Getting your website on the first SERP is what you should aim for. The goal of every business on the Internet is to get on the first SERP (search engine results page) for its specific keyword. The ultimate goal would be to attain the first search result on the first SERP for your keyword, but it’s likely more realistic to aim for a good placement on the first SERP.
With all the wealth of data available on the web—not to mention people’s impatience—chances are extremely slim that your customers will wade through pages and pages of SERPs to find you. If you’re not ranking on the first SERP for your keyword, that’s going to result in a traffic and revenue problem for you!
To avoid this disaster and ensure your customers can actually find you in the vast sea of information that is the Internet, you have to be on top of your SEO (search engine optimization).
Why Your Website Needs to Be on the First SERP
If you’re saying to yourself that being on the first SERP is overblown, then you’ve got another thing coming. Getting your website on the first SERP isn’t just nice; it’s necessary for traffic actually landing on your site.
To understand more deeply why, let’s look at what the data tells us.
From a 2013 study by ad company Chitika, we see that the first 10 search results account for more than 90% of traffic to a site. As you can see, the chances of people clicking on the second page of a SERP to peruse and then click through on some of those results is very slim. In other words: If you’re not on the first SERP for your keyword, you’re not going to get found on the web.
That study was, granted, half a decade ago, so have things changed since then?
Looking at a 2014 report by Moz, we see much of the same conclusion supported by data. 71.33% of search queries result in an organic click on the first SERP while just 5.59% of the searches get clicks on the second and third SERPs. Note again the humongous drop off in click throughs and, therefore, traffic going to a site if it’s not on the very first SERP.
Finally, according to computer-software company Advanced Web Ranking, from data culled from December 2017, the majority of click throughs from search queries occur on the first five results of the first SERP. On desktop, 63.87% of organic click throughs from searches occur in the first five SERP spots, while, on mobile, 57.83% of organic click throughs occur in the first five SERP spots.
Takeaway: Get your site on the first SERP and, if possible, in the top five search result spots to get more traffic and, therefore, leads and customers.
Now that you know exactly how important a high SERP ranking is, you need to perfect your SEO efforts to ensure such a high ranking.
Tips for Getting Your Website on the First SERP
It’s not always easy to land on the first SERP for your keyword, but there are many optimization techniques at your disposal to drastically increase your site’s chances for much better placement.
Here are a few of the best strategies you can use.
First, we look at on-page SEO, which are all the strategies you can pursue directly on your site to increase its SERP position.
Aim to Rank for Long-Tail Keywords Instead of Shorter, More General Ones
Ever hear of the long-tail keyword? This is a keyword that gives search engines more specific detail about the exact nature of the user’s search query. As such, it communicates a lot more information about the intent of what the user is looking for.
Here’s an example.
Let’s suppose that someone’s trying to find a plumber to fix their leaking sink. They could type a more general keyword into Google, which isn’t going to help them much:
“plumbers near me”
Or they could go with a more specific long-tail keyword like:
“plumbers near me for leaking kitchen sinks”
The first keyword search was an example of the more general head keyword, and the second example was the long-tail keyword in all its glory. Long-tail searches have a greater tendency to convert since the searcher already has a much better idea of what they want, as opposed to someone doing just a general keyword search.
Additionally, even top search results for long-tail keywords tend to have far lower domain authority than the results for the more general head keywords. In other words, there’s less competition with other sites when you want to rank higher for your chosen keyword.
Therefore, it’s going to be easier to rank for the long-tail keyword you desire!
Yes, long tails will bring in fewer traffic than general keywords due to them having a lower search volume. However, and this is a crucial point, if you’re getting more traffic from a more popular, general keyword, yet fewer people are converting on your site, then it’s useless to rank higher for that more popular, general keyword.
Need more evidence that this is the way to getting your website on the first SERP?
Consider this: None other than retail giant Amazon actually makes 57% of its sales from keywords that are outside of its popular terms (read: long-tail keywords).
Learn How to Use Keyword Analysis Tools
You’ll need a keyword analysis tool to determine what keyword makes the most sense for you to rank for. Even if you know your industry inside and out, you may be surprised that some keywords or combinations thereof, especially when we talk about long tails, will be more favorable to you than others.
Using these tools, you can discover vital information to help your SEO ranking and getting your website on the first SERP, information like:
- The likelihood of ranking for a particular keyword
- The monthly search volume of a particular keyword
- The domain and page authority of results on the SERPs
- The number of monthly site visits to a particular SERP position
Knowing these details allows you to focus your SEO tactics on keywords where the chances of ranking on the first SERP is still a possibility. The last thing you want to do is waste your time on trying to rank for keywords where your chances of ranking are practically zero, as in cases where all of the SERP positions for a certain keyword are already occupied by results with extremely high domain authority scores.
