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SEO 101: 4 Ways to Stand Out in the SERPs

These days with Google taking up more of the top spots on the front page of the SERPs, standing out is more important than ever. But how, in a field of text where everybody looks the same, can you show your customers just how awesome you are? What’s going to make you stand out and get those valuable clicks? Well, fear not, those search results can get a little more colorful with some quick and often overlooked changes that you can make to add a little pizzaz to those search results.

Invite Yourself to the Party & Get Your Site Indexed

We’ve all seen it, the perfectly designed and optimized site ready for launch. It’s sent out into the big scary world of the internet and nothing. No clicks, no traffic, just a flat line. Don’t worry; there’s hope. Make sure you’ve done the legwork; set up Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools, create a sitemap, watch out for duplicate content, get some search friendly URLs, write fresh content, and make sure all your social profiles are linking back to you. Next, double-check that robots.txt file. Sites never stand a chance if you forget to run down the launch checklist. Neil Patel has a handy guide on what you need to do to let the search engines know you exist.

Make Them See Stars

These days stars are a business’s best friend, the more better. If you want your customers to be star-gazing, you’re going to need to incorporate user ratings into your search results. Check out Google’s seller ratings. This feature imports customer ratings and lets users know just how awesome your products are. To get them you’ll need 150 reviews in the last 12 months.  According to Google, ads with Seller Ratings get a 17% higher CTR than the same ads without ratings.  That increase is going to drive your costs down and your revenue up.

Google Seller Ratings

Those stars aren’t just for ads either, using schema you can get them in your organic results, too. Yotpo is a great tool for culling user reviews and bringing them to the SERPs both in ads and organic. They’ll even help you gather reviews by reaching out to your customers. Adding a little flair to your search result is going to go a long way.

Be a Straight Shooter, Let Your Customer Know What They’re Getting With Meta Descriptions

Mystery isn’t always a good thing, especially when every click counts. Nobody likes a bait and switch, and you certainly don’t like those high bounce rates. Letting users know exactly what you have to offer is key to those coveted clicks. While meta descriptions aren’t used as a ranking factor that doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Compelling copy is going to get you noticed, especially if your competitors are ignoring it.

A well-crafted meta description can be the deciding factor between a customer clicking on your result or your competitors, and add in those colorful stars we talked about earlier, you’re really going to stand out. We don’t need to be reminded how important Click-Through Rates (CTR) are as a ranking signal for the search engines. Giving your potential customer a glimpse into the page they’re clicking on is going to help them stick around a little longer.

Think Local

If you’re a physical store you have your eyes on the map, you long to see your business name at the top of the snack pack. These days with fewer results it’s a tough ask, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting that spot. Insure NAP consistency, focus on local SEO, and yes, those reviews play a crucial role on nabbing a spot on the map.

Editor Note: To learn more from Cynthia, check out this podcast she did on social media strategy for multiple locations.


Sure, it’s getting harder and harder to stand out in the SERPs, but don’t let that deter you. Instead, let it challenge you. Now, everything you do is going to have an impact one way or the other. By getting back to basics and focusing on the little things you have an opportunity to broaden your reach.

Optimizing 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.

Featured Image: Deposit PhotosAll screenshots by Cynthia Johnson. Taken October 2016.

Category SEO
Cynthia Johnson Co-Founder at Ipseity, Inc.

Cynthia Johnson is an entrepreneur, marketing professional, and keynote speaker. She is Co-Founder at Ipseity Media, a personal brand development ...

SEO 101: 4 Ways to Stand Out in the SERPs

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