Improving Your Digital First Impression

Is that your first impression, and is that good enough for you?

The way people communicate sure has changed since Simon Le Bon sang it to us back in 1990. I don’t need to tell you how important the first impression is, that it could make or break the opportunity with that person. Twenty-some years later, the first impression is no longer limited to face-to-face encounters. There are more encounters happening in the digital sphere every day now, and that’s also the case for many businesses. You have a variety of ways to improve your first impression for your business in the search and social environment. The question is, “Is your digital first impression good enough for you?”

impression-300x225Source: Image from Shutterstock

A good first impression improves the engagement and ultimately the conversion.

Even on the digital environment, the first impression does help people to engage, whether it’s your website through the search results, or the social media. According to Survey Monkey’s online survey, significantly more people read content on social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, when the content is very popular.

Catalyst’s test results show that the rich snippet in the search results had as much as 150 percent higher click-through rate than search results without. Though the rich snippet doesn’t have any impact on ranking it does have a significant impact on engagement.

It’s no myth that a better first impression does help your online engagement with your audience. Here are some easy ways to improve your digital first impression.

Search Snippet

Have you checked how your important PLPs (preferred landing pages) show up in the search results for your SEO target keywords lately, or ever? While many people still care so much about the ranking, it is shocking how few people care about how their search snippet looks or sounds once they do rank well.

Searchers try to understand your page content by the title tag and the page snippet provided by the search engines. If it is navigational gibberish, or worse, blank, your chances of being clicked are minimal. Make sure that your titles and page snippets in the search results provide enough relevant and accurate information about the page content. When the snippet connects with the searcher’s interests, you’ll have more quality traffic to your site.

Note that the page snippet isn’t always created using what you entered in the meta description tag. Also, the same page could have a different snippet for different search queries. So, just because you optimized the meta description tag doesn’t mean that your search snippet’s first impression is perfect. At least do some spot checks to understand how your pages show up in the search results, and polish them up for higher engagement.

Rich Snippet With Schema and Authorship Markup

In addition to the title tag, and page snippet, we now have more options to pimp your search results presentation. The most recent of these is using Schema and other meta data and microformat markup. These visually rich snippets show up in the search results and definitely demand the attention of the search users. Multiple studies show that even the lower ranking pages on the first result page capture higher click-through rates than a page ranking number one, when the lower ranking page has rich snippets.

The rich snippet is not only visually attractive, but it provides additional information about the page and the author such as images, ratings, schedules, popularity, features, and the duration of the video, etc. It enhances the search experience and provides additional validated content to the search engines.

Paid Ads

There are more options for the paid ads, too. For example, Google’s AdWords lets you include a variety of engagement options and links to your ads from the site links, to the ratings, to subscription window. The number of Google+ followers can show up in the ads, too. If you are targeting the local searchers, the phone number, and the direction showing up in the ads can really help people reaching your shops or offices.

Social Profile and Content

You know your website is important. You pay great attention to the content, the look, the messages, the usability, etc. Your company’s social profile pages and home pages are just as important as the website. Review what people see first when they come to your social network pages such as a profile photo/image, the background, the profile information, and most importantly the content.

The difference between the website and the social media is that your social page shows how you interact with your community. When you see someone’s profile page for the first time, and it looks like below, do you want to engage with her?

  • Only follows (friends with) a few people
  • Doesn’t interact with followers/friends
  • Only a few people like/share your content
  • Has only a couple of posts since the account was created

If these are “turn-offs” to you, they probably are to your audience, too. If you struggle to grow in social circles, or noticed that the audience engagement has become dull, review your social presence, and make the improvements.

It may sound like a lot of work. But improving and maintaining an amazing digital first impression should be at the top of your to-do list. Doing so will bring you so much in return.

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