Your content needs to satisfy both the user and search engines. There’s no way around it. The SERP (search engine results page) is a crowded place with lots of competition. In order to have any chance of improving your SERP ranking, you need to know what both Google and your target audience are looking for. While Google doesn’t have an official process or rulebook readily available, there’s a lot you can do to get your place in that prime spot. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to write content that’s optimized for Google SERP, which will help you get more clicks, more visibility, and higher conversion.
The Features of Google SERP
Google has restructured the layout of its search results page to better help users get the answer they need without scrolling through the endless pages. The results page is now broken up into several features including:
- Knowledge Panels
- Featured Snippets
- Local Packs
- Google Ads
- Rich Snippets
- People Also Ask Questions
- Image and Video Packs
Google purposely created this structure to help people. If your site targets some SERP features and your website is trusted by Google, you’ll better position yourself in the online rankings.
How to Optimize Your Content For Google SERP
In order to have any chance to be featured in these sections, your website needs to be optimized for this content. In doing this, you’ll show Google that your content is worth promoting. This means making sure your content is clear, well-organized, helpful, and relevant. Here are some ways to accomplish this.
1. Answer Important Questions on Your Website
First, let’s talk about the basics. Search results are query-based, which means users are looking for answers. In other words, people are literally typing in questions into Google. Usually, that means that those search terms will start with one of the following: How to, What is, How to do, When do, How does, Why do, What did, and so on. The content on your website needs to answer questions that your potential customers are asking.
Google favors content that makes it easy to find answers. One simple way to do this is by adding a FAQ section on your web pages. You can create clean drop-down menus and phrase your headers with question-based phrases. Be sure to include long-tail keywords that fit the search intent of common queries.
2. Do Keyword Research for SERP Opportunities
In order to supply the best answers to your target customer, you need to know what they are asking. To do this, you’ll need to do a little bit of research to determine the types of questions being asked. With a keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Wordstrem, you can do some digging into various search terms to discover the exact queries that trigger the rich snippets and results you’re after.
You’ll also want to research your competitors’ keyword profiles. Nearly all these tools provide an organic search results section of your competitor’s keywords, so you can get a breakdown of each keyword’s performance in-depth. You’ll also be able to dig in related keywords to see how other people are searching for similar topics. This tool also gives you all keywords where your rival occupies a rich snippet as well as ones where they don’t.
3. Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is a special block above the organic search results that shows an excerpt pulled from a piece of content that matches certain queries. It contains a summary as well as the page title, link to the webpage from which the answer originated, and URL.
The most common types of snippets are
The easier the content is to read, the easier it becomes for Google to interpret it, and the more likely it will be pulled into a snippet. Some ways to help make your content easier to read is by using tools like the On-Page SEO Checker and the SEO Writing Assistant. These tools can grade our readability score as your write in real-time, and help you determine whether or not your need to tweak your content to have a better chance of beating out your SERP competitors. Oftentimes, improving your readability implying comes down to how your structure your content. This includes:
- Breaking up your content into smaller paragraphs
- Using bullet points and number lists where applicable
- Adding multiple headers (including h2,h3,h4, etc)
- Adding images and video to add value to your content
4. Use Structured Data to Optimize Your Content
Schema markups and structured data help search engines interpret and understand our website. Implementing it can lead to Google giving you rich snippets on the SERP. You’ll need to have a basic understanding of structured data and how it works. This includes knowing how to build, test, and release your structured data. Once you understand how structured data works, focus on the following:
- Choose the content assets on your website that you want to target SERP features with
- Mark up the content on your web pages using schema markup properties. This applies to reviews, FAQs, blog articles, etc.
- Run the Google Rich Results test to check your content is optimized for SERP features. If implemented correctly, structured data may enable special search result features and enhancements for your website content.
5. Optimize your Structured Data for Sitelinks
Sitelinks are additional links that appear beneath the main URL for a brand or publisher when you search for it on Google. They deep link to other pages within your site, and are designed by Google to “help users navigate your site.” This helps users get more options on how to explore your website to get what they need. You can optimize your structured data for sites by implementing this type of data on your homepage. In doing so you can bring users even closer to browsing your website. Taking the time to optimize for sidelines could really boost traffic because it helps users click on exactly what they are looking for. Here are some ways to give your website sitelinks:
- Create account-level sitelinks first
- Keep link text short
- Create links that reflect your site:
- Add descriptions
- Make sure dynamic sitelinks are enabled
- Submit your sitemaps
- Create breadcrumbs to help crawlers navigate your site
- Validate your website’s search box
Like all things in marketing and SEO, nothing is a guarantee. While optimizing your content is vital, it doesn’t guarantee you a spot in SERP. However, incorporating all these actions will definitely put you ahead of most of the competition. In addition, you’re creating user-friendly content that users will appreciate. In short, if you have a quality website and incorporate SEO best practices, you’ll have a winning strategy for your business.
If you have any questions or would like to get some more insight into improving your SEO strategy, contact our team for more information.