List items being displayed in search results

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditDigg this

I recently noticed that one of the listings for a client site had started to show a couple of items from a table on one of their web pages as part of the text underneath the search results. This “snippet” of text, appears under every search result and is used to tell a potential visitor to your site what they can expect to find there. Google frequently use the text from the Description Meta Tag for this snippet but not always. If they determine that other text on the page is more relevant to the page as a whole that will be shown instead.

In this particular case it was table items that were being displayed – see below – but it can also be bullet points. The items in this example are the dates and places for upcoming training courses. Being a project management training company this is, obviously, a big bonus for them and it is likely to encourage more click-throughs (we’ll be monitoring the effect over time).

 

On the actual web page the table shows 8 upcoming courses, in date order with the nearest first –  the description in the search listings shows just the first 2 out of that list of 8 (presumably for space reasons) but does give an indication of how many items there will be on the page with the “5+ items” indicator above the list. Better still this list is not at the expense of any descriptive text of which there is still one line of text which is the first half of the Description Meta Tag.

I can see the benefits of this relatively new feature in the search engine ranking positions in encouraging a user to click on your site rather than a competitor – particularly where a business’s main competitive edge comes through pricing.

In the case of the Parallel Project Training example, their reputation for high-quality training is well known in the project management field and price is less of a deciding factor for their customers so it is less of an issue that the price of the courses is not showing in the listings. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that Google has chosen to omit the price from the list it displayed because the prices do exist in the table on the web page. The prices are bold and preceded by the £ sign but also happen to appear in a table column after the data that are shown – I wonder which of these factors is the deciding one in not displaying the price – an opportunity for more testing, I think.

As Google constantly strive to improve what is shown in the search engine listings for a better user experience, small changes such as adding some table content are worth monitoring and taking action on as they could just be the edge you need over the competition. And it would make sense to have your key products at the top of any list on a page – obviously, from both an SEO and marketing perspective. And if price is a key element of your marketing strategy then it will be important to get that data displayed if the snippet is to have the greatest impact on click-through rates.

According to Google, table items or bullet lists will be shown where the results page consists mainly of the structured list and they aim to show 3 lines from that list – I have yet to see an example with bullet points and in the example I have given here only 2 table items are show plus some of the meta description but then you never get the whole story from Google.

Something else I like about this example is the domination of the top positions of the organics search results by one site. This is not the best example for this client – with other search terms they dominate 4 of the top 5 organic positions with their main domain.

More about organic search listing domination another time…

By

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditDigg this

Leave a Reply