What is a SERP?
A SERP is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Results Page. It is the page a user sees after entering a search query into Google.
For the sake of demonstration, let’s perform a search for:
plumbing company in washington dc
You can break a SERP down into four primary sections.
- Google Guaranteed
- Google Ads (AdWords)
- Google Maps
- Organic Results
There are also additional sections that appear on SERPs depending on the query. Some are:
- Knowledge Graph
- Featured Snippet
Understanding SERP Features
Several features appear on a typical SERP, and each of them gives your plumbing company a chance to get more clicks, impressions, and visitors. Of course, some features have higher conversion rates than others, but plumbing companies who succeed online, usually optimize for all of the features available. Let’s take a look at some of the SERP features below.
Google Guaranteed is a green checkmark available to plumbers who buy Local Service Ads on SERPs. Local Service Ads are just a modern extension of Google Ads. To become Google Guaranteed, you will have to verify your plumbing company’s information and pass specific requirements by Google. You can learn more about how it works from Google.
Google Ads / AdWords
The following visible SERP feature on a typical results page is Google Ads. Not every query will produce PPC ads on the SERP. For example, low-volume keywords may not show PPC ads because there’s not enough interest in the term, and therefore Google would be wasting money by advertising for that query. However, for mid to high-volume search terms, PPC ads will appear prominently, above both Maps results and traditional organic results. Securing your spot on the PPC section of a SERP requires an advertising investment. Google shows ads based on:
- Ad Extensions
- Max CPC Bid
- Quality Score
Maps listings appear beneath Google Ads but above traditional organic results. Like with PPC ads, they don’t show up for every single query. Most local plumbing terms create Google Maps listings, and it is critical to appear on what is known as the Local 3 Pack. This 3-Pack shows the top 3 local results and will drive much of your website traffic and direct calls from new plumbing customers. Here’s how you optimize for Maps listings:
- Address Verification: Verify your business address, usually via postcard from Google
- Google My Business: Claim & optimize GMB profile
- Review Generation: Acquire customer reviews on Google
Traditional organic results are the 1-10 listings that most people recognize. Websites earn rankings through search engine optimization, which provides the ideal user experience based on a specific search query. However, countless factors go onto Google’s final determination of a website’s organic ranking. Because of hundreds of factors, none of which are public, marketers are left to their own devices to develop best practice strategies. Here’s what Plumbing Webmasters knows about how to rank as high as possible on organic:
- Keyword Research: Studying and identifying the best target keywords for optimal rankings
- On-Page SEO: Placing the proper keywords in meta, title, and header tags, along with text content
- Off-Site SEO: Building inbound links, signals, and citations from reputable 3rd party sources, including social media.
- Technical SEO: Integrating schema.org microdata markup, which encourages Google to parcel your data properly and appropriately ranks it on SERPs
Google’s knowledge graph or knowledge panel is most common on branded search queries. Users who search for your company based on word-of-mouth, a business card, or some other outlet will see a different kind of SERP than would be presented from a more general query. Branded searches typically show knowledge panels, which are presentations of your Google My Business profile on the right-hand side of the SERP. Make sure your GMB profile is:
- Active: Utilizes Google posts regularly to keep content circulating
- Branded: Displays your official company logo and preferably high-quality images of your office, truck, and staff
- Consistent: Has the correct company name and category to ensure an appearance on the SERP
Another SERP feature to be aware of is the featured snippet. A featured snippet is a highlighted text block pulled from a relevant web page or article. Featured snippets primarily appear on SERPs for users who pose questions like, for example, how much does a plumber cost? Websites can earn more featured snippets by asking and answering questions within the content. Here’s what you’ll want to focus on:
- Headers: Ask the question in the H1 or H2
- Paragraph Text: Answer the question in the subsequent paragraph text
- Quality: Give an accurate and robust answer, and surround it with informative supporting text
Help With SERP Features for Plumbers
Do you find the SERP features discussed in this blog foreign to you as a plumbing contractor? If so, there’s no shame in investing in a digital marketing firm to handle them on your behalf. Plumbing Webmasters optimizes clients for each of these SERP features with precision, putting plumbers in an ideal position to generate traffic from different sources throughout a results page.
Optimal SERP features are the result of a full-spectrum digital marketing effort. It’s not enough to create a website or write blog posts, or for that matter, pay for ad space. Google judges web presence on a macro level. At Plumbing Webmasters, we help contractors and companies become brands in the eyes of Google and generate exclusive plumbing leads in 2022.