Look your best on search engine result pages

This tutorial shows you how to control the display of your web site or blog when it is found in the results of a google (or other search engine) search.


When thinking about search engine optimisation, commonly people focus on their ranking. Where am I on Google? Ideally we all want to be on page 1 of the search engine results and fair enough.

However, there is something else to consider – What do you look like when you get there?

Ironically it’s something that is overlooked more than you think. So in this article we’re going to show you how to control what your site will look like when people actually do find it on google and other search engines.

Below in figure 1 you can see the familiar view of what a site looks like when shown on a google search engine result page (SERP).

There are three main components to this:-

  • The page title (HTML <title> tag) – shown in purple
  • The page description (HTML meta description) – shown in black
  • The URL (address) of the page – shown in green
Figure 1 – Example SERP result

Shortly, we’ll show you directly how to control 1 & 2, but first think about this.

A user is searching for a recipe for honeycomb, they are presented on the search engine result page 10 results at at time. It is human nature that a user is drawn to a listing that contains the keyword of what they are searching for and Google actually highlights the keyword in the result.

Give a user what they are looking for: if a page contains a recipe for honeycomb put Honeycomb Recipe at the start of the page title, users will be drawn to it.

Likewise, in the description that follows you have the chance to entice the user to visit your page, again use it tell them why they should.

In the screen shot below there are two things to learn.

1) The good and the bad. Have a look at the difference between A and B.

A clearly states the type of restaurant and where it is while B doesn’t do nearly as well. Your left wondering where the restaurant is and the result description, well it hasn’t even been considered.

2) The second thing to learn from this screen shot is how to control these two important things in Thesis / WordPress site.

The fields “Custom title tag” is where you control the title of the document and the one below “Meta Description” is the field to enter your description.

Figure 2 – The good and the bad of SERP listings

While we are big fans of Thesis as it has the ability to control titles and descriptions, the other tool that can do this is the plugin “All in one SEO”. Figure 3 shows similar fields to control the title of the document and the description.

All in one SEO plugin

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