We get clients who suffer low traffic from some of their pages that have a fairly good ranking and need to increase traffic that clicks through to their content or landing page.

To understand how to fix these problems, you need to know the basic workings of Google algorithms.

There are over 200 ranking factors Google uses to determine the most relevant results. To sum it up in a few words, "The more helpful your content is to the reader, the higher it will rank."

Google displays 10 search results per page. Neil Patel proved that a particular results ranking will improve if it's attracting more attention than those outranking it. This still comes down to how useful people searching for content think yours is in relation to the hundreds who have posted similar content.

Take for example if 500 people are searching for shoes in Kampala and 400 of those people click on the second result as opposed to the first, Google algorithms will quickly update their search results and make the most popular result the first.

What does that mean? Google is user-centric. More people clicking on a lower-ranking result is often proof to Google that that's the popular result and therefore will improve its ranking.

This goes to show that it's extremely important how Google displays your results in search. Having poor copy in your search results display will cost you clicks and consequently ranking.

Therefore what we need to address first is how to get people to click your result when it's displayed with 10 others on the results page. First, you need to know how to control the display of your Google results.

Optimize meta descriptions for more click-throughs and traffic.

Writing an article and having it published without any effort in optimizing it for search display is self-defeating. You leave it up to google to decide what the article is about and what part of it to display to the searcher.

To illustrate, this is like telling people there is a music concert at the Sheraton and expect them to show up without making an effort to explain who will be there and why it's worth their while.

Google looks for a particular field called the "meta description" in your web document to define what the content is about. Most content management systems like WordPress SEO plugins provide provisions where you can add this without needing to know HTML.

You can use the Google SERP Simulator tool to see how your meta descriptions will look like in Google results.

If you are not using an open-source Content Management System, then you should ask your web developer to add a field where you can add the meta description.
The meta field HTML code is defined in the header tag of the HTML document as seen below

  <meta charset="UTF-8">
  <meta name="description" content="THis is your meta description field">

If you right-click most web pages and view the source code, you can see the meta description. This is the snippet Google displays in the search results.

The meta description is where you should shine.

Google doesn’t use the meta description tag as a direct ranking signal. However, your description directly impacts click-through-rate, which is a key ranking factor

The psychology of writing meta descriptions that make people click.

If you have been following from the beginning, you should know by now that having more people clicking on your link is a positive signal to Google which improves your search ranking.

Getting people to click on your link has a lot more to do with the psychological makeup of humans. If your site is in position 2 with a meta description that relates more to the surfer, you will get more clicks than the site in position 1 and ultimately google will push you in the first position.

Based on advertising campaign performance, 31% of ads with emotional pull succeeded versus the 16% success of ads that focused on rational content

Here are a few emotional triggers to help you win the battle for clicks using meta descriptions.

Take Advantage of Color Impact

It has long been known that color impacts how we respond to ads. That's why it's heavily used in branding. I participated in a study that was researching why ugly websites tend to convert more and one of the reasons was they tend to have big colorful buttons that call the user to action eg a big red "Buy Now" button which stands out in contrast to the rest of the page.

Monkey see big yellow button

Monkey press big yellow button

Monkey get banana

This same approach is relevant for meta descriptions. Remember, the meta descriptions are your advertising platform. How do meta descriptions tie in with the monkey and color story?

Google boldens keywords in search results! Even though keywords in meta descriptions play no role in ranking, they sure do catch the attention of the searchers and they are psychologically tuned to click through.

In other words, make sure your keywords are in your meta description. These display in bold font and thus attract more attention.

Appeal to the human selfish desire.

Influence begins and ends with selfishness. As humans, we are inherently selfish. Marketers since times before us have used this human attribute to influence human actions.

As the great Carnegie once illustrated, if you don't want your children to smoke, don't preach to them or talk to them about what you want. This will only make them keep the habit from you, instead, appeal to what they really want. Tell them smoking may keep them from making the basketball team or take away their beautiful glow for girls.

The same principle works for great meta descriptions.

What you want to do is find out what really appeals to your customers and take your services and tie them to this in your metadata. In the metadata, you are not writing for the search engine but for the human searcher.

Use the bizarreness effect to get your search result to stand out.

The bizarreness effect states that bizarre material is better remembered than boring ordinary material. This is true for metadata advertising as well.

We tend to click on bizarre material more as well. I have often observed famous SEO specialists use bizarre titles and meta descriptions for the purpose of standing out.

Use attention grabbers like 'Oh my', 'Wooah' Clever puns, alarmist phrases e.t.c. Here you have to get really creative.

Additional ways meta descriptions improve Click-through rate

Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+ use meta descriptions as well. Whenever someone shares your page, the meta description makes part of the text on the shared page.

If the description is great, you can expect more click through on those social networks as well.

In conclusion, a great meta description is probably the single greatest predictor of engagement and relevance in search results.