Getting an invite to a Search Engine’s first page party used to be about just getting your name out there as much as possible, with keyword stuffing the SEO equivalent of hinting heavily (did I mention I’m free on Friday?). Those days are gone and thanks to a growing number of people paying to attend, the party is even harder to get into.
You may have a prime spot at the results page party, but if no one clicks through and gets to know your brand, what is the point? It’s time to master the good looking SERP.
ConversionArium conducted a clever bit of research with Southampton Solent University to see if the appearance of a search result really does change the way we interact with it. This research literally measured the way participants moved their eyes around Google, with the focus on three key hypotheses:
- Domains get the most attention (in standard search listings)
- Google+ gets your listing more attention
- Listings Structure – having keywords at the start of a title gets more attention
Displayed domains are your SEO party dress, the core of your SERP outfit. The participants’ eyes were drawn to 76% of the domains shown on the page that included phrases familiar to their industry, such as “Content marketing agency”, whilst only 36% of domains displayed for the more general “Turkey holidays” were caught by the eye.
Take domain naming seriously. Google increases the weighting of any word in a domain which matches your search (Google “recruitment” and you’ll see what I mean).
Google+ is the Louboutin of the SERP world. It makes you stand out at the party with a SERP thumbnail picture in place of a red soled shoe.
I’m continuously recommending Google+ and authorship mark-up to my clients, so am pleased to say that results with this addition did not go unnoticed by participants. What’s surprising is that participants were more perceptive to SERPs which had an additional 15% of listings using mark-up. So don’t be put off authorship mark-up just because the pages you want to appear on are already saturated with thumbnails. Searchers are open to there being more than one good looking result on the page, they even respond positively.
Structure & Language
The evidence suggests that word order matters. Participants searching for “SEO Software” viewed 60% of the results which had the keywords placed at the front of the listing. Keep in mind that it’s not only the titles that will appeal to a user but also what they will see once (or if) they click through to the page.
This may seem back to basics but you have to be obvious. Shout about what you do, or that relevant, interesting page hidden behind a poor title may not be seen.
When just having your brand and offering exposed in a search result is not enough, consider mentioning those awards you’ve received. Unsurprisingly, posts with language such as "world class" and "award winning" gained more attention.
SERPs force you into an online high street with your competitors. If you aren’t using the above points to your advantage, your competition might. You might have a great website and the best product, but is your digital window display enticing?