It’s great if your website is listed on Google’s first result page for the right keywords. It’s not so great if nobody clicks on your listing because there’s something wrong with it. There are some easy and some not-so-easy things that you can do to get more clicks on your Google listings.
Easy: Make your web page titles more interesting
The title of the listed web page is the first thing that a searcher will see. For that reason, it is very important that your web pages use compelling web page titles:
- Words that match the search query will be appear in bold in the titles. Your listing will stand out if it contains bolded words so make sure that your web pages are so targeted that they contain the searched word in the title.
- Make sure that the titles of your web pages are descriptive. It should be clear what to expect on the pages.
- Add a call to action and benefits in your web page title.
- Put the most important information at the beginning of the title. Search engines might shorten the title in the search result pages and people might not see the complete text.
- If you’re not a major brand name, avoid your company name in your web page titles.
- Do not use the same title for all of your web pages. This is a mistake that many beginners make.
Avoid very short page titles. If the titles of your web pages are too short or only a collection of keywords, Google might rewrite them.
Not so easy: Try to influence the description that Google uses for your website
Just like the web page title, the description should include a call to action and it should tell searchers why your website is better than others. Unfortunately, Google usually does not use the Meta Description tag.
If you want to influence the description of your website on Google, you can do the following:
- Add the keyword to the meta description: If your meta description contains the searched keyword then it is more likely that Google will use the meta description.
- Block your ODP directory description: for some websites, Google uses the description that is used on DMOZ.org. You can avoid this by using the following tag on your pages: <meta name=”robots” content=”NOODP”>
- Avoid duplicate meta tags: if you use the same title and the same meta description tag on multiple pages then Google sees little value in these tags.
- Completely block your snippet: if you use the <meta name=”robots” content=”nosnippet”> tag then Google won’t display a snippet for your website. You should only use this tag if Google uses a very bad description for your page.
Usually, Google will create the snippet based on the text that is found on your web pages. If the searched keyword appears on your web page, it will be displayed in bold face in the snippet. Bold keywords drive click-throughs.
For that reason, the keyword should appear on your web page. If you want to make sure that your web page appears on Google’s first result page for a particular keyword, it is important that the keyword appears in the right elements on a page.
Analyze your web pages with IBP’s Top 10 Optimizer to find out how to change your web pages so that they appear on the first result page on Google for the right keywords.
If you want to find out for which keywords and with which titles and descriptions your competitors are listed on Google, analyze your competitors on SEOprofiler.
- Why Won’t Google Use My META Description? (seomoz.org)
- Official Google advice: how to check if your contents pass Google’s new quality requirements (grahamjones.co.uk)