If you run training sessions, courses or classes in various cities at various times, let me give you a secret weapon that will help you fill your seats. This secret weapon is also great for how-to-authors or anyone else who tours.
I just got off the phone with a client who runs training sessions in various cities. We were looking at how her website ranked for various local searches related to her type of training in a couple cities where she will be over the next couple months. In one case, we searched on Google for:
topicname training cityname
Her website came in at #6, with a title tag of:
Of course, the first recommendation I gave was to add the word “training” to the middle of the title tag, which would probably vault the page to at least #3 in Google’s rankings. So the title tag would read as follows:
topicname training cityname
OK, so far this is all common sense. But my second recommendation is not something any SEO class will teach you. It was to add something to her page’s title tag that would most likely ensure she got more targeted click-throughs than Google’s #1 or #2 listing above hers, without having to grab the top spot.
Studies have shown that typically 40% of searchers click on the #1 listing in the search engine results. This is true across all engines and to some degree or more across various types of searches. And yes, it is true equally for people who look at other listings, even for those who scroll down and look at listings #9 and #10; they tend to return to the top and click on the #1 listing, perhaps because there is a subconscious sense of authority that comes from being Google’s top pick.
But who are the 60% of people who do not click on the #1 result? Here are a few suggestions (maybe you can add to this list):
- People who see that the #1 result is not at all what they are looking for. For example, some people searching for “pursuit of happiness” might be looking for the band, some for the constitution, some for a self-help website. So many searchers will scroll to find the top ;listing related to their topic.
- People who have already been to the #1 listing and did not find what they wanted there.
- People doing research or price comparisons and want to visit many websites for more information.
- People who feel the #1 listing looks spammy from the outset.
- People who see something so totally laser-targeted to them, that they skip over the top few results and click directly on that link.
The recommendation I gave my client was to add something to her title tag that would convert the majority of searchers into this last group. Before I tell you what it is, you must understand the thought process of someone looking for a training session. They are looking for a local session; they don’t want to travel to Chicago or London or Toronto. They are looking for something now; their contemplating time is over and now they are searching because now they want to sign up.
So here is how I recommended my client set up her title tag for pages announcing upcoming, scheduled courses:
topicname training cityname month year
Even if very few people search by date, imagine that you are searching Google, Yahoo or whatever engine by location and up pops the results with a bunch of typical generic listing titles and you notice in the title of the fourth listing that there is a class or training session not only in your city but coming up next month. Bang – you have just diverted a lot of traffic from the #1 listing that is vaguely about training to a listing that offers specifically what the searcher is looking for. More importantly, you have just diverted the traffic that is holding money in its hand, ready to buy.
Like I said….secret weapon!