Here are some excellent tools for getting your website on the first SERP:
Master Writing a Stellar Meta Description
The meta description, an HTML tag, is a short snippet of up to about 320 characters that serves as a way to summarize the content of your webpage. Usually, Google and other search engines will show users your meta description in search results when the phrase being searched for is found in the snippet. Optimizing this description is a critical aspect of on-page SEO to get right, and it’ll go a long way toward getting on your website on the first SERP.
You can usually see the meta description right underneath the page title and URL in the search results.
There are three crucial aspects to understand with this snippet:
- Search engines don’t really use it as a ranking factor in their algorithms
- Yet there are still massive benefits to writing a stellar meta description because it can persuade people to click through to your site based on how relevant and persuasive said meta description reads
- Which also impacts your site’s click-through rate, which, in turn, actually then affects your site’s ranking according to search-engine algorithms since CTR is a ranking factor (directly and indirectly)
Here are some winning tips on writing a great meta description:
- Ensure that the snippet matches your page’s content to avoid Google penalties and bounce-rate increases
- Include your keyword in the snippet to increase the chances of the search engine using the description and surfacing it in the search results
- Use an actionable and active voice to increase the click-through rate
- Use a call to action, which will nicely complement the actionable and active voice
Now, let’s shift gears a bit and discuss a few, great off-page SEO techniques. These are all the methods you have at your disposal outside your site to increase its SERP rankings, which are centered around building high-quality backlinks.
Guest blogging occurs when you write guest posts on sites related to yours that you don’t own in order to demonstrate your expertise in your industry and obtain a backlink to your site. Said backlinks don’t just increase your domain authority, but also your thought leadership.
Stats show that guest blogging, a part of your overall blogging strategy, is extremely effective in bringing in leads and traffic to your site. HubSpot reveals:
- Companies that published more than 16 blog posts per month got nearly 3.5 times more traffic than companies that published just 0-4 monthly posts
- B2B companies that blogged more than 11 times per month had nearly 3 times more traffic than those blogging only 0-1 times per month
- B2C companies that blogged more than 11 times per month received more than 4 times as many leads than those that blog just 4-5 times per month
- Companies that published more than 16 blog posts per month got approximately 4.5 times more leads than companies that published just 0-4 monthly posts
The purpose of writing guest posts on sites in the same industry as yours is to build a network of high-quality backlinks that make it easier for more people to find you.
Many sites actively look for guest bloggers, so it’s just a matter of reaching out to the editors of sites. For sites that don’t explicitly advertise this, simply shoot them an email to start up a conversation.
People tend to forget that links you get from social media—via social users linking to your content and/or site on Twitter, Facebook, etc.—can help your SERP rankings, but that’s not 100% conclusive. Still, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t create very shareworthy content.
Let’s look at the data.
A few years ago, Google’s Matt Cutts said that social signals aren’t part of Google’s search algorithms, meaning that the number of times your content is shared on Twitter or Facebook shouldn’t help your site’s SERP positioning.
However, Bing, the second most-used search engine, has gone on the record as saying that they do in fact use social shares to help them figure out search rankings.
Finally, a comprehensive study performed by Cognitive SEO looked at 300,000 pieces of content related to about 34,000 random keywords that all ranked on the first Google SERP. The conclusion of the study was that there is a correlation between a content’s social shares and its positioning in the SERPs.
Further, also consider that more people sharing your content on social means more people being exposed to your brand and more traffic coming into your site—whether or not it absolutely, positively boosts your SERP rankings.
The bottom line: Definitely strive to create shareworthy content, as more social shares have been correlated with higher SERP rankings (regardless of Google’s official word on this!).
You Want Your Website to Be Found
The entire point of successful SEO is to guarantee that people can actually find your website, land on it, navigate it, go through its conversion funnels, and then convert. Spending the time to carefully craft your site’s SEO will pay enormous dividends in everything from traffic to conversion to sales.
To be sure, getting your website on the first SERP can be challenging, depending on numerous factors like your choice of keyword, the length of the keyword, and how strong the domain authority of the other SERP positions for the keyword already is.
But optimizing your site’s visibility with the above mentioned tactics is still the best chance you have at getting found on the Internet. Put a priority on SEO, and you’ll see the results, guaranteed.