21 Mar 2011, Posted by admin in Whitehat, 54 Comments
I recently read a post by Adam Audette that was genuinely excellent – it was about maximising your click through rate in organic SERPs, by having very well presented search snippets. I’m always keen on having well written titles and meta descriptions, and I find it surprising that snippets in search results are, for the most part, pretty terrible. Check out SEOptimise’s excellent post on title tags if you’re looking for ways to improve there.
Patrick Altoft had an interesting tip about leaving the brand name out of the title tag – while this may not work for everyone, the idea is that for a generic keyword search (like “red widgets”), Google may display a title that’s optimised for that term. If the search term is branded, however (“Brand name”), then Google will most likely use the Dmoz title.
In a similar way, you can actually have multiple meta descriptions – potentially one for the keyword, and one for the brand name. This isn’t recommended for everyone, and I wouldn’t recommend it for many pages on your site, but it’s possible. The regular limit for meta descriptions to be displayed in full in Google is 156 characters (although I tend to stick to around 154 characters). I recently experimented with having a double length meta description – with the first snippet being designed to be well written for a generic keyword, and the second snippet written for a brand search. The full meta description for my homepage is this:
“Dave is a freelance SEO consultant, specialising in creative link building and in-depth technical site audits. To find out more, feel free to get in touch. Shark SEO is a search marketing blog with free advice on ranking your site better in Google, Bing & Yahoo. Check out the SEO blog today at SharkSEO.com.”
That’s twice the length of a regular meta description. Now check out the snippet for “freelance SEO consultant”:
And here’s the snippet for the search “Shark SEO blog”, which again returns the homepage:
When you put multiple snippets in the same meta description tag, it looks as if Google will use the snippet that’s most suitable for the query.
Flickr image by Amir K.