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.
We have all probably viewed site links within Google’s organic search results before. The site links that you have most commonly seen, until recently, have probably looked something like this:
The purpose of site links is to help searchers navigate your website more easily. They are essentially shortcuts to help funnel searchers to the specific page they are in need of as quickly as possible. However, earlier this week when searching, I noticed something very different about how Google was showing site links. Instead of site links looking similar to the image above, they now are appearing more prominently on the search engine results page. Below is an example of how these site links are now being displayed:
These enhanced site links appear most frequently when a brand name or specific website name is searched. As you will see, there are quite a few more links displayed (up to twelve) in the newer version of site links, versus eight in the older version. In addition, the URL and one line of text are displayed, making them stand out even more.
At this time, these site links are automated; marketers can’t specify which links they want to appear. These site links can also change from query to query leading to better results for the searcher, and hopefully for the marketer, too. These changes are now reflected in Google Webmaster Tools where you can manage your site links. Although marketers can’t select specific site links to show, they can demote site links (removal is not guaranteed).
So how do you get site links like this to show for your organic listings? The best tactic is to make sure that the search engines can easily crawl all of the pages on your website and that you have a proper website structure. If your site does not have an optimal structure, these site links may not appear. In addition, optimizing your meta data for every page should help, as a portion of title tag appears within the site links.
Check to see if site links are displaying for your website. If not, search engine optimization may be in order.
With the online marketing arena becoming increasingly competitive, coupled with the relatively low cost of Pay Per Click ads (compared to radio, print & TV) more and more retailers are offering incentives to encourage searchers to click on their ad, rather than on one of their competitors. Clicks are not only what matters, though. What’s most important is for that click to convert into a lead or sale. As an online marketer, how can you guarantee that searchers will click on your ad, then go a step further and complete the desired action item? Unfortunately there is no guarantee, although you can work to make your ads stand out as much as possible. Here are a few tips you can try when creating your ad copy.