3 More Ways to Stand Out in the Search Results

Last week I discussed how adding rich snippets to your site can boost traffic. It turns out this was timely advice: a new study says that a search result in position #2 can get more traffic than position #1—if the second place result uses a rich snippet.

How much more? A beautiful 13 percent. That’s more clicks, more traffic and ultimately more sales, without even taking the top spot on Google.

The reason this works is because rich snippets stand out visually. The “snippet” can be any kind of rich media that Google will show with your result—store hours, location, etc. It makes your search result more informative, and also easier to spot.

Last time I gave an overview of adding rich snippets. This time I want to offer three advanced options that will make you stand out even more, with instructions for each one.

#1 Reviews

Reviews are like a magic charm for sales. Good reviews show off the value you deliver, while bad reviews counter-intuitively build credibility. Just having reviews at all increases sales.

In the SERPs (search engine results pages), Google allows you to show your average review rating from one to five stars. When people see this they naturally choose you over the blind listings of competitors.

Adding reviews to your Google results is technical, but not hard. Like the rich snippets I discussed last week, it involves putting a piece of code (known as “structured data”) on your site. About 24 hours after you add this code, your star rating will be visible in Google searches.

Google offers complete instructions here.

#2 The Map Pack

The map pack is one of the most vaunted positions on Google for any local business. Yet many business owners have never heard of it. Here is what the map pack (or “three pack”) looks like:

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This kind of three-pack shows up for almost any kind of local business search. “Best plumber,” “pizza delivery,” and “laundromat” will all have it. But unlike the reviews, you can’t just add some code to get on board. Instead, Google makes you earn it.

Here’s how you get a spot on the three pack:

If it sounds like I’m telling you to just focus on local SEO, it’s because I am. The factors that move you up the search results are the same ones that earn you a spot on the map pack. However, the map pack is an easier target. That’s because:

  1. There are three spots open on the map pack, but only one top spot in the regular listing.
  2. In the map pack, you compete against a smaller pool of sites. Many businesses still aren’t optimized to appear there.

That means you’re likely to make the map pack long before you reach the number one spot in the SERPs—and if you happen to  increase your SEO along the way, all the better.

#3 Images in the SERPs

Search results with pictures get more clicks. Unfortunately, you cannot just tell Google to put a picture next to your results. (It used to be easy to do, until Google closed its Authorship program last year.) Now, all those carefully orchestrated photos have disappeared—but there are some back door ways to add an image.

Depending on your industry, you may be able to add one yourself. Rich snippets can show photos for recipes and product reviews, for example. Google gives a list of all snippet types, and links for how to use them, here. If you’re using any of these types and it gives you the option of using a photo, make sure you take advantage.

In other industries, Google offers a “carousel.” This is similar to the map pack, but lets users scroll through the top options—with images for each. Again, this involves optimizing your local strategy but also making sure you’ve added images on your Google My Business account.

In fact, dressing up that account will help images show up in all sorts of places, from a Google Maps listing to the Google+ social network. Choose your best photos and get them up.

Want to stand out more in the search results? EverSpark can help. Contact us for a free consultation today.