SERP (or Organic SERP) is an acronym that can make or break your online marketing campaign. "SERP" is short for "search engine results page," and as marketing through search continually entrenches itself as the dominant medium for online success, it becomes vital that you be able to:
- Identify the importance of a SERP - What do you need to know about SERPs, and why?
- Act on that knowledge - Knowing what's important and why it's crucial to your business, how do you make that knowledge work for you? Once you know what you should be doing, how do you go out and do it?
So What Is a SERP, Anyway?
We identified a SERP as a search engine results page above, but what does that mean, exactly?
Basically, it just means that a SERP is a list of Web pages. Odds are, you've seen a million of them. Here's a sample of a Google results page:
Three key components are represented above:
- The User's Search or Query - This is the thing a searcher types in. In the example above, someone is looking for information or products relating to Apple computers.
- Organic SERP Listings - These are the "natural" listings. To produce these results, Google uses a series of metrics to ensure that your site is relevant. To have your site show here, you have to effectively "score well" on that algorithmic test.
- Paid SERP Listings - These are advertisements, or "sponsored links." You can have your ad displayed here by launching a pay-per-click search campaign, and by ensuring that your maximum CPC bids and Quality Score allow you to secure a high enough ad position for the keyword you're targeting.
Why Do SERPs Matter to Me?
Because ranking your site in the proper SERP position will be the difference between success and failure in your search marketing campaigns. Consider the following insights provided by these studies:
- 68% of searchers select a result on the first page of search results
- There is a disproportionate number of clicks (around 40 percent) on the number one listing
- Reaching the first page in paid search is equally important
In other words, most people click on the first page, and most of those people click on earlier results. The higher your search engine results page ranking, the more traffic you'll get:
Image Courtesy of SEOBook.
So Just Move Up, Then?
Of course, it's not that as simple as just "improve my serp in Google."
As with anything else, you have to weigh benefits with costs. While better keyword rankings in SERPs are great, the fact remains that:
- Improving SEO SERPS is Hard - Generating a better search engine optimization ranking for competitive keywords is often as complicated as it is profitable.
- Buying Better Paid SERP Position Can Be Expensive - Meanwhile, consider the fact that in paid search you are literally being charged more money for higher SERP positions.
So getting proper placement on search results pages is crucial, but the key question remains:
How Do I Improve Google SERP Rankings (Wisely)?
If you're like, well, everyone, you have a limited amount of resources. Limited copywriting RAM, a finite amount of SEO expertise, and a PPC budget with a ceiling.
As a result, you have to answer two key questions:
- Which SERPS do I improve? What keywords should you be dedicating your time to ranking for, and which keywords should you be buying?
- How do I do this? How do you rank for the keywords you want to rank for, and how do you pay less for the positions you want in paid search?
How to Improve Your Search Engine Ranking Page Positions
Improving your SERP position can be done in a few (often not so easy) steps:
- Research Keywords - You first need to discover search engine keywords that will drive traffic AND actual business.
- Organize (Group) the Keywords - You then have to create a logical hierarchy for these keywords; you need an effective information architecture for SEO, and you need to create tight Ad Groups and well-organized ad campaigns for PPC.
- Manage Your SEO Workflow - You need to be able to determine which areas will give you the best return on your time and resource investments; ensure you're not spending months building out an SEO campaign to a set of keywords that won't convert for you and your business.
- Manage Your PPC Workflow - This works in much the same way that SEO workflow does: you need to prioritize which Ad Groups and campaigns will be worth the effort of writing ad creative and developing landing pages for.
- Act On the Analytics - You then need to do something with all this keyword data and prioritization: you need to write the Web copy, create the ad campaigns, actually achieve the SERP positions you were after.
- Observe the Results, & Repeat - Finally, you need to develop processes for iteratively improving upon the results you've generated. You need to automate certain aspects of your campaigns, and ensure that you are continually having new keywords researched, workflow dynamically suggested, and that you are equipped with the tools to perpetually build on this initial "SERP improvement to-do list".
A simplified version of the process looks something like this:
Don't Just Check SERPs: Improve them!
The above probably looks like a lot of work.
It can be.
But it doesn't have to be.
It's literally impossible to perform all of these tasks and to improve your SERP ranking without the aid of software (unless you have an unlimited budget and an enormous staff...to manage a single account...and have no interest in lowering costs or improving results...).
Luckily, WordStream offers solutions for all of the above tasks. Learn more by: