SEO – More Than Just Rankings – By Oliver Whitham

by Colleen on October 17, 2011

SEO is still an often misunderstood profession, with many clients assuming your sole role is to get their site to the top of Google for the keywords they want. SEO is, of course, a much deeper endeavor than this, and often the first part of any SEO job is ensuring your clients are aware of exactly what they need you to do for them.

Optimizing the way your results appear on the search engines is one part of SEO that is often overlooked. While it may sometimes be forgotten, a few simple changes can help make your site and content more interesting, attractive, and even informational to your visitors. This can help increase your click through rate, and subsequently increase your traffic!

There are a few ways you can make your results look a little better in Google, and using them all really can help improve your click through rate.

Meta Description and Title

Always customize the title and Meta description. These are two of the most basic elements that will appear on the search results, they are also the most important. An eye catching title is the key to grabbing the attention of people searching for your keywords, and the description should tell whomever is searching that your webpage gives them what they need. These two items need to be a short, sweet, effective sales pitch.

An important part of a Meta Description is that as well as telling a potential visitor that you have what they need, you should think about what visitors will be searching for. Also, think about including a call to action. While this is not always possible, not many search results include a phrase telling the reader to click, and it can sometimes be an effective technique.

Social Media

The roll out of Google +1 means that you can now see what your friends like right there on the results. Google and Search Engine Land tell us that click through rates improve if your friend has +1’ed a page, which means social media and effective networking is becoming even more important.

While Google is using +1, don’t forget that Bing is doing something very similar with Facebook likes, with which you may see similar benefits.

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets, microformats, RDFa, they all mean the same thing, data rich search engine results. With the ability to display a list of ingredients, ratings, product information, prices and even availability, rich snippets let you show enticing information to your potential visitors directly on the search page.

Effective use of this early technology can help you jump ahead of the competition by providing more information, and taking up more search engine real estate.

Images and Video

Images and video now often appear in the search rankings, so make use of this. Be sure to fill in your image title attribute and name the file. Make sure to set up videos on your site, and include a video sitemap so even if your video is hosted elsewhere, your site will appear in the Google search results.

Oliver Whitham is an internet marketing consultant, and blogs at SEO Chemist.

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