As marketers proceed with their digital strategies in 2018, it’s easy to be overconfident in their brand’s online searchability. Search engines have existed for nearly 30 years. Four out of five Americans report buying items online. And eMarketer estimates total 2017 online retail sales reached $452 billion in the U.S. Marketers should have a pretty good feel for what works by now, right? Not so fast.
Search engine optimization in 2018 is more challenging than it’s ever been. The main reason is the ever-increasing battle for space on Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERP). SERP real estate is finite, but the space occupied by special SERP features continues to grow. SERP features are any items on a SERP that are not traditional, organic indexed and ranked listings.
Paid search results, such as Google Adwords and Google Shopping, are SERP features that can push down organic results by taking up space on the results page. Another common SERP feature is the rich snippet, which adds extra information to existing results, such as star reviews for business ratings. Image results, category results or breaking news updates appearing at the top of the search page are other SERP newcomers, all of which expand the size of a traditional organic result, occupying valuable space.