Snippets and page titles

September 26th, 2006

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Q: Isn’t the click through rate from Google’s search results highly dependent on the displayed description which you can’t control in Google, but can in other search engines?

A: Indeed, a page with a good search listing will get higher clickthrough and the description or “snippet” is an important part of your search listing (although I would argue that the page title is more important than the snippet.)

With Google, you can’t control what’s displayed in the “snippet”, but you can influence it. One way to do so is by placing keyword-rich sentences or phrases which include good value propositions and calls-to-action into 1) the first image alt tag, which is often times your logo in the top left corner, 2) the meta description tag, and/or 3) the body copy. When doing so, incorporate the keywords most likely to be used as the search query by the Google user. Google will build the snippet out of occurrences of the user’s search keywords on the page, including the alt tags and meta description.