Generally, the Featured Snippets are part of the real Google prime estate when it comes to how Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) works and how they influence the ranking position. But, at times, if you want to capture them, it’s hard to know where to get started. And that’s why today I am going to guide you by providing answers to some of your FAQs.
In fact, in a recent Webmaster Hangout from Google, John Mueller confirmed that websites do need to have their SERP in (SEM) promoted. Especially, in order to increase traffic, rank higher, and increase the click-through rate (CTR) conversion. That’s in addition to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and resourceful content writing.
Eventually, this goes even beyond the common advice on SERP by Google. About how building awesome content is important. Meaning, having a great SERP for a website is ever-winning if paired with a well leads marketing campaign. As an example, a random publisher confessed about the observations made on their site after two years of tedious workload.
Whereby, their website started ranking on search results without having to build a single link. But, basically, the high-end million questions is whether link building for SERP is important. Given our experience, website ranking algorithms utilize various aspects to help rank your site higher on any given search results. So, in this guide, we’ll try to discover how to utilize them.
Understanding The Search Engine Results Page (SERP) Basics
To enumerate, Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) are the pages that Google and other search engines show in response to a user’s search query. The abbreviation stands for the search engine results page. In short, a Search Engine Results Page is a page generated by a search engine in response to a user search or query. SERPs display a list of query results in the search bar.
or sites relevant to the user’s search. Paid advertisements, if relevant, may also appear in a SERP. If to explain in simple words, SERP means when you want to find some information and write the related keyword phrase and the search engine you use gives you feedback in the form of a page with the results found. You can learn more about the main SERP features below:
These results are those links with the details about the topic of your request. A SERP feature is any result on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that is not a traditional organic result.
The main elements of SERP are:
- Direct search results, consisting of links to sites. This is the natural issuance of the best search engines, where sites are struggling for the highest positions and better ranking. The search results page contains, by default, 10 links, but the number can be changed in the search settings;
- Blocks with contextual advertising;
- Small fields before search results. They can contain typing errors, quick responses to a user request, a calculator, and so on;
- Pictures are issued in response to a particular search query;
- Related queries – the search query is refined. The user is offered word forms or similar requests;
- Elements of management – this includes links to go to the site, prompts when entering a user request.
Since Google’s appearance, the organic results of SERP haven’t changed much up to the present time. However, the use of AdWords has contributed to the fact that Google started to include new SERP non-organic results.
Now you know what is SERP and it is high time to look at its major features, among which one differentiates the following four major features.
The major features of SERP include:
- Results obtained with the help of keywords bidding are called Paid Results.
- The definite information that one can find in the boxes is called Knowledge Graph.
- Visualization appearing in addition to those that have already been found are known as Snippets.
- Details, which appear together with the organic findings, are known as Universal Results.
In the early days of Google, every result on the SERP looked the same, and these traditional organic results have not changed much in appearance over the years.
By using SERP best tools, you can identify and organize featured rich snippets of data and increase your CTR rate as well as your website rankings or search results.
The layout of the search results page is constantly changing with the inclusion of the Google Knowledge Graph data and the integration of SERP Features. Like videos, maps, and Google shopping ads, etc. These developments can mean that the top 3 organic rankings are no longer the 3 best positions on the SERP.
After all, this has been demonstrated in the heatmap and eye-tracking tests. Simply, because the point of a good website ranking in the search results is to gain as much traffic as possible from the organic search channel.
Specifically, meaning the higher up a page ranks in the results for a search query, the higher the chance is that the searcher will click on this result. Eventually, this explains the direct connection between high rankings and increased traffic.
Why SERPs Matter In Website Content SEO Auditing
With the vast amount of information available, finding what you need would be nearly impossible without some help sorting through it. Fortunately, Google’s ranking systems are designed to do just that: sort through hundreds of billions of web pages and other content in the Search index — to present the most relevant, useful results in a fraction of a second.
To give you the most useful information, Search Engine Algorithms look at many factors and signals. Including the words of your query, the content relevancy, the usability of webpages, the expertise of sources, your location, general settings, and the like. However, the weight applied to each factor varies depending on the nature of your query.
