"It's impossible to rank on Google?"

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

“It’s impossible to rank on Google?"
 

This quote came from a member at one of the recent Fife Chamber events David’s been attending. In full the quote was:

“It’s impossible to rank on Google. People make it out to be such a dark art that it all feels like a con!”   

They’d never received a genuine enquiry via their website despite spending money on their online presence, so you can understand where they were coming from...

However, it is not a “dark art” and it most certainly is not all a “con”.

What it is, is a subject that under the bonnet is complex, but is also incredibly obvious once you have a handle on it. 

Google rank websites based on what they term "EAT".

EAT stands for: 

  • Experience 
  • Authoritativeness 
  • Trustworthiness 

And it is in that order of importance, hence it is not TEA or ATE or ETA. 

Remember, Google’s business model is premised on returning relevant content that satisfies a user's need based on relevant phrases and the user's location. 

Ensure your online presence follows these points and you’ve got a very solid basis for starting to rank.

There are MORE THAN 50 places that Google can choose to return a piece of your content on their Search Return Page. 

They will each vary in terms of difficulty (dependent on how much effort others have invested in getting traffic for the same phrase) and all can seem hard to achieve at first, but they are incredibly rewarding when the work pays off.  

The term "free traffic” is a misnomer as it is actually the consequence of lots of hard work to improve visibility.  

Yes, organic SEO can be tricky, but there is an ever-growing list of ways to get found on Google SERPs, with more opportunities springing up each quarter. In essence Google is trying hard to find ways to understand your search term and then figure out how best to group and display this answer on their Search Return Page. 

The main issue in our sector is one of regulation and standards. To be a doctor you need to be vetted, qualified and then serve your time. In our sector, it’s very hard to distinguish between what on the surface are the same services.

Never mind business owners not being aware of the best practices for taking advantage of Google’s trajectory, many operating in our sector also are not aware either! Why?

Well, they haven’t spent the time and budget on investing in themselves or their business.  

For this reason, Inspire has put together a short guide delving into the many ranking opportunities Google provides to its users.  

50+ opportunities to rank on Google 

It’s been a very long time since it was only through standard listed results that your website would be returned on Google. 

When comparing a Google SERP from 2022 with one from a few years ago, the difference is truly stark. With an increased use of video, question and answer sections, featured snippets and direct answer boxes, search queries are being answered quicker and more accurately than ever before.  

A comprehensive list of all the SERP features Google now pushes out to its users.

Google uses a combination of these features to engage users, answer their search queries faster and, when done successfully, return them back to your site.  

The many features of a Google SERP can be broken down into five main categories: 

  • Paid Search Results  

  • Organic Search Results  

  • Local Search Results  

  • Rich Results  

  • Knowledge Results 

Although not every SERP feature will return users to your site, there are certainly ample opportunities out there that SEO marketers and online business owners can take advantage of to improve their website rankings and get more FREE traffic.  

Let’s go through some of the most relevant ones that site owners can utilise to quickly convert searches into genuine leads. 

Featured Snippet

A fairly recent feature, but much more competitive than People Also Ask. Featured Snippets are quick, straight to the point answers to a search query.

They appear in “Position 0” (the very top) on Google’s first page, in a highlighted text box that immediately catches the eye.  

Featured Snippets can appear in a range of different formats: 

  • Paragraphs 

  • Bulleted lists  

  • Numbered lists  

  • Tables  

The best way to get on the Featured Snippet is to do your research beforehand. Find a question or query that is being searched for and answer that question accurately. The format you choose to use will be based on the type of question you answer.  

For example, if you answer a simple “What is...” question, a paragraph with a few short lines will work best. If you are instead answering a more complex “how to...” question, using a numbered guide will be most useful for readers.  

Adding specific keywords that are used in the question will give you a greater chance to rank on the SERP. Below is a great example of a Featured List Snippet.  

The fact numbers 9 and 10 are hidden will encourage users to click on to the site to read the full list and find out more. Who said Google doesn’t help site owners? 

Featured Numbered List for the Search Term, "How to get more traffic to your website"

People Also Ask 


One feature that Google adores pushing is “People Also Ask”, a goldmine for ranking on the first page of Google, without putting in excessive SEO work.  

This is essentially Google’s own version of an FAQ. It offers a variety of related questions and answers, all of which can come from different sources, giving a further 5-10 opportunities for your site to rank on Google’s first page. AHRefs estimate that 43% of SERPs now include a People Also Ask section. Talk about a golden opportunity!  

Best practices for being included in the People Also Ask section for your chosen search terms are:  

  • Target long-tail keywords 
  • Research the questions people are commonly asking before you write your content 
  • Write your content with a question and answer in mind 
  • Make you content short, straight to the point and easy to consume  
  • Create FAQ content within your blog or article  

Images 

People like images, especially in 2022. Images are easy to consume and can provide instant answers to many different types of searches, thus an ample opportunity to get users engaged and click through onto your site.  

Google no longer only shows images on their “image section”. For a multitude of searches, you will see images appearing high up in the SERP in a range of formats.  

Images can appear as: 

  • An image carousel 

  • Image block  

  • Featured image  

The images you see could be linked to a number of sources. Often, they will take you to a product listing, but they can also be linked to social posts, article images or info-graphics on a site.  

The important steps to making sure your images appear in relevant search results are: 

  • Alt-text: target keywords in the image’s alt-text 

  • Captions: Write a relevant caption with keywords included  

  • Appropriate images used in your blog article: This way, if users click through, they’ll be met with relevant info. 

Local Pack & Maps 

Local SEO is one of the key drivers of website engagement.

Ensuring that your Google My Business (GMB) profile is optimised is one of the most important steps to raising your profile and being found by more people in your area.  

Local Pack is designed to give users searching in your area as much info as possible about the options they have. A local search will reveal a range of businesses and give information about the services they provide, their reviews and even their opening times! 

Google Maps also comes into play here as it will pinpoint the business's exact location and show it on the Map. This encourages users to visit the business and gives them more reassurance that the business is legitimate.  

However, without taking the time to set up and claim your GMB profile, users won’t have access to this information.  

The best ways to ensure you are found on Local Pack and Maps results are:  

  • Add your business to Google Maps  

  • Claim your GMB Profile 

  • Optimise your GMB profile by adding descriptions, products, business info, images etc  

  • Get and respond to ALL Google reviews (yes, even the negative ones!) 

  • Post regular updates to your GMB Profile  

  • Target local keywords in your content  

Inspire priorities Maps listings and Local SEO work for many of our clients as it is a proven method of increasing visibility and gaining more local business.

Find out more about the importance of local SEO work in the Inspire blog. 

You can get in touch with us through our website and request a meeting by clicking here or drop me a WhatsApp direct on 07776 410777.

Best regards from
David & the Inspire Team