The perfect search engine listing

Today I will show you the most important the elements of your search engine listing, and demonstrate how you can optimize them to make your website standout.

Why optimize your listing?

Here are the results of a Google search for “Coffee jokes”. Which website would you click on?

Search engine results page

Although the website is ranked fourth, it stands out from and is more likely to get clicked. It is no good appearing in search results if no one clicks your listing.

The perfect search engine listing

To maximize your click-through-rate, you should pay attention to each component of your listing. The perfect search engine listing must standout, answer the question and be trustworthy.

The page title

Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters of a title tag. If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly. Longer titles get truncated.

The page title is your big chance to grab attention. Make it a clear, concise explanation of what your page is about.

The page URL

The page URL (or link) should be descriptive, pertinent to the website and human readable (ie. without funny characters and symbols). For SEO best practice, the URL should reflect your page title.

A descriptive URL will also enforce the perceived trust worthiness of your website, a key factor in increasing your click-through-rate.

The page description

Google shows 150 – 160 characters (including spaces) of a page’s description (meta description). Search engines generally truncate snippets over characters.

Use your description to expand on your page title giving your potential audience a better idea of what will be on the page. Here is an excellent post on writing effective meta descriptions.

Company reviews

Your customers are roughly 20% more likely to buy your product if it has a rating.

Ask your web agency to use Schema Markup to show product reviews below your search listings.

Google Knowledge Panel

Register your business on Google My Business and your company may also show up on the Google Knowledge Panel that is often displayed on the right hand side of local search results pages (as shown below). This will highlight to users your position on the map, photos, opening hours, address, Google Plus profile, and reviews.

Google My Business snippet RHS

Get listed on Google Maps

It is also essential if you are a local business that you register your business location on Google Maps for local searches – this is extremely useful when you consider the current explosion of the mobile market that now counts for over 30% of all searches on Google.

If you are a local business here is an excellent SEO Checklist for local business

Advanced results page optimization

  • Breadcrumb links often show when you search for a brand name. Google will show a breakdown of the main areas of the website. Breadcrumbs are generally shown for larger websites with a clear structure and hierarchy.
  • Rich snippets: opening hours, company address, product prices and special offers can all be made to show in search using Schema.org. Essential Schema that all websites should be using.

Final thoughts

As businesses invest heavily online, search engine listings are becoming fiercely competitive. To be successful online, your business needs to continually monitor and update the appearance in search to stand out and stay ahead of competition.

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Mike, web developer, SEO
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