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Turn Copy Into Clicks With Your Google Listing

by: Kathy DalPra

Google listing optimizationYour Google, Bing or Yahoo listing is prime real estate. In this post, I'll show you how to get more clicks and visitors from it.

Even if you're not currently ranking organically (naturally, not through an ad) for your most preferred keyword, you're probably ranking for something. If you look at your Google Analytics, you'll probably see at least some traffic coming from Google, Yahoo or Bing.

But every time a searcher sees your listing, it will be surrounded by several others competing for their attention.

Here's an example of what you're dealing with taken from a "kansas city wedding planners" search I ran on Google:

Competition is stiff and you have only a handful of characters to convince them that your website is the one worth visiting.

Luckily, search engines give you control over what they display in this snippet. (Technically, they can override your directions, but they rarely do.)

The links in blue that you see in the screenshot above is the Title Tag and the description that appears below it is called the Description Tag. These are "meta data" that search engines read in the code of your webpages.

Now you know what the heck "meta data" means so fancy SEO peeps can't trip you up ;)

By using an SEO plug-in or asking your developer to quickly change the code, you can modify what shows up in your Title Tag and Description Tag, so you can make your search engine listing more compelling. 

Be patient, it can take days or weeks for the search engines to update your listing.

Here are 5 quick tips for making your listing stand out:

1. Go Matchy Matchy

If there is a specific keyword you're ranking for that you want to continue showing up for, then add those words to the beginning of your title tag. 

In addition to strengthening your webpage's association with those key phrases, it will also show searchers that your website is a match to what they are looking for. 

When they see that your listing matches what they typed into the search engine in the first place, it will give them more confidence that you offer what they want, which may inspire them to click.

2. Use Your Characters Wisely

Review the titles in all the other listings. Is there something you could do to stand out and inspire more clicks? You only get about 45-55 characters, so you can't be too frilly with your words. 

However, you could get creative with capitalization and other characters, such as colons, hyphens and so forth to make your title more readable or noticeable. (Stay away from all caps and exclamation points...we don't want your listing to appear like a dirty sales pitch.)

  • Hilarious Dallas Wedding DJs - for an event that's never dull
  • ABC Films: Love your film as much as your story

3. Is Less More?

While I am a sucker for eye-catching copy, I have to admit that in the screenshot above, my eyes were drawn to the listings with less characters that only mentioned the brand name.

It's a bit risky though, since you're leaving out your target keywords altogether, which is one of many signals that tells Google that you're a great match a certain keyword phrase so they can rank you higher.

If you decide to go this route, I'd suggest some heavy testing.

  1. First, using Google Webmaster tools, document your Google ranking, click through rate and total traffic (clicks) for the term you're targeting with your existing listing.
  2. Next, modify your Title Tag with the less-is-more approach.
  3. Give it a month and return to Google Webmaster Tools to record your position, CTR and clicks. Compare these to your previous stats to see whether the new, shorter listing gets better results.

4. Be the Horse of a Different Color

Look at the listings that appear around yours. What could you say to set your listing apart and outshine the others?

Can you highlight your strengths, specialty or niche? You have to keep it around 45-55 characters or less, but here are a few examples:
  • The KC Wedding Planner for Chic, Urban Events - My Company
Kansas City Wedding Planners Who Know Design - My Biz 
Kansas City
  • Wedding Planners & Backyard Events - My Biz

But don't stop at the title. Google gives you additional real estate with the Description Tag that appears right below it.

Use your description to grab the searchers attention.

Again, look at the other listings. Are their descriptions all pretty much saying the same thing? Such as, "We're a premium event planning firm" or "We offer luxury event planning services" or "We're an award winning wedding planning boutique"? 

If so, standing out will be easy! Just talk about what you can do for the client, not how great you are as a company, such as:

  • "We plan weddings your guests won't want to leave. Click to visit our website and see how."
  • "Want a wedding so awesome, your guests will chip in for the overtime? Enter our website to see examples of how we plan weddings that are just that good."

5. Show Your Human Side

Yes, having your target keywords in the Title Tag is one critical element to helping you rank your page for that term. 

But this is also valuable space to show searchers that you're not just a stuffy company behind that website; you're real people with real personalities.

So, if you have the room to add your company name or personal name in the short 45-55 characters Google gives you, I'd insert that into your Title tag too.

Not only will it help you continue to rank well for your brand name, it will also show viewers that you're a human being, which may warm them up to you faster, begin to create trust and move them to click.

What's Next

It's just words until you put into action. 

So, if you're looking for more clicks and traffic from Google, pick a listing to start testing today. 

If you follow through, record your before-and-after results and report in the comments below.

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