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How to Optimize for Google’s Key SERP Features

     -     Oct 22nd, 2018   -     Search Engine Optimization   -     0 Comments

Over time Google has changed its search results and how they are presented to provide the searcher with additional value, access to information and enhanced ability to get to important information in the shortest amount of time possible. In fact, there is currently 16 search engine result page (SERP) features designed to make using Google friendlier and more convenient. These features often referred to as packs, ranging from featured snippets, image packs, and reviews, to news boxes and related questions. More than likely you have seen, used or experienced some or all these SERP features at some point in the past. As you can imagine, having your firm’s information appear in one of these features is not only good for visibility but also has a powerful impact on the click-through rate (i.e. people who come to your site because it’s there). Many marketers are wondering how they can optimize their website to take advantage of these features. To provide insight into the features most relevant to professional service firms, we have provided a summary of each along with the essential ranking information below.

Local Pack

The local pack is a SERP feature that will show the three businesses most closely related to your search along with a map feature. In the past, Google would show seven businesses under the map but several years ago decided to streamline it down to three. This means it’s more important for firms to focus their local SEO efforts to target the top three spots.

According to a 2015 study, local pack features show in the top three spots 93% of the time when a relevant search is conducted. In terms of exposure and positioning, this is quite significant.

Local Pack - Local SEO

How do I rank for the local pack?

The more focus the firm has on local SEO, the easier it will be to rank for the local pack. This means focusing on your firm’s directory listing, using and updating Google My Business, ensuring that your website is mobile optimized (many of the local pack searches are presented on mobile devices) and use structured data to highlight your business’ location, name, and phone. Given the high value of the local pack, it’s important to make improved rankings part of your firm’s goals.

Featured Snippets

The featured snippet is a SERP feature that contains information (usually an answer to a question-based search, but not always) that is featured at the top of the webpage. It has an excerpt from a website that answers the search question along with a backlink. This is an important feature for professional service firms because not only does it clearly demonstrate expertise in an area, but also creates a high click-through rate.

Google featured snippets - SEO Consultants

How do I rank for featured snippets?

To rank for a featured snippet, the website must rank in the top ten (first page) for a target keyword although some argue a top five listing is needed. If your firm wants to leverage this feature but ranks outside of the first page, try focusing on the organic SEO tactics needed to move your site up the rankings. It’s also a good idea to use structured data (technically schema markup) to augment Google’s ability to index and understand your content.

It’s important to understand that Google can change this feature at any time. To have a consistent presence, it’s recommended to include question-based blog posts and articles in your content marketing plan. Where appropriate consider creating a list of FAQs or knowledge base that answers common questions on topics relevant to your prospects.

Videos

This SERP feature shows videos related to a search anywhere Google chooses to display them. It used to be that video had its own separate section in Google, but they decided to integrate videos along with organic search results. One of the reasons this happened (in my opinion) is that Google owns YouTube and naturally they want to interconnect content types for cross-promotion. It’s challenging to determine the value that this SERP feature offers because it depends on the term searched and amount of video produced by the firm.

Google Video Pack - SEO Consulting

How do I rank for video?

Unlike other SERP features, a video doesn’t have a certain set of specific criteria that can be followed other than the typical video organic SEO steps. It’s a good idea to add structured data to all videos on your website and includes information on the videos such as a description, preview thumbnail, and date of publication. Visit Google’s Guide to structured data for videos to get more information.

Related Questions

This SERP feature is generated automatically by Google and appears when the search engine believes the list of questions relates to the user’s initial search. Represented in the form of a list, when a user clicks on a question it will expand to present information like what is seen in a featured snippet. The user can review the related question (and answer) and click on the link provided to visit the related website.

Related Questions Pack - CPA Firm SEO

How do I rank for related questions?

To rank for a related question, it’s best to follow the same process that’s used for featured snippets. Do take note that when Google selects a winner for a featured snippet the same site/information is awarded for related questions. So, stay focused on following the best practices discussed above.

Contact Us

It’s clear that professional service firms have several opportunities to increase their exposure in Google through the various SERP features outlined above. There are other SERP features available, but those listed above are the most valuable in terms of enhancing click-through rate and getting the desired exposure for the firm. If you have questions about the information in this article or need assistance with an SEO issue, FlashPoint Marketing can help. For more information click here to contact us or call (954) 621-8080.

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