When we think of SEO success, ranking #1 for your desired keywords has always been the golden standard. But as Google evolves, there are more and more ways for your business and website to show up on Google search results and drive traffic and sales to your business.
Depending on a user’s search intent, there are different ways of measuring success for your business. Below, I’ll break down the main elements of a search result and how you can make the most of each!
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These are usually found at the very top of the search result. Depending on how popular or competitive your search term is, this can take up the entire initial view of a search result. The most common Google Ad types are search ads and shopping ads. As you can see below, these are often Google’s first suggestion for users.
Search ads can appear for any search type, including local searches, online services, brand names, and more. If you are looking to promote your business in a new area or are just starting out, supplementing your SEO strategy with paid Google Ads can be a great way to jumpstart your traffic.
Shopping ads are best for physical products, and lead users directly to your product page while displaying an image of your item. These can be especially powerful since you can target very specific keywords and product descriptions.
This is one of the most overlooked aspects of on-page SEO – image optimization! Images often appear at the top of search results, and especially for products and e-commerce sites, having thoroughly optimized images can be a great way to increase your site’s exposure.
Local Pack and Maps Results
For local searches, the Local Pack and map feature is likely to appear above organic search results. This is an extremely important facet of local SEO, and being featured in the local pack is an excellent way to drive online and foot traffic to a local business.
Google decides which businesses to feature in the top 3 based on proximity of the searcher to the business’s physical location, the relevance of keywords both on your GMB profile and on your website, and the authority of the profile including how highly rated your business is. Each user will have a different result based on their location and search term, but you can look at the insights through your GMB profile to learn about how well you are ranking for your desired keywords.
A focus on optimizing and maintaining your Google My Business profile is critical for ranking in these searches. Consistently receiving reviews from clients, updating any new business information, and including complete address and physical location details to your profile will help you rank highly for your desired search terms.
Knowledge Panel & Google My Business Profile
The knowledge panel appears when users search for a specific person, brand, or business name. This is your opportunity to ‘own’ what appears on Google when someone searches for your brand name. For most businesses, what will appear is your Google My Business profile. Ensuring that your business information is kept up to date and that you take advantage of all of the available features for your business allows you to make the most of this space to promote your business.
Featured snippets are Google’s attempt at helping to answer a user’s question without having to click into a search result. Businesses can optimize their sites for featured snippets by adding code that tells Google explicitly what is a question and what is an answer. This can be especially useful if your site has an FAQ page, blog posts, or guides.
Featured snippets are also often accompanied by a ‘People also ask’ section that dives into more nuanced questions related to the original search. This can be a great way to get ideas for blog posts and resources, as well as an additional opportunity for your site to appear in search.
Multimedia and News
Depending on your search, Google will pull a variety of multimedia results to provide information and answers for a user’s search result. These often include
- Twitter feeds
- News articles
- Youtube videos
- Recipe suggestions
- And more!
SEO isn’t just restricted to your website – by creating YouTube content, sharing relevant information on social media, and optimizing resources and guides, you can increase your chances of appearing on a search result.
Organic Search Results
Finally, the placement you’ve been waiting for – the organic search result! This is what we strive to rank #1, and where your site’s on-page SEO optimization really shines.
There are a few different components to an organic search result:
At the top, we see our URL, in this case selectjanitorial.com. This shows the user what our website is, and can include an extended URL if it is directing to a specific product, service, or navigation page. Having a URL that contains your business name or primary keywords will help to rank your site by showing Google that your page is relevant to a user’s search.
Directly below the URL is our page title. This is one of the first places that Google looks for your keywords to be included, and helps to draw the user in and show them that your site is what they are looking for! If you are a local business, incorporating your business name, primary keywords, and location are all helpful.
Underneath the page title is the meta description. This is where you have 140 characters to entice a user to click on your search result by listing features, unique value proposition, or a more detailed description of your business, service, or product. While meta descriptions do not directly impact Google’s ranking of a website, the user’s search phrase or keywords may be highlighted within a meta description and can help assist with a higher click-through rate, which positively influences overall rankings.
If a user searches for your brand directly, and you have a well organized and structured website, sitelink extensions may also appear in your search result. These are additional pages that Google thinks a user may be looking for. These can include specific products, ‘About’ pages, contact pages, and more. Each sitelink includes a condensed page title and meta description snippet to guide users to the most relevant page.
At the bottom of the search result page, you will often see a list of related searches. This can be a great first step for keyword research, blog post inspiration, and new site copy. These show real search terms and phrases that are being used in relation to your business, service, product, or topic.
There are a lot of different ways that your site can appear on a user’s search result, and many opportunities to optimize your content on and off your site to drive awareness of your business, and traffic to your site. As always, the focus for your site should be to make high-quality, relevant content that helps Google and users find exactly what they’re looking for!
Ready to take a deeper dive? Shoot me a message for a free 30-minute consultation to see how I can help your business drive traffic and increase awareness online!