Helping Win Hearts & Minds on
the Battlefields of Online Media

Own the SERP! Strategy

    Pie Chart of Whitespark 2023 Local Search Ranking Factors--Behavorial: 8.5% Overall

    Whitespark:   Local Pack/Finder (8%)   Organic (9%)
    To meet the goal of getting as many prospects to client websites as possible, our strategy for local SEO can expressed by the phrase: Own the SERP!

    The search results page contains many items, and you want to be seen in as many of them as possible. You want as much brand visibility as you can get, because the more mentions you have, the more "clickthroughs"/visitors you'll get to your site.

    With each additional brand mention, you get exponentially more clickthroughs.

    Clickthroughs are a Ranking Factor
    The whole point of SEO is to get prospects to your site through organic Search, but clickthoughs are important in a way you may not be aware of: clickthrough rates are a ranking factor!

    They're probably more important than the Whitespark survey indicates, because Google puts its trust in signals that are difficult to manipulate. Clicktthrough rates not only show what search users want; they cannot be influenced other than through the content that Google itself pulls from websites, and determines if relevant.

    With this dynamic, there is no rankings status quo: every moment you are either gaining or losing ground to your competitors.

    Research on Multiplier Effect
    Multiple studies have found that search users are more likely to click on a search result if a company/brand appears multiple times on the SERP. They show an exponential rise in clickthrough rate (CTR) with each additional brand mention on a SERP. This makes sense: the more brand mentions, the more visibility, the more trust the user will have in the brand, because the search results are the editorial third-party endorsement of Google. This is why people use Google: they trust it.

    The dynamic of multiple brand mentions is an (often overlooked) reason why pay-per-click advertising is important: it's an additional branding opportunity. It spikes your clickthrough rate.

    Thus, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The parts, the separate components of the Google SERP for your business, are the pay-per-click ads, the Google local pack/finder listings, and organic listings—for which we seek a listing of your website, but also for your profile page on a web directory or some other entity that helps you (e.g., YouTube, or perhaps an article).

    Four (4) Brand Mentions on the SERP
    Here's a client example of a dog trainer . At this writing we ran a search on Google for the business category's most popular keyword—"dog trainer xyz-city". Our client's website has the #8 ranking in the organic results. Usually it's higher, but this better serves to illustrate the point. Although #8 might not seem great, our client has four brand mentions on the SERP! The three others include: the #2 pay-per-click ad at the top of the page, the #2 position in the Google Local Pack listings right below the PPC ads, and the company's Yelp page is the #3 organic listing.

    Having four brand mentions on the page is powerful. They truly Own the SERP!. Even though our client has the last organic listing on the page, they will get the lion's share of clickthroughs for this keyword—more than the #1 organic result.

    It is quite a competitive challenge to get four brand mentions on a SERP for such a popular industry keyword in one of the largest cities in the country. But owning the SERP! is a reasonable goal for local clients, with the services we offer.