What is a SERP?
The word SERP in digital marketing is an acronym that means Search Engine Results Page. When you type your keyword into Google and hit the search button it provides results and those results pages are all known as SERP pages.
The top 10 ranking factors for SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) are:
Relevant and high-quality content
The content should answer the search query; Google’s job is to provide information to its customers. Therefore, each keyword has a specific intent. There are 4 in total, Informational, Navigational, Transactional, and commercial.
1. Informational – Users looking for information about a particular subject matter.
2. Navigational – Users are looking for something specific but the quickest way to get to the result.
3. Transactional – late in the buying cycle, know what they want, just looking for where to buy it.
4. Commercial – Users looking to make a transaction but investigating where to make that transaction, i.e., a company with the best service/reviews, lowest price, or product variation.
This process typically involves researching and selecting keywords relevant to your business, products, or services and then incorporating them into your website content in a natural and appealing way to both users and search engines. Keyword optimization also includes analyzing your website’s current performance, identifying opportunities for improvement, and adjusting your website’s content and structure to boost its ranking and visibility.
Votes of confidence are given from other websites to yours linking to your content. Not all backlinks are the same as those from a trusted source can help boost your website’s trust score and SERP rankings.g
With an average traffic split of over 75% from mobile devices, your website must operate on smartphones correctly. Things like buttons being big enough to click and text is easy to read are critical factors that improve user experience on mobile devices.
Page load speed
People prefer waiting for websites to load. Therefore, the longer your webpage loads, the higher the bounce rate of potential customers. It is akin to sitting in a line waiting to get into the car park; if it takes too long, you will look for another car park. Same with your website; if it loads slowly, people will look elsewhere unless your product is that exclusive.
User experience (UX) and website design
Several factors can be used to measure user experience (UX), including:
- Usability: It is easy for users to perform tasks on your website or application, such as finding information, navigating the site, or completing a form.
- Accessibility: Whether your website or application is accessible to users with disabilities, such as those who use screen readers or need larger font sizes.
- User satisfaction: Whether users are satisfied with their experience on your website or application, as measured through surveys, feedback forms, or other methods.
- Time on site: How long users spend on your website or application, which can indicate engagement and interest.
- Bounce rate: The percentage of users who leave your website or application after visiting only one page, which can indicate dissatisfaction or confusion.
- Error rate: The number of errors or broken links on your website or application, which can negatively impact the user experience.
- User engagement: Whether users are actively interacting with your website or application, such as by clicking links, sharing content, or making purchases.
These factors can be used together to create a comprehensive measure of user experience and help you identify areas for improvement and optimize the overall experience for your users.
Social signals, such as the number of likes, shares, and followers a website has on social media platforms, can have a limited but indirect impact on search engine rankings. Search engines like Google use complex algorithms to determine the order of websites in their search results. While social signals are not a direct ranking factor, they can still play a role in evaluating a website’s authority and credibility.
For example, suppose a website has many followers and engagement on social media. In that case, it can be seen as a positive indicator of the website’s popularity and relevance, which can positively impact its search engine ranking. Additionally, social signals can indirectly affect search engine rankings by increasing the visibility and reach of a website’s content and driving additional traffic through social media referrals.
Domain age and authority
Domain age and authority are essential factors in search engine rankings.
- Domain Age: The age of a domain can impact its search engine ranking because it is a sign of the website’s stability and longevity. Search engines often view older parts as more trustworthy and authoritative, giving them a slight advantage in search results.
- Domain Authority: Domain authority refers to a website’s overall credibility and influence in its niche or industry. It is determined by a combination of factors, including the quality and quantity of links pointing to the website, the relevance and popularity of the website’s content, and the website’s age and history. Websites with high domain authority are often seen as more trustworthy and authoritative, therefore, more likely to rank higher in search results.
Schema markup can significantly impact SERP results by providing search engines with additional information about your website and content. Here are some of the benefits of using schema markup:
- Improved visibility: Schema markup can enhance the visibility of your website in search results by providing additional information, such as your business name, address, and phone number.
