Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

If you’ve ever used the internet, you’ve seen a SERP.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are the pages that return a list of web pages in response to a query you enter into the search engine. You’ve seen them on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even Ask Jeeves, if you’ve been on the internet for a while.

For the most part, we as consumers don’t give SERPs a second thought. They return the answers and the web pages we’re looking for — so we get on with our day. But as digital marketers, SERPs play a huge role in everything we do.

We need to know how SERPs work, so we can optimize our strategies to get on the first page as much a possible. So, whether you’re new to digital marketing, or are looking for some insight about ranking highly on SERPs, this blog will offer a complete breakdown of the anatomy of a SERP. We’ll tell you what everything is, how it got there, and what that means for you as a marketer. Let’s get started with a basic query anyone might type in:

Let’s say you entered “how to open a coconut” in Google’s search bar.

You’ll end up with a page like this after you hit the enter button. This is your SERP.

It’s a list of results a search engine has pulled together to offer you the best possible answer to your question. Let’s look a little closer at this particular page because it’s returned some interesting results.

The first thing you see on this SERP is the “snippet” Google has published at the very top of the page.

What is a Snippet?

A snippet is a piece of content that a search engine pulls off of a webpage in an attempt to answer the user’s query immediately.

Usually, a snippet comes from one of the first page SERP results. Let’s take a closer look at this snippet:

This is an example of excellent SEO at work. Food Network is obviously a huge platform with tons of ranking authority, but they’ve done a good job of optimizing for this specific query by titling their page “how to break down a coconut.”

Google recognizes that this page title is very similar to my query, and thus returns Food Network’s short, one paragraph answer in a snippet.

This is a big win for Food Network. A first-page ranking and a snippet callout will drive major traffic to their site, especially for a common search query like this one. (This specific query is searched about 14,800 times a month.)

Suggested Queries, or “People Also Ask”

Next up on the SERP, you’ll see Google’s suggested queries based on the one you just entered. If you’re not seeing the answers you wanted, you can choose one of those other questions, and the dropdown will offer up a different snippet.

These “people also ask” suggested query snippets are great places to get ideas for blog posts that will rank well, and they’re a wonderful place to rank. For example, HealthfulPursuit took advantage of the key phrase “opening a coconut in 7 simple steps.”

They rank highly for that specific key phrase, and since it’s a very targeted phrase — telling people how to open a coconut, step by step — they’re going to see qualified traffic. Any consumer who didn’t find enough information in the first snippet Google provided can scroll a little further down the page to find a perfect breakdown about opening a coconut.

Finally, you’ll see the rest of the results on the SERP. All of the videos and the suggested web pages displayed are organic results for this query.

You might notice something odd about this SERP. Can you guess what it is?

There aren’t any ads.

Why?

It’s likely that “how to open a coconut” is just too general a search term for any company to spend money on. It doesn’t signal any buyer intent and actually shows that the consumer probably already has a coconut. They just need help opening it. There’s little incentive for anyone to buy anything here unless you had a coconut-specific machete company, I guess.

Let’s look at the SERP for my query, “where to buy a coconut,” instead.

This is a search query with significantly more intent. I searched “where to buy a coconut”, which signals to Google that I might be interested in actually buying a coconut. So, this SERP looks much different than the previous query.

I’ve only included the top part of the first page on purpose, to call out: 1) the ads, and 2) the local search results.

Search Engine Ads

We’ve all seen Google Ads before. It’s not really a revelation, but it is important to see how ads show up in SERPs if you’re considering making paid advertising a part of your outbound marketing strategy.

The ads shown on this page are all display ads — they display an image of a product, and link over to the site where you can purchase the product. Advertisers have to pay to get this placement, but Google also plays a part by selecting only the ads it thinks are most relevant to this query to display. Click To Tweet

Why do you care?

Because this a perfect example of how search engine advertising works, and how you can do it well. Google Ads appear at the top of SERPs and display the products most relevant to the user’s query.

If you want to have ads that appear first on relevant pages like this, it’s important to consider the users’ intent when bidding on keywords, and make sure that every phrase you bid on is relevant to what you’re offering.

Local Search

The last component of SERPs I’m going to talk about today is local search. Though local search results do appear under ads, they tend to get the most clicks, no matter what.

