Rounding off a year of virtual summits, BrightonSEO hosted the SERP Analysis Summit on 17th December 2020.
The SERP (Search Engine Results Page) is where all the work from SEO and PPC professionals come to fruition. It’s where users come into contact with brands first when searching for products and services. It is the location where you try to capture the attention of potential customers and get them through to your website.
This summit brought some of the brightest digital marketing experts who all had special insight into getting some wins in the SERP. A few members of the Ricemedia team have put together takeaways from a few of the standout speakers at the event. Find out their key insight below.
Joanna Beech: How to Stand out From the Rest of the Search Results
Joanna delivered an excellent and insightful webinar aimed at highlighting key areas anyone in search should be considering when trying to stand out on the SERP.
After giving us a brief overview of her extensive digital marketing background, she raised some interesting points. These were;
- Being #1 in the results DOESN’T always mean more traffic. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest ranking second or third actually drives higher CTRs.
- When creating PPC campaigns it is important to not only ensure copy is highly relevant but also topical where possible. She showed a great example of a company who had leveraged lockdown in their PPC copy and were seeing better results.
- She also highlighted the importance of identifying and keeping the buyer’s journey in mind. The example she gave was of giving the appropriate contact details, depending on which stage of the funnel they are at.
- Answerthepublic.com – Joanna reinforced something that Ricemedia to regularly here and suggested using this tool to gain a better understanding of search queries.
- Identifying motives during keyword research is imperative. Are people more likely to click on a result if indicators such as ‘free’ or ‘simple’ are used?
- Utilise SEO tools like SEMRush and, in particular, the keyword magic tool. This is a quick and easy way to understand keyword variants.
- When it comes to organic results, ensure brand names are included in page titles. This is best practice and provides an all-important touchpoint.
- Make sure all organic and PPC efforts are married.
- Target SERP features, FAQ pages & featured snippets work wonders!
Ian Helms: Quality over Quantity: The Value of Content Pruning
Ian, of US-based Wpromote, spoke at length about the value of ‘pruning’ within content strategy. Content marketing is core to what we do at Rice so to hear about how other industry leaders tackle it was fascinating.
Some great points were made and the key takeaways were;
- Focus on evergreen content. The very nature of content that is eternally relevant means it is an efficient use of time and resources.
- Be sure to ‘prune’ low performing content. By pruning, or refreshing, old content you are sending a message to Google that older pages are once again fresh and relevant.
- Make sure content is amplified. Whether this is through social channels or an email campaign, once content is available you must use all available resources to drive traffic.
- Any content that is created must provide unique value. Simply repeating old messaging is detrimental to your strategy.
- As well as ensuring content is uniquely valuable, make sure all relevant schema is applied.
- Include valuable content in email campaigns with CTAs that don’t sound too ‘salesy’. ‘Read more here’, ‘Learn more about this’ formats are far more effective.
Notes written by Daniel Hellier
Martha van Berkel: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Schema Markup
Martha Van Berkel delivered an informative talk on schema markup. She covered the basics and also went into detail about how to use schema markup to stand out in search.
The use of schema markup is an SEO strategy to help your content be understood explicitly by search engines and is a great way to stand out in search results.
Essentially, schema markup is code that Google understands.
Ways to stand out in search:
- FAQ search results – answer questions being asked about your chosen topic and use the correct schema markup to feature in google FAQ section.
- Featured snippets – Google uses schema markup to inform featured snippets.
- Service schema – Using schema markup to display a ‘service’ rather than a product, Google’s structured data features do not include “Service”, but instead focus on product schema markup for rich results. Using schema for a service for example, a hairdresser, is a great way to link back to local businesses as well.
A recent example of a Google schema update would be the covid-19 updates displayed at the top of the webpage, stats and graphs being displayed and any other “covid related” news appearing.
Connected schema markup:
“Your Schema Markup tells a story about how your content is connected to other things on your website and on the web. You can use properties within schema markup to define the relationships and take control of how your brand is understood”
Notes written by Georgia Martin
Yvo Schaap: Spotting SERP Opportunities
With a background in the once lucrative ‘lyrics SEO’ industry, Yvo Schaap has had a pretty cool career history. Now a full time SEO advisor, he gave us some of his top tips for leveraging opportunities on the SERP in order to get to that number one spot.
The importance of the SERP
- The SERP plays a vital role in your entire marketing mix and not just from an SEO perspective, for many users, the SERP is a user’s first interaction with your brand.
- By analysing it, we can see the user journey from start to finish, forcing us to see the bigger picture, this can help us spot opportunities not only on the SERP but also throughout the marketing funnel.
- Yvo also explained that the SERP is your digital shop front window and it’s important to treat it like ‘marketing material’. With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of his pointers for spotting opportunities on the SERP.
4 SERP Opportunities
- Google determines rank position based on a series of ‘signals’ rather than ‘directives. By leveraging the following SERP elements, you can give Google the signals you want in order to rank higher.
- Featured snippets are those little snippets of text that pop up when you ask a question on Google. In order to nab one of these top spots, Yvo recommends sticking to a ‘Wiki-style’ tone of voice that is both factual and expresses no opinion. He also says that adding something fresh and unique can give your page a boost and push back competitors. If you’re already ranking within the top 10, you’ve got a good chance of getting a featured snippet of your own.
- This one is best left for those who are already king of the SERP as they’re tough to get. If you’re already number one, then it might be worth a shot. Try and leverage some global opportunities to get a Knowledge Panel by spotting any gaps in the SERP in another language that is relevant to your brand. Just bear in mind that if you go for this, you’ve got serious guts – it’s tough to replace Wikipedia!
Exposing Keyword Intent
- Find out exactly what your customers or readers want from you by investigating what they search for. See what Google’s assumption of their search is by the type it defaults to when you punch in your keyphrases. If the Shopping tab or the Image tab comes up first, is this what your customers are looking for? Interpret the findings and use it to inspire your future content and improve your relevancy on the SERP.
- If you can’t beat them, join them! If you’re struggling to grab those top spots, there’s nothing wrong with checking out what competitors are doing. If your rivals have an FAQ schema, think about where you could implement that to your site. If your competitors have a monopoly on the featured snippets, diversify and add a video to yours to make it more engaging to users. There’s a number of ways competitors can inspire you to generate better content that is more relevant to your users, helping you climb up that SERP into the poll position.
Notes written by Sia Patel