In today’s world, search engine optimization is one of the most valuable strategies for marketers and companies which want to gain an edge over their competitors. But harnessing the power of search engines means understanding how they work and how to use its elements to your advantage.
A search engine results page (SERP) has many components that make the search process easy and efficient. Knowing which types of results to target when enhancing the rank of your website is crucial for a successful business.
In this article, we will look at some techniques through which you can use SERP elements to the advantage of your website and overall business. We’ll focus on Google, as it’s the most popular search engine and it offers plenty of ways to create traffic to your website.
Let’s first look at the basics of a SERP, and then we can dive right into how to leverage its features to your advantage.
Short SERP primer
A SERP contains a list of websites delivered by the engine (for example, Google), based on the user’s search, which can be a word or a phrase. The list comprises individual results that are marked by a URL, title, and description.
The results are usually split into two large categories: organic and paid. The former ones are unpaid listings ranked by the search engine. Its algorithm arranges the results based on relevance. Check this article for more information about how Google ranks websites.
With the help of SEO optimization, organic results can be improved to increase the click-through rate. In addition to the essential elements like URL and title, the results can also include more engaging and informative components. They are usually called enhanced organic results and come in the form of site links, search boxes, and ratings.
When it comes to paid or sponsored content, Google uses an auction-style algorithm to determine the rank of websites. The search engine uses various factors such as maximum bid, relevance, and quality of content. The most common paid results are text ads, which are usually placed at the top of SERP and resemble organic placements.
Apart from organic and sponsored placements, the SERP also includes features that come in different forms and appear determined by explicit or implied questions. Depending on the intent behind the query, the featured snippet can take the form of short texts, lists, tables, or videos. If you want to familiarize yourself with SERP features, here’s a comprehensive article covering the framework behind a Google search page.
How to get more out of SERP features
While tackling the rank of your website from the point of view of organic results is a good strategy, using the features of the search page to your advantage is a step you should really consider. Here are the main ways in which SERP features can help you optimize your business.
Make the best of featured snippets
Featured snippets are probably the most common placements among the SERP features. A paragraph snippet usually takes the form of a straightforward answer, while the list and table ones appear to provide various rankings and rates. Most commonly, the video snippet shows up when the query includes the phrase “how to.”
First off, you need to think about what keywords are essential for your website. These have to show up in the featured snippets. If any crucial keywords trigger a competition’s snippet, you have to provide a better answer. Offering more context or up-to-date information is a great way to start.
You also need to think about the visual aspect of the snippet. After all, these features are made to catch the attention of the user. Always make sure to include a relevant, high-quality featured image to make your answer more visually appealing.
Answer related questions
The “People Also Ask” section is a series of questions related to the original search query. When you click on one of the questions, it expands and provides a brief answer and a link for the source.
By answering these questions, you not only draw more attention to your website, but you also get a better idea of what users expect from their queries. Remember to keep it short and straightforward. A three-sentence paragraph should be enough to answer the related questions.
If you discount this sentence, the paragraph you just read is a good example of a “People Also Ask” answer.
Also, keep in mind that this section is expandable. With each click on one of the questions, the engine offers more questions. So it’s a good idea to keep track of specific queries and sneak in the perfect keyword wherever you can in the section.
Know your content
Understanding how your content and keywords fit into different SERP features is crucial if you want to have a successful website. This is where your search engine knowledge also comes into play. You can start your research with the article mentioned above.
After you’ve done your due diligence, it’s time to decide what features match your content and keywords. Knowing how to use knowledge panels, snippets, and everything in between makes the difference between a sloppy or a meticulous optimization campaign.
You also need to collect data about what keywords trigger image responses. This gives you a better sense of your target audience’s expectations. For other features, like star ratings, reviews or pricing information, you can use SERP data tools such as SearchData to collect structured data and base your strategy on it.
Research your competitors
You should always study the snippets of your competition. Getting to know why Google considers your competitors’ page relevant can help you optimize your own website and take its place in the ranking.
When it comes to analyzing their featured snippet, you should definitely consider the content and look at the length and the format. Then, try to create a similar answer, but don’t be afraid to use all your knowledge of SERP elements to stand out.
Tracking your competition on the SERP front also gives you insight into when they update posts. This can help to stay on top of it and continuously make sure your SERP elements rank better.
An easy path to SERP data
SERP elements give you an idea about what to optimize when creating a comprehensive SEO strategy. Knowing about each feature and how to use them to your advantage is essential to reach many prospects.
However, collecting SERP data can be complex, especially when you target more than one type of feature. Manually trying to gather information will use a lot of time and resources, which you were already planning to employ for SEO optimization.
Why not use a specialized data collection tool that automates the process and provides you with reliable information for your SEO strategy? Try SerchData right now and claim your 100 free searches!