They’re specifically relevant to each unique user. When I searched “where to buy coconuts” Google offered me results that were close to my immediate proximity.

It's important to remember that SERPs do a lot more than just find you the best answer to your question. They also try to populate results that are specific to you personally. Click To Tweet That means that every time someone searches “where to buy coconuts”, the results will be different based on their specific location.

This is important for you if you have a brick and mortar business that encourages foot traffic.

If you do, you should make sure you’ve claimed your business on search engines, and work hard to boost your website’s SEO so that you’re ranking well for local search results like these. The more Google associates you with your location, the more you’ll show up organically for relevant searches in your area. (Want to know more about local search? We got you.)

SERPs are an integral component of any digital marketing strategy. You need to know how they work, so you can leverage them for the best traffic, whether it’s from paid or organic search results. We hope this little guide gives you a bit more insight into the anatomy of a SERP. If you’ve still got questions, we’re here to help!

Leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. And if you’re looking for more digital marketing support, just let us know. We’d love to offer any advice or guidance you need to grow your business and your brand.

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Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Optimizing Your B2B Manufacturing Website Page Content

Last month, we talked about why inbound marketing matters for B2Bs, specifically industrial manufacturers, and in that post, how crucial it is for B2Bs to have digital content that is optimized for search (if you missed Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers, read it here). Your website is your company’s primary representation in the digital world, and it’s important that your content is optimized to best attract future customers.

In case your manufacturing page content could use a little love, here are a few tips to optimizing B2B page content for the clients you actually want:

Website Page Content Is Not Print Marketing Copy

Many B2B manufacturers make the mistake of treating their website like it’s a brochure or flyer. Some even go so far as to directly copy all of the content from their print marketing materials right onto their new websites. While you might be able to gather some useful information and content ideas from your current print marketing copy, you shouldn’t just copy it. It’s not designed for the way people read websites. Click To Tweet

Additionally, digital content has many more capabilities than print, including linking, embedding video, and searchability. These are all capabilities you should take advantage of, as interactive page elements like links and video work well to gain viewers’ attention.

How Do You Optimize Manufacturing Page Content?

Like all digital content, your website page content should use SEO principles, specifically, by including the keywords that relate to that page and your business. These should be words and phrases your ideal customers are typing in when they search for your products or services. (For more on why SEO matters for B2Bs, click here.)

But unlike blog posts, content offers, and other digital content, the purpose and tone depends upon the type of page:

  • Blogs and the like are primarily informative, used to refresh your site’s content, optimize your site for relevant keywords, and provide prospective customers with information they need about your product, service, or industry.
  • Website page content is also informative, but it’s more explicitly promotional—it informs prospective customers about your specific products and services, as well as your company itself. Your page content needs to tell website visitors what you do, what you sell, how you do it, and who you are, and you need to do it in a way that speaks to the kinds of customers you want to attract.

How?

To truly optimize your page content, you need to have comprehensive pages on your products or services. Click To TweetThose pages need to include the keywords your future customers are searching. You also need to segment your customer base and create paths specifically tailored to each type of buyer.

Check out how we’ve optimized our site for our target buyers: in the main navigation bar under “Who We Help” we have each of our client segments— Manufacturing & Industrial Marketing, Developer & Home Builder Marketing, and Professional Services & Small Business Marketing.

 

who-we-help-evenbound-home-page

 

For each of those segments, we have page content that addresses how our inbound marketing and growth services will help clients in those industries meet and exceed their marketing and growth goals. These pages include links to relevant case studies, testimonials, and clients who are in the specific customer segment, to demonstrate our experience in the needs of the industry.

If your B2B manufacturing website is outdated or failing to generate leads, your page content could be part of the problem. Evenbound has experience working with B2B and industrial manufacturing clients to optimize page content and implement inbound marketing practices and digital content strategy, and we can create a website that will generate leads and foster growth. Interested in learning more? Let’s start the conversation.

Not ready to chat yet? No worries! Check out the case study below to see how our process delivers legitimate results for our manufacturing clients:

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Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

Industrial manufacturers are vastly underserved when it comes to marketing resources. But just like all other businesses, you have something to sell, and in order to sell it, you need interested buyers to know about your business and your offerings. Marketing is the way to raise this awareness, especially with the increasing primacy of the internet in researching and making purchases over good ol’ word-of-mouth. Here’s what you need to know about inbound marketing as an industrial manufacturer.

