By Pep Canals, on 15 September 2021
I’m sure you are already aware of the importance of incorporating SEO in your digital marketing strategy, but are you clear on the importance of SERP in your content creation?
These days, Search Engine Optimization goes far beyond the use of keywords and organic hits. In fact, you might even rank first in terms of organic results but appear much lower on the Search Engine Results Page due to a number of other search features now being used to enhance the user experience, such as physical location and browsing history.
In this post we will answer the question “What is SERP?” We will also break down the various types of searches and share a few tips to help you boost your SERP ranking and reach a larger audience.
What Is SERP?
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Put simply, it’s the page that a search engine displays after a user has submitted a search query. Results are displayed in a variety of formats. Aside from site names and metadata, searches can also return text, images, shopping suggestions, Tweets or information cards.
A SERP includes the following results:
- Organic listings
- Sponsored results (typically paid text ads or shopping results)
- Rich features (add a visual layer, include things like featured snippets and carousels)
- Google knowledge panels (displayed on the right side of the page, offering snippets of information to enhance search results)
- Google paid search and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.
Every SERP is unique, even if two people are searching using the same keywords or search queries. This is because most search engines now customize SERPs in an attempt to display results that are relevant to each specific individual. Factors taken into account include physical location, browsing history, and social settings.
What Are the Different Types of Searches?
SERP search queries typically fall into 1 of 3 types: navigational, informational, or transactional.
Let’s look at these three types of Search Engine Results Pages in a bit more detail.
The first type of Search Engine Results Page relates to navigational queries. An example of this would be someone looking for a particular website, but they are unaware of the site’s full URL.
These are basic SERPs. The navigator knows exactly what they are looking for and they are unlikely to find you unless they specifically look for you. You can, however, buy ads relating to any keywords you would like to rank for such as the name of your business or specific terms relating to what you do.
An informational query is when a user searches for specific information that will inform them or help them carry out a specific task. For example, they might have a flat tire and want to know what steps to take to change the tire.
With SERPs of this type, users have a specific goal in mind (finding an answer to their question) so they are unlikely to make a purchase. This doesn’t mean that informational queries hold no value though - on the contrary!
Informative queries are a great opportunity to catch the attention of potential future buyers by providing valuable, reliable content that can help sway them towards your brand. Going back to the earlier example, this might be a blog post with tips on changing tires that piques the interest of the searcher and establishes you as a creator of relevant content that caters to their wants and needs.
The final type of SERP relates to transactional queries, and this is where the real potential lies.
People make transactional queries when they're thinking of buying something. Following on from our example, perhaps the user found out how to change a tire, but then discovered that they didn’t have a spare, so they now need to source a local tire supplier that can get them out of a jam.
Transactional queries have the most revenue potential, so keywords tend to have a lot of bids for pay-per-click spots. This is a great opportunity to purchase paid ads with relevant keywords so that you appear alongside organic search results for relevant transactional queries.
How to Increase Your SERP Ranking
Now that you understand what a SERP is, you are probably wondering what you need to do to appear in as many SERPs as possible.
There are a number of strategies you can adopt to increase your SERP ranking. Consider the following.
Determine Your Issues
The first thing you need to do before you design a strategy to boost your SERP ranking is conduct a thorough analysis of where you are right now, so that you can work out what you need to do climb up Google’s ranking. In other words, you need to identify where and when conversion rates are dropping off. Google Analytics is a great tool for this.
Don’t just take a snapshot of your analytics though. You need to analyze your stats over time to see if you can identify any patterns or trends.
Analyze the Cause
Once you are clear on what could be preventing you from obtaining a higher SERP ranking, you need to work out why this has happened.
Are you losing most traffic on a particular page of your website? Why would this particular page is not performing as well as the other pages on your site? What’s missing?
If rankings are up, but your traffic is down, it could be due to lower search demand, changes to SERP features (featured snippets could be overshadowing organic traffic), or changes to Google’s algorithms.
However, if both traffic and rankings are down for your site, then it is more likely to be due to issues with your content. You might consider using Google Trends to look at some of your top keywords and topics. Are they still relevant? If they are, then you might consider adapting your content or including other formats like video to engage your audience. If they are not, then you need to research what keywords are trending now, then adapt your content creation strategy accordingly.
Once you’ve analyzed the Whats, Whens and Whys, it’s time to apply some fixes.
Aside from adapting your content to align with current trends and keywords, you might also want to consider the following to help boost your SERP ranking and reach a larger audience.
- Are there any technical or on-page issues on your site? Ask Google to perform a new crawl and index for your site. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks to get results.
- Update your section pages (even those that appear to be performing well). Add additional content and update existing content so that it’s fresh and up to date.
- Republish content as frequently as possible so that Google continues to regard your site as relevant.
- Optimize your keywords in line with shifts in trends.
- Make sure your title and metadata is catchy and includes your keywords.