25 October 2016

All About Google’s SERP Features

map pack with text all about google's serp featuresEveryone wants their site to perform better on Google.

You’ve optimized your site, put on good content, and made sure that Google can find you. But at the end of the day, a search result page is going to make your page look just like your competition.

So how can you stand out from the sea of blue links around you?

A new frontier you can capitalize on when it comes to search results are “SERP Features”. Google has been rolling these out and they’re a powerful method of elevating your website above the sea of result listings.

First thing to know about SERPs…

SERP stands for “Search Engine Result Page” and it’s shorthand for a search result page like you see on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc. A “SERP Feature” is something Google created to make their results pages more useful to searchers.

Featuring things like maps, images, reviews, shopping results, AdWords, news snippets; Google has provided powerful ways to stand out from your competition.

Standing out from your competition on Google is pretty valuable – but what’s the first thing you should do?

Here’s Where You Start

The ones gaining the most visibility on Google and have the most potential for Southwest Florida businesses are the Local Pack and Reviews. Your potential customers are weighing options online and these two target the two questions that many people are looking to be answered when comparing options: what’s near me, and how good are they?

What Are Local Packs?

Local packs are search results at the top of the listing page shown on a map, like in the image below:

SERP features example

This is powerful because it’s above the organic listings, which means that your customers may not even go further than the this map of local businesses to find what they want.

For example, if you’re looking for a veterinarian, Google figures that you’ll want one close by, so it displays a map showing what it thinks are the best veterinarian businesses around you. It shows the name, ratings, the hours, even the phone number so you can call the vet without even having to go to their page first. All automatically and at the top of the page.

If you’re looking to get in front of potential customers in your area, this is definitely something you’ll want to target.

To do that, you’ll need to make sure that your business information like the company name, address and phone number are listed on the website in plain text so Google can find it.

You’ll also want to do some research on where else your business is listed and make sure that it’s correct, consistent, and visible across the web.

Don’t Forget About Reviews!

Here’s the thing – studies show that listings with review stars are clicked on more by searchers.

If you see two listings and one has a 5-star review and the other has no reviews at all, you’re going to click on the 5-star link most of the time, right?

Screen Shot 2016-10-24 at 8.18.20 AM

Google has a list of keywords it enables “reviews” on that it continually updates but won’t publish. The best way to find out if reviews are enabled for a keyword is to search for it and see if reviews show up on the page.

If they are there, you may be able to get them added to your results. You do this by adding Google-approved markup to the page.

To wrap a nice little bow around this, SERP Features are something Google has been experimenting with for a few years now and it has started to really ramp up its program.

If you’re looking to expand and increase your profile online, it’s absolutely worth doing the research and seeing what opportunities are there for your business.

The sooner you jump on it now, the more ahead of your competition you can be.