SERP stacking is an advanced Internet marketing tactic that enables your company to significantly increase its organic ranking visibility by claiming more real estate in the SERPs.
What is SERP?
First off, before we explain what SERP stacking is and why it is helpful for SEO, we should first explain to you what ‘SERP’ means. SERP is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Results Page. A SERP is a list of web pages for a given keyword search query. So SEO professionals or SEO-savvy web designers refer to SERPs, they are talking about search engine rankings (most typically Google rankings) and how and where certain websites and web pages fall within search engine results.
What is SERP Stacking?
We define SERP stacking as a company that has multiple first page rankings for the same business. You have probably seen this before, when you do a Google search and you will see multiple results on the first page that directly or indirectly point or refer back to the same business, product or service. In SEO, this is obviously a great competitive advantage because the SERPs only show so many organic, map, news and pay-per-click listing before breaking the to second page of results.
What are SERP ‘Stackable’ Web Pages?
The good news is that there are multiple ways and locations to distribute your content and company information onto third party websites and those page listings can have high potential to rank independently if positioned and optimized correctly. While there are many types of pages and content that have the potential to rank with enough ranking signals, the following list represents the top 20 locations to setup and optimize for SERP stacking:
- Website: Your website and its core pages are obviously the foundation and central hub for SERP stacking and your entire search engine optimization campaign. The only way to get your website to rank in the SERPs is to build a search engine friendly website, populate it with high quality, thematic content (blog posts, videos, images) and continue to fuel your SEO program with a solid content marketing and social media marketing plan.
- Google My Business: Your G+ company page, now officially called Google MyBusiness, is the next most important property for SERP stacking. To even have a chance to appear in the map results on the first page of the SERPs, you need to claim and fully complete your Google MyBusiness page. This means claiming, completing the profile 100% to the extent possible, meaning: your correct business address, website address, phone number and a 200+ word ‘About” description. Be sure to upload images, your logo and logos. Create posts for your MyBusiness Posts tab. Follow other people and business pages on G+ and engage their posts and pages with comments, sharing and +1’s. Consider joining and participating in G+ communities. Most importantly, be proactive with your online review strategy and do your best to get authentic customer reviews on your MyBusiness page. Respond to all reviewers, thank them for good ones and always take the high road for less than positive reviews. Be sure to link you websites to your MyBusiness page and even consider embedding your G+ MyBusiness badge onto your site.
- AdWords Ads: Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) ads are great and probably a pretty obvious way to get more real estate in the SERPs. Some business feel that if they do well with organic rankings, they may not need to fund a PPC campaign for another spot on the page. We feel that AdWords is a great compliment to a professional organic SEO strategy. When a prospective customer sees your business listed multiple times on page, you look like the ‘Go To’ provider and AdWords is a great way to ensure visibility above the fold (that is the viewable area of the SERPs without having to scroll). As a bonus tip, a properly optimized Google MyBusiness page can be tied into your AdWords ad. Certain elements like your business address, number of G+ followers and star-ratings can be automatically added to your PPC ads, giving them more space and conversion ‘bling’ to attract click over other options on the page.
- YouTube Videos: YouTube is often quoted to be the second largest search engine in the world and earlier this year Search Engine Land stated that How To videos on YouTube were up 70% this year. While not as prominent as in years past, YouTube videos can and still often do rank in organic Google searches. Your business should establish, claim and customize a YouTube channel. Each video you have can be optimized by way of setting the title, the description and including a link back to a relevant page to your site or another on of you web properties. You should also choose the best category for your video and choose optimized tags for each video.
- Blog Posts & Inner Pages: Blog posts on your site are yet another way to get multiple listing on the SERPs. Its not as common as it used to be, but you will see a home page and a blog post or a secondary inner page (aka sub-page) on a website appearing on the first page. This all comes down to knowing your keywords, having a disciplined approach to on-page SEO as well as a consistent, high quality off-page SEO strategy and tactics.
- Guest Blog Posts: A great way to achieve additional SERP spots for a targeted keyword is to find and guest post on third party websites that are not only quality and relevant, but already have an audience and social media following that includes your ideal customers and content consumers. If you position and create the content correctly, and both parties amplify the post in social media accordingly, there is a really good chance that a guest blog post will rank for some searches. In this case, the result does not point directly to your site, but if attributed correctly, your name, bio information and website & social media links will be included at the end of the article. This not only leads the searcher back to you, the social signals and links back to your sites and social media properties with provide some off-page SEO benefit as well.
