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How to Create Content for Stand-out Search Results

What we’ve learned at MintCopy

When you run a search for ‘what is content,’ you’ll get more than a few links and snippets. Now, in addition to the traditional blue titles, green web locations, and black text blocks, you’ll see a colorful display of videos and images for related search options. Change your search to 'buy television near me,' and results expand to include current deals and maps to local stores. Searching for answers online today produces a variety of visual resources.

Recent studies from UX research firm Nielsen Norman Group and search experience company Yext suggest that variations in search result presentation aren’t slowing searchers’ response times. In less than 6 seconds, most people ‘pinball’ across the page to consider their search results and choose an option. Engagement after a search grew faster than overall impressions, meaning consumers are either getting better at searching or search engines are producing more useful results. 

What implications do these findings have for your content marketing efforts? Let’s build on our recent review of how people read by examining how you can ensure your content shows up in search results and spurs action.

Use the Power of Headlines (aka Titles)

The Nielsen Norman Group study shows that while searchers notice visuals, compelling titles and descriptions often draw more attention.

A captivating title can become the first piece of information searchers use when deciding which results to click. Here are a few insights about headlines that we’ve gathered as a content marketing agency:

  • Create a unique, specific headline that spells out what your content explains. When your title provides an 'instant answer,' you're more likely to generate interest in your content.
  • Use friendly, relatable words, and keep your title short. Headlines with 6 to 9 words will show up entirely in search results and earn those valuable click-throughs.
  • Make sure your headline matches your content. Sorry we had to include this in our list, but you'd be surprised at how often mismatches occur.

Include ‘Rich Answers’ in Your Content

Rich answers are a Google feature that shows a snippet of information from a piece of content shown on page 1 of search results. Importantly, these text boxes aren't always from the top ranked source on the page. Capturing an answer box means Google identifies your content as the best response to a query.

We’ve noticed that rich answers have a few common characteristics:

  • Answers are direct and concise, usually less than 100 words or 3 to 4 sentences. Think of this solution as your 'elevator pitch' where you only have a few seconds to connect with searchers.
  • Rich answers often include numbered lists, tables, or graphs, particularly when addressing ‘how’ queries.
  • Details are correct. Again, we apologize for stating the obvious, but getting to the top of the search results means you’ll need current and completely accurate information.

Craft Content that Delivers on Search Previews

A successful search experience produces satisfying results. Failing to fulfill the insights promised by your headline or rich answer is like hosting a conference where the best part of the event is the agenda. If you lead searchers to believe you have relevant, useful information, be sure to write robust content that meets those expectations.

Ultimately, you’ll build connections when your content marketing reflects a thoughtful customer-centric strategy. When you know customers’ pain points, understand their language, and provide helpful content to support their journey, you’ll get results, even if you’re not #1 on SERPs.

Would you like to know more about creating content for stand-out search results? The team at MintCopy, a content marketing agency in Mississauga, Canada, would value the opportunity to talk with you. We’ll put our knowledge of digital marketing and content best practices to work, and get you noticed online.

Return this online form, and we’ll get back to you promptly. You can also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to stay up-to-date with content marketing trends.

Reference Sources:

https://www.nngroup.com/articles/pinball-pattern-search-behavior/

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/search-trends-2020-yext-researches-what-customers-are-looking-for-throughout-the-year-300962689.html

https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624?hl=en

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