Search engines change their algorithms from time to time. We hear that this meta tag or that is 'in vogue' now. Recently we've been told that description tags are pretty much useless, as far as SEO goes. Search engines don't pay too much attention to them. However in SEO PR, descriptions are worth their weight in gold..
Getting qualified traffic to your site is a two-step dance. Showing up on page one in the search engines is only the first part of the equation. After all, it's people who are doing the searching. and it's the people you want to come to your website.
Eye tracking studies show us how important it is to be listed at the top of a search results page. Indeed, the first goal is to be seen. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that just being listed at number one or two for a search term will automatically make people click your listing and visit your site. Oh, that it were that simple!
People read the 'headlines' and the 'blurb' on the search results page before they decide which link to click. That 'headline' is your title tag. The 'blurb' is most often the description tag.
While meta tags might not be of great value in your SEO efforts anymore, they are vital pieces of persuasive content. In fact, they could well be the very first touch point with a prospective customer. They could be the deciding factor as to whether this person ever visits your site and gets to know your company.
Here is an example:
My daughter-in-law is pregnant with her first child - and my first grandchild. I am a Baby Boomer, an aging hippie with strong green and organic leanings. I have read about the connection between toxic household cleaners and childhood developmental problems. I go to the Net hoping to find information about natural, non-toxic cleansers..
This is what I get on Google when I search non toxic household cleaners
1. Make your own non toxic household cleaners
Household cleaners on the market today are harmful to your health, potentially deadly to children if ingested, expensive, and pollute ground water.
Well, that one hits all my go buttons. When I was a mom, this would have been perfect for me. However, I now own two businesses and work 15 hours a day. I am definitely not going to make my own. And neither is my daughter in law. So I move on to the next link
# 2 and 3 are also make your own. Finally at #5 I see Seventh Generation, the nation's leading brand of non toxic household cleaners. Kitchen and bathroom cleaners made without harsh chemicals. AHA!
I was training the marketing and PR staff of a large public company last week and we looked up their search listings. When we compared their 'headlines' and 'blurbs' to the other listings on the page, it was quite clear why a searcher might choose another link rather than theirs.
They were not aware that they could control what appears on the search engine results page.
And when I said you are leaving one of the most important pieces of persuasive copy to your IT department they were horrified.
You don't have to learn to code, but you do have to make friends with IT or your webmaster. And you need to learn enough about the SEO process to get the best possible content on the search results pages.
Meet Your Favorite Search Engine Watch Contributors
Many of SEW's leading expert contributors will be at ClickZ Live, the new online and digital marketing event kicking off in New York (March 31-April 3). Hear from the likes of: Thom Craver, Josh Braaten, Lisa Barone, Simon Heseltine, Josh McCoy, Lisa Raehsler, Greg Jarboe, Dan Cristo, Joseph Kerschbaum, John Gagnon, Eric Enge and more!