What’s SERP?! An essential guide to SERP Features: Part 4 | Varn


11 April 2019

What’s SERP?! An essential guide to SERP Features: Part 4

In this instalment of What’s SERP, we will be looking at paid-for SERP features – Google Ads and Google Shopping. Both of these advert types are great for driving traffic to your site, and tend to draw quality, high-converting users. This blog will compare the similarities and differences between these two paid SERP features, helping you to identify the benefits of each, and which would be most suited for your site.

Google Ads

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads were the first variation from the traditional blue links included on Google SERPs. Whilst being similar to ordinary organic listings, Google Ads are paid for, and can sometimes look different to standard results if they have ad extensions.

What do Google Ads look like?

Google Ads most commonly look the same as traditional organic search results, but with a coloured ‘Ad’ label next to them to inform searchers that they are clicking on an advertisement that has been paid for by the website. These ads mainly appear at the top of the SERPs page above the organic listings (where usually up to 4 ads are shown) and can also be shown below the organic results.

Sometimes ads can look different to standard results if Google shows add extensions. Ad extensions allow you to make your ads more dynamic by including features such as telephone numbers, directions, sitelinks, reviews and more. These additional features help to generate more powerful ads that encourage searchers to click through. Ad extensions are not guaranteed to show all of the time, but may appear if Google deems an extension to be relevant to the query, useful to the searcher and predicts that showing the extension will improve the performance of your ad.

What are their benefits?

The two main benefits of Google Ads are their position on the SERPs and the potential to create appealing and interesting adverts using ad extensions. As mentioned above, some Google Ads show at the top of the SERPs, above all organic results. This is a desirable position on the SERPs page as generally the Click Through Rate (CTR) for results at the top of the page is higher than those further down the page, especially on mobile devices.

However, Google Ads can also be shown at the bottom of the SERPs, below the organic results. This position is not as desirable as the visibility on the page and therefore the CTR is lower. The position of you Google Ad on the page is determined by Google combining several factors including the relevance of the ad to the search query, the quality of the ad and its associated landing page and ad’s bid amount.

In addition, when Google Ads show extensions, the ad provides the searcher with more relevant information directly on the SERP page. It is often more appealing and interesting in appearance, therefore improving the CTR.

How can I get Google Ads?

You can get a Google Ad to appear in SERPs by meeting two essential conditions:

– The ad is appropriate and relevant to the search query

– You have paid for a sponsored ad in Google Ads

The only way to get Google Ads to show for your company is to set up a Google Ads account and create and pay for sponsored ads. The amount you will pay for Google Ads will vary depending on the search volume of the keyword you are targeting and your competition.

It can be difficult to know how much to spend on pay per click ads, as you need to consider strategies, competitors, search volume and many other factors. Therefore, to get the best Return on Investment rates, most companies choose to hire a PPC expert to manage their Google Ads campaigns.

Once you have set up a Google Ad, several factors will dictate where it is positioned on the SERP page. You can influence this position by making changes to your bid and also by editing your ad to ensure it is relevant to the target keyword and provides useful information for searchers.

Google Shopping

What is Google Shopping?

Google Shopping SERP features (also known as Product Ads or Product Listing Ads)  sell products directly from the SERPs. These ads are displayed when someone searches for an exact product or brand or for some broader search terms (e.g. bright coloured furniture). Google then presents searchers with a range of products related to their search, showing listings from a variety of online shops and brands. If a user clicks on any of the Google Shopping Ads, they will be taken directly to the site selling that product.

Similar to Google Ads, Google Shopping listings are paid for adverts.

What do they look like?

Google Shopping ads show at the top of the SERP, above any organic results. They are often displayed in a carousel, allowing searchers to scroll through a variety of products quickly, without having to click through to any websites. Unlike traditional text ads, Google shopping ads display an image of the product as well as the title, price, name of the shop/site, ratings and reviews, special offers and any other information Google thinks would be relevant for the searcher.

What are their benefits?

Google Shopping ads give you the benefits of both Google Ads and Google Images. Similarly, to Google Ads, Google Shopping results usually appear at the top of the SERP, so are in a prominent position. Furthermore, the addition of images (and potentially other information like reviews) to the product listings make these paid results more eye-catching, therefore encouraging users to interact with the SERP feature, resulting in clicks through to your site.

In addition, as Google Shopping results readily provide the searcher with a lot of information about your product directly on the SERP page, the searchers that click through to your site are less likely to bounce, and more likely to be quality, converting visitors.

Moreover, Google Shopping ads are not only displayed on Google web search but are also shown to searchers of your product on Google Images, YouTube and other similar platforms. This allows your product and site to have more visibility across a range of channels.

How can I set up Google Shopping?

In order for your products to show in Google Shopping results, you must set up Google Merchant Center and Google Ads accounts and link them together. Google has created a guide to help sites add their products and set up Shopping Campaigns.

When creating your Google Shopping product feed, you need to ensure your products are optimised for search, by following basic SEO principles. For example, each product should be targeting a specific keyword and images should be optimised.

Unlike the previous SERP features we have covered, this blog has focused on paid-for adverts. Despite costing the website owner, Google Ads and Shopping have many benefits such as prominent positions on the SERP and have been shown to increase CTR, as well as having high return-on-interest. However, they can be difficult to set up effectively, therefore, if you are interested in finding out more about setting up Paid Search Adverts or Google Shopping, contact the experts at Varn.

See you next time for the fifth and final instalment of the What’s SERP?! series, where we will be collecting what we have learnt throughout the series to create the ultimate SERP cheat sheet!

Article by: Katie, Technical SEO Expert More articles by Katie

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