Your search engine listing has a big impact on the traffic ultimately driven to your site. It’s not enough to rank highly if you can’t convince people to click. A number of methods to improve your listing are available to you.
Elements to Include
Your listing is made of up your page title, meta description (usually), and a URL. All of those should be tweaked as part of your search marketing efforts. To stand out, include:
- Keywords in your titles, descriptions and URLs: Google and Bing will bold words in a listing that match the search query.
- Your brand name: People like to click on familiar sites.
- A call to action within the description: Something like, “Book your vacation now!”
- Your selling points: Do you have a big selection, unique tools, or expert reviewers? Do you offer the lowest prices or free shipping?
- Top products, departments, features, subheadings, or a first sentence from an article in the description: Remember that you can only have about 150 characters before you text will get truncated.
Now that you’ve made your listings, you need to see if they work. Paid search allows for lots of testing with some pretty clear results of what works. Testing your organic listings is much harder, but still worthwhile.
- PPC Ad Testing: Because paid ads are so easy to test, use them to get some general ideas. Do people respond better to 15 percent off or free shipping?
- A/B Testing: If your site allows, you can do some A/B traffic testing of your listings. To reduce the influence of other factors, tests should be run concurrently on a set of pages you can split into reasonably equal groups. Comparing just the traffic pulled from A and B will take rankings and click-through rates (CTRs) into account.
- Search Queries Report: One of good newer tools for testing is in Google Webmaster Tools. The “search queries” report will actually give you a number for your CTR and average position for specific dates.