Studying the SERPs: Is One Dimensional SEO Costing You Sales?
Once upon a time, a searcher would enter a few keywords and be presented with 10 blue links. Even though the search landscape has changed considerably, a lot of companies have failed to adapt, failed to see the bigger picture and, as a result, are leaving money on the table day after day.
Thankfully, you read Website Magazine, so you don’t have to worry about making this mistake for much longer.
Admission is the First Step in Recovery
When was the last time you looked at every single keyword your business is “targeting” and took the time to manually review the SERPs for all of them or even the top 50? If you don’t know the last time or you have never done it, you have a problem.
Give Google What They Want to Get What You Want
Google has one simple mission, provide users with the content they are looking for, be it video, a recipe, images, or a 5,000-word piece on the history of shoe strings. As such, you need to not only be aware of what sites are ranking for your dream keywords, but also what type of content is ranking. The best way to picture just how dynamic the search results are, is with a few examples.
Let’s say you search for “blogger outreach services." Google knows (through big data and machine learning) that comparing services, learning what the services are, or buying services may be your intent when searching this phrase.
Notice that out of the top six results, two of the sites are informational and four of the sites are sales pages. Fat Joe is shown as a featured snippet since their sales page answers the question Google assumed you may be asking. In an earlier post covering How to Rank in the Zero Position, we covered that in more detail.
The third search result Blogger Local , is a comparison piece, rating 10 blogger outreach services. This site again meets the anticipated need of searcher, the need to compare services. The other four ranking pages are there to sell blogger outreach services.
In this case, creating a comparison site would likely be the fastest route to the top of the rankings, but it wouldn’t covert as well as sales pages, which is why you see the mixture. This is where you need to consider how you will make money. Is it with services, ads or affiliate links? If it is through ads, a comparison page would be my “go to” page to create for this term. If it is through services, a sales page is your best bet. Since five of the six results are sales pages, you know you can rank sales content for this search.
Now, let’s modify our search slightly to “blogger outreach” and see what Google thinks we are looking for.
As you can see, Google believes someone searching for “blogger outreach” is looking for education on the subject. In this case, notice that the top four (top 10 actually) results are all information pages. If you try to rank a sales page for this query, you are going to have a long uphill battle. If you want to rank for blogger outreach, an in-depth, informational post is your best bet. Now, you just need to compare the authority, content length, and content quality of the ranking pages and you will have a good idea of what needs to be done.
For our third example, let’s look at the results for “blogger outreach tools."
As you can see, the first result is a featured snippet with a list of the top tools. About five of the first page results are list type articles as well. Two of the results, Ninja Outreach and Buzzstream are ranking sales pages for this term. That means that you can rank a sales page for this term, but a list type information article has the best chance at ranking.
For our last example we are going to switch industries and look at “how to lace shoes."
Now, as you can see, the results for this search are not only informational, but include images and videos. If you are familiar with barnacle SEO , you already know that a video can be ranked more quickly than a new website since YouTube is an authority site. Aside from ranking more quickly, think of the big picture. Which result would you click on if you wanted to learn how to lace shoes. An article, an image or a video? Most people are going to choose the video or image.
The Big Picture: ROI
The entire point of ranking in Google is to get qualified traffic back to your site or to engage with your brand. When you take the time to look at what Google wants to show to users, you can create content that ranks faster (in some cases) and that people are likely to click, engage with and act upon.
Moreover, when you take the time to study the individual SERPs, you can uncover sites that can act as an immediate source of traffic for your site. This could be review sites, authority sites like Yelp, or even websites you could guest post on to gain near instant visibility for keywords that put money into your pocket. If you don’t use this dynamic landscape to your advantage, you better believe that a savvier competitor will, leaving you wanting for leads and sales.
Take just a few minutes today to study the results for your main keywords and you may be surprised by the opportunities you uncover.
About the Author
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a content marketing and SEO firm specializing in outreach link building. Content placement, blogger outreach, and editorial brand mentions are just a few ways the Stellar SEO team can help. Connect on Twitter @theseoproz.