Resource Reference: How Website Links Management Is Done | 10 Key Methods
For example, the freshness of the content plays a bigger role in answering queries about current news topics than it does about dictionary definitions. Unfortunately, most people click organic results on the first page of the SERPs and rarely visit page two of the search engines (from pages 10 to 100). This is why everyone wants to rank on the first page of Google by all means.
However, most webmasters and SEO professionals alike rarely focus their efforts to help them rank higher. Thus, it’s quite crucial that if you are one of them, you should take a new turn towards utilizing SERPs fully. Not forgetting, if you’re on page two or beyond, you’re practically invisible. But, ranking on the first page doesn’t always equate to lots of traffic for a few reasons.
Consider the following:
- First, most of the organic clicks go to the first few positions.
- Second, paid results often push the organic rankings down in the SERP.
For example, Google shows four paid ads above the organic results for “buy eyeglasses online.” And because of this, 39% of all clicks go to paid results.
Third, Google sometimes shows SERP features that answer the query in the search results. Just take a look at the results for the “most searched thing on Google” on Google Trends. Because Google answers the question in the SERP, there’s no need for searchers to click on a result.
The Steps To Rank In The Search Engine Results Page (SERP)
Through processes such as keyword research, on-page SEO practices, and ensuring a page is mobile-friendly, a website can appear higher in the search engine rankings. Markedly, people use the internet every day to research products, read reviews and find local businesses. Thus, ensuring your business appears in an organic search can help more customers find you.
An organic search result is the largest driver of all traffic to websites — so ranking as high as possible in a search is a must. Google recently launched the helpful content update, which focuses on people-first content. The update rewards content that’s informative to visitors and has a primary focus to answer questions. However, don’t stray too far from your expertise.
For one thing, your website should answer users’ questions and give them relevant information. That said, below are some ways to increase your business ranking on the search engine results page to be sure potential and current customers can find your website. So that, in the end, you can convert your target audience into traffic and potential customers into buyers.
1. Create Quality And Authoritative Content
Quality, authoritative content is the number one search engine rankings driver and there is no substitute for great content — this is, especially, true when doing SEO marketing for your website. Overall, this is quality content created specifically for your intended user increases website traffic, which improves your site’s authority and relevance.
On that note, you should try to fine-tune your web writing skills and present yourself as an authority on the topic you are writing about. Identify (Keyword Research) and target a specific keyword phrase for each authoritative content page on your website. Think about how your reader might search for that specific page with search terms that may relate to your website.
Consider the following focus terms:
- online digital PR management
- what is computer engineering?
- title IX educational resources
- how AI is helping drive businesses
- the hows-to apply for YZ jobs online
- engineering vs engineering technology
In addition, it’s also good to note that it’s very difficult for a webpage to achieve search engine rankings for multiple keyword phrases — unless those phrases are very similar. A single page may be able to rank for both “computer engineering jobs” and “computer engineering careers”. At the same time, ranking “student affairs” and “dean of students” with a single page is unlikely.
Meaning, that if you want to rank for multiple keyword phrases with your website, you’ll need to make a separate webpage for each keyword phrase you are targeting. Once your keyword phrase is chosen for a given page;
Consider these questions:
- First, can I use part or all of the keyword phrases in the page URL (by using keywords in folders)?
- Secondly, can I use part or all of the keyword phrases in the page title?
- Then again, can I use part or all of the keyword phrases in page headings and subheadings?
Answering yes to these questions can improve your search engine ranking. Be natural and user-friendly, though. For instance, you do not want the word “engineering” to show up three or more times in the URL or have the phrase Northern Lights repeated in the page title and also every heading. Readability and usability still trump search engine optimization.
2. Refresh Your Content Now And Then
Beyond page URLs, titles, and headings, refreshed content is quite influential on search engine rankings too. Repeat your keyword phrase several times throughout the page — once or twice in the opening and closing paragraphs, and two to four more times throughout the remaining content. Be authoritative, and strategically link to relevant sources and additional information.
This should be done both within your organization’s broad website and even on other websites which are useful.
Don’t forget to use bold, italics, heading tags (especially an H1), and other emphasis tags to highlight these keyword phrases—but don’t overdo it. You still want your language and writing style to read naturally. Never sacrifice good writing for SEO. The best pages are written for the user, not for the search engine. Read more about SEO marketing to help you find new content opportunities.
