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Complex Search Results Pages: How To Make Them Less Complex

Complex Search Results Pages: How to Make Them Less Complex

Let’s do an experiment. Hop over to Google (don’t worry, we’ll wait here). Type in the term “Michael Jordan.” What do you get? Chances are the first thing you saw was a row of basketball players who are related to your search. Okay — you skimmed over that. But then there’s the Wikipedia blurb on the right. Okay, keep scrolling. “People also ask,” “Top Stories,” “Videos.” Whew! Where are the search engine ranking results? Welcome to the non-linear search page. Gone are the days where all you had to worry about was landing at the top of the search engine results page. Today, it’s tricky to even find the top of the SERP.

How non-linear scanning impacts user search behaviors

The current search results page has garnered the nickname “the pinball pattern.” Just think of what your eyes were doing when you scanned the SERP page and you’ll get it. The pinball pattern means that searchers are not looking at results from top to bottom. They are going right, left, up, down, and so on and so forth. What does this mean for you?

Complex Search Results Pages
  • According to the Nielsen Norman Group, when extra features like “featured snippets,” and images showed up on a results page, these results got 74% of the hits.
  • Users spend more time looking at results. According to the study, searches spend 5.7 seconds scanning the SERP before making a choice. This means, being the number one result doesn’t always guarantee
  • a click-through. The report did find you still need to make it to the top five to get a view.

How to stand out from the crowd

Humans are easily distracted. It’s obvious it’s no longer good enough to be number one in search results (even though you still need to try). So what does this mean for you? This means if you can become one of those distractions, you’re more likely to get a click-through. How do you do that?

  • Featured snippets: Featured snippets, i.e. position zero, usually appear at the top of the search page. Create digestible content that Google can quickly pull out and provide to users.
  • Video: Video is increasingly popular. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be of you. But it needs to be there and it needs to be engaging. The more places you pop up on the SERP, the better for YOU.
  • Paid ads: SEM can make a big difference when you are trying to get a searcher’s eyes to slow down and land on your page

If you’re still trying to recover from your eyes bouncing all over the page, we get it. Reading a non-linear search engine ranking page can be overwhelming enough. Understanding it and owning it is a whole other ballgame. At SOCIALSEO, we like to consider ourselves pinball experts. To learn more about how SEO, SEM, video, and social media can take your business to the next level contact us today for a free quote.

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