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Maximising Your SERPS Listing

Written by Jonathan Dawkins  · April 28, 2008

Guest post by Jonathan Dawkins

Search Engine Results Pages are a critical means of ensuring more visitor traffic to your website or blog and yet they are often one of the main areas that are badly neglected by site owners.There are thousands of great articles on link building strategies, how to boost your page rank, blogging for links and the latest paid advertising approaches to get your site seen by a wider online audience, and whilst this is excellent and very valuable there is little point if your site fails to sell itself in Search Engine Results Pages once you break into the top 10.

Let me highlight my point with an example. Below are two descriptions that could be displayed in SERPS for a search on the phrase “Make Money Online.”

Description 1

Make money online with proven techniques from Internet marketing experts. Learn how to make big money online with integrity.”

Description 2

“People enjoy it when they have the opportunity to use the internet for many different purposes including making money online, I’ve often thought that when individuals…” It is pretty obvious that the first makes full use of the description Meta tag to actively promote its business whilst the second has neglected this aspect and is vague and uninviting. It is important to remember that if you don’t insert a description for your page, Google will automatically generate one for you, but this is normally poorly organised and disjointed and mostly likely accounts for description two above. The question you have to ask yourself is who is the best person to sell your site YOU or a third party?

So how can you make your site more attractive in SERPS? This advice is mainly directed towards the Google search engine which is by far the best on the internet, but the general rules apply to other directories like Yahoo and MSN

1. View SERPS As A Sales Directory.

Too often Search Engine Results Pages are viewed by online users as information pages, when in reality they are not; they are a global sales directory. If you feel uncomfortable with writing good sales copy then delegate this to someone who can, or employ a professional copyrighter to create some short, catchy tags. Ideally you need to keep your site description to around 24 words in length as this is the approximately the maximum amount displayed in SERPS.

2. Take Your Time

Google is very upfront about its use of site description tags. It makes it clear that it DOES NOT, use the description tag to index pages in Google, but some people have interpreted this as meaning that the description tag is not important. Exactly the opposite is true. To use an analogy, description tags provide the “shop window” for your site. If your shop window looks cluttered, unorganised and unattractive, who will want to visit your site even if you have the best online content inside? So take your time and ensure that each web page is optimised for that specific tag.

3. Avoid Duplicate Description Tags

Each page description should reflect what is on that page. You should never use generic description tags for the whole of your site. Think about it, if you have a page of content about Making Money through paid surveys, what has that got in common with another page about eBay drop shipping? Tailor your page descriptions to each page, that way online visitors get the most relevant content and are more likely to click through to your site.

4. Repeat Keywords

If you have a keyword and/ or phrase for your page, then you should seek to include it at least twice in your short description. This is because when an internet user conducts a search, Google automatically highlights the keywords in bold in the results page to make them stand out. The more times your keyword is repeated the more it will stand out to an online user as a suitable page.

So we could make description 1 that we referred to early even better in the following way;

Example: With one keyword in description meta tag;

Make money online with proven techniques from Internet marketing experts. ”

With two keywords in description meta tag; Make money online with proven techniques from Internet marketing experts. Learn how to make big money online with integrity.”

With three keywords in description meta tag;

“Want to make money online? Make money online with proven expert techniques and learn how to make big money online with integrity.”

Now you may feel that using three keywords is excessive and that would be understandable. However, can you see just how the bold keywords will make this description stand out in Google Search Engine Results Pages. Remember that your short description tag is not trying to communicate everything about your site, it’s just there to entice online visitors and three keywords makes it more eye catching and gives the perception that your site has more relevant content. In addition we’ve added a short question right at the start to hook visitors and encourage them to read more.

5. Combine With A Good Title Meta Tag.

If you want your site description to really stand out in SERPS, ensure that you treat your title tag in the same way, as this will make your search results even more tempting to potential visitors;

For example:

Make Money Online – Make Money Online With Integrity

“Want to make money online? Make money online with proven expert techniques and learn how to make big money online with integrity.”

The combination of the use of keywords in the title tag and repeated three times in the description meta tag make this site stand out and is a powerful marketing tool for your website or blog.

Summary
So how about spending a few hours doing some housekeeping this week on your site and ensuring that you make maximum use of your description meta tag. My experience is that it has increased visitor traffic to my site by between 15% within 1 week of doing this. Let me know how it works for you and if you notice a difference by leaving a comment on this post.

Finally, a big thanks to George for letting me use his meta tag description for this blog as an example for illustrative purposes.


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