A while back I wrote a post on the subject of Universal Search Strategy for Digital Asset Managers. We recently had a Friday Chat in the SEO Training Dojo where a number of these strategies were discussed. A recent discussion on the changes to local results brought on by changes to Places and how Local results are triggered with Universal SERP elements pushing traditional methods down the page.
At the time the post was written I'd just begun to identify the SERP characteristics that were most suited to the goals of a DAM (Digital Asset Manager). Once I had the strategies determined I incorporate/implement them in other promotion activities that are part of another strategy, for instance reputation management and others.
Types of SERP Management Strategies
First off, the strategies we’re discussing today are not to get rankings. TThey are generally thought of as part of other strategies like Brand or Reputation Management. Universal SERP management strategies can be used to perform several functions for SEO's, Internet Marketers and Public Relation professionals. Strategies for SERP management should not be considered new as SEO/site promoters should be implementing some of these SERP startegies in the day to day promotion and link building for the site. Let’s break these strategies down into the reasons for these strategies.
The reasons are to:
- Enter a SERP
- Manage the Results in the SERP
- Control a SERP
Strategies for Digital Assets to Enter Universal SERPs
Provided the SERP history is available entering a SERP is pretty easy. There are tools that give SERP history the problem with the current tools is that we could care less what the content is (other than type) or the ranks all we want to know is what types of Universal results have been in the SERP in the past. Some of the Universal/Belended elements of the SERP do not appear all the time. News is very much entering by QDF (Query Deserves Freshness). I don't pay much attention to the positions either as they are generally what I call slotted resources.
The degree of flux in the Slotted resources positions IMO, can not be "manipulated" because this is determined by click analysis at the SERP level ie: are people clicking more transactional sites than information and other factors that are, for the most part, not subject to direct SEO manipulation. Hybrid query spaces such as transactional/informational query spaces see more flux because can be directly affected by seasonality. Is the product in season, Christmas is a time of much flux in these SERPs.
We then found a remarkable tool by Authority Labs that fills all our needs and more! Let's say we’re not a fan of tools and leave it at that. In the past I relied mainly on my memory which wasn't a good method but it did have the highest Task ROI. This tool tracks Google SERPs for Rich Snippets, News and Video in a SERP as well as the usual info of rank and flux making this the first "truly actionable" ranking report in the history of SEO.
Authority labs is especially useful for identifying the targets in a SERPs and to some extent aids in determining the timing or circumstances of the addition of a Universal element into the results. The results are by date so if it is a news item you could use the date filter in the left had margin of Google to see, to some extent, why the Blended result was used by Google.
You can also quickly review a lot of data because the report uses icons to identify the type of Universal vertical that was included in the results for that day.
Authority Labs SERP history is useful in determining the longevity of the Universal element in the results and whether that SERP is a quality target for a digital asset. I don't know why exactly, but, the display of the report data made it incredibly easy to scan and see trends in rank flux and News. So for instance you would see News in the SERP for a period and then it would disappear.
The easiest SERPs to enter with digital assets are informational query spaces. News and to a lesser extent Video and Images (always a plus to add these to your press releases) can enter the SERP. Generally News will not have a lot of longevity and video can move around in the rankings.
Note that Video on 3rd party sites, YouTube in particular, will make it very difficult to get any other position for your site. I learned this the hard way. I strongly suggest that if you have high ranks in a query space you avoid adding video to the space unless it is targeting a Brand query space.
How DAMs Should Manage SERP Results
Managing SERP results first requires the DAM to identify the type of query space is being targeted because each has different characteristics with different techniques/media being the optimum way to manage or even control the SERP. The type of query space may also influence the type of promotion you implement in order to meet your SERP management goals.
SERPs are where the real ranking battles happen so understanding the type of query a keyword is associated with is one of the keys to determining how to promote a site to enter the query space.
The old school SEO's who want engagement on their site are beginning to realize that Social Media isn't about links it's about Social Capital. To monetize that Social Capital it must be promoted in order to gain the visibility/buzz required to be included in the results.
Managing SERP results requires the identification of the query space type ie: Brand, Navigational, Informational or Transactional being the most important to us.
Some DAM Techniques to Control SERP Results
The more "slots" occupied in the SERP by Promoted Assets like Social Profiles on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and citations in review sites etc. the harder it becomes for a Brand to be affected by negative sentiment in the results. The best Reputation Management strategy is to own as many of the slots in the SERPs for queries in the Brand query space.
Owning the top ten for the brand name is a start. As Google and other Search Engines lay the Social Graph over the link graph IMO, Blended Promotional/PR campaigns will provide natural back link profiles that could be used to occupy many slots in Brand query spaces.
The merging of the link and Social graph is aided by the Social Plumbing by the rel="me" in the href. One way you can tie your Social Capital together is to crosslink your Social profiles.
I use my Google profile to aid in discovery of my connections. The more social connections you can make the more real estate you'll get in the SERPs. One thing I have noticed is I have been able to get much of my Tumblr indexed whereas this is often a problem for others. I have my Tumblr linked to from my Google Profile. Not saying that is a factor, it is one difference between mine and all the problematic accounts that I've looked at.
When possible, use "social plumbing" element rel="me" in the href when linking to profiles on Social sites. Buy available Domain Names that are exact matches to manage negative Brand and navigational query spaces. News releases are one way to manage informational and transactional spaces.
Conclusions on SERP Management Strategies.
SERP management strategies begin with the query type and end with activity, generally, some sort of link promotion or Social activity to implement the strategy. SERP management should be part of any reputation management or link building activity. Knowing the type of activity to commit to is part and parcel of any successful SERP Management Strategy.