Help Google and Users Understand Your Content

Think about the webpage results in the search engine results page. What makes you decide to click on a certain result? Is it the URL? The name shown? Or a description of the page? Or is it a combination of all three? These elements are part of the digital marketing that helps both Google and users understand you webpage.

Craft effective titles and meta descriptions

In general, every webpage has a title element, and most webpages have a meta description. Webpage title element – provides both the user and search engines with a page’s topic. Meta description – provides provides the search engines a summary of what the page is about. A page’s title may be a few words or a phrase, whereas a page’s meta description might be a sentence or two or even a short paragraph.

Page title recommendations

Google search result with title link and snippet of a career certificates.
Google search result page
  • When creating a page title, you should make it accurately describe the topic of the page’s content. Avoid writing a title that has no relation to the page’s content. Also, avoid creating a title with default text like “Untitled” or “New Page 1.” When a searcher reads a page’s title link and then clicks on the link, the webpage content should closely match that page title.
  • Ensure every page has a unique title element. This helps users to understand the unique value which this page provides. So avoid using a single title in all pages across the site or in a large group of pages. An example of this is if a company had “Services” as the title for their services-related page. They should change it to a name that specific service the page content discusses.
  • Make titles brief but descriptive. If the title is too long or deemed less relevant, the Google search engine may share only a portion of the text in your title. An example of a less-relevant title is one that is keyword stuffed. It is okay to include a keyword, but don’t repeat it. The title should always be helpful to the searchers.

Do:

  • Accurately describe each page’s content in your title elements.
  • Write descriptive but concise titles.
  • Make sure your titles read naturally.
  • Create unique titles for each page.
  • Give each page’s main headline greater visual weight and prominence.

Don’t:

  • Use text in your title elements that has no relation to the content on the page.
  • Use default or vague text in your titles, like “Home,” “Untitled,” or “New Page 1.”
  • Use a single title in all title elements across your site’s pages.
  • Make your titles too lengthy or wordy.
  • Use repeated or boilerplate text in your titles.
  • Stuff unneeded or excessive keywords into your titles.

In general, even when following the best practices, Google may show title links that are different from the title elements on a page. This can happen when systems determine that it’s valuable to provide a slightly different context to users, or if the given title element doesn’t fit the available space.

Meta description recommendation

Meta descriptions are important because Google Search might use them in the results for your pages in the SERPs. Note the word “might.” This is because Google Search may choose to use a relevant section of a page’s text if it does a good job matching the searcher’s query. Here are a few recommendations when crafting meta descriptions.

An example of webpage title element and meta description.
Webpage title element and meta description
  • Make sure there is a meta description for every page of the website. Google will show a snippet from the meta description or webpage in the search results. Writing a clear meta description may influence the page’s snippet in the search results.
  • When writing a meta description, it should accurately summarize the page content. Write a description that would both inform and interest searchers if they saw your meta description in a search result. There is no minimum or maximum length for a meta description. Make sure it just contains all the relevant information a searcher would need to determine whether the page will be useful to them.
  • Use unique descriptions for each page. Having a different description for each page helps both users and Google. For instance, if the search results displayed multiple pages of the same website. If you’re working for an e-commerce company with thousands of web pages, it’s likely not beneficial to spend time writing meta descriptions for each page. In this situation, you could automatically generate descriptions based on each page’s content. This is a more advanced technique that is useful for a large website.

Google sometimes uses the meta description from a webpage to generate a snippet in search results. A meta description informs and interests uses with a short, relevant summary of what a particular page is about. It can help convince the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for.

Do:

  • Accurately summarize the page’s content.
  • Include all information users need to determine whether the page will be useful and relevant to them.
  • Create unique descriptions for each page on your site.

Don’t:

  • Write a meta description that has no relation to the content on the page.
  • Use generic descriptions like “This is a web page” or “Page about women’s clothing.”
  • Fill the description with too many keywords.
  • Copy and paste the entire content of the webpage into the meta description tag.
  • Use a single meta description across all of your site’s pages.

Create structured data markup

Have you ever noticed that some search results show different information than others? Maybe you’ve seen a result with a star rating? Or with a price? Or a recipe that looks different from the other results? These unique results in the service are called rich results. Think of rich results as enhanced results in Google Search with extra visual or interactive features. To get rich results for a webpage, you should add structured data to the page, which is code used to describe a webpage content better to search engines. Structured data markup is way of providing additional machine-readable information within a web page.