- Rich snippets: Schema markup can enhance your search listings with rich snippets, providing users with additional information about your content, such as reviews, ratings, and pricing.
- Increased click-through rate (CTR): Schema markup can increase the CTR of your search listings by providing users with more information about your content and business.
- Better categorization: Schema markup can help search engines better categorize and understand the content on your website, leading to improved search rankings.
- Enhanced local search visibility: By using schema markup to provide information about your business, such as your name, address, and phone number, you can improve your visibility in local search results.
Location and geographic targeting
Location and geographic targeting can have a significant impact on SERP results. Here are some ways in which area and geographic targeting can affect SERP rankings:
- Local search results: Location and geographic targeting can impact the ranking of a website in local search results. Websites that provide location-specific information, such as business addresses and phone numbers, are more likely to rank higher in local search results.
- Relevance: Location and geographic targeting can increase the relevance of a website to users, leading to improved search rankings. Websites that provide location-specific information and content are more likely to rank higher in search results for users in that location.
- User behavior: Location and geographic targeting can impact user behavior, including click-through rate (CTR), bounce rate, and dwell time. Websites that provide relevant and valuable content for users in a specific location are more likely to receive higher CTRs and longer dwell times, leading to improved search rankings.
By targeting specific locations and geographic areas, you can increase the relevance of your website to users and improve your search rankings in local and geographical search results.
Note that these factors can vary in importance and may change over time as search algorithms evolve. Additionally, the exact weight of each element can take time to determine, as it is primarily based on proprietary algorithms used by each search engine.
Ten steps to optimize your website for better SERP results:
1. Conduct keyword research to identify relevant and high-traffic keywords to target in your content and meta tags.
You have to remember that these keywords may also be a great difficulty, so it is essential to have silos of keywords. If you have a low authority website, ranking for them will be much more complicated. This article was written as a feed from What is SEO? I talked about SERPS there, which led me to create several pieces to explain the terms in that article that people from the digital marketing world may need to learn. The SERPS topic became Pillar content for me as there was so much information to get across.
2. Create high-quality, relevant, and original content that provides value to your target audience.
This piece of content does everything in the title. I have covered in depth all the different things within it. Making it a comprehensive guide about SERPS that many will gain value from, especially those new to digital marketing.
3. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, with a responsive design and fast load times.
Mobile friendly – making sure buttons can be pressed, i.e., not too close together. Responsive design adjusts the sizes depending on the screen size, so your website always looks good, no matter the consumer’s device. Loading times can be an issue for many people, especially when viewing on mobile, as connectivity is only guaranteed in some places.
4. Focus on building high-quality backlinks from reputable sources, as these can help improve your website’s authority and visibility in search results.
Links/votes from reputable sources can increase your domain authority. Search engines recognize these, allowing the website to earn trust.
5. Use schema markup to provide structure to your content and help search engines better understand what your website is about.
A schema is a fantastic tool that allows you to mark up the pages and tell search engines what it is about. For example, you can specify a local business, an article, a menu, a product, etc., allowing search engines to show it off more accurately to the right consumers.
6. Ensure your website has a clear, intuitive navigation structure with easy-to-read and understandable URLs.
You want to make your website logical and easy to navigate.
simple, and you know where you are. Each category can be filtered, i.e., color, size, etc.
7. Ensure your website has a fast page load speed, as this can impact both user experience and search engine rankings.
Plugins and scripts can add weight to your website code and slows down the response and delivery of your website’s data. You want to minimize it as much as possible while retaining functionality. If a website loads slowly, people are likely to look elsewhere as waiting becomes frustrating.
8. Use social media to promote your content, build relationships with influencers, and drive traffic to your website.
You will only know and use social media if you live under a rock. But did you know the benefits of getting messages out to all your customers? The ability for people to share your brand. People can share without relying on mainstream media.
9. Regularly track your SERP performance using tools like Google Search Console and monitor your website’s rankings for your target keywords.
