What B2B Marketers Need To Know About Google’s Evolving Search Engine Results Page

One of the significant discussions happening in the search community, and highlighted at SMX West earlier this month, is the evolving look of the search engine results page. There is rarely a classic, “ten pack” of organic search engine results when searching Google.

Evolution of Google SERPs

This change has become even more pronounced in the past few years, with the influence of several key factors.

First, and often through the webmaster integration of structured data, Google is able to provide a more detailed search result experience. Oftentimes, searchers will find everything from ratings to site-specific cross-links to supporting e-commerce information within individual organic and paid search engine results.

Structured Data Examples
Structured Data Examples

For more information, I wrote about the mechanisms that B2B marketers can use to leverage structured data here and here specifically.

Second, Google Knowledge Graph is increasingly prevalent in organic results across the various types of keyword searches. In Dr Pete’s SMX presentation, he details percentages for the various types of Knowledge Graph experiences found within Google search results.

Growth of Knowledge Graph Results

Knowledge Graph Example:
Knowledge Graph Example

Third, the continued adoption of mobile device usage for web browsing ultimately changes the way searchers want to consume information, particularly when searching.

Google recognizes this and continues to announce changes to the way it presents and considers organic positioning in search engine results when using a mobile device.

Recent Google Announcements (in just the past six months):

Lastly, direct answers to search queries has taken on an entirely new level of complexity, as Google essentially replaces the need for users to click out of the search results page for everything from loan calculators to auto insurance quotes.

Direct Answer Example:
Direct Answers Example

Action Items for B2B Marketers?

Keyword research is only one part of the equation for B2B marketers looking to improve their performance in Google over time. Evaluating the search experience – across device types – is just as important when prioritizing tactics.

Consider these type of questions when evaluating your SEO program and keyword strategy moving forward:

  • What type of content marketing assets appear for priority keyword targets?
  • How comprehensive are search results themselves? Do I notice functionality unique to certain web page results (like sitelinks or ratings) but not others?
  • Are images, video, or other media assets present on first page results?
  • Do my results change when searching between desktop and mobile device?
  • How diverse, in terms of advertisers and quality of ads, are paid advertisements (AdWords) for priority keyword targets?
  • How often does Google “answer” / provide information for users directly in search engine results, for my priority keyword targets?

And finally, it is just as important to leverage tactics designed to optimize how your web pages literally appear in organic search, regardless of average position, as it is to improve ranking over time. While we covered Mediative’s Google SERP study late last year, they revealed more information in their latest SMX presentation.

In the slide image below, we can see how click thru rate in paid and organic results has changed, based on many of the new elements found on the search engine results page.

Mediative Eye Tracking Chart

Looking for more information? My colleague Casie Gillette will have her recap of SMX West a bit later this week! In the meantime, here is a curated list of the vast majority the presentations from the conference on SlideShare for review.

Related Post: Understanding the Search Engine Results Page: One Screenshot at a Time

“I worked with KoMarketing during my time at Pongo in a variety of roles. At first, they were doing the work for us, but in the end, they trained my growing team on Search Engine Marketing (SEM). Their education of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) led to us launching a job search blog, over 30 learning center articles, and a social media campaign. I would not hesitate to recommend the KoMarketing team for any size project you may have.”

— Jodi Coverly, Marketing Manager, Pongo LLC

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