On-Page SEO: CTR, Snippet Links and First Link Priority

Now, on-page factors have grown in complexity and importance.

First, getting the page ranked; then getting click-through rate on your listing: there are now some options and opportunities that might (oh gawd) ‘add value’ and, well, someone else in your market surely will deploy, so maybe it’s worth taking a moment or three to ponder.

The search engine listing itself is now wearing long trousers – Google has experimented with extended snippets, which they seem to have withdrawn, and they have now added links in snippets. For any given page this could be good or bad, but in any case we get to decide, or at least influence, whether to activate or suppress, based upon the way we handle our page mark-up.

And then there’s the panto villain of SEO (‘He’s Behind You!’): yes, folks its FLP, or First Link Priority, pretty much forcing us to consider radical changes in mark-up to accommodate search. Assuming you believe in that kind of thing.

Previously, SEO had only modest impact on the mark-up of the page; now, it can be extensive.

  1. Ranking
    • Title Tag
    • Meta Description
    • Body Copy

    Not a whole pile to say on that, I mean, obvious, right? Well, yes an no – you’d be surprised about the misinformation that’s out there. For the record, yer onner, 69 characters – including spaces – for the Title, 156 characters – including spaces – for the Meta Description. Body Copy: literate, informative and keyword-rich. Next up, after getting ranked, is getting clicked…

  2. Click-through Rate
    • Title Tag
    • Meta Description
    • Markup Order of Body Copy

    The challenge here is that the advertisement that appears in search results is not the one that we get to write. Instead, the search engine writes it for us by finding the User’s search expression in context within our page copy. There are a number of things we can do to guide the quality of the resulting listing and these will impact to what extent ranking results in traffic and what portion of that traffic is the right sort of traffic.

  3. Snippet Links
    • In-Page Anchors

    And just when you think you have that handled, Google creates new kinds of snippets, ones that included links to anchors within your page. As a searcher, I find these are really useful, almost a smaller version of sitelinks but only for the single page that is ranking, not for the entire site. Time will tell whether snippet links are better overall than simply a longer text description; we shall see.

  4. First Link Priority
    • Markup Order of Links
    • Link stacking

    And finally – and why deviate at this late stage in the game from the Panto theme? – there’s the Ugly Betty of them all: the cantankerous, scheming and self-regarding feature that we shall refer to as, oh, something vaguely scientific… uhm, oh, I have it now: ‘first link priority’. Dear Google, thanks so much, like SEO wasn’t all CSI New York as it was (I should point out that SEO CSI Miami is for those of you of a sunnier disposition, self-intoxicated on the notion that SEO is, like, a walk on a sun-kissed beach bordered by tall buildings of gleaming glass, like a mouth full – or should that be a mouthful? – of porcelain veneers).

On the plus side, if you can hoist yourself on the petard of FLP, well, you might know something your competitor doesn’t know – you’ll rank better – and that makes you better at visibility voodoo.