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Increase Click Through Rates
By adding 'Jump To' Links to Your Descriptions.
Last Updated: March 27, 2014
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Ok, I know the title is a bit direct and well, lame. However, I’m hoping more people will easily find the article via search and start using this method of adding real ‘call to action’ items within their search engine description snippets. It really does increase click through rates while decreases your bounce rate. Besides, I’m an SEO, we write boring titles!
This is by no means a new technique; in fact Google released this information back in 2009 on their official blog. It just really surprises me that more companies are not taking full advantage of it.
Let’s start by looking at an average search result listing for an increasingly common search phrase; ‘reconsideration requests’ (unfortunately, a term most SEO’s know all too well). I’m doing the search on Google.ie so I can illustrate my point, and because, well, I live in Ireland.
So here we have the top four sites ranking for the term ‘reconsideration requests’. We have Google Support in first place, as it should be; a great video from Google on the reconsideration process, my page on the same subject and then Google Webmaster Central blog post on updates regarding the process. Nice to be listed in that sort of company, but how can I make it stand out?
As you can see I have tried to increase the click through rate by making my listing stand out a bit with a photograph and my name which links to my Google+ profile. That’s Google Authorship for you, and yes it does work. I noticed a steady increase on click through rates.
This got me thinking about other ways to make your listing stand out from the rest, and so I set about running a series of tests. I started to play around with Schema.org, a mark-up language that lets you use structured data on your web pages for use by search engines. I got some great results with this but they are so significant it will require an entirely separate article, sorry folks.
The good news is that I didn’t stop there. I wanted to do more with the description tag, we all know that this snippet has absolutely no effect on our rankings, yet this is one of the main reasons a user chooses one link over another. There has to be a way to make this section stand out above all the other ‘generic marketing blurb’ descriptions.
And sure enough, with a bit of digging, I found that Google is already making this possible for those who are willing to create the sort of structured content that Google loves. So I set about creating what I thought would be the perfect, structured article that caters for all the Google recommendations within their guidelines. Within a few weeks, this listing appeared:
Suddenly there is an increased click through rate on my reconsideration request page. Bounce rate also decreased because the user was brought to the exact information they were searching for, no need to trample through lots of marketing blurb to get to the information they want. That equals more time on site, which of course helps show Google the usefulness of your page.
You’ll notice that this search was done using the phrase, ‘writing reconsideration requests’. The results are the same in the sense that it points to the exact same page, uses the same Meta title and Google authorship. The only difference is the description snippet, which now contains a direct link.
So how was it done?
The article I was writing was very extensive, so it made sense to split it up into three sections:
Each of these sections made up a large proportion of the page, so near the top of the page I create bookmark links (or Jump links), which when clicked will jump the user to that section of the page, allowing them to reach the most relevant content to them, with a single click.
Google recognizes the jump link and the association to the header and displays this information within the description snippet when the exact search phrase matches that of the jump link. This gives you the opportunity to have various descriptions on various searches of similar phrases, for the same page. Wikipedia use this technique throughout their site with great success.
It’s worth noting that Google will only do this to pages it finds relevant and structured well enough to warrant the listing. So there are no guarantees that your listing will appear in this fashion, but developing structured content pages should be a usability standard. In other words, it’s a great habit to get into and rewards may well follow.
There is almost certainly some correlation between the page title and the long tail version that may be chosen. It is highly likely that Google recognized that ‘Writing a Reconsideration Request’ is an appropriate jump link to use for a page titled ‘Reconsideration Requests’. Whereas the phrase; ‘Identifying Potential Penalty’ could belong to a host of different subject matter, making it difficult for Google’s software to highlight the association. So keep your long tails as relevant as possible to the host page. I’ve yet to prove this thought 100%, but I’m working on it.
That’s great, but how can I use this for my clients?
Well that’s just it; it’s entirely up to you. Let’s say, for instance, your client is a car insurance company. A good idea would be to create a lengthy page highlighting all the benefits they offer with their car insurance plan.
Taking the top five benefits of their plan, you could create a single page titled ‘car insurance benefits’. This page would go into each benefit in great detail, several paragraphs on each. Each benefit would be assigned a H1 header tag to highlight its importance. Then create bookmark links to each of the headings using the same titles for the anchor text.
Some example bookmark links used might be;
Cheaper Car Insurance | Discount Car Insurance | Windscreen Cover Benefit
I’ve used some of the keywords associated with the page title in each phrase in a hope to increase the chance of multiple selections being chosen. Now there is the possibility that I will have four different descriptions for the same page for various searches, but also that I might have direct jump-to links in three of them. This will also help secure my presence around similar searches for my main target phrase. Easy win!
Another example would be if my client was a job site. I would look to create a definitive information page around a generic job title, let’s say ‘Software Manager’. I’d have several sections on the page defining the various roles this title might cover, so my H1 headers and bookmark links might look something like this;
Software QA Manager | Software Development Manager | Software Test Manager
You may even want to test out other bookmark links that are less like the title and see if you can achieve any results, maybe Software Team Lead would work. Anyway, the fun is in the testing, but I gaurantee you this method will increase click through rates!
Creating bookmark links in HTML
First you need to place a bookmark on your page, this is where you want the user to be able to jump to:
<a name="Bookmark Title" >Actual Bookmark Title</a>
Then you need to add a link (preferebly near the top of the document, think of it like a table of contents) that the user can click and jump straight to the bookmark you created above:
<a href="#Bookmark Title">Jump To Bookmark Title</a>
Additional Resources on Increasing Click Through Rates
Here are some great sites on the subject of increased click through rates. I highly recommend spending some time researching these, and other sites, to learn how increasing click through rates can positively effect all channels of your marketing efforts.
SEO Product Manager
Tallaght, D24, Ireland.(086) 122-8514 email@example.com
Steven's home page: www.stevenforsyth.com