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Get More Traffic

There are many ways to get more traffic to your website, but one that's often overlooked is to provide the search engines with a better site description. Here's the scoop...

Most people spend very little time crafting the meta description tag for their web pages. Notice I said "crafting" the meta description tag, not writing it. There's a big difference. Read on to discover that difference.

The best copywriters usually spend more time creating that one headline at the top of a sales letter than they do on the rest of the page. They know if the headline doesn't suck people into the sales copy it doesn't matter what the rest of the page says.

Now think about this ... the text you enter into the meta description tag is the text that is used to describe your website in the search results pages at most search engines. The text in your meta description tag is the equivalent of the headline on a sales page!

If the description you provide doesn't entice searchers to click your link, it doesn't matter what your page says because the description failed to deliver the visitor to your site from the search engine.

That meta description takes on a much greater importance when you look at it that way. Think about that the next time you're tempted to rush through the description to get it out of the way.

A better description can mean better rankings, and of course, better rankings means you will get more traffic from the search engines.

It's obvious that the actual content of the description meta tag plays a role in the rank of your web pages, but there's another reason a good description can boost your search engine rankings.

Some search engines increase the rank of pages with a good display-to-click ratio, providing people don't click straight back to the search engine.

Think about it ... if your link is displayed hundreds of times and no one clicks through to your site, why should the search engines keep promoting a page no one wants to visit?

If I'm the search engine programmer, sooner or later I'm going to lower the ranking of pages that don't get clicks.

Common sense, right? They're in the business of providing the best search results they can. If your link isn't getting clicked, that's their users telling them your page doesn't cut it—so it gets lowered in the rankings.

So, how do you get searchers to click through to your website when it's displayed in search engine results pages? Again, write better descriptions!

Do what most people are too lazy to do—take the time to craft a description that screams to the searcher...


But not in those exact words, of course.

Avoid hype—the search engines aren't interested in descriptions that look like spam in their search results. Don't use a lot of exclamation marks or use words with all capital letters for emphasis. If you have to do that, you haven't crafted a good description yet. Keep working at it.

A good description will include your most relevant keyword or keyword phrase for that page. That's important because that's it will catch the eye of those who searched for that keyword or keyword phrase.

A good description will also entice without resorting to hype and be written in reasonably proper sentences.

Think of a good description like an ad that doesn't look like an ad, because that's just what it is. An effective description will:

  • Arouse curiosity and attract attention.
  • Spell out a strong benefit to visit your site.
  • Answer every web surfer's question (What's in it for me?).
  • Target the right audience.

There are several powerful words and phrases that are used time and time again in advertising. They keep popping up because they act like human magnets that instantly arouse people's attention. The four most important magnetic words and phrases are:

Tip: You'll find more magnetic words and a whole world of search engine optimization help in White Hat SEO.
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Using one or more of these magnetic words or phrases, along with the main benefit of visiting your site, can create a compelling reason to click your link. Here are seven key points to consider that will make your link more likely to be clicked:
  1. Use words that create mental images. For example, "trophy buck" is more appealing to a hunter than plain old "deer" would be.
  2. If possible, try to appeal to a feeling or sensation: love, hate, fear, desire, curiosity, etc.
  3. Use present tense, not past or future tense. It adds impact and immediacy and makes your words more believable.
  4. Use verbs that are powerful and exciting. If you were selling stereos, "Amazing clarity and deep, resonant bass" is more evocative than "high quality sound."
  5. Eliminate all unnecessary words. It's a description, not the whole dang page. Capture the essence of what you want to say in 155 characters or less. Anything longer will be truncated at most search engines.
  6. Don't get too clever. Make the benefit of visiting your page the focus, not your imagination. Simplicity has more appeal to most people. As Leonardo da Vinci penned, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
  7. Remember to sell the sizzle. The sizzle is the primary benefit of visiting your web page as it relates to the search query keywords. In other words, everyone wants to know what's in it for them!

...and that's how you get more traffic from the search engines.

SEO Tip Sometimes a search engine will use the first few sentences of visible text on your page for your site description, rather than your description meta tag. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's usually because the meta description is too short.

Obviously then, the first words you show your visitors should be treated with one eye toward making sense for your visitors and one eye toward winning search engine clicks.

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