The undeniable truth is: Google pretty much dictates how much traffic your company’s website receives. The higher you appear on the Google SERP, the more your annual growth is likely to increase.
What is a Google SERP you ask? Search Engine Results Page. Dominate the first SERP, and you are well on your way to success.
Your website might be SEO-optimized to the tee, that’s great. Back in 2009, you would probably be somewhere at the top of the result page.
Here’s what the Google SERP looked like 10 years ago:
Today’ SERP is rich, complex, and more user-friendly:
This means that in order to be at the top, you must create more diverse content that is geared toward giving the user added value and serve their specific intent.
Here are 5 tips for completely dominating Google’s first search page.
Tip #1 – First and Foremost: Paid Search Results
If you’re willing and able to set aside some budget for paid search, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) marketing, this will guarantee you a top spot on the SERP.
For a seasoned marketer, the investment is relatively small and the ability to track and monitor the campaign’s success and ROI is fairly straightforward. Plus, paid search has been shown time and again to drive quality traffic to company websites.
In a survey done by Clutch, the majority of respondents were confident that they could recognize paid search results over organic ones. But, this did not deter or detract them from clicking on a paid search result. In fact, just the opposite—75% of people surveyed believed that paid search ads made it easier to find information online, and that’s why they were drawn to the ads. The most appealing ads were those that directly answered their search query.
Tip #2 – Be in the News, Google News
In order to boost your visibility on the Google search results page, you must broaden your content and SEO strategy to Google News as well. Any company can make it into the News SERP—the key here is to have something newsworthy to say.
In Neil Patel’s words: “If you’re at the forefront of your industry and reporting information that’d be of interest to your audience on a timely basis, then you’re a news publisher.”
There are specific steps you must take to first get your website recognized as a news publisher by Google. But, what’s even more important is creating content that reads like a news story:
- It needs to have a catchy headline
- Has to be written in a top-down manner where the most important points appear in the first part of the story
- It must relate to a topic that is, in fact, trending in the news
Patel also advises companies to build their reputation and credibility as a news source by frequently and consistently posting relevant articles on their blog and by contributing to other trustworthy websites, making sure to include backlinks to their own site. With time, this is what will boost credibility and push you into the Google News search results.
Tip #3 – Sitelinks Bare It All
Google automatically populates the top search results on the SERP with sitelinks—additional links to various webpages within the website. What’s beneficial about sitelinks is that it automatically gives your brand more SERP “real estate” as Search Engine Watch puts it, and also—it pushes down irrelevant search results.
What are sitelinks, you ask? Well, they look like this:
In addition to making the search result more visible, it also helps users take a deeper dive and find out more information about your company. They can select to go directly to a part of the site that could be more relevant to them than the homepage.
Sitelinks may also help direct traffic to various lesser-visited parts of the website.
So how to get sitelinks for your website? The answer is: there’s no direct way. Google doesn’t tell you how to create them or control their appearance.
But you can follow these steps to increase your chances:
- Make sure your website’s name is unique—If you sell ice cream, don’t call your company The Ice Cream Company, but rather something unique, such as Grandma’s Dream Cream.
- Add structured data to your website—If you use WordPress, install the Schema Pro plugin. It has a setup guide that’s super easy to use even if you don’t write code.
- Build your website’s structure and navigation as clear as you can—Keep your homepage as the “root” page and make sure visitors can navigate from there to the entire site. Keep the structure logical, organized, and intuitive.
- Add a sitemap.xml file to the Google Search Console—It’ll help Google crawl your website better. Here’s a thorough guide:
Make sure your website’s name is unique—If you sell ice cream, don’t call your company The Ice Cream Company, but rather something unique, such as Grandma’s Dream Cream.
Add structured data to your website—If you use WordPress, install the Schema Pro plugin. It has a setup guide that’s super easy to use even if you don’t write code.
Build your website’s structure and navigation as clear as you can—Keep your homepage as the “root” page and make sure visitors can navigate from there to the entire site. Keep the structure logical, organized, and intuitive.
Add a sitemap.xml file to the Google Search Console—It’ll help Google crawl your website better. Here’s a thorough guide:
Tip #4 – Knowledge Graph Panels Know More Clicks
Having a Knowledge Graph Panel is another surefire way to boost brand visibility on the Google SERP, encourage engagement with your brand, and increase click-throughs to your website.
So what is a Knowledge Graph? When a user searches for a specific brand, a Knowledge Graph panel is often displayed on the top right side of the results page. This leads not only to the company website, but displays other useful information, like opening hours, phone number, address, and directions to the offices/stores. Google even showcases reviews of people’s experience with the brand. This is all part of Google’s mission to understand the intent behind users’ search queries and present them with a wider scope of relevant information that connects to the specific search words.
The Knowledge Graph looks like this:
To guarantee that your content is in the Google Knowledge Graph, be sure that you’re producing high-quality content, that your site is fully optimized, and that you’re using structured data. All companies can claim their Knowledge Graph panel and edit the information that’s displayed.
Once your content is in check, do this:
- Create a page on Wikipedia—It is vital for your online authority to have a page named after your company.
- Create social media profiles—This is important because Google showcases social profile links in their Knowledge Graph results.
- Implement schema markup on your website—Here’s a how-to guide by Neil Patel.
- Distribute keywords strategically—Incorporate your keywords in the URL, title tag, meta description, image names, alt descriptions, H1, introduction, and of course body text.
Tip #5 – FAQ – Be an Authority
I’ll bet you already have an FAQ page on your website.
But did you know that this could be a golden opportunity to bump up your company’s visibility on Google and, in turn, drive high-quality traffic to your site?
The key here, according to Search Engine Watch, is to ensure that your FAQ page is in tip-top shape. First off, this means providing valuable content that delivers answers and insights to real questions that users would want to ask.
It’s a fairly simple step-by-step process:
- Do your market research
- Send out questionnaires
- Figure out what it is that customers are itching to know
- Implement SEO best practices and use the right keywords
To find the right keywords to direct users to your content based on their search intent, use analytics and find out whether your keywords are driving traffic or not.
Finally, make it easy for people to find the information they need on the FAQ page. Use as many categories and sub-headings as possible so that users don’t need to wade through irrelevant information in order to get to the content that’s relevant to them.
Over to You
Dominating the Google SERP is more than a vanity metric. It’s a key factor in your business’s survival—no matter what industry you are in.
It’s time to ramp up your search engine marketing strategies and take full advantage of Google’s various algorithms and intent-based search features. By implementing the 5 tips I outlined above, you can boost your brand visibility and drive high-quality traffic to your website.
For more tips on SERP domination, contact our marketing specialists today.Dominate the first SERP