Search engine marketers are getting smarter by the day and capturing a solid amount of the page 1 clicks is becoming an ever increasingly difficult task. To stay ahead in search you have to be constantly testing and implementing new things; most people just try to “rank higher” but don’t realize you can optimize the listings you already have and capture more of that traffic.
The hardest thing to do on a search results page is to capture the searchers attention instantly. You can write the most clever title and description tags in the world, if someone else is grabbing the eye of the searcher before they see your listing it might already be too late.
Here are 3 ways to grab the attention of the searcher and provide more value in your search results:
1. Google Authorship
If your website has any type of blog component Google authorship is an absolute must and a great way to increase your click-through rate from organic search results. If you’re unfamiliar with Google authorship it basically allows you to place a thumbnail of yourself (or the author of the content) next to the search listing.
You can raise organic search CTR dramatically just by adding Google authorship for a couple of reasons:
- It increases trust by showing a picture of a real person (whoever wrote the content)
- Generally other search results will not have this so your listing will stick out like a sore thumb and draw the eye IMMEDIATELY
- Google may improve ranking and visibility for doing this – they have been known to reward marketers for using their products and services in the past
Here’s an example of what Google authorship in action looks like:
Now compare that result to the typical text only listings like this:
Which one do you think would capture your attention first? Even if your website is ranked out of the top 3 you can still get MORE clicks in some cases just by having this thumbnail, it really can be that powerful.
Implementing Google authorship is simple; just go to this URL and follow the steps provided.
2. hReview Markup
Another way to sneak extra eye grabbing elements into search results is with hReview markup. Google is constantly evolving search and making changes to improve user experience and give the searcher the absolute best experience possible. One of the newer changes Google made allows markup from Schema.org to show data searchers might be looking from from within the search results. This includes things like events, recipes, reviews, places, restaurants, and a whole lot more.
Most of the markup provided by Schema.org is only going to be applicable to very specific types of sites, for example if you don’t run a food/recipe related website you wouldn’t benefit from the recipe markup. However, just about any website can benefit from the hReview markup by adding reviews to all of your posts and pages. The hReview markup displays a rating out of 5 in search results next to all of your pages with ratings on them. This is such an easy way to grab searchers attention you can sometimes pull a higher CTR in position 3 than the person in position 1! (Assuming they don’t have all these ninja optimization tricks applied to their website too…)
Here’s an example of what a search result listing with the hReview markup looks like:
3. Video Sitemaps
If video is your preferred method of content delivery then you’re in luck; not only do videos rank extraordinarily well in search you can also get a thumbnail of your video next to ALL of your pages with videos on them. Have you ever been shown a YouTube result with a thumbnail of the video? If not here’s an example:
Getting that thumbnail can be a huge click-through rate booster because it grabs your attention even more-so than the Google authorship trick. Not only does it have a still image from the video, it also shows a play button and the length of the video…talk about piquing curiosity.
Until recently Google only showed these types of thumbnails for results on YouTube but lucky for us they realized allowing website owners to do this only improves user experience. Now, with video sitemaps you can get that same YouTube style thumbnail for ANY page on your website with a video on it. Creating a video sitemap is simple and very similar to a traditional sitemap – you can find the instructions for setting one up here.
Implementing these 3 things is so simple I really don’t know a more effective way to increase search traffic without increasing search impressions. What tips do you have for grabbing the eye of searchers that I missed?