Yes, the first search result gets the most clicks by a long way and it’s great to get that spot.
There are many other factors which work to get you the clicks over and above the first search result.
If your result looks like it’s going to help the searcher more than the first one on the search engine results page (SERP), your result could get more clicks than the first one.
People quickly scan down the search results page looking for the result which resonates with them the most. Getting the click means you have to take control of your search result and align it with your target audience.
The anatomy of a search result
A search result consists of 3 key parts and we’re in control of what is displayed in each of these parts. A basic search result had a Title, a URL and a description.
The image below shows the our Google result for the search “hubspot australia”
Your title has to get people’s attention and make them pause at your result, your description and URL have to follow through so you get the click.
The title is created from our page title. Keep your web page title under 70 characters to ensure it’s not shortened by Google.
Your page title should be unbranded, except for your home, about and contact pages.
Think about how people will respond to your title. The example above is targeted at people who are looking to implement HubSpot inbound marketing in Australia. Note that the title starts with the principal keywords “HubSpot Australia” and then goes on to tell people exactly what the page is all about.
You have to know the persona of your targeted searchers to create titles which resonate with them.
Make your URL human readable and put the keywords up front. That way people can read and understand your URL before it gets chopped off by the search engine.
The URL is not quite as important to getting a click as the title. It does help people understand where they’ll be taken when they click. In my example above you can see the they’ll be taken to a company website “www.more-business-online.com.au” and this is an Australian website. The plain text that follows also lines up with their search keywords.
A URL which supports the title will get more clicks.
The page description is your opportunity to explain what people will get from your page, and you have only around 155 characters before it will be cut off by the search engines.
This shouldn’t be the bland first sentence of your content. The description has to support the title and the URL and tell people exactly what they’ll get from this page.
The example above makes it quite clear that this page will have information about buying HubSpot, getting support and training for HubSpot in Australia.
The description provides supporting content for your title and is your opportunity to tell people how people will benefit from your page.
Your title needs to hook them and your description reels them in.
The “optional” extras
I called the image above a “basic search result” because Google is adding more information to search results when they know who the author of the content is. The image below shows you an example.
It’s not hard to spot the added photo. Did you see the other difference though?
When the author of the content is known, which means the content is linked to their Google+ profile, Google will show their photo, their name and how many people follow them on Google+.
The photo helps link the content to a person meaning that people scanning the search results will pause when they see someone they’ve read before.
The number of followers on Google+ helps people understand how popular, well read or important this person might be.
This extra information can help you get clicks you otherwise mightn’t get.
You can control what people see in the search results. When you take control, you will construct search results which will get you more clicks.