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Firsties! How Important is a First Page Listing, Anyway?

October 28th, 2015

Here’s a wild guess about your online business: When people search for your industry, you want your business to be the top result. The problem is everyone else also wants that top spot, too. But is being “number one” really what you should focus on?

Is There Really No Second Place?

Conventional wisdom says that if you’re not ranking on page one, you’ve failed. Ranking on page two is no different than ranking on page 100. For many SEO pros, there are really only two ranks: You’re either on page one, or you’re irrelevant.

But there’s a new way to think about SERPS – and it’s not all about being number one.

Numberless SERP

Search engines are more intuitive than ever before. Results can be tailored to individual preferences over time. This means what one user sees as the number one result could be very different from what another user sees – even if they both searched for the same term.

First, take a deep breath. This may sound like a big overhaul to SEO practices, but it’s really not. You still want to use all the tips and tricks you’ve been using over the years in order to get your client the highest ranking possible. Only now there a few new tools you’ll need to add to your toolbox. Let’s take a look:

Rich Media

Search behavior is changing because of “rich media.” These are the vital, varied bits of information found below the URL in the search results. They basically give the searcher a quick snapshot of additional information about the results. Some common types of rich media include:

·         Images

·         Customer Reviews and Rankings

·         Stars or other types of reviews

·         Info specific to your industry

There are a lot of options for that last category. For food products the rich media might include recipes, calorie counts or nutrition information. The rich media for a movie might include reviews, quotes from critics or even recommendations for similar movies. While the specifics change, this content should always be something useful to the user.

Rich media is about more than just words. Let’s face it, the search results page has a lot of text. One way your link can stand out from the others is with the use of graphics. Stars, trophies and similar images are a great way to show award-winning service. Not only restaurants are rated by stars. Basically any type of service or business can insert graphics into their rich media.

Who Benefits from Rich Media?

Users, businesses and search engines.

Surveys have shown that links with rich media have higher click-through rates than traditional links. This makes sense purely from a common sense perspective, too. Rich media provides more detail about the link, so the user has a better idea of how to find the info they want before they click.

Businesses can use rich media to fine-tune their advertising so they can target their potential customers with a higher degree of accuracy. Rich media provides an excellent space to insert keywords and information. A rich media campaign is also pretty easy to run.

Rich media helps search engines, too. Custom search engines learn about the user based on what they search and then what results they choose. Rich media gives the search engine more data to work with, leading to improved search experiences in the future.

How Much Time Should You Spend Developing Rich Media?

To be clear, rich media isn’t some magic cure-all. Adding markups to your page won’t automatically raise your SERP. You need to make sure people have a reason to stay on your site after they click your rich media link. This means your page needs:

·         engaging, informative content dense with keywords

·         natural backlinks

·         successful implementation of local SEO

·         integration with your social media presence

Rich media can’t help with any of that. But rich media does make your link more attractive. In the long run, this can absolutely help increase your site’s popularity among both people and search engines.

In the short run, links with rich media will be more appealing than links without. If your competition isn’t using rich links, you can gain a quick advantage. If your competition is using rich links – well, you better add some quick or you’ll be left behind.

How to Add Rich Media

Adding rich media markups to your page is pretty straight-forward if you have a basic background in HTML. In fact, this is one of the many reasons most businesses are usually better off hiring a professional internet marketer.

The most popular method of markup is Schema.org. This site is dedicated to creating, maintaining and promoting schemas for internet data. Webmaster and developers can contribute to a shared vocabulary. The site is sponsored by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex. It’s an excellent, free source for learning all the vocabulary needed to add rich media markups to your site.

What Content to Add

The space under your URL is really only about two lines. So you need to make every word count. Users want information, so you need to be as descriptive and accurate in your content as popular. You’ll also want to use one or two keywords. Which keywords you use really depends on the specifics of your industry.

Rich Media Isn’t the End of Traditional SEO

There’s always going to be a benefit to being number one. If you’re not the first result on the first page, you at least want to be on that first page somewhere. But SEO has been changed by the addition of rich media. Custom search engines mean not all users will see the same page one results.

By correctly implementing rich media, you’ll increase your brand’s authority, provide useful information to your customers and help search engines rank you accurately. Even if you’re not always the number one result in the search engines, you’ll be number one where it matters… with your customers.