Gaming Google Reader For Higher Click Through Rates

Everyone looking to promote their web sites are always looking for ways to get more traffic, higher click through rates and better conversion rates (whatever a conversion might represent).

For a long time, publishers around the world were looking at ways of exploiting small omissions in how the search engines crawled, indexed and subsequently displayed a result within the search engine listings. One of the most popular methods was adding in non-standard characters into the <title> element for a page, in an attempt to make it stand out within the search engine results.

It didn’t take long for the search engines to cotton onto this tactic and it was shut down – however I’ve recently noticed that a handful have slipped through into Google Reader.

Based on the image above, does the additional star at the start of the title catch your attention? For me it immediately grabbed it, as its similar to the star used by Google Reader to remember a feed item for later.

For comparisions sake, you can see that Google search is filtering that same non-standard character out of the search results; it’s a matter of time before the Google Reader team pug that hole.