A conversation with Adam Lasnik, Google's search evangelist

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A conversation with Adam Lasnik, Google's search evangelist
A conversation with Adam Lasnik, Google's search evangelist
By doing this, two things are likely to happen. It helps Google to better understand what the page is about and it helps us to more effectively list the page in our search results.

By having titles that are specific, descriptive and also concise, you will not only oftentimes improve your listing within Google, but it will also encourage more people to click on it because they have an understanding of what your site is about.

Similarly, the meta description tags are often, although they are not always, used to help us create what is called the snippet. That's the couple of lines of text underneath the title on the search results that gives a little more information about that page.

In general, we try to show a snippet that is surrounding what the exact search term the person searched for. But, when that is not always clear, we often fall back on that meta description. So making it in plain English, making it a few concise thoughtful descriptive phrases – that helps everyone.

DMNews: Any more tips for SEO/SEM marketers?

AL: The second piece of advice I often give to search engine marketers and Webmasters is to focus on brains over beauty and function over form. We often see sometimes people getting carried away with their Web designers to make a site beautiful.

But what we've seen historically is that users are looking to land on page, get information or do an action and then get out.

Although it's nice to make it look somewhat pretty and not terribly stark – functionality and content always trumps. We encourage Webmasters to really focus on the usability and user interface.

Webmasters should understand how their users currently use their Web site. What do they look at? Where do they go? What do they access on that site?

We also offer a really outstanding free tool that has just been updated called Google Analytics. The function of this tool is to help Webmasters understand those key points: Who is coming to their site? What they are doing? What are they looking for? And, do they convert into sales?

Whether or not the SEMs or Webmasters want to use that tool from us or want to use a third party analysis tool, that's fine. But you don't want to go blind. You want to understand what your users are looking for and where they go. And by catering to your users, you are naturally going to be better in Google.

(This article first appeared in the June 2007 edition of the Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing.)

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