Publish and update your content regularly
You’ve probably noticed that we feel pretty strongly about content. Search engines do, too. Regularly updated content is viewed as one of the best indicators of a site’s relevancy, so be sure to keep it fresh. Audit your content and set a blog publishing schedule (semesterly for example) and make updates as needed. That’s why blogs are a great way to refresh content.
The key to blogging is having relevant and quality posts along with new content. Each time a blog post is added, it creates another index page that helps search engine optimization (SEO). Try blogging about business, industry, products, and events with relevant keywords. Over time, update old blog posts and repost them to get new content.
Encourage readers to share these posts on social media for new leads. A well-written blog can appear in searches for years. Writing additional content, rich with keyword phrases, on your departmental news blog can also boost your search engine rankings. Blog posts can even be shorter updates about the specific topics you are targeting.
Interlink your related CMS webpages and blog posts when it helps give the reader a better picture or additional information about the topic.
Include some metadata in your content
When designing your website, each page contains a space between the <head> tags to insert metadata or information about the contents of your page. If you have a CMS site originally produced by the UMC web team will have pre-populated this data for you. However, it is important for you to review and update metadata as your site changes over time.
For instance, let’s consider the Title Metadata role in your content strategy. Well, the title metadata is responsible for the page titles displayed at the top of a browser window and as the headline within search engine results. It is the most important metadata on your page. For those with a CMS website, the web team has developed an automated system already.
Specifically, for creating the meta title for each webpage based on your page title. This adds to the importance of using well-thought-out page titles rich with Keyword Phrases in a natural way. Obviously, this means that Keyword Metadata is a great tool to utilize. However, must be remembered, keyword metadata is rarely if ever used to tabulate search engine rankings.
However, you should already know your keyword phrases, so it doesn’t hurt to add them to your keyword metadata. You’ll want to include a variety of phrases. As a general rule, try to keep it to about 3-7 phrases with each phrase consisting of 1-4 words. A great example would be “a computer science degree.” Similarly, Description Metadata is also quite invaluable.
Think of it as your site’s window display—a concise and appealing description of what is contained within, with the goal of encouraging people to enter. A good meta description will typically contain two full sentences. Search engines may not always use your meta description, but it is important to give them the option.
Make sure that you have a link-worthy website
Want an easy way to improve your Google rankings through backlinking? Well, a webpage that is content-rich, authoritative, unbiased, and helps visitors learn more about what they are interested in is most likely to attract links from other websites, which improves your search engine optimization. In other words, this means that you should try to use a backlinking strategy.
This means, that you should try to link from one page on your website to another page on your website. And unlike backlinks, you can use exact-match anchor text in your internal links in order to achieve this. For example, from the illustration image below (by Backlink), they are currently quite low on the first page for the term “Google Search Console” — as per their blog article.
And now, considering how many people search for this keyword every month, even moving up one spot could make a huge difference for them. So, to increase the odds that this page ranks, they can try to add an internal link to that page whenever they mention the Google Search Console in their content. Then again, rinse and repeat for all of their high-priority pages.
Try to add relevant links within the text to improve your authority and credibility. Instead of having “click here” links, try writing out the focus terms. Perse, “click here” has no ranking value beyond the attached URL. Whereas “Web Tech Experts Enterprise Program” is rich with keywords and will improve your rankings as well as the ranking of the page you are linking to.
Use alt tags and descriptive links
Always describe your image and video media using alt tags, or alternative text descriptions. They allow search engines to locate your page, which is crucial—especially for those who use text-only browsers or screen readers. You should also use descriptive links by linking keywords — it not only improves search engine optimization but also adds value to your readers.
More so, including those with disabilities or who are using screen readers. SERPs may look different for each query, but they’re all made up of the same three building blocks.
- Paid ads
- Organic results
- SERP features
Below, we’ll walk through each of these in detail, and explain how you can show up there.
Organic search results are pages from Google’s index. Because there are often thousands of matching results, Google sorts them using hundreds of ranking factors. As a result, the most relevant and high-quality pages generally end up on the first page of the SERPs.
