What are SERPs & how do I use them for my e-commerce store?

If you’ve been growing your e-commerce store for long enough, chances are somebody along the way has told you that SERPs are important. They aren’t wrong! But what are SERPs, and why are search engine marketers and marketing agencies so in love with them?

SERP stands for search engine result page. These pages appear in response to a search query in a search engine immediately and before a list of links.

What SERPs really are

SERPs come in a lot of different forms (images, answers, videos, and so on), but it’s likely the type you are most familiar with is the one seen above. These are featured snippets, and they pull from a website to immediately answer a question.

Users love them because they are helpful. Your marketers love them because being featured in a SERP guarantees you appear at the top of results on places like Google. And the higher you appear on Google, the more chance that you’ll reach people and make a sale.

How to make it into a SERP

It’s the golden apple all Search Engine Optimisation Specialists chase — how can I make it into a SERP?

SERPs are generated from a range of factors — no one thing guarantees you a spot at the top of the page. That said, there are a few things that will work in your favour for your e-commerce store:

  1. Optimise: Your product titles, meta descriptions, and written content play a part in your website ranking. Beyond this, ensure your e-commerce store keeps up with the correct technical settings for SEO. This means having an up-to-date sitemap, valid alt text, code without errors, and a robots.txt file. For this kind of stuff, it can be helpful to run a monthly site audit to make sure you’re on track.
  2. Do your research: No website can rank the best for every search term. You need to know what you want to rank for and what people are searching for to focus your efforts. Still trying to figure out where to start? Tools like SpyFu are useful for deep diving into what other companies are doing on Google.
  3. User experience: Make sure your website is easy for humans (and Google’s crawlers) to navigate.
  4. Be helpful: Time and again, Google has told the world that genuinely helpful content will rank higher than the rest. Yet, here we are, with a million and one clickbait articles being churned out a day on the internet. Don’t be like other people. Instead, focus on creating helpful content for the search terms you’re targeting. Be the difference we want to see on the internet!

Can I pay to show up on SERPs?

Yes! That’s what sponsored results in Google ads are — they are SERPs. Paying for advertisements is useful when you want to quickly target certain people (ages or gender) and markets. But good timing will get you the best results with PPC (Pay Per Click) ads. That is to say — choosing to target a high purchase intent keyword at the right moment in a buyer’s journey.

What next after I appear in a SERP?

SEO will get customers to your products and online store, but it won’t close the deal for you. You’ll need more than search engine wizardry to increase your sales — which is where optimising your store for customer experience becomes vital.

Everything from the colours you use to the placement of buttons and images has a role to play in e-commerce optimisation.

Want to learn more? We wrote a free ebook highlighting the top ten things you need to know when running an e-commerce store. You can download it here.