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Getting Searchers to Click

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We’ve explored what catches searchers’ eyes on the search results page. The next step is the click.

What makes searchers click a particular result?

  • The page’s title. Searchers are scanning for their keywords in the title of each page in the search result list. But, as we saw earlier, semantic mapping causes searchers to scan for other words that they did not enter. Internet search studies show the title to drive the most clicks—a title which matches the searcher’s concept (both explicit search keywords and those not divulged).
  • The page’s snippet. Not far behind in importance is the snippet, the couple of lines of description below the title. Typically the snippet consists of snatches of words from the page’s text with the searcher’s keywords highlighted.
  • Depending on your site, other factors may be important, too. Retail sites frequently show pictures and prices in the search results. Auction sites such as eBay show the time remaining before the auction ends. Finding out what causes your searcher to click is important—different kinds of searches require different information on the screen.

But why does a searcher click one result over another? We’ve already seen that, no matter what type of query, searchers tend to click a result that contains the exact query words. In addition, seeing trusted brand names (as well as reviews and comparison information) correlates with Internet searcher clicks. Showing a low price (along with promises of discounts or other offers) enhances clickthrough, especially when the searcher can buy online.

If you’re looking for a free search engine for your Web site, one that is easy to try, provides highly relevant results, and that has a configurable user interface you can change to your heart’s content, try the IBM OmniFind Yahoo! Edition.

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