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Getting The First Click is a two-step process.
1. Get Their Attention
2. Elicit a response
The first time many people will see any reference to your site is when they type their search phrase into a search engine and the results page appears. This is your only chance at making a first impression and you should make the most of it.
People will see your title first. Craft a title that is clear and concise. People scanning search results aren't ready to buy. They are in the information gathering stage. Give them the information they want and give it to them quickly.
It always suprises me when people ask how many characters they can cram in a title tag. Titles are meant to provide an overview of the page content, not a detailed summary of the page.
If you're worried that your title simply doesn't have enough pull don't fret. Your page description will appear right below your title. If your title is effective people will read your description.
The description area is your chance qualify the surfer and pull the user into your site.
Effective titles will get their attention
Put your description in an <H1> tag using keywords that are found in your title and in the first paragraph of your body copy. Google will pull the snippet they use in the SERP straight from your header tag and first paragraph if the keywords the surfer used to find the site are found in both places.
Have you ever wondered why some sites get almost a full paragraph for a description and others get a sentence that trails off rather quickly? There's no mystery. Google highlights the keywords the surfer used by putting those keywords in bold face. Simply use the keywords strategically in your header tag and in the first sentence of the first paragraph on the page.
If you're serious about targeting buyers and want to qualify them first, put the price of the item you are selling on that page between keywords in the header tag or in the first sentence of the first paragraph on the page.
<title>Widget Word Processing Software For Macs<title>
<h1>Widget Word Processing Software For Macs</h1>
<body><p>Our Widget Processing Software retails for $89.95, but if you buy our widget processing software now, we'll send you a free copy of BlackHat's- Optimization Tactics for the Serious Spammer, absolutely free!.</p>
Someone searching for Word Processing Software For Macs will be presented with a clear description and they will see a price. If they like the price or want more information they will click on your link.
If they click you have succeeded at four tasks.
1. You got their attention.
2. You elicited a response. (they clicked your link)
3. You have qualified the surfer. (they are looking to buy Widget Word Processing Software)
4. You gave them a reason to buy now. (free copy of Blackhat's Optimization Tactics)
We often think of our site's pages as the first opportunity to make an impression while at the same time we know that the majority of our traffic comes from search engines. Your title and description is normally the first thing people see. Use that knowledge effectively.
Part 2 Next Friday - Copy That Sells - Making Them Buy
I'm interested in hearing what you are doing to get people to click and your techniques for increasing your conversions rates. There seems to be huge interest in the Google Dance That Never Was and a heavy focus on optimization.
Copy is what sells. Not your position in the SERPS. So forget about position for a minute or so, how compelling is your content? What are you doing to make your copy work for you?
Phrases listed in the SERPS with a price average an 11% higher conversion rate.
Phrases listed in the SERPS with the phrase, "free shipping" average a 13% higher conversion rate.
What really struck me was that the higher the price was that appeared in the SERPS, the better the conversion rate was. I'm still going through the data, sorting items by price and listing, time of year, position in the SERPs, assembling the purchase paths, etc but the early analysis indicates that people like seeing the price on the results page. Not only that, but "free shipping" seems to do an extraordinary job of getting attention.
The data for the last two years was pulled from 7 sites. A snapshot is taken of the SERP, the purchase paths are dated and dumped in a directory with their respective snapshot.
I'm off to play with more data.
I didn't notice it until after the 2 hour window had passed for editing. I was cutting and pasting and formatting the text for the forum and slapped my header tag in there before the body tag. Mea culpa.
Sd we have done two fairly clever but pretty simple things.
1. Stored the average nubmer of days that people want to quote for and calculated it on the fly based on the specific location so that we can make our best guess as to what the user wants a quote for before they tell us.
2. Our page reads the refferer and scans is for locations that we quote for if the refferer contains any of the locations that location is selected. Which means people coming through from a search engine with specific search terms in their search will get targetted content.
The effect of this is that now about 28% of the users coming from search engines visiting our site have already got the exactly the right data filled out on the form before they click anything. Which gives them even more incentive to click the quote button and leaves a good mental impression as well I think.
Other things we found really useful was allowing users to save a quote and emailing it to them.
Also if you asks a user to validate their email address via an email sent to them where they have to click a link to activate it that increases conversion because they have had to go to quite a bit of trouble to do it so they normally complete the process at the same time it doesn't put people off and it dramatically reduces fraud.
I'll post some more tidbits once we see the next installment from digitalghost :)