Entrepreneur and digital marketing expert Jon Zacharias recently authored a post describing several features of search engine results pages (SERP) that are often overlooked and underutilized as search engine optimization (SEO) tools. As a leader and co-founder of GR0, one of the fastest growing digital marketing agencies in the country, Zacharias is well-versed in the methods that give brands an edge on the battlefield of organic search. In the November blog post entitled, Jump Ahead of the Competition with SERP Features, Zacharias outlines several tried-and-true SERP features marketers can utilize to enhance their efforts in SEO.
Two SERP features Zacharias describes as highly impactful for increasing brand visibility are Google’s My Business Profile and properly tagging products so they show up in Google’s Shopping Results feature. Despite the impact of COVID-19, small businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence remain highly sought after by consumers willing to pay a premium for personal touches that are unavailable at larger retailers. The My Business Profile takes mere minutes to properly fill out and doing so will ensure a local business shows up in the local packs that appear at the top of SERPs for local queries. Once filled out, Zacharias strongly encourages businesses to closely monitor comments and reviews and seek out collaboration opportunities with local influencers and news sources to build locally relevant backlinks.
Properly tagging products is crucial for visibility because like local packs, the Shopping Results feature also graces the top of SERPs. Zacharias illustrates the importance of effectively utilizing this SERP feature, writing: “When users search for specific items on the web, they want to see results up close and personal, not just read about them and gamble on a random URL.”
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Jon Zacharias contends that visual appeal is especially critical as visual media increases in importance in conjunction with rising bandwidth and decreasing attention spans. Eye-popping visual content hooks viewers and urges them to learn more, and while professional photography, video editing, and graphic design are a nice touch, they are far from necessary. Because SERP features are often visually oriented, Zacharias emphasizes that some basic design principles and decent hardware can create quality visual content that leads to social media success and a top spot on a SERP.
SERP features Zacharias identifies as particularly useful for up-and-coming brands are Featured Snippets as well as Instant Answers and Related Questions (People Also Ask). To effectively utilize the latter feature, Zacharias writes that brands should answer questions directly and concisely in on-page content, test out the effectiveness of various long-tail keywords, and keep in mind that many users assume a more conversational tone when searching with mobile devices and voice-activated technology. Discerning the most frequently asked questions about the products, services, and trends within a brand’s niche is also valuable for mapping out an overarching strategy to appear in the PAA feature.
While the Related Questions feature is certainly helpful for up-and-coming brands, Zacharias writes that the Featured Snippets and Instant Answers feature is the true game-changer for smaller brands building out an online presence. “When your brand is spotlighted in a featured snippet, competition in organic search becomes almost a non-issue. Your content is prominently displayed above all the URLs below, giving you a huge boost in brand authority and solidifying your reputation in the minds of interested users.”
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Although many featured snippets are occupied, the vast majority of them are presently unclaimed. Brands looking to make a big splash on SERPs should formulate a strategy to earn these unclaimed positions because the potential upside is massive. Zacharias encourages brands to utilize the proven formula developed by the StarCounter Learning Center to earn these coveted “position zero” spots. He also notes that answers between 40 and 50 words appear to be the sweet spot for obtaining a featured snippet.
Zacharias concludes the post by writing that the aforementioned SERP features can be a powerful catalyst for brands looking to make substantive strides in a saturated industry. He encourages brands to identify the features that make the most sense in the broader context of their marketing strategy and get to work.
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