Were You Even Marketing in the First Place?

For a lot of industrial manufacturers, the answer to this question is no. For another big segment, it’s “we go to trade shows”—so, not really. It doesn’t seem like marketing is really necessary or relevant when you’re an industrial manufacturer, after all, you’re not marketing to consumers, but to other businesses, most of whom need your product to make their product or perform their service. Additionally, industrial products aren’t exactly high appeal; they’re useful and utilitarian, but they aren’t going to bring the boys to the yard.

via GIPHY

But, you still have a product to sell, and you still want to reach new customers. Your industrial manufacturing marketing strategy needs to be different than B2Cs, but it shouldn’t be no strategy at all. Click To Tweet

Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturers

So, you know you shouldn’t be running TV ads with celebrities endorsing your spring for garage door openers or hubcap bolt covers, but what should you be doing to attract potential buyers? Inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is kind of what it sounds like: rather than going out to your customers with interruptive ads or cold sales calls, you bring interested customers to you. (Learn more about the methodology in our complete guide to inbound marketing.) You do that by creating targeted digital content and ads that will appeal to your ideal customer and the person in the role responsible for sourcing and purchasing your products.

 

SEO and Digital Content

If you don’t already know this, you need a website and a digital presence. It’s 2018 (almost 2019!). But you don’t just need a website—if yours looks the same as it did in 1998 or even 2008, that’s not good—you need compelling digital content that will appeal to potential customers and make your site easy for search engines to find and categorize. This is SEO, Search Engine Optimization (find out more about SEO for manufacturers here). The content on your site should provide customers with all the information they need about your product, whether they’re just discovering that your product exists or they’re trying to decide on a new supplier, as well as the keywords for which you want your website to show up in the search engine results.

 

PPC and Paid search  

PPC, pay-per-click advertisement, and paid search are also crucial components of inbound marketing for industrial manufacturers.If you have a good site and strong content, you need to make sure your desired clients are seeing it. Advertising is how you do that. Click To Tweet Paid search allows you to be featured as a search result at the top of the page in a native ad for search words that you select that your ideal clients will be searching. This puts you in front of your audience when they’re looking for what you sell.

You can also use PPC ads to target your ideal buyers. For industrial manufacturers, LinkedIn ads are the perfect way to do this. Your ideal customers are often buyers or sourcing specialists for a manufacturing company, and they’re professionals who use LinkedIn. Not only is your audience using the platform, their job title and company information is included in their profiles, and LinkedIn uses this information to target ads. You can target ads to people with specific job titles, like “Purchasing Specialist,” “Sourcing Specialist,” etc., as well as by specific company, ensuring that your ads are seen by the people to whom they will be highly relevant, the people you want as customers.

While traditional marketing techniques haven’t always worked for industrial manufacturers, inbound marketing is changing how industrial manufacturers can attract potential customers and edge out their competitors. Click To TweetIf you’re interested in learning more about how inbound marketing can work for your industrial manufacturing enterprise, it’s time to talk with the experts at Evenbound. We have experience marketing in the industrial and B2B space and can increase the ROI of your marketing efforts. Don’t believe us? Check out how we helped one of our industrial clients in the case study below.

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SEO for B2B Manufacturers: Why it Matters

SEO for B2B Manufacturers: Why it Matters

SEO for B2B Manufacturers: Why it Matters

Manufacturing buyers are not going to the Yellow Pages to find suppliers anymore: they’re searching online. If you want those buyers to find your company, you’re going to have to show up in the search engine results, and to do that, your site needs to use SEO best practices.

Quick Refresher: What’s SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO practices are things that best allow search engines to crawl and understand your site, making sure it shows up as a result in relevant searches. SEO strategy involves how you structure the pages on your website, the keywords you use, how often you add and update content, and how content is tagged, among other things.

Why is SEO So Important for B2Bs?

