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How to Change the Text in Your Website’s Google Search Results

blog-change-text-in-search-results-40185-pexels-1280w Image Credit: Pexels

Search engine marketing is hugely important for small businesses and start-ups. But getting your website pages to show up in Google search results is not easy. And when they do, is Google actually displaying the text you want it to? If not, it’s a relatively easy fix for your webmaster, or you, if you developed your own site.

The first step with search engine optimization, or SEO, is to get an understanding of how Google lists each of your web pages. In the Google search box type site: and your URL. For example, site:polarismarketinggroup.com. You’ll get a listing that only includes the pages for your site. (Yikes! Ours definitely needs some updating!)

Next, make a note of the pages that don’t display with the text you want. You’ll want to think about those infamous keywords. If your business is about delicious, creamy yogurt, and the word yogurt is nowhere to be found, you’ll need to fix that page.

Before we get into the details of how to change the text in your Google search results, here’s a quick review of the structure of a basic search listing.

 

Example of basic Google search listing

Image Credit: Google

 

Think of the blue text as the title.
Think of the green text as the URL. (Because that’s what it is. You don’t want to change it.)
Think of the black text as the description.

Updating the title for your search listing:

Google pulls the title for a search listing from the Meta Title in the code for your web page. The meta title tag tells Google what your page is about and what you want to show up for in search rankings.

Here are some best practices for titles:

  • Include your primary keywords for the page in your title.
  • Limit the length of your title to less than 60 characters. It can be longer but Google will truncate it if it’s too long.
  • Don’t use the same title for more than one of your web pages. Keep them all unique.

Updating the description for your search listing:

Google pulls the description from the Meta Description in your web page code. The description is where you can provide more details about your web page and your business.

Here are some best practices for descriptions:

  • Again, include your primary keywords but this time incorporate them into full sentences.
  • Think about using your description as a advertisement or elevator pitch for the page. Tell users how your web page will help them. You could even include a short call to action.
  • Google doesn’t seem to be providing clear direction for the length of descriptions. It seems like if you’re pushing 200 characters, it might get truncated. It’s OK if it’s longer. Just put the most important stuff at the beginning.

Keep in mind, your meta tags for titles and descriptions provide Google with the default text for your pages. Depending on the actual search string entered by a user, Google may pull in text from another section of your page because Google believes it’s more helpful to the user. Don’t worry too much about these instances. It’s just Google being Google.

If you didn’t create your own site, you should give all your text changes to your webmaster. They’ll be able to update your meta tags for you. Once your tags are updated, give it a few days for Google to crawl your website and record the changes. Or you can use the Google Search Console tool to trigger a re-crawl.

If you need more help with your SEO or any of your marketing, drop us a note.

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Cheers!

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