Google Search Console (GSC) is a fantastic and accessible tool allowing website owners to track organic traffic. It has data on the customers, keywords, Impressions (opportunities to rank), and Clicks on your website. This data source can be pivotal in allowing you to see gaps and issues in your website structure.
10. Stay up-to-date with the latest best practices and algorithm updates from search engines and adjust your optimization strategy as needed.
Best practices and algorithm updates are ever-changing, and they can cause significant issues for website owners. Rocking the boat after an update can see traffic grow or decline. The methodology of how things need to be done changing leaves an impact that takes a long time to recover.
also known as inbound or incoming links, are among the most important ranking factors for SERP. The following are the ways backlinks can impact SERP:
- Authority: Backlinks from reputable and high-authority websites can boost the credibility and authority of your website, leading to higher search engine rankings.
- Relevance: Search engines view backlinks as a form of endorsement, and links from websites related to your own can signal to search engines that your website is relevant and valuable to users.
- Trust: High-quality backlinks from trusted sources can increase search engines’ trust in your website, which can translate into higher rankings in search results.
- Link diversity: Having a variety of backlinks from different types of websites, such as industry-specific blogs, news websites, and social media, can demonstrate the diversity and breadth of your website’s content and visibility.
However, it is essential to note that the quality of backlinks is more important than quantity. Low-quality links from spammy or irrelevant websites can harm your search engine rankings. Therefore, building high-quality, relevant, and natural-looking backlinks over time is best.
An essential step in optimizing your website for better SERP results. Here are some tips for successful keyword research:
1. Identify your target audience: Understand the needs and interests of your target audience and the keywords they are searching for.
2. Use keyword tools: Utilize keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs to identify high-traffic, relevant keywords for your website.
3. Consider keyword relevance: Choose keywords relevant to your website, its content, and your target audience.
4. Analyze keyword difficulty: Assess the competitiveness of keywords, including factors such as the number of existing search results and the authority of ranking websites.
5. Consider long-tail keywords: Consider targeting long-tail keywords, which are more specific and have less competition, in addition to broader, more general keywords.
6. Focus on user intent: Look for keywords that match the user’s search intent, such as informational, navigational, or transactional.
7. Use keywords in your content: Incorporate your target keywords into your content, including titles, headings, and meta descriptions.
8. Monitor your results: Regularly track your website’s rankings for target keywords and adjust your keyword strategy based on your results.
You can improve your visibility and rankings in search results by conducting thorough keyword research and incorporating relevant keywords into your website’s content and meta tags.
Here are some steps to track your SERP performance:
1. Use Google Search Console: Google Search Console is a free tool that provides insights into your website’s performance in Google search results, including keyword rankings and click-through rates.
2. Monitor keyword rankings: Regularly track your website’s orders for your target keywords using a keyword ranking tool or manually searching for keywords on search engines.
3. Analyze traffic sources: Use tools such as Google Analytics to monitor the sources of your website’s traffic, including organic search, referrals, and direct traffic.
4. Monitor backlinks: Use a backlink tracking tool such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to monitor the number and quality of your website’s backlinks.
5. Study your competition: Analyze the websites ranking for your target keywords to gain insights into their SEO strategies and identify opportunities for improvement.
6. Stay informed: Stay up-to-date with changes to search algorithms and best practices by following industry news and attending relevant events and conferences.
Regularly monitoring your SERP performance can gain valuable insights into your website’s strengths and weaknesses and make informed decisions to improve your search engine rankings.
Content plays a crucial role in determining a website’s rankings in SERP. Here are some ways in which content impacts SERP rankings:
1. Relevance: Content relevant to the user’s search query and providing value to the user is more likely to rank well in search results.
2. Keyword optimization: Incorporating target keywords into the content in a natural and meaningful way can help improve the visibility of a website in search results.
3. Freshness: Regularly updating and adding fresh, high-quality content to a website can signal to search engines that a website is active and relevant.
4. User engagement: Content that is engaging, informative, and easy to read can encourage users to spend more time on a website, reducing bounce rates and improving user experience.
5. Link building: High-quality content can attract backlinks from other websites, boosting a website’s authority and visibility in search results.