Like we said earlier, the people who are looking for your products and services are looking online. And, unlike B2C products, traditional advertising doesn’t do much for B2Bs. Have you ever seen ads for washing machine screws or rearview mirror assemblies? Neither have we. While a brand of soda might appeal to a lot of people and draw a lot of attention, your products or services are targeted toward specific applications in specific industries, and you need to target those potential customers with your digital marketing efforts.

SEO for B2B manufacturers is what will help people find you, and more specifically, people who want what you’re selling. That’s because SEO entails strategically using the same words your ideal customers are using when they search—keywords. When you use the right keywords, people who are looking for the services or products you offer, even searchers who have never heard of your company or don’t remember your company’s name, will find you.

SEO draws more people to your website, and that is the best way to get your site higher in search engine rankings and to convert interested site visitors to sales leads. The higher your site ranks in the search engine results, the more likely it is that potential customers will see your site and navigate to it. Plus, internet users are savvy, and they are more likely to click on a top organic search result than a paid search ad.

Additionally, the content you create when you implement SEO practices like blogging will help you establish authority in your industry and build trust and credibility with future customers. If buyers appreciate and trust the information you provide them, they’re more likely to purchase from you.

Think it’s about time to start implementing SEO practices on your site? Evenbound can help! We’ve worked with a number of B2B manufacturers, and have delivered serious results. Check out this case study to see how our inbound marketing strategy can help you get on page one:

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Topic Clusters: The Future of Content Marketing

Topic Clusters: The Future of Content Marketing

Topic Clusters: The Future of Content Marketing

In case you haven’t noticed, the machines are getting smarter. And while we’re not at Terminator levels of intelligence yet, some of the tools we use to search and market every day have begun to understand search context and speech semantics.  As Google’s search capability improves, search engine users are able to submit queries that are more natural. The average user these days feels totally comfortable asking Google a complete, complex question, because the search engine can now parce semantics, and is able to provide results that answer those questions directly. What does that mean for inbound marketers?

Basically, it means that our content can be more intuitive. As Google continues to make user-focused improvements to their algorithm, their search bots are favoring content that’s written for people over content that’s written to rank well. That means that keyword-stuffed content is definitely out, and it also means repetitive, keyword focused content isn’t going to be as valuable as content that’s genuinely helpful. Search algorithms have reached a point where they can understand what keyword your content is centered around, even if you don’t use that specific keyword anywhere in your blog. This is where topic clusters come in.

What’s a Topic Cluster, and How Can it Help Inbound Marketers?

Topic clusters are a new method of content marketing designed to capitalize on newer consumer search habits. Created and announced by Hubspot—a leading inbound marketing authority—topic clusters work to boost your website’s ranking power, and help your site users reach your content more easily. Topic clusters take note of new search algorithm behaviors, and propose a more effective way of tailoring your content marketing strategy for higher SERP rankings and better readability for search engines and human users.

If your company has a blog, implementing topic clusters can help you improve the authority of your website, as you simultaneously improve the user experience of your blog for your clients. Essentially, topic clusters are dedicated clusters of information that all relate to one central “pillar page.” Let’s use the Evenbound website as an example. We’ve been optimizing our blog to take advantage of topic clusters lately, and at this point, have our blog centered around 7 major topics, or pillar pages:

  • Inbound marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Lead generation
  • PPC and Paid Advertising
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Website Design

If you’re familiar with Evenbound, you’ll know that each of these topics is a service that we provide for our clients. Each one of these topics also has a dedicated top-level page on our website, that answers all of the basic questions a consumer might have about the topic. For us, each of these pages is a separate pillar page, forming the central point for each content cluster. The rest of our blog posts are linked to the pillar page they’re the most relevant to.

 

For example:

Inbound marketing is the pillar page. Cluster content would be any blog that’s related to inbound marketing, but gives our audience more in-depth information about a specific aspect of content marketing. Some cluster content for inbound marketing would include:

  • Content Creation Tools
  • How to Write a Content Calendar
  • An In-Depth Guide to Inbound Marketing
  • Why Blogging is Important
  • How to Shift Your Sales Team from Outbound to Inbound

Each one of these blogs then links back to our pillar page: Inbound Marketing

This method of organizing our content strategy helps search engines catalog our site. Since each cluster topic links back to the pillar page, we boost the authority of that pillar page. This organization strategy also helps search engines better categorize our site. Since each blog that’s related to content marketing links back to the content marketing pillar page, search engine bots can more easily crawl each of those pages, understanding that each blog that links to that pillar page will offer more, in-depth content about the topic of content marketing.

