Google is no stranger to change, especially when it comes to the design and layout of its search engine results pages (SERPs). Up until 2007 when Google introduced universal search, which combined videos, images, maps, websites and more into a single set of results, the search engine returned a simple vertical list of blue links to web pages.
Since search results went "universal," Google has continuously worked to improve how search results are displayed. These enhancements to Google search have not only benefited the searches, but brands as well, as they now have many avenues to increase real estate on search engine ranking pages.
Let's take a look at all the ways a brand can dominate the first page of Google.
Paid search ads can be found next to, above or below search results. For brands that don't typically rank on the first page of results, paid search advertising provides them a chance to rank at the top of the page, or even on the first page of Google. Brands can acquire even more real estate and maximize their ad space by capitalizing on ad extensions. Take a look at how JCP is taking advantage of ad extensions.
Considering 20% of all searches on Google have a local intent, it's ideal for businesses with a physical location(s) to have a strong local presence. Local search results can show up on a Google Map or within the organic search results. For example, our search for "salons near me" returned a list of local search results above the organic results on the page. You can control the information that gets displayed to searchers through your brand's verified Google Places for Business page. The information including a description, images, contact details and hours of operation can show up on a Google Map or within the organic search results, as seen below.
Does your business show up on the right side of the results page when searching for a branded term? If not, you're missing out on a fairly large piece of real estate. Check out the screen shot below. Because Delta Air Lines has a verified Google+ account, details from their Google+ page are displayed at the top of the page taking over prime real estate on Google's SERPs.
Images are another great way to potentially take up more area on the SERPs. In order for images from your website or Blog to show up in the results, they need to be well optimized with branded terms and targeted key phrases. As you can see below, image search results ranks at the top of the SERPs for "wild animals."
Product Listing Ads
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) are ideal for ecommerce businesses as they enable sellers to highlight products prominently on the SERPs. These ads are displayed in a single Google Shopping box typically at the top of the page, and include information such as product image, price, and merchant name. Below is an example of PLAs for "tents", with a close-up on the Google Shopping box.
YouTube & Other Videos
Since Google went "universal" with search results in 2007, videos have been an effective source for brands to increase visibility on SERPs. According to Marketing Week, video results have shown up in almost 70% of the top 100 search results on Google. In order to get your videos to rank higher in the SERPs, make sure your YouTube Channel description, and video titles, descriptions and tags are well optimized with target key phrases.
Syndicating press releases on a regular basis can help you gain more real estate when news listings show on the results pages. While there isn't a guarantee that news listings will show up every time results are displayed, having regular press releases go out will at least give you the opportunity to take advantage when these listings do show up. News results are typically shown in a pack within the list of organic results. In this instance, the news listings for "box office results" are displayed at the top of the page.
Google Local Carousel
When a user searches for restaurants, hotels or other local places, Google now displays the local search results in an interactive carousel style at the top of the page. Check out the screen shot below which shows the local results for "restaurants near me" within the carousel. When a searcher clicks on a local listing in the carousel, Google automatically provides targeted search results for that specific establishment as well as a Google Places listing on the side of the page. An advantage of this carousel style of displaying local results is it gives businesses that don't typically appear in top ranking positions the chance to be featured at the top of the first page of Google.
Last but certainly not least are organic search results. Even though Google continues to come up with new and innovative ways to display search results, the original vertical display of blue links isn't going anywhere anytime soon! In fact, search engine optimization plays an important role in the success of the above tactics. Simply having a website, writing press releases, making videos, or creating Infographics isn't enough today. All pieces of the puzzle need to be well optimized for any chance of building a strong presence in the SERPs.
As you can see, there's no shortage in opportunities for brands to increase their real estate on Google's search results pages. Taking advantage of the above tactics will help to create an effective integrated marketing program.
While dominating the first page of Google can be difficult, it is not impossible! The Online Marketing Specialists at E-Power Marketing have a long-standing history of helping our client's gain more real estate in the SERPs and improving their overall online visibility.