I get it. We all do. There is nothing more frustrating than spending thousands of pounds on SEO optimisation for your business and still not getting your website to the top position on search.
Isn’t that what we’re paying for? A steady, constant stream of top organic ranking positions on search engine result pages (SERPs) for our most desired keywords.
It sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But the truth is, if that’s what you were promised, I’m afraid you may be wasting your time and money, as whoever oversees your business strategy is clearly not embracing the new technologies that constantly evolve in the SEO-verse.
Of course, we want our pages to rank in position one organically, but only sometimes.
Yes. Only sometimes.
Sneak a peek at the SERPs
Assuming you have taken a look at the SERPs sometime after 2009, when Google first launched their Rich Snippets, you will surely have noticed that the ten blue listings are not on their own anymore. In fact, the SERPs constantly adjust to intent and digital trends to provide an enhanced search experience based on users’ queries. And by digital trends I mean visuals, mobile device searches and interactive content, amongst many others.
Nowadays, we are in an age that brings with it new technological horizons that we had never considered before, but that should not be overlooked. Now, it is time for companies to question their digital efficiency. Are you aware of your clientele’s digital activity? Does your company use business intelligence? Is it prepared for the mobile era?
When it comes to search engine optimisation, an issue like a delay in page loading time can cause users with purchase intent to bounce from your website, resulting in a potential revenue loss and a ranking drop. So clearly, if your website is not adapted to the ever-changing content consumption model, the chances of winning visibility over your competitors are slim.
In other words, audiences adapt themselves to new products and services much faster than most companies transform their practices and goals into what the technology demands. So, be on the ball!
What is On-SERP SEO?
You will likely have heard about On-Page and Off-Page SEO, but have you encountered the concept of On-SERP SEO?
Looking at the name and applying a little common sense may lead you to suggest it might be the process of optimising our website for the SERPs, through acts such as creating unique, descriptive and personalised title tags and meta descriptions. If so, you’d be absolutely right, but since Google keeps innovating and adjusting the way that users search and consume, On-SERP SEO goes much further.
In the case of Google, as the most popular search engine, the SERPs also offer PPC ads, instant answers, featured listings, rich snippets, People Also Ask questions, and so much more. All of these share On-SERP real estate with organic listings, often pushing them far down the page and reducing their visibility.
As a result, if Google decides to answer user intent with an image or a video rather than our extremely optimised content, why would we want our page to reach the first position? Don’t you think displaying exactly what the user needs to see is a better use of resources?
I personally do. This is where “an image is worth a thousand words” makes sense.
Why do we care about On-SERP SEO?
Do you see the point I’m trying to make?
Organic rankings are no longer the only source of visibility.
If you get your content featured in the SERPs, you may take a bigger share of the clicks for that specific query, not to mention how satisfying it is knowing Google thinks your content is best suited.
I know there is still some controversy over whether rich and featured snippets alter customer journeys and steal clicks from organic listings by offering immediate answers in the SERPs. But, as always, that depends on many factors, including snippet type, the keywords used, the industry and/or user intent.
In any case, that exposure will move competitors down the list and at worst, should raise your brand awareness. If you still need evidence of the importance of On-SERP SEO, last week at Google’s Search On conference, Google announced big changes for mobile SERPs, rolling out soon. New shortcuts, listings within the search bar suggestions, enhanced queries, web stories, and combined web, images and videos in the SERPs feed are coming, once again changing how users interact and engage with SERPs.
It’s time to get prepared.
How to optimise for On-SERP SEO
Each SERP is unique, meaning optimisation also needs to be tailored to the SERP. As Google provides guidance on how to work with the search appearance, you can optimise for each type of snippet, considering the type/s of content you own.
At Yard, we have developed a process to highlight SERP opportunity based on personalised keyword research. We can quickly identify terms and topics in your industry where users may prefer rich media formats and convert them into potential clicks. We do this by:
Identifying all rich media on the site (videos, images, podcasts) and whether Google is indexing it.
Logging all the relevant keywords the site is currently ranking for.
Assessing all the relevant keywords that produce rich snippets to target.
Determining whether existing rich media could be optimised to rank for these keywords.
Identifying additional opportunities for creating videos, images and podcasts.
If you would like to hear more about our process for On-SERP SEO, give us a shout.
Additionally, in order to make a page eligible for rich snippets, we need to help Google understand the content we offer by providing structured data and meta tags. Of course, we can also help with that!
We get it. Digital efficiencyin the SERPs is a big challenge that none of us signed up for; as if we didn’t already have enough to contend with On-Page and Off-Page SEO.
Unfortunately, there’s no magic formula to tell us what our content should be optimised for, whether to get featured as a rich snippet, or rank higher organically. We can’t even guarantee our efforts won’t be in vain, but we also can’t just look the other way, as On-SERP SEO could make a major difference against our competition, and most importantly, it steers users towards an even greater experience.
If you want to gain a greater foothold in the digital landscape of SERPs, it makes sense to do so efficiently. Please get in touch and we'd be more than happy to help.