What is SERP Position…and Why It’s Your Key to Success
When developing an online marketing plan, there is a vital yet sometimes overlooked element that can indeed be a key component in your success and visibility. It is known as a Search Engine Results Page (SERP), and here we are going to look into the benefits of implementing such a page in addition to analyzing the difference between “paid” and “organic” links, the ways in which you can improve SERP “positioning” and much more.
A Search Engine Results Page isn’t a particularly difficult concept to define, explain or grasp – put succinctly, it refers to the listing of results as returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. Typically, the results encompass a list of items containing titles, a reference to the full version of a site and a brief description indicating the places the keywords have matched content within the page. Further, a SERP may refer to a single page of returned links or to the set of all links returned for a search query.
Major popular search portals – such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing – and their SERPs often encompass varying types of listings, including contextual, algorithmic or organic search listings in addition to suggested search refinement protocols, videos, definitions, maps, images or sponsored listings. They also have a tendency to visually differentiate specific types of content such as blogs, news and images; important to note is that many content types boast specialized templates and visual enhancements on the main search result page.
Basically, there are three main components that define what is SERP: The actual initiating search query, organic listings and paid listings. We’ll now take a closer look at the two major players here, the paid links and the organic variants.
Paid vs. Organic Links/Listings
Paid SERP listings come in the form of advertisements – or sponsored links – included by search engines via their search results process. In this example, websites pay search engine companies to list their web pages here; however, important to note is that this service is different from pay-per-click, which refers to advertisements placed on websites.
Organic SERP listings, conversely, refer to the “standard” listings generated by search engines, based on a series of metrics that determine their relevance to the item being searched. High-scoring webpages on a search engine’s algorithmic scale, or test, are displayed within this list, with these algorithms typically based upon factors such as webpage content and website trustworthiness, as well as external factors such as backlinks, social media, advertising, news and more.
In organic listings, each page of the search engine results contain 10 organic types – the listings, which display on the first page, are the most influential ones because those receive 91% of the click-through rates (CTR) via a specific search. The CTRs for the first page are represented as the following:
- Spot 1 receives 32.5% of the clicks
- Spot 2: 17.6%
- Spot 3: 11.4%
- Spot 4: 8.1%
- Spot 5: 6.1%
- Spot 6: 4.4%
- Spot 7: 3.5%
- Spot 8: 3.1%
- Spot 9: 2.6%
- Spot 10: 2.4%
What is SERP Position – and Why is it Critical?
So, just what is SERP Position in relation to your business? If you run an online business, Search Engine Result Page position is absolutely critical for a number of reasons. No longer can a website remain in the top, number-one search return position without constant SEO (Search Engine Optimization); as of late, paid advertising is taking priority over proper coding and HTML implementations, even though the use of “Alt” tags, “H1 headings” and title tags continue to assist in SERP positioning. This means that boasting a fast loading page is also a great thing for a better user experience.
SERPs should matter to you because ranking your site in the proper position will mean the difference between failure and success in your search marketing campaigns. Consider, for a moment, these insights as provided by studies done in these areas:
- 68-percent of searchers select a result on the first page of search results
- There exists a disproportionate number of clicks – approximately 40-percent – on the number-one listing
- Reaching the first page in a paid search is equally vital
What does this boil down to? Most people click on the first page they come across. As a business owner, the higher your search engine results page ranking, the more traffic you will see.
Improving your SERP position can be accomplished by following several steps:
- Research Keywords – First and foremost, you need to realize which search engine keywords will drive traffic and actual business.
- Organize – or Group – the Keywords – Creating a logical “hierarchy” for these keywords can be done using information architecture for SEO, while creating tight Ad Groups and well-organized ad campaigns for PPC.
- Manage Your SEO Workflow – Identify which areas will yield the best return on your efforts and resource investments; make sure you are not spending months building out an SEO campaign to a set of keywords that won’t convert for your business.
- Manage Your PPC Workflow – In a similar way to SEO workflow, the goal here is prioritizing…prioritizing which Ad Groups and campaigns will be worth the effort of writing creative copy for and developing landing pages for.
- Act on the Analytics – All this keyword data and prioritization needs to be analyzed and applied to something…now is when you write the web copy, create the ad campaigns and actually ACHIEVE the SERP positions you were after.
- Observe the Results and Repeat – Finally, processes that improve upon the results you have generated need to be developed and this can include automating aspects of your campaigns and insuring you are continually having new keywords researched, with workflow dynamically and aggressively suggested. Be sure you are equipped with the tools to perpetually build on this initial “SERP-to-do improvement list.”
How to Improve Search Engine Ranking
As you should have already gathered, showing up on search engines is one of the most critical ways to increase your business’ website traffic and expose your content, product or service to interested parties. Still, the age-old proverb which states “practice makes perfect” is far from an “old wives tale”…indeed, you should practice some SEO tactics for a healthy business operation.
Before we offer some tips on how to improve search engine ranking, it is important to note that most of the major search engines utilize an algorithm to determine where a website ranks; while this touches on some of the elements we covered earlier in this piece, the criteria are different for every engine (though all engines share several common aspects). The bottom line is that the type and amount of content provided on a given website, the level of optimization initiated and website popularity are all that matters.
- Use Keywords – We may have in fact covered this in a previous section, but we can’t stress it enough; Google Keywords, a tool within the Google AdSense site, allows you to track keywords and locate suggested keywords. Browse this site and obtain a familiarity regarding how it operates…and use it to your advantage.
- Use Trends – A tool such as Google Trends presents how searches in a particular subject change over time; you can utilize it to predict spikes and slumps, as well as to know when it’s time to change or update pages for a particular season…or if it’s wise to begin using different keywords.
- Add Yourself to Google – Google will reward Google Plus users as well as businesses which are registered on Google Maps; take advantage of this and join Google because it is the most popular search engine by a long shot.
- Create Quality Backlinks – Backlinks refer to other websites that link to your page, but this only works in your favor if the website is one that sees more hits than yours does. The best types of “link building” belong to directory registration, text link advertising and press release distribution but you can also build links by performing a link exchange, guest blogging for a relevant/related blog or cross-promotion.
There are indeed many more ways to improve your search engine ranking, but these should point you in the right direction.
If you are a businessperson who finds online marketing extremely intimidating or overwhelming – and we really can’t, in many instances, blame you – or feel you need some assistance navigating these sometimes turbulent seas, Multiverse Media Group of Jacksonville, FL offers quality Search Engine Optimization services that produce LONG TERM results. Increase web traffic, generate sales and grow your brand through this most vital of Internet tools…a tactic that will maximize your company’s promotional opportunity by ensuring your content is found amidst the ocean of web pages out there.