- BBB Page: The BBB or Better Business Bureau is a 100+ year old nonprofit organization focused on “advancing marketplace trust, consisting of 112 independently incorporated local BBB organizations in the United States and Canada.” Accredited members get a company profile page on a local chapter of the BBB website that can include rich media such as a description, reviews, video and other detailed company information. This is a very high trust, high authority website in North America and as such, you will occasionally see company page profiles appear in localized search engine results. If you are a local company with local customers, its advisable to become accredited because your membership helps establish trust and thus improves conversion rates, and can help with SEO as well.
- Yelp: While Yelp’s local SERP dominance varies through the US, no matter where you are, this is one of the most important citation sites for small business owners. Set up or claim your listings, populate and customize your listing to the fullest extent possible. Be as proactive as you can with getting and responding to reviews, while staying within Yelp’s strict guidelines.
- Craigslist: While not appropriate for all business, individual Craiglist’s posts can rank very well in local venues. Very few people optimize their CL ads for Google search. When you post a CL ad, also have your SEO hat on in terms of the title and content within the posting. While CL posts have a shelf life, if you are disciplined about renewing the ads, there’s a good chance your post can rank for long periods for competitive local searches.
- Sponsored Articles & Posts: Sponsored posts on high authority sites are a GREAT way pad your SERP stacking strategy. Many media sites will allow you to pay for sponsored content, and it is often disclaimed as such. Further, any outbound links that are added to sponsored posts are often “no followed” which means there is special code in the link that tells Google not to pass SEO value to your site through the link. Have no fear. If you create and submit educational and non-advertorial content, and keep your SEO goals in mind when creating the content, there is a really good chance that you can leverage the publishing site’s authority to get that post to rank for some targeted keywords. On top of that, getting published on news and niche industry sites via sponsored content can have advertising value and general valuable social signals.
- Job Sites: Job posting at high authority career services sites, particularity at Craiglists and Indeed can get really good visibility for local search terms. By now you have seen a common theme in this article: the best way to create any new online content is to always be thinking about how you can add or get SEO value to that content, and what can you work into a post (such as a job post) in a natural, non-spammy way that could help you out in terms of Google visibility.
- Online Press Releases: Submitting press releases on top quality online press release distribution sites is a fantastic way to SERP stack. It’s no secret that our favorite online press release distribution service is eReleases. Whichever service you choose, make sure that you optimize the release content – we have a pretty good example of the perfect SEO press release. As long as the service you use includes PR Newswire distribution, you should be in pretty good shape. Online press releases have a short term shelf life in terms of the initial news ranking boost they get, but over time and with a proper SEO strategy, press releases can achieve and hold first page rankings for a long time. Tips for maximizing SERP stacking potential include using up all of the allocated word count (if a PR package allows for 500 words of PR copy, for example, be sure to use all 500 words), add in anchor links, images, embed video and pick the right industry and location targets.
- Facebook: Facebook company pages get first and second page Google rankings ALL THE TIME and sometimes even for very competitive local niche markets. To maximize your Facebook SERP stacking potential, follow a similar strategy as with do for you Google MyBusiness page: create a robust profile including images, background profile, company info, company website link, etc. Post on your page, follow other pages and even consider boosting some posts to gain followers on your page. Also post your website blog posts to your Facebook company page. Try to get reviews for your company on your FB company page as well.
- Twitter: As we work down our way through our list of the top 20 ways to stack listings in the SERPs, you must have had a hunch that Twitter would be on this list. As will all the major social networks, your Twitter home page has high inherent organic ranking potential. Complete profiles with followers, tweet activity and high levels of engagement all help increase the organic ranking potential of your Twitter page. Twitter may become one of your website’s most important social media properties given the deal that Twitter and Google made earlier this year to start sowing tweets in organic search results.
