What is Search Engine Real Estate?
Search engine real estate (SERE) is the amount of space that search results occupy on a singular search page. This can include everything from images and advertisements to organic results. Ranking high on the page is obviously an advantage, but many times it is out of reach. How can your page compete with the higher ranked search results?
What can you do to Improve Search Engine Real Estate?
There are several ways to increase your company’s, brand’s or a specific page’s SERE on Google;
Ad extensions (pink)
Ad extensions display links to other pages of your site. This obviously takes up more real estate compared to the other ads, but be warned, they may not always be relevant to the keyword terms you are resulting for. You cannot customize these links either, so you get what you get.
Sitelinks for organic results (blue)
Sitelinks are automatically generated by Google when they think it will help the searcher, which in most cases is always. This usually happens with a brand, and there isn’t a lot you can do to make sure these show up. The only thing you can really do to help this is; “…make sure you use anchor text and alt text that's informative, compact, and avoids repetition.” - Google Webmaster Tools
Google+ / Knowledge Graph (green)
Creating a Google+ profile for your company or brand will give you a nice chunk of real estate and even promotes your recent post. It is important that the Google+ profile is kept current and is truly a good exemplification of the brand or company it is representing. A Google+ profile result isn’t going to show up for non-brand related keywords, but it still makes it easier for a searcher to find you. This all contributes to the Knowledge Graph, which pulls from Google+, Wikipedia and Freebase.
*No longer effective as of August 2014
By signing up for Google+ and adding your author tag to your online content you will see your headshot or at least an author link in the search result. The headshot really makes your result standout even among the higher ranked results. It can add a legitimacy that other results may not have and even links to other content your author tag has been added to.
I talked about this in a recent blog; how social media can show up in SERPs next to the original content and it still holds true. Whether you share the content, or someone else does, that result can show up alongside the original source in the search.
Images show near the top of the SERP, so having an eye-catching image that also happens to be in that preview result is an advantage and takes up more search engine real estate.
Three of the five results shown are from Youtube.com. Not only are there multiple results but they are larger because they include a screen shot from the video. This is another way to add legitimacy by having a good looking screenshot. Even above the two video results is a result for the DuraLabel - Youtube.com homepage. Two competitor results show up both above and below the Youtube results, but do not claim nearly as much search engine real estate. The size and the aesthetics really help differentiate the results.
Shopping results are also displayed near the top of the SERP. These are paid, “Sponsored” results, but also take a significant chunk of SERE.
These tactics are used to saturate the SERP and make for multiple ways a searcher can find your page. It allows for pages that are not ranked at the top of the page to stand out and offer something that even the top results may not. It increases awareness and greatly enhances the odds that a searcher will visit your page.