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Search engine results pages (SERPs) are continuously evolving. The layout of results now come in various forms. 

In Google, for example, your query results may display one of the following: direct quotations from a blog post, a series of images, a list of further questions, Youtube Links or Google Maps/Business. Of course, search engines still quote the source. 

But this has a direct impact on businesses. As a content marketer, you’d want clicks to your site and ultimately achieve your objectives. But featured snippets are reducing organic visits. Studies show that CTR drops by 20% if a featured snippet is above a top-ranking link.

What factors cause people to click? What do they click on?

 

Pinball Pattern SERPWidely-Distributed Heatmap

Nielsen Norman Group conducted a study and found out that today, the search result heatmap is widely distributed across different parts of the page. 

Heatmap refers to the areas of the page where people focus. The darker the “heat color”, the longer and the more searchers focus upon it. 

The heatmap is no longer linear. People’s eyeballs no longer move straight from the top result to the bottom. Instead, scanning eyes are moving and bouncing to different elements. They may start in middle, then downwards, then sidewards and then up- just like the pattern of the pinball. 

 

The study described that this behavior is caused by a variety of information displayed by search engines. Which means…

Being the top 1 doesn’t mean more clicks

This year’s study shows that most of the clicks no longer go to the top 1 result. Heatmap reveals that glances are distributed across the top three results. The variety of results is also a major factor. Searchers jump directly to content that right away captures their attention. 

Heatmaps Reveal

Deep Researchers Click Further Down

The study shows that simple searchers or those in the exploratory phase stay above the fold of the SERP. But 20% are deep investigatory researchers who go further down below.

If you’re below the fold, then you may already get a significant amount of traffic. But it’s safer if you stay on the top three results. 

How can you improve your search rankings?

If you want your business to move up from the bottom of search results, you have to have a robust plan, solid implementation and updated knowledge of algorithms. Here are some hacks to increase your rankings:

1. Identify your topic cluster

Determining your niche is the foundation of success. Who is your audience? What do you provide? What is/are the topic(s) you’d like to rank for? How’s your competition? A lot of businesses fail because they don’t identify their core competency and stick with it. They’re spreading their contents too thinly. They fail to perform SEO well. To achieve a good topic cluster, list your keywords, do keyword research, analyze, create content, assess performance through analytics, optimize your website and implement a long-term strategy. 

2. Perform an effective content audit

Is there redundant content on your site? Are there posts that are supposed to link to your pillar content? Are your posts too short? Should you combine to make an in-depth article? Assess your content, perform content pruning and perform redirections to boost your rankings. 

These hacks have helped our clients a lot (and saved them money too!). You may want to consider hiring a partner to help you win in the ever-evolving search engine results. 

-Four Drunk Parrots

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