So if you target a large amount of keywords you are going to struggle to place these characters around all your keywords.

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#119 Comment By Luis On September 20, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

this awesome thanks for sharing

#120 Comment By SEO Cheshire On September 21, 2010 @ 2:15 am

Depends on how targeted your page is i.e. whether your targeting just a couple search terms or are targeting more long tail search phrases that are in your pages textual content - sometimes using a very short Page Description can help bring these out of the page, would anyone agree on that?

#121 Comment By Website localization On September 26, 2010 @ 8:53 am

Nice post. I hadn’t thought about adding additional characters to stand out of the crowd but it’s something I’m going to implement right now…

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#123 Comment By Website localization On October 11, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

Hmmm.. Interesting. What you see basically is that people are naturally attracted to non-standard symbols, and this psychological trick can be used to increase your CTR.

I would basically agree, but I also need to point out that this trick is only effective once you’re on page 1…

#124 Comment By Kosmetika On November 6, 2010 @ 5:39 am

This sounds a great technique in theory.

However the problem you have is that the title tag is one of thegreat factors for helping your website rank.

So if you target a large amount of keywords you are going to struggle to place these characters around all your keywords.

#125 Comment By Wireless Networking On December 16, 2010 @ 8:40 am

A very unique idea. I think it can be very effective for a few titles in your site. But it will hurt you in the SERPs if you overdo it.

#126 Comment By tabela On December 17, 2010 @ 1:39 am

This really helped me improve the click though rate on my latest site.

#127 Comment By Website translation On December 19, 2010 @ 9:23 am

Excellent post. It is true that the sight is involuntarily attracted by those things that seem out of place, so it makes sense to include special characters in the search results.

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#129 Comment By ppc chicago On January 20, 2011 @ 5:29 am

My site has always suffered from poor CTR. I have read your most of your posts here and I do plan to employ them gradually. I do hope for a positive result.

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#132 Comment By Brett Dusek On February 2, 2011 @ 1:28 am

I am impressed with this tactic.

I would not worry so much about the impact it would have on your SERPs, as long as you don’t overdue it. Since title tags are, by themselves, not hugely weighed (although important, let me reiterate) in your SERPs.

I think the benefit far outweighs the issue here.

Best of all it is unique!

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#133 Comment By Brett Dusek On February 2, 2011 @ 1:42 am

So, on that note, I am going to try this now.

#134 Comment By Indianapolis SEO On February 2, 2011 @ 1:46 am

I’ll be back to tell you all my CTR results!

Btw, I used the • that was suggested above, as I feel it looks more elegant, than the others. Let’s hope it shows up.

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#139 Comment By Voeding On March 10, 2011 @ 9:09 am

yes, definitely true. There is small differences between both of them. But i prefer to call it SEO than Spamming. Usually i call it Spamming “if” the behavior of this backlink are very over reacted or over the edge :D

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This is a really stupid question but what language does the script need to be in?
tr…..

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Agree, meta is still very important and also important not to keep changing meta, a habit I have learned is risky.

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This technique is still working.

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“2) Since Googles inception of tracking click through rates, it is naturally understood that they will factor in CTR into which sites they should display first. Yahoo has been doing this for years. Its very simple and obvious, if the #2 site gets a much higher percentage of click throughs when visitors search for ____ than the #1 site”

This quoted part is very important to me, I did not knew this, thanks a lot.

#154 Comment By seo for small business On June 1, 2011 @ 3:01 am

I agree that it’s important to pay attention to the meta title & meta description tags. I’ll have to test the symbols for myself to see if I notice any difference.
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If i use the technique would i get positioned in first page of google?

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I have an acai berry website i would like to get there.

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I am not preferring Meta tags but strong focus with page tile.

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Since it’s been almost 5 years since the original posts, and Google has gone through so many major facelifts, which blue-hat strategies fell by the wayside early? Are any of these still relevant years later?

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URL to article: https://www.bluehatseo.com/blue-hat-technique-12-improving-ctr-in-organic-results/

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