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7 Steps Toward Google SERP Domination

Josh McCoy
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7-keyOnce upon a time, search engine results consisted of 10 site listings as well as the occasional 1/3/7 pack of local listings. Then we saw the progression of search results with the introduction of universal search. This consisted of shopping, images, video, news, and book listings.

Within the last year or so we've begun to see local listings integrating with site listings, as well as the display of ratings and additional site data via rich snippets usage.

While many of us do a good job staying tuned to SEO to help garner an optimized Google SERP presence, many sites still don't take advantage of the needed steps to gain an edge in Google's SERPs.

"Hand-feeding Google, Covering your SERP Assets" discussed how you can best feed your content to the search engines. Now let's explore how to optimize these assets with seven things you need to mind if you want to potentially lift your Google SERP visibility.

Titles and Descriptions

Congrats, you're on the first page for your desired term. Now what? Your title element has likely helped you to get to this point but is it an enticing reflection of the linked page or simply keyword, keyword, keyword, keyword. Same goes with your listing's description, is it enticing or keyword stuffed?

You've made it in front of many eyeballs, but will you get the click? Before you think about maximizing SERP exposure through the optimization of additional site assets you need to make sure your site listings are squared away.

An additional tip to spice up your listings is to ensure you have a sound information architecture and utilize keyword-rich breadcrumb or sectional navigation. This can add additional horizontal sitelinks into your SERP listings.

A great tool to monitor your Google organic click-through rate is the Search Queries section of Google Webmaster Tools. The impression data isn't exact but it's a good indication if you're getting a CTR of 1 percent or 7 percent.

When you revisit your ugly titles and descriptions, keep track of how this percentage improves. Google Analytics also features this type of data in their new platform as well.

Now, let's find some additional SERP opportunities.

Images

What you need to do:

  • Keyword-rich file name.
  • Keyword-rich alternative text.
  • Keyword relevant text adjacent to the image. It also doesn't hurt to ensure the keyword theme relevant to the image is prevalent throughout the rest of the page elements.
  • Image XML sitemap.
  • Share your images with image sharing sites.

Video

What you need to do:

  • Keyword-rich file name.
  • Keyword relevant text adjacent to video.
  • Video XML sitemap. This helps you to append associated keywords to your videos.
  • Embed on YouTube and utilize a keyword-rich title element and description with a link directing back to the keyword page on your site.

News

What you need to do:

  • Ensure that your title elements and news headings reflect your targeted term and brand.
  • News XML sitemap. This gives you the ability to hand feed Google your newsworthy URLs as well as additional keyword related info.
  • Distribute to the wires when possible for additional exposure on a more powerful domain.
  • It never hurts to add social sharing options on news pages and also to give the news pieces some social love to hopefully build some buzz to add credibility to the news pages.

Shopping

What you need to do:

  • Ensure your shopping feed is clean and doesn't have any errors or warnings.
  • Make sure that the title of the product listing reflects the hopefully keyword-rich product page on the site. This page should have a keyword-rich page-naming convention.
  • The product image should also feature a keyword-rich file-name. But wait, you already took care of that above in your efforts to optimize site images.
  • Provide a description of the image that is keyword-rich but not keyword-laden.

Local

Truly a column in itself, but here are a couple pointers to help marry your local listing with your site listing:

  • Have a Google Places listing.
  • Have a link directing back to the most relevant site page which features text including the exact name, phone, address info that is found in your Places listing.
  • The keyword theme of the linked page should be relative to the descriptions and categories selected for the Places listing.
  • Utilize rich snippets for each of your location pages.

Rich Snippets

What you need to do:

  • Give your customers a voice with ratings and reviews on site pages. Then utilize the reviews and ratings markup language.
  • Ensure that you only use the applicable schema for your product or service category if you use business/organizational micro formats.

Looking at the Big Picture

Coming full circle, after optimizing all of our online site assets, we can look to hopefully higher referrals from Google. Keep your eyes on your analytic data. I absolutely love looking in organic referral data and seeing a large uptick in keyword referrals from, as an example, a simple image ranking in Google. Hopefully you see the same type of thing soon!


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