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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. The words that show up in your listing can not only determine whether you get a new visitor, but whether your site ranks higher than others.

Yet, as important as your organic listing is, most wedding professionals aren't even paying attention to it! And, because of this, they're losing tons of traffic every month.

If you've been guilty of neglecting your search engine listings, this post is for you. I'm about to show you how to get more clicks and visitors from it.

First, What Is Your Google Listing?

When I say "Google listing", I'm referring to your organic, non-advertised website snippet as it appears in the search engine result pages (SERPs) when your webpage or site ranks for a given keyword in Google, Bing and other search engines, like you see here:

Google organic listing the SERPs

A basic organic listing usually consists of the following elements:

  • Headline (typically pulled from the metadata Title Tag in your code)
  • URL (the webpage address)
  • Webpage Snippet (typically pulled from the metadata Description Tag in your code)

The link 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. Finally, the ".com" address you see below the blue link is the webpage address.

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

Here's the awesome part: 

Because Google typically pulls this information directly from your webpage, you have a lot of control over what shows up in your listing.

By using an SEO plug-in or asking your developer to 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.

Why Clicks Matter

If your website has been live for at least three to six months, chances are good, you have search engine listings. If you log into your Google Analytics account, you'll probably see at least some traffic coming from Google, Yahoo or Bing.

And for every organic listing you have, there is an opportunity to attract visitors to your website. More visitors = more leads.

Here's the challenge:

To get those visitors, you've got to motivate searchers to actually click on your organic listing.

You can rank for every keyword you're targeting on multiple search engines, but if no one clicks on your listing, you'll receive zero traffic from it. And without organic website traffic, you'll be struggling to fill your calendar with bookings.

Why Clicks Matter...Beyond Traffic

Let me say this:

Clicks contribute to more than just bringing your site more visitors.

Clicks impact your search engine rankings too!

You see, Google cares about pleasing its searchers (the people typing in search queries in Google's search field). If people are happy with what they find, that is mission accomplished for Google.

Thus, Google is paying attention to what I like to call "happy signals". These are various user behaviors that indicate whether people are "happy", or satisfied, with the content they've discovered in Google.

"Happy signals" might include factors like:

  • how long people stay on your website
  • if people leave your website as soon as they came (bounce rate)
  • whether visitors view more than one page on your website
  • if people share your content on social media
  • and, yes, even whether they click on your Google listing in the SERPs (search engine results pages)

Because your Click Through Rate, the percentage of searchers that click on your organic listing, is a "happy signal" Google may very well look to this statistic to determine your rankings.

So it's not just visitors you'll miss out on if you fail to attract clicks, it's rankings too.

How to Get Searchers Clicking on Your Organic Listing

It's clear now why you need more searchers clicking on your listing, but actually getting them to click can be a big challenge.

Here's why:

Every time a searcher sees your listing, it will be surrounded by several others competing for their attention. All those other listings are distracting them from yours, so getting that click isn't as easy as it may appear.

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.

That's why I want to give you need an arsenal of tools you can use to make your organic 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. Get Creative With Your Characters

Review the titles in all the other listings. Is there something you could do to stand out and inspire more clicks? 

Google has a habit of testing the character limit on the Title Tag, so the maximum characters available to you can change from time to time (and it might be even less in mobile devices). Currently, it seems to be around 68 characters or less, so you can't be too frilly with your words. 

However, you can get creative with capitalization and other characters to make your title more readable or noticeable. 

Consider adding a colon, hyphen or vertical "pipe" to your Title Tag to segment phrases. In your Description Tag, experiment with suspension points (triple dots) and carets. However, you may want to steer clear of using all caps and exclamation points or your listing may come across as too spammy or ad-like. 

Here are examples of different punctuation in Title Tags:

  • Hilarious Dallas Wedding DJs - for an event that's never dull
  • ABC Films: Love your film as much as your story
  • Wedding Photography That Never Goes Out of Style | L&D Photo

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 to a certain keyword phrase so they can rank you higher.

