In this article we reveal some of the tactics we implement to increase the likelihood of our clients content or business listing, being found and clicked on, on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
We look at brand searches and category/product searches in turn.
When it comes to our strategy as a whole, we have a two pronged approach to SEO.
Here we explore how we attempt to earn clicks for our clients.
You should also read about how we build reputation for them too.
A brand search, you may not be surprised to learn, is a search term – aka keyword or keyphrase – typed into a search engine that includes a specific business name within it.
Google’s Knowledge Panel
You’ll be familiar with these, even if you didn’t know what they were called.
A Knowledge Panel is often returned – to the right hand side of the SERP if you’re on a desktop computer (as below), or at the top of the screen on mobile – for brand searches.
It contains a snapshot of the information Google hold about a business.
Some SEO’s see Knowledge Panels as Google’s attempt to retain users on their search engine. If the required information is there, users don’t need to click through to a website.
Business owners have the right to claim their own business listing – as The Kitchen People have below.
Looking at the SERP screenshot above taken from a mobile – you can see this is pretty high-profile. Whilst we’re here, notice how prominent reviews are on the panel itself – the eye is naturally drawn to the gold stars – and the first tab after the Overview, is Reviews. Below illustrates what you see when you click on that.
Once you’ve claimed and verified your listing, what appears here, at the time of writing, is almost all under your control.
The collective thoughts of the experts who contributed to the 2018 Local Search Ranking Factors Study identified Google My Business signals – specifically relevance, prominence and proximity as being the most important factor when it comes to determining what influences the likelihood of a business ranking well in a Local Pack.
The Organic Listings
These are the content snippets returned on the SERPs which tend to appear below the ads, and the Local Pack, should there happen to be one.
We have less control over what appears here, and how it looks, but we can still influence things.
Let’s go back to our search highlighted earlier for a business local to us [the kitchen people] – focusing on the organic listings.
It must be pleasing for this business to see that their homepage is returned in first position for this search, but we understand this will not be the case for every business out there. Achieving this would be our first priority in this area.
Where necessary we might make some suggestions for how to improve on the page titles and meta descriptions for each content snippet that generates an impression.
Think of an impression as an appearance for your content on the SERPs. Optimising these fields can improve the performance of pages and increase the likelihood of someone clicking through to your website.
We might suggest they reduce the length of the meta description on their homepage, so as to remove the ellipsis in the content snippet returned in position one, below. We’d probably also recommend they change ‘Kitchen People’ to ‘The Kitchen People’ in the page title. A small tweak I know, but consistency of branding is important.
Meta descriptions are often overlooked. Just look at the first entry for the search [saint etienne] below. They’re talking about their new album coming out in 2012, and at the time of writing it is 2019.
We might also suggest changes to urls as part of a website rebuild or restructure.
We may also look to add structured data to pages where applicable, so as to potentially return additonal rich results in the content snippets, as below, which are proven to attract clicks. More on structured data later too!
Right, let’s go back to those organic listings for [the kitchen people]. The next three snippets are all pages from their website. Sometimes Google will highlight important pages on a website in a slightly different way. Sitelinks – as illustrated below – are sometimes seen attached to the main content snippet, as they are for the [digital davidson] search below.
Let’s quickly go through the other six content snippets on the first page.
The content snippets are a mixture of directory listings, news articles, job sites and supplier pages.
This is not an uncommon mix. Whilst we have less control over what content snippets appear here and how they look, we can formulate a strategy to either promote existing content we want to rank higher for brand searches, or create new content to displace that which already exists.
In the short term we’d recommend you update any content that is linked to from the first page of the SERPs.
Finally it’s worth mentioning that we wouldn’t just focus on the default SERP. There are often many tabs displayed for branded search queries, and this search is no exception. Sometimes these tabs are referred to as the other verticals.
Switching to the Images tab and something quite different is returned for the same search query.
The majority of the images displayed are lifted from their website – mainly from their Portfolio page, so this is a good result for this business. Below each image the page title and url the pages where they are placed, are displayed.
Whilst we understand it’s important to monitor the SERPs for branded searches, you could argue it’s more important to manage your presence on the SERPs for searches related to your business area – be it your products e.g. [mereway kitchens] or services e.g. [kitchen designers] – as these searches are potentially going to have larger search volumes, and might be where the searcher starts their buying journey.
We’ll look to establish with you, as part of the consultation, what the core products and/or services are that you’re looking to promote. We’ll then perform our audit and keyword research to inform our decision about which searches it is that your business needs to focus on.
For example, going back to The Kitchen People. The search below was conducted on a desktop here in Haywards Heath.
The search [kitchen designers] is extremely relevant, but The Kitchen People don’t make it into the Local Pack or the organic listings on the first page (you’ll have to take our word for the latter!).
This is most likely because of proximity and potentially prominence. There are a number of competitors that Google have promoted ahead of them, potentially because they’re all situated in Haywards Heath itself. Lindfield, where The Kitchen People are based, is a village on the outskirts.
So at this stage there are no content snippets for this search to improve upon. We would look to prioritize work to increase the likelihood of the business being listing. It doesn’t feel beyond the realm of possibility for them to rank for this important search. For many, Lindfield is considered part of Haywards Heath, as it’s only a five minute drive away.
The other reason to be optimistic about ranking for this search would be that two of the three businesses ranked in the Local Pack, have less than two Google reviews. We’ll go on to explore the importance of these, in the article, how we build and demonstrate expertise, authority and trust for our clients, which we’d recommend you read next.