Everyone wants to appear on the first page of Google. And that’s a fair goal.
But, like Moz points out in their search rankings factor report, there’s more to winning at search marketing than the first organic result.
Because we get a lot of questions about SEO, and how to rank better for your business or your content, let’s dive into a list of lesser known ways to get on page 1.
1. Knowledge Panel
When you search for a business on Google, you may see information about that business in a box to the right of the search results. This is an important part of local search. This box is called the knowledge panel. Here’s an example:
Knowledge panels are key for local search and brand-specific searches as they show information unique to that type of business, helping customers discover and contact your business.
For example, a retail store may show hours, payments accepted, etc. Hotels or apartments may show that they have WiFi service or a swimming pool. This may be limited by the business category.
Appearance of your business information is affected by a variety of factors, including relevance, distance, and prominence of the business to the searcher’s location.
To increase your chances of appearing in the knowledge panel, you should have a verified Google My Business profile that is updated and accurate, containing the right keywords and categories (though verifying a business does not automatically mean that the info will appear in the knowledge panel).
2. Local Packs
Similar to the knowledge panel are the Local Packs. The local pack is a section of Google’s search results that shows the local businesses related to your search. Whenever your search has a local intent, Google delivers local results.
For example, when I search for “Pizza Lincoln NE” Google returns these results specifically focused to me:
So why does it matter?
It’s all about frequency and probability.
The coveted local pack appears in the #1 spot 93% of the time. Simply put, if you optimize for local search, almost every time you will appear at the top of the search results page!
To get here, you need accurate and thorough business information and a good customer experience — aka, good reviews! Google always try to provide the best information to its users. As a result, setting up a Google My Business listing for your small business is the first step. Click here to get the how-to from Google My Business. You can also now run ads that run specifically on the local pack (more on that in a future post!).
If your business relies on local customers, this needs to be your bread and butter. Appearing in the local searches is a game changer.
3. “People Also Ask”
If you’ve Googled any kind of question or general pondering in the last few weeks, there’s no doubt you’ve encountered the “People Also Ask” accordion box that appears just below your original search.
Appearing in this section isn’t much different from your strategy to get to page 1 with a blog article.
The strategy for ranking in the People Also Ask section is keyword research and writing. To find the keywords, just Google searches related to your niche and then look at the questions in the People Also Ask section.
There is no guarantee of appearing in the People Also Ask section, but if you’re thinking about how to rank there then you’re probably already ahead of your competitors.
Many companies focus on SEO within their text, but they forget that images are a ripe opportunity to optimize for Google search! You need to create descriptive, keyword-rich file names for image optimization.
Google not only crawls the text on your webpage but they also search for keywords within your image file names. This means taking a bit more time when you save your images, rather than just tossing them up on a webpage!
Let’s use this as an example:
You could use the generic name your camera gave to the image: IMAGE_20395.jpg.
Or, you could name the file: Woman-recording-podcast-interview-with-headphones.jpg.
Think about how your customers search for products on the internet and try to name images around that. As a general rule, use dashes instead of spaces as that helps search engines recognize the individual words – an absolute necessity for SEO.
Behind every great image, is a great file name and great alt-text!
5. Featured Snippets (or Result 0)
Is 0 better than 1? In this case, yes!
Result 0 is also called the featured snippet, which is the search that appears at the top of the results page, above the normal search results.
The snippet contains the URL and page title, along with a little information about the page’s content in an attempt to quickly answer the search. We’ve achieved this with our article about the difference between a marketing strategy and a marketing plan:
To get your content in featured snippets it’s best to start with who is already there. A review of your competitors’ featured snippets will give you a starting point for a list of keywords you might focus on (similar to People Also Ask).
The important thing to remember is you don’t have to rank #1 to be #0.
Google values relevance over rank when it comes to featured snippets. So, create content that gets to the point. Give your readers exactly the information you promised in the title. There is some effort behind ranking #0, but the good news is even if you don’t succeed the work you do will likely help your SEO regardless.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Simply put – if you aren’t using video, then you better start thinking about it.
The foundation of YouTube is built on:
- Channel Authority
- Content Delivery
Let’s focus on the main ones – title and description.
Your title will greatly affect your click-through rate. Be direct and answer a “how-to” question for the best chance to be featured at the top of Google with your video.
For example, we’ve done this in our content created on our YouTube channel to help people get started with the HubSpot marketing tools. We created a video called “How to Add HubSpot to Your Gmail Inbox” – a tutorial, walk-through video – and it shows up as a top 3 result in the video pack:
Your YouTube video description is really the only place to describe what your video is about. This information is for Google specifically. Put your keywords in the description so you don’t miss out on them be bolded in the search results page if it matches the question being asked.
And don’t forget, one of the biggest ranking factors in YouTube is watch time – so your video has to be interesting and helpful in order for people to stay watching it – which signals to Google that it’s a good result for someone’s search query.
Don’t try to conquer them all…start small.
Like all SEO hacks though, these require dedication to the practice and a high level of execution. We suggest picking one or two of these areas to start, and learn how to harness the power of these lesser known SEO strategies!