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Carolyn Bao
M Posted 3 years ago
t 6 min read

The SERP is changing. Only focusing on ranking #1 on organic search results is no longer effective to succeed in website traffic acquisition. Keyword prioritization must account for whether this keyword has any chance to be shown above the fold organically. BrightEdge visual parsing technology is the solution to this problem.

According to recent BrightEdge research, more than 51% of website traffic is driven by the organic channel, a figure that has remained steady since 2014. However, many search marketers have reported a decline in YoY (year-over-year) organic website traffic, despite holding their organic search ranking positions steady. Ask any search marketer and they probably have an example of a top-ranking keyword that has a steady ranking position but is not generating the same amount of organic traffic as it did a few years ago. Why is this happening? Welcome to the world of the ever-changing SERPs. It’s no secret that Google search has been personalized on many fronts over the years. We all have seen it. Type in a keyword like “lifecycle of a butterfly,” you’ll see mostly informational content, led by a Quick Answer box. Once you interact with that Quick Answer box, there are two more Quick Answer links shown at the bottom of the Quick Answer box. Page 1 of the SERP, essentially, expands indefinitely. What’s the cure for SEO marketers? Search has fundamentally changed with no turning back, making it critical for SEO practitioners to leverage visual parsing technology to stay competitive.

Key drivers of SEO have proliferated

What used to work for SEO strategy is not sufficient anymore. We used to focus on creating a landing page for one primary keyword and a few related keywords, but the format of our content is simply a web page with graphics and text. Sure, we have videos for some of the pages now. But is that enough? No. New SEO now requires us to think about content with a few more variations.

  • Keyword and topics: What is the question or problem that people need answers for?
  • Content format: What kind of content format is more likely to be the best format that can help search users quickly get their problems solved? Is it a video, or news article, local 3-pack, or Quick Answer box?
  • Content relevancy: Is the content written or created in such a way that is relevant in the  “eyes” of search engine bots and in the eyes of search users?
  • Content resonance: Is the content perceived as the right content, for the right search intent, at the right time? If someone is searching for “Rihanna shoes”, is she looking for Rihanna's latest street fashion styles or the shoes that she co-designed with some clothing label?
  • Content optimization for different device types: Is our content optimized for mobile search so that we don’t lose out on top ranking spots on mobile SERP?

SERPs are getting increasingly complex. Below is an example of 21 permutations of a SERP, where one of your content elements could be shown.

visual parsing example - brightedge

Is there a solution to this “quicksand” of change?

Yes. There is. Instead of just referring to SERPs like a restaurant menu with mainly plain text, think of the Google SERP like an interactive billboard - the new homepage of the internet for any topic that you can fathom, and that homepage intelligently changes depending on the topic. For marketers, the SERP is the new top-of-funnel. What you need is a headless browser that can be launched to meticulously scan the SERP, inspect it just like human eyes would, and then synthesize the common themes of content types and ranking results by device types for each keyword in the search universe. And, that data better be trended. That sounds like a lot of work! Luckily, BrightEdge has developed a technology that does just that: the visual parsing technology.

What is visual parsing technology?

BrightEdge visual parsing technology analyzes the dynamic SERP through the eyes of a human. Instead of just inspecting the backend codes, visual parsing technology looks at the visual layout of each SERP in relationship with each keyword to help you determine what content type is more likely to win the top spots on SERP. For instance, “insurance” will likely have many PPC ads above the fold before the organic web listings; while “kids ballet class" will have local 3-pack dominating the top spots on the SERP.

What are the applications of visual parsing technology?

One of the first applications of visual parsing technology is the BrightEdge Intent Signal dashboard. By analyzing the visual ranking position of every content element on SERP, Intent Signal informs marketers whether a keyword has any organic web listing shown above the fold on SERP. Meanwhile, it tells marketers if their web content page is ranking above the fold or not for that keyword. You can read more about Intent Signal here.

How you can leverage Intent Signal

Leverage Intent Signal to refine your SEO keyword target list, today. Intent Signal helps to refine your SEO target list into four sensible workgroups.

  • Keywords to defend
  • Keywords to optimize
  • Keywords for content creation
  • Keywords for collaboration with PPC ads

visual parsing - what is it and why care? discover it with brightedge

Some keywords do have organic web listings above the fold on the SERP. Depending on the performance of your current content, you have one of three optimization options.

  1. Keywords to defend. If your content is already one of those shown above the fold, defend your winning position by creating Anomaly Detection when these content pages drop below the fold.
  2. Keywords to optimize. These are the “striking distance” keywords, but even more refined. Previously, you might have organic web listings shown above the fold, but your content is not shown above the fold.
  3. Keywords for content creation. These keywords have organic web listings above the fold, but you don’t have content shown in the top 10 pages. This is the subset of keywords that you can send to the core content creators across the organization.

Some keywords are so commercial in nature that there are too many ads competing above the fold, pushing organic web listings below the fold. These are the keywords on which you can invite your PPC team to collaborate with the SEO team. A quick way to get started is to schedule a weekly report to have this group of keywords emailed to the PPC lead.

Intent Signal supercharges keyword strategies to maximize traffic acquisition

If you haven’t refreshed your SEO target keyword list. Now is a great time to review and redo it. This time, your SEO target list will be even better, thanks to the insights from Intent Signal. Let’s revisit the typical process to develop our SEO keyword list.

  1. Develop an initial set of keywords that we’d like to rank high for
  2. Refine that initial list to make sure we work on the keywords that will make the most impact

With Intent Signal, you can further refine your keyword list so that the resources spent on content optimization, content creation, and PPC campaigns are laser-focused on the keywords that will give you the biggest payout in quality website traffic. The BrightEdge platform can help you run this entire process within a few clicks. For instance, you can start the initial research using Data Cube. Then, leveraging key insights from Share of Voice and Keyword Reporting, you can identify high-value keywords quickly. Lastly, you can run Intent Signal to refine the keywords into four sensible groups and rally troops around the most impactful projects.

Visual parsing and its many applications will soon become mainstream for digital marketers. Start today to leverage its first application -  Intent Signal - to see how easy it is to leverage visual parsing technology and improve your website’s overall traffic acquisition. Watch this video to learn more about Visual Parsing technology here.

visual parsing, what is visual parsing, technical seo