6. E-A-T: Content demonstrating expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is more likely to rank well in search results.
To optimize your content for better SERP rankings, focus on creating high-quality, relevant, and keyword-optimized content that provides value to the user and demonstrates expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Local businesses can optimize their website for better SERP results by following these tips:
- Claim and verify your Google My Business listing: This listing will appear in Google Maps and Google search results and allows you to provide important information about your business, including your address, phone number, and hours of operation.
- Include local keywords: Target local keywords that include your city or geographic location, such as “best pizza in Seattle.”
- Optimize your website for mobile devices: With more and more searches being performed, ensuring your website is optimized for mobile is essential.
- Encourage customer reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on popular sites like Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor.
- Build local backlinks: Reach out to other local businesses and websites to build backlinks to your website.
- Utilize schema markup: Use schema markup to provide search engines with information about your business, including your name, address, and phone number.
By following these tips, local businesses can improve their visibility in local search results and attract more local customers.
To maximize mobile SERP visibility, follow these steps:
- Mobile-responsive design: Ensure that your website is designed to adapt to different screen sizes and provide a user-friendly experience for mobile users.
- Fast loading speed: Optimize your website for fast loading speed on mobile devices, as slow-loading websites can negatively impact user experience and search rankings.
- Optimize for voice search: Optimize your website and content for voice search by incorporating long-tail keywords and conversational language into your content.
- Location-based optimization: Optimize your website and content for location-based search queries to improve visibility in local search results.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to provide users with a fast and seamless mobile experience.
- Mobile-friendly schema markup: Use schema markup to provide search engines with information about your website, including your business name, address, and phone number.
- Monitor mobile performance: Use tools such as Google Search Console to monitor your website’s mobile version and identify areas for improvement.
Following these steps can improve your website’s mobile SERP visibility and attract more mobile users.
User behavior can have a significant impact on SERP rankings. Here are some ways in which user behavior affects SERP rankings:
1. Click-through rate (CTR): The CTR of a website, or the number of clicks a website receives divided by the number of impressions it receives, can impact its rankings in search results. A high CTR signals to search engines that a website is relevant and valuable to users, leading to improved rankings.
2. Bounce rate: The bounce rate of a website, or the percentage of users who leave a website after only visiting one page, can impact its rankings. A high bounce rate can indicate to search engines that a website needs to provide value to users and may lead to decreased rankings.
3. Dwell time: The dwell time of a website, or the amount of time a user spends on a website before returning to the search results, can impact its rankings. A high dwell time can indicate to search engines that a website provides valuable and relevant content, leading to improved rankings.
4. Pages per session: The number of pages a user visits on a website during a session can impact its rankings. A high number of pages per session can indicate to search engines that a website provides valuable and relevant content, leading to improved rankings.
5. User engagement: User engagement, including time on site, number of pages viewed, and social media shares, can impact a website’s rankings. A high level of user engagement can indicate to search engines that a website provides valuable and relevant content, leading to improved rankings.
By providing valuable and relevant content and optimizing for user experience, a website can improve its rankings in search results and attract more engaged users.
Staying ahead of SERP algorithm updates
Staying ahead of SERP algorithm updates requires staying informed about the latest changes and continually optimizing your website and content. Here are some tips to help you stay ahead:
- Keep up with industry news: Stay informed about the latest updates and changes to search algorithms by following industry news sources and subscribing to relevant blogs and forums.
- Monitor your website’s performance: Use tools such as Google Search Console to monitor your website’s performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Focus on user experience: Prioritize providing a positive user experience, including fast loading speed, mobile-responsive design, and valuable, relevant content.
- Focus on high-quality content: Create high-quality, original content that provides value to users and focuses on their needs and interests.
- Diversify your traffic sources: Diversify your traffic sources by leveraging social media, email marketing, and other channels to reach your target audience.
- Stay updated on best practices: Stay informed about best practices for search engine optimization, including keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.
By staying informed and continually optimizing your website and content, you can stay ahead of SERP algorithm updates and maintain or improve your search rankings.