Google.  A word that is now synonymous with “look it up” and to every business owner also doubles for “opportunity” and “what the heck”.   Your listing in Google is the often the first encounter people have with your business. You want your Google listing to be as influential as possible.  But with all the kinds of listings how does Google determine who gets what?

1. Ads

The listings you see at the tip-top of the page are generally ads.  Ads show up when people are bidding on keywords related to the words you searched for.  Ads look surprisingly like normal listings the only way to tell one from the other is ads show up with a little green “Ad” rectangle next to the website address.

How do you get an ad listing? Set up ads in Google AdWords to display when people search for terms related to your business.  You pay each time someone clicks on your ad.

Is your ad guaranteed to show up? Of all the types of listings displayed in Google search results an ad is the most dependable.  If you have the the budget to to display your ad it is deemed appropriate and useful it should display.

2. Knowledge Graph Panel

The knowledge graph panel is a fancy name for the box that shows up with your contact information in it to the right of the search results.  This business card like listing shows up when someone searches for your business by name or a very close variant of your name.

How do you get it for your business? You’ll need to create a Google My Business listing.  If there’s a listing for your business already but you didn’t make it, claim it as your own and fix any incorrect information on the listing.

Is it guaranteed to show up? If you have a Google My Business listing odds are good after a bit of time a knowledge graph panel will display when people search for your business’s name.  Google, however, makes no guarantees about anything. Ever.

3. Local Pack (the 3 Pack)

If you’re searching for something Google considers a “local” service the Local Pack, or 3 Pack, will display below the ads in search listings.  If you search for “paving companies” for example and pretty much any other search phrase ending in the word “companies” or “near me” a Local Pack is fired back at you.

How can you be featured in the Local Pack? First, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business listing, then start working on gathering positive Google reviews.  You’ll want to get more than 5 reviews for sure, but benchmark your review goals on the other companies featured in the Local Pack.

Is my company guaranteed to show up? Nope, these listings are highly dependent on location, so if you’re hoping to show up on a Local Pack for a city you don’t have a physical address in you can hope all you want, but it’s not going to happen. If, on the other hand, you are hoping to show up in the town you’re located in against 4 competitors and they aren’t Google savvy you’ve got a good shot at this.

4. Rich Answers

Many “how to” or searches phrased as a question will yield a rich answer search listing.   Rich answers can be placed throughout the search results on a page, it’s not necessarily right up at the top.  Google searches pages for the answer to the posed question and then displays a short excerpt of the website’s page as well as a link to the page.

How can your website content be featured as a rich answer? Most importantly you have to write an answer to commonly asked question. After you’ve carefully crafted your answer, get your webmaster involved and add some schema markup to your website.  Schema markup is a specially crafted language to let search engines quickly identify and browse the most important content on your website. This type of markup may encourage Google to look favorably upon your answer for the answer box.

Is there a guarantee my answer will show up? Nope.  Google makes the final call on what it displays where.  It may decide your information is awesome, it’s worth it if they do!

5. Normal Organic Result

Organic search results display below ads and the Local Pack when people search for keywords related to the page’s content.

How can you get your website to show up in organic search results? Offer authentic information backed by good web design practices.  A well designed site with good content will likely display in search results, even for generic terms not including your business name. You have to offer content, one sentence and a bulleted list won’t make you Google’s star pupil.  Give Google words to scan, at least a couple hundred on each page and make sure to include the words people will use to search for your business.

Is there any guarantee my site will display organically? As with everything else, Google gets the final call. Most websites enjoy the benefit of this type of listing.  If your website isn’t displaying this way when you search for your business name you have a bone to pick with your web designer.  More specific keywords are easier to capture than broader terms. For example “paving equipment” is harder to rank for than “paving equipment for hot mix asphalt.” So no matter what, you should be displaying on the first page of Google when someone searches your company’s name.

6. Organic Result with Site Links

Like the Knowledge Graph this type of listing is most likely to show up when people search for a business name or a close variant of it.

How can I get those extra links? Consider submitting a sitemap to Google to start.  Also, consider the amount of traffic you receive on your site.  If you only have 25 visitors a month Google might not feel your content is useful enough to display additional links to your pages.

Is it a guarantee? Nope, but it’s far more attainable than other types of listings. With a sitemap, a decent amount of traffic and good web design practices those links could be yours!

7. Organic Result With Rich Snippets

Google may decide to display extra formatting in your search listing if it deems the extra information provided useful to searchers.  Recipes and videos are often accompanied by additional formatting but your listing could be eligible too. Review stars, post date and additional page links are all common in search results.

How can you get rich snippets? Add the aforementioned schema markup related to the page content to the page.  This will give Google a shortcut to find the great content you want to add to your search listing.  Mark up is unique to the content on your page so pair the proper schema with your site content.

Is it a guarantee? Again, it’s Google’s choice to decide what it will or won’t add to your listing but certain items are more easily attainable than others.  Rich snippets are worth the gamble of extra effort because they set you apart from the other search results resulting in more people clicking on your listing.  Google is then signaled your content is relative to their search and will likely reward you with higher placement in the search results.

More about the Author

Alternative Text

Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

© MayeCreate Design 2021 | 573-447-1836 | [email protected] | 108 E Green Meadows Rd STE 9, Columbia, MO 65203