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

  1. First, using Google Webmaster tools, document your Google ranking for each keyword you're targeting, along with 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 or two, then 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. When comparing results, be sure to use the same time frame. So if you pulled your original stats for a 28 day period, then the new test stats should also be for a 28 day period.

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? 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 Tag to grab the searchers attention.

Google listing meta description tag

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"

"We offer luxury event planning services"

"We're an award winning wedding planning boutique"? 

If they are all this bland, 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 adding your brand name into the mix is key too...especially for your Homepage.

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. Listing your company or personal name shows that you're a real brand or person, making you more accessible and trustworthy.
  2. Adding your company name to your Title Tag, particularly on your Homepage, will help your website also rank for your own company name so that searchers can easily find you when they're looking for you.
  3. Showing your brand name may help your site rank in general too. This is because Google tends to have a preference for ranking real brands and people over general less branded content sites. Google wants to know that websites are legitimate and not just spammy junk. Having your company or personal name front and center helps validate that your website is a real organization.

6. Add a Number

Have you noticed that Google likes to rank blog posts with numbers in them?

I think Pinterest picked up on this because in 2016 it started changing all its category page titles to start with "1000+". 

Pinterest meta title tag in search results

Then, in 2017 I noticed that Pinterest modified the number to "17." Looks like they're testing this number theory too.

Pinterest title tag in organic listings

Pinterest SEO title tag in Google

There is something about seeing a specific number that makes a headline a bit more appealing and this might result in more clicks for you.

If you have a tutorial-style or inspirational blog post that shares a list of ideas or tips, begin the title with a number to help boost your title clickability, such as:

  • 9 Ways to Cut Per-Guest Wedding Costs
  • 14 Wedding Website Creation Tools

If you want to give your Services or About pages a bit more pizazz, you can use numbers there too:

  • 10 Reasons Your Parents Will Thank Us
  • 7 Ways We'll Save Your Wedding Day

7. Make It Current

Some searches are build with recency in mind. For instance, if a couple is searching for "wedding trends", they most likely want to know about current trends for the coming year not trends that passed years ago.

In this case, you can mention the current or coming year in your blog post Title Tag, such as:

  • Top Wedding Trends We're Loving for 2018
  • 2018 Wedding? Here Are 12 Colors That Are Totally Out

8. Speed of Solution

Whether you're selling a results-oriented solution, like beauty, or providing tips on your blog, promoting the speed of the solution can prove to be a powerful motivator to inspire searchers to click on your webpage listing:

  • Clear Your Acne Just in Time for Your Wedding
  • 7 Days to a Smother Wedding Plan
  • Lose 10 Pounds Before Your Wedding
  • Cut Your Wedding Costs in Half...Starting Today

9. Reference Pop Culture & Current Events

People love content they can relate to and pop culture is a surefire way to connect with them fast. The angle might be humorous, controversial, shock & awe or cutting edge; as long as it references something your ideal, target audience would resonate with, it can drive more clicks.

Here's what I mean:

  • 99 Problems But a Ring Ain't One
  • Sick of Politics? Escape the U.S. with a Destination Wedding
  • Book a Wedding in October and You Can Shave My Head for Breast Cancer Awareness Month...Seriously

10. Swipe Magazine Copy

Some of the best inspiration you can get for your Title and Description Tags is staring in your face everyday you checkout at the grocery store.

 

Photo Credit: Brides Magazine

Lifestyle magazines are teaser gold. Next time you're in the checkout line, read all the teaser headlines and snippets on the cover of your favorite lifestyle magazines and get inspired to update your own SEO copy.

Wedding magazines in the magazine aisle can offer inspiration too.

What Did I Miss?

You're smart and creative...what copywriting tricks do you have up your sleeve that you can share?

Let's brainstorm other ways to attract more clicks to our organic search engine listings and watch our traffic explode.


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