Selling with just a few words – Designing Google search results (part 3/3)

by Volker Schwarz, 12.09.09

In the last article of our three-part special (part 1, part 2) we’ll take a look at the descriptive text in the Google search results. What options do we have here to have an effect on the display?



The description of your shop in the Google search results

The descriptive text that is output with the search results is just as decisive for a customer click as a short and concise title. Where does the information that Google uses for this come from?

Unfortunately, this question is not easily answered as it was for the title. As a rule, Google uses text from the website, usually the first 25 words of the page. Alternatively, the text can come from the site description of the page. With the site description, we are talking about a so-called "meta tag", an additional piece of information that is invisibly embedded in the <head> area of the source code of your website. (You can find more information about the general structure of a website here)

With your ePages rental shop, you have the ability to check both pieces of information and optimally present your shop to the search engine and to your customers. Again, there are different procedures depending on whether it is a home page, category page or product page.


The description of your home page

Initially, you should enter an introduction text on your home page. Compose it so that it presents your shop in a way that makes sense if it should show up in the Google search results. Keep this space free of anything unnecessary. An introduction text like "Welcome to our website,…" wastes valuable space. Keep in mind that the descriptions that are adopted by Google are also limited in the number of characters. Google generally only shows about 150 characters in the description text.

To enter an introduction text, click on the "Content/Category" menu item and then select "Datasheet view".


Click directly on the "General" tab without first selecting a specific category to get to the settings for the home page.

You can enter the text that the visitor of your website will first see in the large "Long description" field.

If your home page uses graphics and you are not presenting any text to your customers, you should still write a text for the search engine so that it can generate your result from this. You do this in the slightly smaller "Description" field. Everything you write here will only be stored in the <head> of your website and will thus be invisible to your customers.



The description of individual category pages


The site description for individual category pages is slightly easier to change than was the case with the home page. You can change it under the "Content/Category" menu item. Click on the now familiar "Data sheet view" and select the category page that you would like to change. The "Texts" submenu is located on the "General" tab. You can enter a short sentence in the "Description" field. This is simultaneously shown to your customers in your shop as well as being stored as a "description" meta tag in the source text.


The description of individual products

You are basically serving two target groups with the descriptions of the individual products. On the one hand, there are the customers that are searching for a product via search engine. For them, you should use the "Description" text field which stores an invisible entry in the <head> area of the website. The five recommendations mentioned above apply to this entry: Focusing, positioning, buying incentives, setting the tone and product orientation.

Your second target group are the customers who have already reached your shop. What really counts with the product description is that your customers are well informed by it and motivated to make a purchase. Thus, the product description should be comprehensive enough to make an impression. You can use the large "Additional description" text field for this entry. Your customers will be able to read everything you enter here on the website. With the editor, you also have the option of designing this text visually. Important elements should be in bold. This will be registered by both your customers and by the search engines and evaluated accordingly.

In the top menu, select the "Products" entry and then the product whose description you would like to adapt. The "Description" entry is located on the "General" tab. If you click there you will get to the two input fields for the "Description" as well as for the "Long description".
In addition, you can assign your own keywords to every product on this tab which are used by the search engine for categorising.




About the author

studied German, History and Politics at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. From 2004 to 2009 he worked as a freelancer for several marketing and communications companies in Hamburg, including e-commerce companies. Between August 2009 and December 2011, he worked as an online editor at ePages .

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