Better search rankings are an admirable goal for any website. But the best rankings aren’t very useful if no one is clicking on your listings and helping you meet your conversion goals. The landscape of search engine results pages (SERPs) has changed dramatically over the years — a trend that’s likely to continue. When your listing is competing with images, maps, Google Knowledge Graph, and other dynamic SERP elements, it helps when your listing stands out from the crowd. To get an edge, use these tips to improve the appearance of your SERP listings:
Improve your Metadata — Oftentimes, your metadata is a user’s first impression of your site. You may have optimized your metadata while implementing your SEO strategy. But, it may be worth revisiting — especially description tags. Description tags don’t carry weight for determining SERP ranking, but they are critical in convincing users to click-through to your site. Write compelling descriptions that include a call to action and one or two keywords (if a user searched for these terms, they will be bolded in the description tag and draw the user’s attention). Many sites let Google pull text from the page to create a description, but this is usually unhelpful for users. Get a leg up and increase your click-through rates with punchy description tags.
Use Rich Snippets — Although rich snippets have been around for more than a year, adoption has been rather slow among websites. Rich snippets modify your description with relevant information and images. Not only is this very helpful for users, but it also makes your search listing pop on the page. Google has useful information for understanding and leveraging rich snippets on your website.
Optimize for Site Links — Site links appear under your listing and direct users to your most useful and popular pages. They are perhaps the best way to maximize a listing’s real estate on a SERP:
As you can see, a listing with site links gets nearly three times the space as a regular listing. Unfortunately, site links are an automated feature, so there is no code you can add to your site to generate them. But, if your site is well optimized, you increase the likelihood that Google will display them. Set up a Google Webmaster Tools account and submit your URL and site map for starters. You’ll also want to rectify any site errors you have.
By following these tips, you probably won’t increase the position of any of your pages, but you’ll attract more attention and clicks to for your listings; so it’s worth the effort.
A trademark is a word, phrase, logo, or symbol that identifies and distinguishes a product or service from others in the marketplace, especially those who can bid on your keywords. If you use your trademark symbol in your ad text, it should increase your click-thru rate.
With Google AdWords, advertisers may select trademarked terms as keywords or use them in the content of the ad. As a provider of space for advertisements, Google is not in a position to arbitrate trademark disputes between advertisers and trademark owners. Accordingly, Google encourages trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the advertiser. As a courtesy to trademark owners, Google is willing to perform a limited investigation of reasonable complaints.
If you are the trademark owner of your product, you should consider using registered ® or trademarks â„¢ in your ad text. This will distinguish your ad from other resellers. This also shows searchers credibility and reliability. After implementing these changes to your ad text, your click-thru rates should be favorably impacted.
Brand awareness can be underestimated, but if you are the registered or trademark owner of a brand or company, include this symbols in your branding ad copy. As a shortcut for these symbols use the following keyboard short cuts:
Registered- Alt ctrl+r= ®
Trademark- Alt ctrl+t=™
If concentrated visibility in front of a segmented demographic is one of your PPC goals, Demographic Exclusion is the vehicle that can help get you there. Age and gender segment exclusions are just one of the tactics that the top search engines are providing advertisers with to help refine their PPC campaigns. Options for targeting vary by engine. Check out Katherine Bennett’s recent post for more on the details.
Google has been rolling out similar features at a higher rate since their acquisition of DoubleClick was solidified. With more demographic data available form a higher volume of publishers, Google is able to offer smaller advertisers (budget-wise) the opportunity to target their core demographic with a minimal cost of entry. While higher budgets will get you more visibility, it is possible to be effective with modest budgets as well.
Demographic exclusions can be implemented quickly and easily, from a technical perspective. However, it is important to know your audience and even to have solid evidence to support your exclusion choices prior to implementation. Have you profiled your customer base? Reviewed demographics for the websites you are advertising on? Be sure to do your due diligence before testing.
To adjust your demographic settings in AdWords, select the campaign (available for content only at this time) and click “Edit Campaign Settings”. On the Edit Campaign Settings Page, Demographics are located within the Networks and Bidding section. In the example below, we have excluded all known users up through age 34.
After two weeks, we saw Click through Rate increase by 175%. See below for a comparison as shown in AdWords Account Snapshot report.
Although ads within this campaign received fewer impressions, we have eliminated known unqualified users from clicking our ads. From here, we can refine our Click through Rates even further by segmenting into gender-based ad copy. One option is to set up a duplicate campaign, each targeting either Male or Female users. Ad copy should reflect the audience being targeted. For example, an ad targeted toward Males for Mother’s Day gifts could be:
Browse Thoughtful Gifts
Get Your Wife What She Really
Wants For Mother’s Day This Year!
A Similar approach should be taken with display ads. Use male-themed images to attract your male audience and female-themed images to attract your female audience.
If you have not checked it out already, I highly recommend taking Demographic Exclusions for a test drive.