The following title and description may get you a high ranking for a keyword search on the word "mortgage":

AAA Mortgage banking, the Mortgage money lenders - Mortgage, lenders, money, mortgages, mortgage money, mortgage loans, home equity loans, mortgage money,

What it says, however, is unappealing. Instead, look at another site description that would also rank high, and see which site you would be more likely to visit:

Mortgages Applications Approved Overnight - Mortgages and mortgage financing techniques that the larger banks just don't offer. Learn the 8 important things to include on your application so that your mortgage can be approved in 24 hours, even if you have poor credit.

The listing above has the word "mortgage" as the first word of the title, the first word of the description and repeats the word "mortgage" 4 times. The difference is that this description is compelling, solves a problem and offers "8 important things" or pieces of information that could be valuable to consumers visiting the site.

Direct response companies, those firms that make infomercials and run classified ads in papers across the country, have studied and mastered the art of writing headlines. What they learned is that headlines are most effective when they accomplish four things:

  1. Solve a problem
  2. Solve that problem quickly
  3. Solve that problem for what appears to be a small or reasonable amount of money
  4. Make the reader curious to learn more

With that in mind, the following headline is acceptable, but not as effective as it could be:"I can help you to get out of debt and get a good credit rating - I've done it for others; I can do it for you!"

A better approach is to use a headline that will draw more inquiries:"Correct your bad credit in under a week for less than $49!"The second example solves a problem, does so quickly and shows how much money is involved. People relate to this appeal because it has a fundamental basis. Remember one of the many adages about goal setting, "A goal without a deadline is a wish!" Or, how about what they teach you in business school about proposal writing, "Never offer a plan that does not include both time and money."

The direct response model is effective because it addresses these things, especially time and money. As you write your page description and title, think about this. Then, ask yourself before you submit them to the search engines:

  • Is my headline compelling?
  • Is it interesting?
  • Will it make someone curious to learn more?
  • Would I read it and want to visit the site?
  • Does it include time and money?
  • Does it solve a problem?
  • Does it suggest that it solves that problem quickly?
  • Does it include price? (Only emphasize the price if yours is very attractive)

Be careful. You don't want to offend anyone's intelligence -- and many direct marketers write headlines that underestimate readers. Read it yourself and ask if you would find the title interesting -- if you don't, you can be sure that others won't.

This direct response model does not apply universally in its purest form. Many Web sites do not sell things directly and are informational in nature or support what ad execs would call image advertising. However, do not overlook this fundamental truth:

  • Being first in the search engines is great.
  • Being first and compelling is better!

Your listing in the search engine should be compelling. If the description of the site directly below yours is more compelling, you lose.

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