Ever since Google decided to get rid of right hand side ads, the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) has become more competitive. Not much of a big deal for those running PPC campaigns, but if not you need to work even harder to rank organically.

And even if you do manage to squeeze yourself between the top and bottom ads, you will still need to grab the audience’s attention in order to attract a click. When all links look exactly the same, this is yet another challenge to overcome.

Thankfully, there are a handful of ways your site can stand out in Google SERPs.

Get your site indexed

When it comes to creating a website, chances are you will prioritise the functionality and design. However, an equally important aspect of web development is making sure it can be indexed by Google, otherwise your site won’t get a ranking or any traffic.

This means setting up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, creating a sitemap, getting rid of any duplicate content, having search-friendly URLs, and linking back to the site from social media profiles. Don’t forget to double-check your robots.txt file either.

Get some 5-star appeal

Reviews and ratings are like the online equivalent of word of mouth. If a potential customer sees your business hasn’t impressed in the past, they probably won’t make a purchase and could look elsewhere.

Therefore, it is imperative you rank highly with your customers, not just with Google. Ads with Google’s Seller Ratings get a 17 per cent higher CTR than the same ads without ratings. But with Yotpo, you can cull user reviews and bring them to the SERP in organic listings too.

Pay close attention to meta descriptions

Often overlooked because they aren’t used as a ranking factor, meta descriptions still require your attention. After all, Google puts a huge emphasis on CTR as a ranking signal, especially in terms of paid search quality scores.

Then again, if you are overzealous with the page’s description by promising content that’s not there, users won’t be impressed and your bounce rate will soar. So, it’s all about striking the right balance. Be clear, concise, compelling, and convincing.

The importance of local

Seeing as Google Maps is now an all-encompassing business directory, any brand with a physical store will want a pre-eminent ranking. With fewer results on the SERP, this can be quite a tall order, but is far from impossible.

You will need to prioritise NAP consistency, focus on local SEO, and encourage customers to keep leaving positive ratings.

The additional benefits of standing out in Google SERPs

According to marketing entrepreneur, speaker, and columnist Cynthia Johnson, any business can enjoy numerous benefits if it goes back to basics when improving SERP visibility.

“Optimising your site, reaching out to customers, and honing in your language isn’t just going to help you rise in the SERPs, it’s going to help you connect with your customers and build lifelong relationships with them.”