Successful search engine optimisation requires an understanding of how Google works. If you want your site to achieve a high ranking, it is crucial to first familiarise yourself with the different components of a Google results page, and then to strategise your way to the top of that page.
The standard Google results page is not just a catalogue of website listings but is composed of various elements, each of which has a distinct origin. The wide variety of elements presents an opportunity to the savvy internet marketer by offering more than one way to earn a coveted spot on Google’s first results page.
SEO professionals such as seoWorks must constantly keep themselves up to date on the various changes to the Google results page. Here is a rundown of the anatomy of a Google results page with a view to helping you get as high up on it as possible.
Right at the top of many Google results pages is the local carousel, which features results drawn from location information on Google+. Searches for relevant topics such as restaurants and hotel listings are most likely to produce the local carousel. Local results can also be blended with other elements such as maps.
Music and song carousel
Searches related to music artists and song names produce links to music videos, usually from YouTube.
Paid ads appear in various spots on the Google results page and may be placed close to the top, on the right or close to the bottom of the page. The ads from Google AdWords are tailored to searches and are marked as ads
Search terms related to shopping or consumer products often produce shopping ads, which can appear in the form of product listings from specific merchants.
Google offers direct answers to certain types of queries related to information such as time zones, temperatures, currency conversions and unit conversions.
Where relevant, Google places image results on regular search pages. These can appear above the knowledge graph box.
Google sitelinks provide additional information such as addresses and telephone numbers, as well as links to other pages of a main website which is the subject of a listing.
Video results are similar to image results and appear where relevant on a regular search page.
Google includes snippets of information on certain listings, which are to a large extent determined by the publishers of the content that is being linked to. Rich snippets may include product ratings, pictures of a product or estimated prices.
Google sometimes displays relevant headlines taken from Google News which link to news articles.
Search results are never the same for all users. Google personalises your search results based on various factors including your location, your city and what has already been shared by the people you are connected to on social networks. Even your calendar appointments and emails can have an influence on your personalised search results.
Google tries to display links to articles it thinks provide in-depth information on the search terms at hand.
One of the most recognisable features on Google’s results page is the related searches display, which suggests search terms closely related to the one you have already used.
Knowledge graph box
Knowledge graph boxes appear on the right side of the page and try to provide you with quick facts relevant to a search term. The type of information displayed in the knowledge graph box can vary quite widely depending on the search term.
While you will rarely if ever see all of the above elements on a single page, many of the above elements do occur on a very regular basis. Understanding the various components of a Google search results page will greatly aid in your implementation of SEO techniques.
In our second part of this Anatomy of a Google Results Page series, we will have a look at ways to get your share of the first page of Google results, depending on the section most suitable for your website.
About Bernard Somja, SEO Works
Aside from developing a league of veteran snowboarders, Bernard is SEO Works’ Director of SEO Services, helping businesses in Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA succeed online through the implementation of best practice Inbound Marketing.