Nobody knows all of Google’s ranking factors, but we do know some of them. For example, we know that the number of backlinks to a page is important. In terms of how Google displays organic results, they usually show the title, URL, and a descriptive snippet.
You can tell Google what to display in the SERP by setting the page’s title tag, URL slug, and meta description. However, while Google almost always shows the hardcoded title tag in the SERP, it often chooses something other than the meta description for the snippet.
Bottom line: if you want to appear in the organic search results, you need to focus on creating the best and most relevant result for the query. You also need to make sure Google can index your pages, and that they’re optimized for search.
Google SERP Features
Google SERP Features are non-traditional results. They can be paid, organic, or pulled directly from Google’s Knowledge Graph. While the purpose of SERP features is sometimes to directly generate revenue for Google (i.e., Shopping ads).
The aim is most often to provide information in the search results without the need to click a result. For this reason, SERP features have a significant effect on SEO. Recent estimates suggest that over 50% of searches now result in no clicks.
However, being featured in SERP features can also increase clicks to your website. The Bottom line is that it’s possible to show up in some SERP features. But, the way you do that depends on the type of feature.
What SERP features are there?
Google shows dozens of SERP features in the results, and they’re always testing new ones. Below, I’ll list some of the most common. You can click on any time to know more about their sources of data, and whether it’s possible to appear in them to win more traffic to your site.
Consider the following:
- Featured snippets
- Knowledge card
- Knowledge Panel
- Image Packs
- Top stories
- People Also Ask (PAA)
- Google shopping results
- Tweets boxes
- Sitelinks Search Box
- Video Search
You can read and learn more about the interactive 7‑step guide to ranking on Google’s first page (SERP).
Optimize On-Page SEO elements to drive more paid ad results
Another common mistake that web-based business marketers often make is not utilizing the key elements of On-Page SEO in their paid marketing campaigns. Not forgetting, paid search results appear before, and sometimes also after the organic results. Both types of results are virtually indistinguishable, the only real difference being that paid ads are marked as such.
Paid ads work on a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) basis, meaning that advertisers bid on keywords and pay Google for each click. The highest bidders generally receive prime placement, although Google also takes other factors like the relevance of the ad and CTR into account.
The bottom line is this; If you want to appear in paid ads, you’ll have to dig into your piggy bank.
Track And Monitor Your Results
So at this point, you should start seeing your site rank higher on Google than before, which is great. But, how do you know if those rankings are doing anything for you? Also, how do you keep tabs on your SEO results without manually checking your rankings every hour? Well, that’s what this step is all about. In this step, we’re going to show you how to track your results like a pro.
Using Google Analytics 4 Property to track “Organic Traffic” for your website is the first option. After all, rankings are great, but when it comes to measuring the results of SEO marketing there is no gambling. NOTHING beats organic traffic (in other words, traffic that comes directly from search engines). That’s mostly because rankings can be deceiving.
In fact, one industry study found that ranking #1 in Google isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Markedly, Google Analytics 4 Property (GA4) is a new kind of property designed for the future of website tracking and measurement. It helps you to collect both website and application data to better understand the customer journey — using event-based data instead of session-based.
As a matter of fact, in a new GA4 property, an event is anything that is being tracked. For example, a pageview is sent as an event to Google Analytics, when a session starts it is sent as an event, and purchases are sent as events. Anything you track is sent as an event. But, there are also other Web Testing Tools and Website Analytics Tools that you can also consider using.
According to lettdirect, there are many perks to having the #1 result in Google. You get the lion’s share of the clicks and bolster your PPC efforts. You are first in line to garner more links. Then there is the revenue stream that comes from monetizing the traffic from that #1 result.
It’s no wonder, then, that an entire industry has grown around the ability to acquire #1 results in Google — or at least as close as you can get. To be #1, however, you need to know what Google wants and you need to give Google what it wants better than anybody else.
That’s a tricky proposition, though, because Google has said repeatedly it examines 200+ factors in its ranking algorithm and makes changes to that algorithm—mostly small, but some quite large — every single day.
With that in mind, you can see an exclusive guide on the Anatomy of Search Results & How to Rank in Google in detail. But, if you’ll need more support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can sort you out.