Once upon a time I actually stole this idea from a small software directory. I don’t remember what site it was or even if they are still around. So I’m not going to bother attempting to give proper credit. Just know that this idea, although very rare and hardly used, is nothing new. It is infact quite old and proven to work.
This technique accomplishes two VERY important things1) It improves the CTR (click through rate) onto your site within the organics. Simply said, it makes your site stand out more when people search for your terms. So if done right you can actually rank #2 in the search results and yet pull more traffic from the results than the #1 site. You see the advantage of this already.
2) Since Googles inception of tracking click through rates, it is naturally understood that they will factor in CTR into which sites they should display first. Yahoo has been doing this for years. Its very simple and obvious, if the #2 site gets a much higher percentage of click throughs when visitors search for ____ than the #1 site. Than #2 must be a more relevant site for what the users are looking for. I haven’t done any testing with Google but I can tell you this for sure about Yahoo and it can be assumed for Google as well: Improving your CTR in the organics WILL improve your rankings over time.
How Is This Done?In the jist, improving your CTR in the organics is simply done by making eye catching adjustments to your title tag. Don’t you wish there was a way to make your title tags show up as heading tags or giant bold letters in the SERPS? Yeah keep dreaming buddy. Thats impossible, but you can however add common nontypable(not on keyboard) english characters to your title tag to make them stand out above the rest of the results. Every writer knows that bullets and arrows draw the readers eyes to important key points of a paper. Why not use that on your website.
Usable CharactersHere are the usable characters that I have found will work:^ ¢ £ ¤ ¥ § ¬ ° ± º ø þAlso:« note: Only works properly in Google
There are other non english characters you can try that look and stand out great, but i have never used them for fear of the engines thinking my site is non english. I suggest you take the same precaution. Use these english characters to form a title tag that stands out, yet won’t hurt your rankings. The nice thing about these characters is that you can put them in your title tag and yet the engines will pretty much ignore them when they rank your site. Other title changes will sometimes cause a temporary drop then rise again in the serps while they attempt to see if your site changed topics. These seem to have absolutely no affect other than being displayed in the SERPS.
Here’s An Exampleø Blue Hat SEO øA stupid blog you should never read.
See the difference? If you would like test this on a site you don’t care too much about and take an unbiased look at it in the results page. You’ll notice your eye naturally gets draw right too it. The biggest difference you will notice is the immediate traffic jump. Once the engines update your title tag in the SERPS you’ll instantly notice more traffic from each phrase you rank for. I really don’t mean to be selling you on this technique, but for how simple this technique is, the results are too amazing to not witness yourself.
What characters do I typically use?I am personally a big fan of ø and ¤. They just seem to look nice when placed in front and in back of a title. So now that I’ve finally written up this technique, you people can quit emailing me and asking me whats wrong with my giant “character rich” title tag.
Here is how the characters look in each one of the engines. I put the « in front so you can notice how it won’t show up in Yahoo and MSN.
Me in Google
Me in MSNMe in Yahoo
Further thoughts for PPC CampaignsThe whole point of this article wasn’t to tell you to put characters into your title tag. Its to draw some of your interest into a very important aspect of SEO that normally gets overlooked. There are many ways to improve your CTR in the organic results. The best point I can possibly convey is to use your creativity. Your a webmasters so I already know your chock full of that. I would also like to add the significance of this in PPC campaigns. Why pay an extra 10 cents/click for the #1 spot when you can get the same traffic while paying for the number 2 spot. It’s not all about writing a good ad that describes your site. Use some creativity to also draw their eyes to your ad. This is a basic 101 concept from back in the banner CPM days that still applies today.