Search engines use structured data to display content in useful ways in search results. That in turn can help attract just the right kind of customers for a business. For example, if you’re an e-commerce analyst for an online store and use structured data to mark up an individual page, this helps the Google Search engine understand the page features for the product, such as its price and customer reviews. You can mark up information for an organization such as its location, opening hours, events, videos, recipes, and its logo.

Schema is the type of code used for structured data markups. Depending on the type of platform a website is built on, there may be third party software that helps you add the markups without dealing with the schema code. To make the process easier, try to determine if the software is available before trying to learn the code.

To run the Google rich results test, enter in the URL for the webpage. You’ll have results within a minute or two. Running this test ensures you aren’t using invalid markup on the page. If it’s invalid, it won’t show up in the search results. Google search also provides information about which pages it detects have a specific type of markup.

One important note to remember: Never add fake data to the structured data markup. For example, you don’t want to provide fake reviews or any irrelevant markups that don’t add value to the searcher.

Some of the most popular rich results for a product include the price, availability, and review ratings. These pieces of structured data are information that a potential e-commerce customer may be interested in. Having this rich result may make them more likely to click on your results over competitors.

An example of the rich result webpage from Amazon.
An example of the rich result webpage from Amazon.

Rich results for a review snippet may include the review rating and the number of ratings. The review is usually an average of the combined rating scores from reviewers on the website. A review snippet can be about a book, a recipe, a movie, a product, software app, or local business.

An example of the review snippet.
An example of the review snippet of local businesses.

The rich results for an article are typically for websites that publish timely information. This rich result isn’t just for news sites. If your website publishes any articles with industry information, you may want to consider the article markup.

An example of the timely article.
An example of the timely article.

The last rich results example is video. The information for a video may include the option to play the video, specific video segments, and if it’s live stream content.

An example of the video.
An example of the video.

You now know more about the different types of enhanced results in the SERPs. The next time you perform an internet search, look closely at the results. Which results have rich results? Do you find the websites with rich results more appealing to those without? Are they providing you with more information? Becoming aware of what information is available in the search results will help you be more successful in digital marketing and e-commerce.

Establish your business details on Google

The Google knowledge panel is a Google search engine result pages (SERPs) feature that displays brand and business information separate from general search results. Knowledge panels are information boxes that appear on Google when you search for entities such as people, places, organizations, or things. You can compare the knowledge panel to a person’s identification card. Like an ID, the knowledge panel consolidates essential and official information regarding a business or brand. Knowledge panels are automatically generated, and information that appears in a knowledge panel comes from various sources across the web.

As displayed in the image, business details can include a(n):

  • Official website link
  • Site logo
  • Brand industry
  • Brand description
  • Social profile links

Including this information makes it easier for searchers to identify a brand’s official site to find the exact information they were seeking.

Set up business details on Google

The following steps detail the process of setting up a brand’s business details for a knowledge panel on Google.

Step 1: Create a Google Business Profile

Google Business Profile is a free tool that allows local businesses to tailor how their business information appears on Google Search and Google Maps.

Step 2: Verify website ownership

The next step is verifying the website ownership in Google’s Search Console. Search Console is a powerful Google tool that helps you better understand how your website is performing, allows you to optimize the visibility of your websites, and provides other services.

Verifying your website through Search Console is important because it ensures that you have control over how your website is presented on Google and have access to sensitive Google Search data for your site.

Step 3: Update the website’s Google knowledge panel

After you’re verified as an official representative, you can sign in to the Gmail account associated with the entity you represent and update your Google knowledge panel information. Updating these details overrides the publicly available information that Google algorithms automatically find and input for you.

Step 4: Add structured data for rich results

Rich results are Google Search results that go beyond the standard blue link. They can include carousels, images, or other non-textual elements. You can learn more about creating structured data by reading a document on the Google Search Central website titled Understand how structured data works.

Once you’ve added structured data, you can check its accuracy by entering your website’s URL on the Google Rich Results Test page.

Step 5: Highlight customer support methods

Be sure to include ways that your website’s visitors can access helpful information or reach you for customer support needs. These include but are not limited to your contact number and email address.

Happy learning and good luck!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s