Google SERPs have changed a lot over the years and now there are multiple types of results pages you could be bidding on or ranking for. Are your search terms going to pull up local results or paid ads; AMP articles or knowledge panels – or maybe even a mixture of different SERP features.
This is an important question because the kind of results page users are given influences the result they’ll end up clicking. Perhaps you want a paid ad on for that keyword, rather than relying on organic results that are pushed further down the page, for example.
Sound confusing? Well here are some insights that’ll help you prioritise your search marketing tactics.
More than 50% of queries trigger AdWords ads
According to Mozcast, AdWords ads sit at the top of more than 50% of all queries typed into Google. This makes AdWords’ top panel of ads the most prominent feature on Google SERPs (after the ten organic listings, of course) and this is no surprise to any of us.
Naturally, the kind of queries that trigger these ads will normally have some kind of buying intent (eg: “buy Nike shoes online”) rather than informational searches (eg: “who won the 1966 World Cup?”).
HTTPS results are getting more important
The same Mozcast findings suggest HTTPS results now feature on more than 45% of SERPs and we already know Google is warning users against visiting a wide range of unencrypted sites. These warnings occur in Google Chrome – the world’s most popular browser – and mobile users in particular are having a hard time accessing certain sites.
So Google’s basically got us by the unmentionables; if your users are getting blocked from accessing your site, it’s time to go HTTPS – because Google said so.
Knowledge panels are still elusive
The third most common feature in SERPs is knowledge graphs (almost 40% of queries) but they still remain elusive to website owners. Getting your own content in those things is no small feat and the chances of users clicking through to your site, even if you do get yourself in a knowledge graph, aren’t all that big.
The good news is these tend to return for the more informational queries that few businesses need to target.
Reviews are golden
No surprises that reviews feature heavily on Google SERPs these days and, between local listings and AdWords’ review feature, those golden stars appear for roughly 37% of queries. Best of all, these are searches with consumer intent and those little golden stars tell users that you’re a business they can trust. So get collected those stars!
Local search goes hyperlocal
As the population of people glued to their smartphone screens continues to grow, local search marketing is so 2015. These days it’s all about hyperlocal search and Google, of course, is pioneering the way. The search giant now even returns results of businesses you were within walking distance from in the last few minutes, making
For businesses, this means being present on Google Maps/My Business and having all the relevant info up-to-date is more important than ever.
These are the most prominent features on Google SERPs these days and making a presence on each of them takes a different approach to search marketing. The key is understanding what kind of query you’re targeting, the kind of SERPs this will return and the result users are most likely to click from the results page.
In some cases, AdWords will be your priority; in others, getting a solid presence in local results will be the best way to go. You’ll even find the two features competing against each other for certain results, meaning you’ll have to decide which method is more effective or invest in both for extra coverage.
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