 

Implementing Topic Clusters

The point of topic clusters is to help you rank highly for keywords you have the most authority on. Before topic clusters, you may have chosen a keyword, and then written a number of blogs about that same keyword. While this used to work well in the past, with today’s algorithm, you’ll just end up with a bunch of blogs that are competing with each other for the same keyword. This makes it confusing for search engine bots to decide which of your pages deserves the higher rank, and it doesn’t do much to collectively boost the power of your website. With topic clusters, you can essentially pool all of the authority gained from each of your blog posts and content-rich site pages, for a higher rank overall. But, how do you do it?

 

Start with Pillar Pages

The best place to start building your content clusters is your pillar pages. These are going to be pages that provide a lot of information, but have a very general keyword. Don’t pick a page with a long-tail keyword here, go for something more generic that speaks to your target audience.

For example, one of our pillar pages is Inbound Marketing. The page provides a ton of content, and answers basic questions that anyone would want to know about inbound marketing, like what it is, how it works, and who uses it. If you’re not sure what a pillar page would look like on your website, think about the services you provide. Do you have a page for each of those services, explaining what it is, and how it works? If you’re a home services contractor, you might have separate services pages for roofing, decks, and kitchen renovations. Each of those pages would make a great pillar page to center the rest of your topic clusters around.

 

Brainstorm Cluster Topics

Cluster topics should be related to your pillar page, but should each be focused on a different, more specific topic. If you chose roofing for a pillar page, potential cluster topics might be: “how to fix a leaky roof,” “when it’s time to replace your roof,” or “10 ways to choose the right roof for your home”. These topics are all about roofing residential homes, but they offer your site viewers more information that’s relevant to their everyday questions about roofing.

 

Write, and Link

Once you’ve got some solid topics for your topic clusters, it’s time to write and post that content to your website. Don’t forget to link to your pillar page! The most important part of topic clusters is proper linking, because that’s what tells search engines that a blog is related to your pillar content, and helps ensure that the authority each blog gains is passed onto your pillar page. This is the best way to build your site’s authority, and make sure you’re ranking as highly as possible for the keywords that are most important to your company.

 

Pro Tip: Choose the same anchor text to link to your pillar page in every topic cluster post. For example, when we write subtopics for our Content Marketing pillar page, we always link to that page with the words “Content Marketing.” This helps your readers, and search engine bots, identify where the link will take them, and it can boost your ranking for those keywords.

Reorganizing an Existing Blog

What if you already have a blog, but you want to take advantage of this new, totally helpful, very powerful way of content marketing? Do you need to delete all of your content and start over?

Thankfully, no. But you will have to put a little time and effort into restructuring your content so that it all links together in a logical way. The more straightforward your internal links, the easier it will be for search engine bots to crawl and categorize your site.

Start With One Pillar Page

Decide what just one of your pillar pages will be. Then go through your blog’s existing content, and be sure to link any blogs that are relevant to that pillar page. If you have multiple blogs on the same topic, consider combining them together for one longer, more helpful blog that’s easy to find and offers a wealth of information to your readers. When you’ve made it all the way through your blog by combining similar posts, deleting duplicate information, and linking relevant content to your pillar page, then you can start on another pillar page!

Once you get the hang of it, topic clusters are actually surprisingly easy, and they can do a lot to help you boost your blog and website’s overall ranking power. It’s a new method of content marketing that capitalizes on current consumer search trends, and new search engine categorizing technology. By implementing topic clusters, you’ll be providing your site viewers with an easy-to-navigate content strategy that simultaneously boosts the search engine ranking of each of your pillar pages.

If topic clusters still seem a little intimidating, check out the helpful diagrams provided by Hubspot for a visual explanation of topic clusters, or get in touch with us! Inbound marketing is kind of our thing, so we’re always happy to help if you’ve got questions about your blogging or topic cluster linking strategy. If you’re looking for help with your inbound marketing strategy, see how we helped this company rise to the top with our unique strategy:

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