- LinkedIn: (company and business): LinkedIn is special – because of its B2B focus, individual profile pages as well as company pages can achieve organic ranking. LinkedIn personal profiles allow for very rich and detailed content – much of which can be set to be public to to search engines. We recommend writing up a complete personal profile. Fill in as much of your profile as possible. Optimize your tag line. Join groups. Add skills. Give recommendations and endorsements and request them as well. Follow people in and around your physical location and business niche. Like, share and comment on posts when appropriate. Be sure to create blog posts on LinkedIn’s Pulse. This is a fantastic way to create and distribute content on one of the highest authority websites on the planet. LinkedIn is a veritable goldmine of SERP stacking potential.
- Slideshare: This is one of our agency’s favorite SERP stacking tactics. With Slideshare (and other slide sharing sites), you can re-purpose your presentation content by uploading PowerPoint presentations to your slide share account. Your slides can then be shared and amplified throughout your social media network . What’s more? The content in the slides is indexed by the search engines, so if you setup and optimize your account correctly, and optimize the text and links within your slides, you significantly increases your chances that a presentation with rank for targeted keywords.
- Mini Websites (on unique domains): Creating separate websites is a sure-fire way to gaining SERP stacking potential. Yet, of all the places and methods listed above, this one takes the most amount of effort (to do it right, anyway). Creating a separate resume website can be a good way to do this. In our case, because web design and SEO have become so competitive, we separated these two core services into two websites, but cross promote them when it makes sense. Quite often, both sites will appear in stacked SERP results for a wide variety of web design and Internet marketing related searches.
Web 2.0 Sites (sub-domains): We dislike the method of using Web 2.0 sites, but its still so widely used that it needs to be listed and explained. These sites have been abused by volume-based link building SEO companies that use free blog and web builder companies to create shill website and web pages with weak, thin or low quality content for the sole purpose of manipulating search results. These sites can be great, if you use them for the right reason and are committed to publishing great content on them and building a social community around the site. We are listing them here as having potential, but in most cases avoiding because they look plain spammy. Nothing hurts your company’s image more when a spammy Web 2.0 site pops up in the search results with broken grammar and / or computer generated ‘spun’ content.
- Deal Sites: Many business owners detest deal sites like Groupon and Living Social because they cannot make money on the deals and because these offers usually bring in the worst kinds of customers (ie, price-sensitive, non-repeat buyers) Yet, many of these deal sites have high authority with the search engines and your deal page – including company description, website link and contact information – remain on the site long after the deal has expired. These pages have a great deal of ranking potential and are yet another opportunity to get first page rankings for targeted keywords phrases.
- Professional Niche Sites: We are rounding out this list with a catchall of niche specific sites that apply to your trade. Houzz, for example, is becoming the dominant home services social network and give homes services contractors have the ability to create rich company and project profile pages – and these pages can achieve organic rank. Likewise, teaser pages from Angies List, laywer profile pages from sites like Avvo and doctor profile at Health Grades, and dozens of other niche sites can be used for your SERP stacking strategy.
Power Your SERP Stacking Pages With Off-Page SEO
Just because you set up a SERP stackable footprint, doesn’t mean that those listings will jump to the first page and start crowding out our competition. In most cases, you are going to have to put some work in to rank these pages.
- Guest post bios: Every time you submit a guest post onto a third party post, be sure to including a link to your website home page, but also one to two of the above sites. You don’t always have to link to one of your major social network pages..try rotating
- Cross pollinating your web properties: Many of your citation listings, including many of the properties listed above, will give you the option to list other websites on your profile. Again, don’t follow the same signature pattern. Rotate some of your profile link to include links to some of your other profiles.
- Amplifying these profiles in social media: If you have giveaways or other key carrots, such as free eBooks or special offer, rotate the announcement link and then share that link in your social network. For example, you can make an offer as a Google+ post, the share the link to that post on other networks. Next time, try again, but post the offer of your Facebook company page and ripple that post out through your social network, and so on.
- Plain old high quality link building:
If you’ve gone through all the above sites and have filled up each property with quality, optimized content, now its time to work in the above to your off-page SEO and content marketing routine.
The Golden Rule: Quality First
In the new era of SEO, Content & Quality are King and Queen. These days, you don’t want your website linked from, or any of your content posted on, any third party websites where you would not be proud to be listed or published on. If you follow this rule for all forms of link building and content marketing, you should be in pretty good shapre. The same goes for SERP stacking and all other intermediate and advanced SEO tactics.