When talking about search engines, Google is usually the first name that comes to mind. Consumers depend on Google, holding their search engine results pages (SERPs), and the information provided there, in high esteem. Due to this, the way a brand appears in Google’s SERPs, and more specifically, where they rank, can directly sway a consumer’s decision to purchase its products or services.
Given the influence SERPs have in the comparison shopping process of consumers, analyzing and optimizing visibility on search engines has become a necessary discipline for leading brands to adopt.
To improve SERP ranking, you must first understand the important components of an SERP and then accurately determine where your brand can improve. In doing so, brands can ensure they stay ahead of their competitors and not get lost in the shuffle of Google’s search engine results pages.
Ranking in Google SERPs: Why Does It Matter?
Brands will usually appear highly on SERPs when their specific brand name is searched, but the problem is that consumers don’t always search for brands outright. They search for related keywords, such as the names of products and services.
If a brand doesn’t show up in searches for relevant products and services, they end up missing out on a large boost to their bottom line. Appearing in relevant SERPs gives brands an opportunity to get ahead of their competition (both figuratively and literally). Typically the higher a brand’s content ranks in the SERPs, the more visibility and traffic its website will receive.
However, before brands can get their web pages to rank in Google for targeted keywords, they must first get an idea of which sites Google currently ranks on the front page and why those sites rank the way they do.
When a business conducts an analysis of its own brand, and the brands of competitors, they can stay ahead with new insight into what works and what doesn’t. Businesses can gain this valuable insight through a SERP analysis.
Reputation management companies help brands properly analyze their placement in the SERPs and use the data to implement strategies for beating competitors.
How Is Content Ranked in Search Engine Results Pages?
A SERP consists of multiple parts, which vary depending on what a person searches for.
First, Google displays paid listings at the top, which is visibly marked with an “Ad” label. SERPs contain more, or fewer ads based on the number of companies paying to show up for certain keywords.
If a query includes the name of a specific person, place, or creative work, then the SERP will display a box with information about the entity. Google refers to that element as a “knowledge panel.” These panels are automatically generated with information Google learns by crawling and indexing web pages.
Next, Google displays organic listings for all queries. (You may also hear these organic listings referred to as the “10 blue links” in the world of SEO.) Because the placement of web pages cannot be influenced by payment, Google refers to these listings as “organic.”
Everything ranks organically and pages are assessed on the same set of ranking factors. In addition, organic listings may include a “local pack” of business listings in a searcher’s area that offer a relevant product or service.
Organic listings represent an important part of a SERP. Anyone with enough money can rank high in the paid listings, but ranking organically requires a genuine demonstration of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Searchers instinctively recognize the value of these organic placements, and they put more stock in pages that organically achieve a high ranking in search. Businesses that take these prominent spots in organic search reap the benefits of greater brand visibility and more website traffic, leading to increased sales.
What Is SERP Analysis?
The importance of organic listings makes them a primary focus of a SERP analysis.
A SERP analysis involves conducting keyword research and examining the results. For example, a business could search for keywords for which they want to rank and gain insight by examining which pages already take top spots for those terms.
Through this process, brands can acquire useful knowledge of relevant keywords, identify competitive advantages, and pinpoint possible improvements.
With that said, businesses should prioritize ranking for keywords likely to bring in the most customers. This keyword targeting strategy hinges on a careful understanding of user intent.
When a search query includes the name of a business, the user intends to find that specific business’s website. That means they’ve made up their mind already. They want to purchase products from that business and likely have no intention of comparison shopping.
Generic search terms, on the other hand, have greater value because they offer a chance to win new customers who haven’t yet made up their minds. Such keywords can include terms like “best affordable mattresses,” “fashionable winter boots,” and other terms that indicate the customer is researching different options.
Owning the SERP with Competitive Analysis
In order to rank for targeted keywords, the next step is thorough competitive analysis.
After nailing down the keywords they want to rank for, a business can begin a SERP analysis by searching those keywords in Google and assessing the content to get an idea of what it takes to rank for those terms.
The old saying, “Know your enemy,” applies here. When businesses know how competitors gained the upper hand, they can figure out what worked for them and how to do it better.
It’s important to compare every aspect of a competitor’s website to find areas for improvement and develop new content ideas to help move up in Google’s rankings.
Transforming Analysis into Action
Conducting a SERP analysis puts businesses on the path to overtaking their competitors. If businesses fail to put the insights into action, however, nothing will change.
Beyond knowledge of the competitive landscape, it also requires a thorough understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to move ahead in the rankings. Most importantly, businesses need to have resources available for creating new content and making website improvements.
Many companies lack the time to analyze SERPs, let alone the time it requires to take action on analysis. Not to mention that all this takes time away from a business’s day-to-day operations.
However, reputation management companies have the SEO expertise needed to get content ranking high in the SERPs. Companies like Guaranteed Removals do more than help with SEO content creation and putting plans into action. They have specialized tools for gaining more specific insight into which areas, topics, and keywords businesses should target for the most strategic value.
Control Your Search Results
SERPs offer an opportunity for brands to stand out, expand their visibility, and drive sales on a platform integral to customers’ research and comparison shopping process.
To successfully take advantage of this opportunity brands need a base knowledge of what their website does right, where it needs improvement, which queries it should rank for, and what competitors do to rank for those desired keywords.
Conducting a SERP analysis and developing an action plan using SEO techniques requires time and expertise. Without question, this can put undue stress on brands that have maxed out their resources on running a business.
Reputation management companies make the process significantly less overwhelming. On top of helping clients analyze SERPs and implement SEO strategies to improve brand awareness, companies like Guaranteed Removals help brands maintain their positive reputation and stay ahead of competitors.