In a world of technology jargon, here is another acronym for you to become familiar with.
SERP – Search Engine Results Pages
Successful Search Engine Optimisation (SEO – yes, yes, more acronyms!) starts with analysing the different elements on a SERP and understanding what information in the different areas mean.
Getting familiar with what appears when you do a search, will give you the edge with your SEO strategy.
Let’s start with the basics.
1. Paid Results
These appear at the top of the page when you do a search. Usually, there are three or four ads taking up the prime real estate of the page above ‘the fold’. You may also notice some AdWords ads at the bottom of the page.
2. Organic Results
These are the 10 blue links that appear under the paid results. These are the links SEO strategy targets.
You’ll find these paid and organic results on practically every search you do. But wait, there’s more!
Depending on your SEO efforts, activity and strategy, you may also find opportunities to diversify your SEO strategy and target the following elements:
a. Shopping Results
Known as PLAs (Product Listing Ads), these appear above the organic search results. They are paid and include information such as price, reviews and images in an engaging carousel format. Fantastic for online shopping businesses or product-based companies.
These appear when someone searches for a specific URL or business name. They’re handy in that up to ten sitelinks may be displayed under the main SERP link. This works for SEO as the ten sitelinks often show up in two columns. This means the sitelinks take up the top five organic positions on the SERP.
c. Featured Snippet
Perfect for searchers who want an answer, and fast, featured snippets are positioned above organic search results – prime position! They are normally a short paragraph providing an answer to a searcher’s question and include a site’s URL and the page title of the source. They may be presented as a paragraph, list or a table.
d. In-Depth Articles
For users that like to get more info bang for their searching buck, but are a little ambiguous with their search queries, the in-depth article is another way information can appear on a SERP. These types of articles tend to be from online publishers with large reach, credibility and authority.
e. Knowledge Card
Similar to featured snippets, the knowledge card will normally appear at the top of the SERP. These may be from sites such as Wikipedia that are updated by humans and not so ‘credible’. They also may be from a Google partner. Knowledge cards can’t be targeted in a SEO strategy.
f. Local Pack
Hugely valuable to specific businesses thanks to the space it dominates on a SERP (especially on a smart phone), a local pack includes a map, three locations with contact information and appears at the top of organic results. Bingo! Sometimes further information such as pricing, a website link, directions or an engaging picture will be displayed too.
g. Image Packs
Speaking of engaging pictures, image packs can appeal to visual searchers. Great for product-based businesses with appealing visuals in their marketing armoury, image packs show up on a SERP as a horizontal row of images that click through to a Google Images search.
Appealing to the visual searchers among us, videos are increasingly becoming popular across several platforms with SEO strategists taking advantage of that. Certain keywords in a search might display video results. Mostly YouTube videos appear – a great argument to create your own YouTube channel – but as more videos appear across other platforms including social media platforms, other hosts can achieve these results too.
As social media slowly takes over the world, it’s worth tapping into the power of sharing and incorporating it into your communication activity. Google displays tweets in the SERP in amongst standard organic results. While you can’t optimise to appear on the SERP, but if your tweets appear here, you increase brand awareness and boost your credibility and relevancy online.
j. Related Questions
The ‘People also ask’ function shows common related questions in an accordion box (a box with a list of items). Searchers click on a question which expands to show an answer that has similar features to a featured snippet. Good for service related business that provide solutions to consumer’s problems.
k. News Box
A news box commonly appears when users are searching for something topical or newsworthy. Pulled from Google News, the block is titled ‘In the news’ and links to several articles on the subject searched.
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