How to Super Size Your Listings in Google
As Google continues to push organic search results further down the page in favour of greater ad exposure and universal search, it is important to maximise the amount of space your website receives from the search giant. The more real estate your listings have, the more likely you are to receive visitors to your website. Below are 6 ways to increase your SERP (Search Engine Result Page) real estate.
1. Dual Rankings
If more than one of your pages is relevant for a search query on any given page, Google will reward you by grouping these listings together:
For example, imagine your homepage was listed in position 2 for the keyword “running”. On the second page of Google in position 11 you have a different URL that also ranks for the same keyword. If you build enough links to push the secondary listing to page 1, Google will automatically promote it to position 3. The marginal effort needed to push a listing from position 11 to position 10 is typically much less than moving it from say position 3 to 2. This technique can have a huge impact on the number of visitors to your website. A listing in position 11 will receive about 0.66% of all clicks compared to 6.03% in position 4. To achieve dual rankings, build both internal and external links to the lower ranking page using the anchor text of the keywords for which you wish to receive dual rankings.
2. Meta Description
The meta description is the summary that describes your website and should provide a compelling call to action to for any potential customers. I often see websites using just a few words for their meta descriptions, resulting in only a single line in the SERPs. By adding a few more words, a website can take advantage of the second line that Google allows them for describing their site. Each line of the SERPs is valuable real estate and you should make an informed decision about whether you are going to forgo any space. One creative technique that Darren Slatten uses is to incorporate ASCII art into his meta description, increasing it’s space by 250% compared to a normal listing:
Not only are forums an excellent tool to leverage the long tail of search but Google also rewards them with up to 4 additional listings in the SERPs. These extra listings not only take up more valuable SERP real estate, they also stand out and catch a user’s eye compared to a regular listing:
Forum listings will often also contain an additional line detailing the number of answers, as shown in the example above.
4. Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are designed for sites that contain reviews, products, business listings, recipes, or events. Depending on the type of information your site contains, rich snippets will not only enhance your rankings, making them stand out from the crowd and improve your CTRs but they will also increase the size of your listings, as shown in the examples below:
You can add Rich snippets to your website by using any of these three formats: microdata, microformats, or RDFa. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo recently announced a joint venture called Schema which provides webmasters with a shared collection of recognized rich snippets that are supported by the major search engines.
5. More Results
Google won’t usually show more than two listings for each domain on each of it’s pages. However, if your site is a good source of relevant information, Google will display an additional line under your listing:
You can increase the probability of Google showing this extra line by having a diverse set of content on your site, interlined with relevant anchor text.
If Google believes your website is highly relevant for a keyword phrase, especially one that is navigational in nature, you may be rewarded with sitelinks:
Google generates sitelinks automatically, you can’t do anything specifically to receive them (though you can block any that you don’t want via your Google Webmasters account). To improve your chances of receiving sitelinks, you should follow the best practice of using informative, compact anchor and ALT text for any links to your site.
The techniques listed above can help increase your SERP real estate by 2 or 3 lines, doubling the amount of space a regular listing receives as well as helping your website stand out in a sea of homogenous listings.
David de Souza is the founder of MatchingDonations.org,
a website that allows your charitable donations to go twice as far. He is
also the SEO strategist for the International Professors Project, a non profit
that encourages professors to volunteer
for teaching jobs abroad.