Boosting Your Click-Through Rate: Standing Out in Google Search

Michael Bird
Michael Bird Co-Founder, Social Garden

Posted on April 5th 2014

Boosting Your Click-Through Rate: Standing Out in Google Search

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Everyone from businesses to bloggers are scrambling left and right to find out the best ways to push their site to the top of Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Why? Because Internet users usually only check out the first few pages of results. This means that your click-through rate is drastically lessened if you don’t show up in these first few pages. But to make it up there, you’ll need to comply with a few different factors that Google considers.

So if you want to make it to the top, follow these useful tips:

Take Advantage of Site links

Site links are links for pages from within your site that appear under your site’s initial domain listing. A site link can be generated by Google if your site is simple enough to navigate and has a simple structure. So the first step to getting site links is by making sure your site can be easily navigated by Google. If you do a search for a website on Google, you’ll find that site links generally lead to some of its more popular or useful pages, and each site link has a description of about 60 characters.

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So how do you increase the chances of getting site links? First, you need to set up a Webmaster account for your site so that you can submit your URL and site map in order to be reconsidered for a site link. Google will reconsider whether or not your site deserves a site link. In the 24-hour waiting process, you can do the following to get better chances of consideration:

  • Get rid of broken links, HTML errors, and CSS errors in your site. There are lots of services that can help you find these in your site so you can revise or remove them.
  • Make sure you have great content. Content farms don’t cut it. Content that has high engagement, lots of detail and links in other sites have a higher chance of getting a sitelink.
  • Drive a high percentage of links from other sites to a particular page in your site. For instance, in a series of pages about online games, link to a page that discusses one game in particular.

Optimize Pages to Get Dual Rankings

There may be times when you make a search query, but you see two results from the same domain. This isn’t a glitch in the search engine. In fact, Google puts two results from the same domain right next to each other when they’re on the same SERP. The technique to getting two or more links from your site may be a bit tricky, but it pays off.

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For instance your site is at #7 on the first SERP, and another link from your site is the 4th result on the second page. By optimizing the second link just enough to make it get to the first page, this result is automatically bumped up to #8 so it’s next to your higher ranking search result. So how can you optimize the lower ranking result?

  • Slightly imitate the higher search result in terms of its header’s keyword placement and the actual content. However, don’t create an exact copy of the content. Make it unique enough to give it a different feel, but similar enough to be just as effective at getting a higher ranking.
  • Update other pages in your site to link to the lower ranking page through the use of keyword-rich anchor text. Find pages in your site that are related to the lower ranking page, and revise the content in those pages to include a link to the lower ranking page.
  • Links from outside your website that lead to the lower ranking page are also effective. You can do this through guest posts on other pages or through social media sites that share links, such as Pinterest.

Work on Your Meta-description

A meta-description is the text you see below the link of a search result. This text is composed of 160 characters, and its main purpose is to give readers a hint of what they’ll find out in your site. It’s also a great tactic to make your site stand out from all the other search results. Think of it as a teaser text to persuade readers to click your link and get more information from your site.

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A convincing call to action helps increase the effectiveness of your meta-description. Instead of using passive or merely wordy descriptions, try the following:

  • Begin your meta-description with “Check out why…” or “Find out why…”
  • End your meta-description with “Learn more…” or “Read about it here.”
  • Use questions that make users think like “Have you ever wondered…” or “Did you know that…”

Keywords also factor into how relevant your site is to the user’s search query. If you would notice, the search keywords are highlighted in the search results, and this draws in more attention to your page. In addition to great phrasing, cliffhangers can also convince users to click the link to your site. It adds suspense and makes users more curious. Use something like “You’ll never guess his reply!” or “You’ll be shocked by the results.”

Use Rich Snippets

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Rich snippets make it easier for users to understand what’s on a page by summarizing the content of the page in the search results. However, your content must be in a certain format for it to be supported by rich snippets. This format is highly particular about design, technicalities, and quality. It’s worth a development investment if you’re intent on getting to the top of Google’s SERP. Google’s Webmaster Help Center can give you an in-depth guide for how you can start taking advantage of rich snippets.

Don’t be intimidated by all of the listings that are currently high up on the SERPs. With these tips, you can very well make it up there too!

To improve your click-through rate, you need to make sure that you’re out there for the world to see. In this case, you can do so by showing up earlier in SERPs. By using these strategies and producing valuable content for your site, it will not only help it get to the top of the search results page, but also at the top of all the relevant listings too! Although only two of these techniques should suffice when it comes to boosting your ranking and getting a higher click-through rate, think of all the possibilities if you tried all four of them!

The post Boosting Your Click-Through Rate: Standing Out in Google Search appeared first on Social Garden.

Michael Bird

Michael Bird

Co-Founder, Social Garden

This is a guest post written by Michael Bird,Co-Founder and the Director of Digital Strategy at Social Garden, an Australian based Digital Marketing Agency specialising in social media marketing, content development and SEO. You can connect with Mike on Google+, or click here to check out his blog.

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