How to Make Your Search Listings Sizzle
So, what do you think is your first opportunity for conversion?
Chances are, you said something like, “When a reader visits my site,” or “When someone sees my landing page.”
But if we’re talking SEO, your first opportunity for conversion may surprise you…
It’s the search engine results page (SERP).
This makes perfect sense. Good SEO is more than helping the page rise in the search results. It’s getting folks to click the listing in the first place.
And that’s where the creative work comes in.
Your Title and meta description is more than a place to stick your main page keyphrases. When they’re written with “getting the click” in mind, they pop on the search engine results page. They’ll draw the reader in and make them want to learn more. So, even if your listing isn’t #1, you can still grab some SERP eyeballs and get that click.
Here’s how to do it.
I’ve written a few blog posts about Title creation. When I’m on stage, I discuss how Titles are like the sexy blurb that you’ll see on magazine covers. Those blurbs, like, “What is he really thinking” are written for a particular purpose: To get you to pick up the magazine and leaf through it. Once you’re holding it in your hands, you’re that much closer to buying it.
Think about your own behavior around this. How many times have you been bored at the checkout counter, checked out the magazine covers and picked one up?
Yup. You want your Titles to have the same impact.
These resources should help you create a Title that screams “click me” from the SERP:
How to create clickable Titles. Short on time? This video post will have you up to speed on Title creation in no time!
How to write SEO Titles that get the click. Are your Titles a bunch of keyphrase separated by pipes? There’s a better way to do it – check out this video for more information.
Of course, it’s not all about the Title (although the Title is extremely important.) Your meta description tells searchers what the page is about. Sure, Google doesn’t always display the meta description we painstakingly write. On the other hand, that’s not an excuse to “ignore” the meta description. They take five minutes or less to write – so it pays to create a good description (especially for Google site links.)
Here are some resources that should help:
Meta what? Quick tips to transform Web page descriptions into killer marketing statements. Tired of Google not displaying your carefully-crafted meta description. Yeah, me too. The Google Snippet Trick will help with this – and you’ll learn all about it in this post (plus some basic meta description tips.)
How to write for Google’s expanded site links. Do you want the best meta description possible? Check out this video post about how to create them for Google’s expanded site links. There’s a “twist” to meta description creation that may help increase your conversions off the SERP.
Remember, how you write your Titles and descriptions is just as important as how you write the content. It’s always a good idea to check through your site and see how you can improve them for better click through. Just a few tweaks can help drive even more traffic to your site – and that’s a wonderful thing.
Think of the meta description as your sales pitch for the page. The title will get their attention, but the description is what will get them to click. Keep it concise and don’t go over 150 characters so that it doesn’t get cut off on the SERP.
Thanks for the post, Heather! I like your point that the first conversion takes place in the search engine! I spend a lot of time thinking about sales funnels and you’ve adjusted my thinking on this — the search engine conversion is the first of several tiny sales funnels!