As Google has improved its ability to understand user’s search queries and index a variety of types of content, search results have become increasingly complex. It is no longer a simple question of determining where one’s website falls in an organic text-based search. Now sites have to contend with a wide range of different SERPs, such as image searches, video searches, social searches and local searches.
Blended rank is the key to letting websites know how they perform when these different factors are combined. This provides a more complete picture of the strengths of the website and where it still needs to improve. Learning how to improve blended rank can result in measurable boosts for the brand’s bottom line.
The universal results below for the query “Europe” show results that include: Images, News and Knowledge Graph.
How to improve blended rank
- Understand what's giving competitors' sites an edge
- Develop content that promotes traffic and sharing
- Use social media and local SEO to promote blended rank
- Markup pages to better demonstrate the purpose of the website
1. Understand what is giving competitors’ sites an edge. To improve your blended rank, you must first gain an accurate picture of how your website ranks and how that performance compares to your competitors.
BrightEdge offers unique technology that allows companies to measure their website’s blended rank for all keywords and keyword groups. You can also track your competition’s blended rank and identify competitive trends so that you can take corrective action quickly.
Our technology also allows you to see how blended rank is impacting your business results, such as revenue and traffic. This information can then be used to develop a concrete strategy for improving blended rank.
A sample of Google Quick Answers.
The BrightEdge Data Cube and the Universal Results broken down and trended over time. BrightEdge customers can research these results for any site on the Internet to identify opportunities.
For a deeper look at how to size up your SEO competitors be sure to access our video tutorial on 6 Ways to Do Competitive Benchmarking.
2. Develop content that promotes traffic and sharing
When Google now ranks pages, they are no longer just focusing on the content of the site - although that remains important. They also want to see how people respond to that content. According to BrightEdge research, Google pays close attention to the following user signals:
- Click-through rates
- time on site
- bounce rate
Social signals also matter, including:
- Google +1
- Facebook shares/shares/comments
These types of signs give Google greater insight into how helpful the content is and how well it addresses the query. Content that responds well to these criteria is interpreted to have a high value for users and will likely have its blended rank improved.
3. Use social media and local SEO to promote blended rank
Even if a business works with customers remotely on a regular basis, local SEO can be helpful for blended rank and for reaching those occasional customers that want to be able to meet in person.
According to Wesley Young in a Search Engine Land article, keeping business results updated on social media, including verifying that the NAP (name, address, and phone number) are correct across a variety of social sites and online listings, is critical to ranking well and he tested and showed a 19% explanatory value. Including the city and state throughout the Google+ local page, including the title tag, H1 heading and URL, is important for boosting the rankings of the business’ social site.
These keywords should also be used throughout the content, in the meta description and in the alt tags for images. Google values Google+ pages for local SEO, so these steps are important for local and blended rankings.
Local 3-Pack example:
4. Markup pages to better demonstrate the purpose of the website
In 2013 Google launched the Hummingbird updates to its search algorithm. This update was designed to help Google understand concepts instead of just looking at the words in a particular query. Optimizing websites to better account for user intent may help improve blended rank performance.
Using site markups will provide rich snippets that preview the site on the SERP. This can help users better understand the content they will find on the website, allowing them to make more informed decisions about whether the content will match their intent. This speaks to the goals of the Hummingbird update.
Sites interested in using markups are generally advised to used the schema.org system, as this was developed to be accepted on Google, Yahoo!, Bing and Yandex.
For companies who want to have their websites perform optimally, understanding blended rank and how the site ranks when all of the different types of searches are combined is critical. Tracking only the text-based results can be deceiving and let sites think that they rank higher than they actually do. Once the true blended rank has been determined, companies can then use the above advice to improve their standings and help their site get in front of customers consistently, regardless of the type of search results requested.