Have you noticed that when you type a query into Google that the results you get look a little different than they did a few years ago. It used to be Google presented you with a pretty straightforward list of sites that earned the top spots according to their current algorithm. Today, search result pages (SERPs) have become more dynamic, presenting users with a more engaging, enhanced experience.
This is great from a user experience standpoint, and it works to keep Google securely positioned in its reigning spot as “the” search engine giant. But what about for the businesses that are diligently plugging away at search engine optimization? How do these enhanced SERPs affect the average business’s ability to rank and be seen?
First, What Are Enhanced SERP Features?
Enhanced SERP features are essentially results that fall outside of the traditional landscape of search engine results pages. They’re fueled by the changing preferences of search engine users – which currently have a lot to do with mobile optimization.
Enhanced SERP features are pretty easy to pick out from a visual standpoint. For instance, the site that appears as a featured snippet in position zero right above the business that perfected their SEO strategy to land in the number one spot.
Enhanced SERP features are often more visually appealing to the mobile user – think along the lines of highlighted image results, maps, infographics, or Google’s knowledge graph that gathers and displays information from a variety of sources.
All of these elements contribute to the user’s experience, but they also create a more visually diverse landscape that can potentially draw attention away from businesses that earn a spot in the standard SERPs.
Knowledge Is Power
Ignorance isn’t bliss when it comes to search engine marketing. If you’ve been sailing along, concerned only with ranking in standard search engine results, it’s time to come down out of the clouds and pay attention to what’s going on with Google and SEO.
The quest for knowledge begins with understanding that nothing is ever static in the world of SERPs. Google is constantly looking to enhance their user experience, which means that what you know about SERPs today might not hold true tomorrow. If you want an approach to SEO that really produces results, you need to stay current on what Google is doing and how you can optimize your strategy to appeal to their algorithms.
This starts by having at least a basic idea of which enhanced features are filling the space on SERPs today. A few of Google’s favorite enhanced features include:
- Featured Snippets
- People Also Ask
- Direct Answers
- Paid Ads (both top and bottom of the page)
- Knowledge Graphs
- The Local Pack
- Local Knowledge Panel
- Image Pack
- Top Stories
Optimizing Your Strategy for Results with Enhanced SERPs
As a business that needs to build visibility online and be found easily in search results, what’s the best strategy? You should ask yourself if you’re fine being lost in the crowd or if you’re willing to put in a little extra effort and maybe earn some of this enhanced SERP love for yourself.
That said, appearing in enhanced SERPs isn’t always an easy thing to do. SEO on its own is pretty easy to understand. You basically do what you’re supposed to do and you get rewarded by a favorable ranking. Sure, some others might rank a little higher but you’re not going to find yourself at the bottom of the heap with a solid SEO strategy.
Enhanced SERPs are a little different. In most cases, you can’t guarantee results even with your best efforts.
Take featured snippets, for example. You can optimize your content to appear in a featured snippet, but there’s also a lot of competition and Google is only going to pick one listing for position zero on any given search engine results page.
This means that standing out in the world of enhanced SERPs involves a lot of strategy, but it also doesn’t hurt to keep your fingers crossed.
For instance, if you want to land in the local 3 pack or local knowledge panel, then a strong local SEO strategy is a must. Making sure your business can be found in local directories, focusing on locally relevant content and going all in on review building and reputation management will all help boost your chances of appearing in an enhanced SERP.
If you want to increase your chances of appearing in a featured snippet or “People Also Ask” result, you need a strong, content focused strategy. You want to create content that’s built around answering a specific, popular question. That content also needs to be formatted in a way that makes it super easy for Google to identify the intent and pull our relevant answers. Other SEO strategies, like optimizing tags and headings, are also important.
Other types of enhanced SERPs, like knowledge graphs and top stories, are a little more elusive for many smaller businesses. These spots often go to larger businesses with a heavier online presence. This doesn’t mean that they’re totally out of reach, however. Just continue to follow best SEO practices, which include keeping all your information up to date and working to establish a notable presence in your community – both online and in the physical world.
Work with a Digital Agency in Nashville to Boost Your Presence in Enhanced Search Results
Search engine optimization is the number one most effective way of fueling organic traffic to your website. If there’s one thing we know about the digital landscape, it’s that it is always changing. Staying on top of the trends that drive results with SEO today is crucial to your success. JLB is a digital agency in Nashville that can help you achieve your goals and grow your business through search engine marketing.
Whether you’re looking for a fresh approach to search engine optimization or want to completely reinvent your digital persona with a fresh, new web design, we’re here to help. Connect with us at JLB and discover how our digital marketing services are exactly what your business needs to thrive.