Saturday, December 8, 2007

How to raise organic search clickthrough

Getting your site on top of the search results is not enough. You can easily do some search engine optimization of your own, by stuffing couple of keywords to page's title. But beware, your search engine result must be also appealing, so the searcher will click the link leading to your site. Spamming the keyword may be efficient but it's not pretty to read and heavily used maybe also unethical. Instead, you should think search results as paid advertisements like Google Adwords. According to the study of Cornell University
searchers focus on:
  • Title: 30 %
  • Snippet: 43 % *
  • URL: 21 %
  • Other: 5 % (cached, similar pages)
If you want more visitors to your site, the snippet and title must have interesting copy text. And if you want those visitors to convert, you should include some call to action too. The problem is that you can't measure organic search clickthroug rate because you don't know how may times your site is displayd in search results. But you can measure visitors coming in your site with certain keyword and you can do some multivariate testing. And of course, ultimately you will measure and try to raise your web site conversions.

It's propably easy to change (with CMS) your landing pages' titles and body text, right? And the system creates nice, short and understandabe URLs which you don't have to worry about. Now you just have think about your search result as your short online ad. For example, if you're selling christmas trees either online or off-line, your title might be something like this: "Christmas trees - check out our special christmas tree offer". Google will show 65 characters from the title, so you have to remember that. And the start of your body text could be something like this: "Order your christmas tree well before holidays and get our special christmas tree offer. Order online and get a free christmas tree delivery or print your coupon to receive special chistmas tree offer in our store.

I hope you got the idea. With Adwords you can't use so many characters, so it's little easier to think copy text for search engines. And in my opinion, you should use same campaign idea and message both online (banners, newsletters, paid and organic search) and off-line marketing activities (radio, newspaper etc.). But somehow you should be able to measure those off-line marketing tricks, so you could evaluate your the whole marketing mix and what is the most profitable channel for your business.

* Snippet = the short paragraph that a search engine generates from page's body text or page discription (meta data) under the title to display the relevant information on the page for the query.