In typical fashion I find myself writing a post after noticing something.

I noticed that our website moved up to position 7 in Google’s search results for the phrase internet marketing planning and then noticed that the blurb isn’t a good call to action and I should do something about it.

It’s great if you’re listed in Google’s first 10 SERPS ( search engine ranking positions ). This puts you on page one where you get some attention. But why bother if your listing looks like the one in first position here …

Compare that to what’s written for the 3rd result down. Even Camdenville’s message isn’t that good, but at least it’s a neat statement that most likely sends more people to their website than position one’s does.

What to write ?

People who find you in search are pro-actively looking for the solution to a problem. So if you can work out what that problem is, then you can display the solution in the search result.

A search result is just another ad ( like Facebook ads ) and needs to be written the same way.

Here are 2 well-tested rules …

  1. Perry Marshall ( an Adwords guru who’s rule I’ve used for years ) says the ad should state the benefit to the person first – top priority – then mention features 2nd.
  2. And another rule of thumb I’ve found to be true is from Ryan Deiss ( a Texan marketer ) who talks about how an ad needs to communicate moving from a before state ( which is unwanted ) to the desired after state.

So those things are what you want seen in the search results – the benefit and the after state.

How to work out the problem.

The best place to start is the related searches at the bottom of the results. These are based on other before-and-after searches made be the people who typed the current one.

Using the private school newtown example, here are the related searches …

From these, you can see that people are looking for reviews, fees and who the principal is ( an important point that I’ve found from sending my own kids to school, because principals TOTALLY set the tone of the environment ).

So a good statement of the problem these searchers have is What school in this area do other people think is good, how much is it going to cost and is the principal doing a good job ?

The message

  • The benefit, solution or after-state would be something like Our parents say this school delivers the best education in the area with fees that won’t break the bank and a principal that makes sure your child is winning in life.
  • Or you could leave a mystery as a come-on to click, and fill people in on the benefit and after-state on the page that they click to … Find out what our parents say about the Athena School, how we have extremely competitive fees and what our principal is achieving with our students.

How to make your message display

Putting your message in the search results is where META descriptions come in, because most often they’re what Google select to display in their SERPS.

What META descriptions are and how to get your message into them is covered in this post about META description tags.