The most important thing to drive maximum results from search engine results page (SERPs) to your natural search listing is, “click encouragement.” If your listing ranks well but reads poorly, the CTR will be lower than expected at that position, relative to what a search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) would expect to see for such a listing. As a result, all else being equal, your listing will move lower over time if the CTR is not what it should be. There are a few key levers to ensure maximum click through rate:

  • Include the most common keyword phrase for the page towards the left of the title
  • Keep the repetition to a minimum, as it won’t read natural
  • Use direct marketing style copy

On the meta description, search engines will not always show this if it does not have the keyword phrase, in an exact, broad or fuzzy match for the listing. So on the meta description, the rules are:

  • Include the most common search term, in one of these three match types
  • Use behavioral economics or other triggers to entice people to read the whole 154 character message
  • Include your brand name, relevant details and use direct marketing style copy – 3rd person narrative here will tank your CTR

Many sites have gone off the deep end on these factors and despite the studies, they will see Google Webmaster Tools report abysmal click through rates, despite fantastic rankings. If you rank well but do a poor job of drawing the click, it’s effectively the same as ranking poorly and your business will not benefit nearly as much as it should from the search placement you achieve.

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