From time to time I have clients asking about their Google listing. Aside from the obvious question they have i.e. “How do I get mine to the top?” a close second question is about how their listing appears. They typically want to alter it to something else.
“How do those magical wizards at Google decide how search engine results look?”
They use a combination of sources from your website including:
- Snippet / Keywords
So lets break down some of these and have a closer look…
Google will generally look for short descriptive titles that are relevant to the search terms the user entered. Google looks for a pages’ title tag. They can also look for content on the page or even links pointing to a page. So I recommend concentrating on your pages title tag. Ensure they are short, be descriptive of the pages content and contain some strategic keywords you user might use to find you.
Remember ‘short’ and descriptive. If you try to use “The best darn widget company in North America and possibly the world”. You will probably only 50-70% of that title actually displaying – because Google will truncate the rest beyond a certain character number/pixel width. I would quote you the exact number but since it changes from time to time I won’t.
In the above example you will see the full url displaying i.e. https://silver6.ca. However Google will use the same truncating rules for urls as well, notice the dot dot dot below after brows…? Again I recommend following the same rules..short, descriptive urls.
Notice the small downward facing arrow at the end of the url? What’s up with that? That is a clickable link that allows you to view a cached version of the page (in the case it is offline for some reason) or will take you to similar content.
Snippet / Keywords
Now we get to the meat of the listing. This is where most clients focus their attention. They want that sentence or paragraph to say exactly (fill in the blank).
A snippet is the description of the page. Google will most often take the snippet material from your meta description of the page. This is where you should carefully craft your meta description to deliver your message in a clear effective way. Just think of a potential searcher – they have typed in a certain phrase or keywords and you listing is among others. So what are you going to say that 1) quickly and clearly tells them what that link goes to, 2) Stands out from the other listings and finally 3) Captures interest of the visitor.
Again while with snippets you have some liberal space – its not unlimited – so keep your length in mind.
Hey, that’s all well and good but Im not a web developer – how do I change some of these?
I wish I could give you a quick one answer fits all solution, but it really depends on how your website is built or what Content Management System (CMS) it uses.
Being a wordpress guy I can recommend a tool that makes making these changes a breeze – its a plugin called SEO – by Yoast.
Here is an example. If you go to the Titles and Meta section of Yoast you can enter your meta description right in the box. Easy peasy.
There a lot of other sections that allow you control over your website in terms of Search Engine Optimization – but thats a longer story for another day.
I hope this gives you some insight into your Google listing and how you can alter your listing to the way YOU want it to look.
What do you think are the most important items that should appear in your website snippet? Please comment below..