When summing up search engine marketing, we try to live by this simple axiom: take up as much surface area of the search engine results pages (SERP) as possible.
Within Google’s one search engine lie many different possible ways of having your company displayed. What this post will focus on is how much space each of those ways contribute to your presence. To accomplish a great-to-dominant search presence, do at least these three things:
- Establish, maintain and optimize a unique, interesting,
- Verify and optimize your Places page
- Participate in paid search (i.e. Google AdWords for Google)
In our opinion, a dominant presence consists of:
- Organic top listing w/ stacked Organic sitelinks
- Top Paid Listing w/paid sitelinks included
- Map presence (if the search is deemed to have local intent)
The image below shows that if you have all of these elements, you are taking up about 104k pixels with search results of the possible 223k pixels – 47% of the area!
The Playing Field – where you can show up in the SERP; graphic credit: Adam Faust
In contrast, if you only have one element represented, you can limit yourself to the following:
Top organic result only: 11%
Top paid result only: 11%
Side paid result only: 7%
Of course, I could caveat this to death. In terms of eye-tracking, it is widely cited that the window-of-opportunity is in the top left of the SERP, that organic links carry more credibility than paid links, and this also greatly differs on the intent of the search, etc. Additionally, consider your business’ profitability in terms of paid search bidding on branded keywords.
Why does this matter from a business standpoint?
I like to cite a Firefox study from 2007 where they conducted a simple A/B test for branded keywords to determine whether they should bid on branded keywords. They obviously own the top organic link for “firefox” and “firefox download.” However, they found that when the top paid search listing is next to the top organic search listing, downloads increased by 11%! Let that rattle in your brain for a while.
If you have the opportunity to take up more surface area on the SERP, take it!