In my last post, I discussed a few local small business seo tips that can help you improve your local search engine rankings and this week I’d like to take a closer look at an actual search engine results page and do a quick breakdown of each section for you.
Oftentimes in the small business search engine optimization world, we overlook some basic assumptions on general knowledge of SEO and jump right into discussing things like title tags, internal linking, backlinking, schema and other more advanced SEO lingo.
While those terms and concepts are important learn about, sometimes we need to pump the brakes and look at what exactly we’re looking to optimize for: improving placement on a search engine results page.
A search engine results page is simply the page that displays when you search for something in a search engine (e.g. “Googling” something).
As with any kind of document (virtual or offline), the most important items on a search engine results page are typically placed at the top of page. In fact, it’s the search engine’s job to display the most relevant pages for a query first.
Elements at the top of the page get more attention, as you might expect, and thus are more likely get interaction (getting clicks in this case) from the reader (the person searching for something online).
In the world of SEO, we want to make sure our client’s web pages are closest to the top of a search engine results page in order to get that attention (and clicks) that result from that positioning.
A search engine results page can vary quite a bit depending on the type of search performed, but today I’ll be breaking down a typical local search results page for the term “roofing contractors charleston sc”.
This is simply the area of the page a user type in their search term they want results for.
Google Local Search Ads are a form of paid advertisement offered by Google.
This differs from traditional paid advertisement in that a business must go through an extensive verification process in order to be accepted as an advertiser.
Once a business passes their requirements, they get a “Google Guaranteed” badge, which allows users to know that they’re a verified local business with proper background checks passed, verified licensing and/or insurance information.
The local map pack is simply a way for Google to display the location of local businesses that are relevant to what the user is searching for.
This is helpful if you want to visit a local business’ location, contact them directly and see reviews offered by their customers.
The term “organic” originates in the fact that the pages displayed in this area aren’t paid for — their are naturally produced by the search engine’s algorithm.
Algorithms are a topic that deserve their own set of blog posts, but are simply a set of rules that a search engine uses to determine the best pages that answers the query made by a user.
Getting a top position for organic search results is one of the most important goals of SEO, as it receives roughly 40% of all search engine traffic.
The further down the page your web page is positioned in a search result page, the less attention it gets, and ultimately fewer clicks/traffic.
Often Called “PPC”, this the traditional form of search engine paid advertisement.
With fewer requirements for advertising, PPC is a way for businesses to get positioning on targeted search engine results pages.
Depending on your location, what you enter as a search query and other important parameters, what you see in a search results page can vary drastically.
A search engine’s goal is to display the best possible answers for your particular search, so it will offer different ways to display those results so that they’re most useful to the user.
In the case above, the user is “in the market” for a roofing contractor in the Charleston, South Carolina area, so it displays roofing company candidates it thinks are best in that particular area.
If you had searched for “how to replace a roof”, you may have more search results centered around the steps to replace a roof, perhaps with fewer advertising options at the top of the search results page.
After reading this post I hope you have a better idea of what a search engine results page is, some of the key areas and why optimizing your website to rank better in your local area would be valuable for your small business.
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