What dominates Google search engine results in Australia?

How can you make your business perform better than your competitors in Google searches, and how does it all work anyway? Anna Lebedeva explains.

Anna Lebedeva SEMRushMaking a site rank high in Google is never easy.

Even before Google’s renowned algorithm updates Penguin and Panda, positioning content in search engines required a heck of a lot of effort.

But it seems like in the past couple of years, Google has thrown one curveball after another – it took away the organic SERP (Search Engine Results Page) real estate to make room for more ads, videos and product listings, and introduced a multitude of unpaid elements.

At the same time, earning high rankings has never been more important than it is today. With the rising cost of online advertising and other paid strategies, organic traffic remains one of the most cost-effective marketing channels.

The thing is, to acquire organic traffic today, you need to understand the complex nature of the modern search engine results page. And since SEMrush can track various elements that appear in SERPs, I wanted to share with you the changing nature of SERP elements for Google Australia.

seo concept design, vector illustration eps10 graphic

Google keeps changing the formula

Google seems restless in introducing new elements to SERPs.

From the very beginning, Google has continually modified its SERP elements and added new ones. And it makes sense from a search-engine point of view because Google strives to provide the best user experience, and that means delivering results as fast as possible and answering user queries on the results page, so you don’t have to go further to get answers.

So what does this mean for marketers? They should understand that traditional organic results are intermingled with more complex elements that look more prominent and steal users’ attention from “simple blue links.”

Unfortunately, we don’t have that much control over whether or not our websites are featured in any special elements.

However, there’s no need to panic. Naturally, Google’s innovations spark debates and discussions in the online marketing community – and a touch of desperation!

But, as Erin Sagin put it in her fantastic commentary on Wordstream:

If there’s one mantra that’s been repeated by well-respected industry leaders (Fred Vallaeys, Larry Kim and Mona Elesseily, just to name a few) it’s “don’t panic!” Rather than continuing to speculate on the effects of the SERP switch-up, stay calm, continue to monitor, be reactive to your account performance and keep an eye out for new data.

Plus, there’s a lot to win from all these changes, and you can see brands slowly taking advantage of them.

For example, Apple.com is featured in quite a number of non-traditional SERP elements, and so is Amazon.

And given the nature of both companies, it comes as no surprise that both domains feature quite prominently in reviews.

What elements make up the first page of SERPs?

In most cases, a SERP page has the same layout, with ads at the top and bottom of the page, and with basic blue link results in the middle.

As I mentioned before, blue link results are intermingled with special elements that can appear in different places on the page: Images, Knowledge Graph, Answer box, Features snippet, Review, Local pack and others.

SERPs are very much query-dependent. This means that elements of the search engine results page differ a lot, depending on the search query a user types in. Plus, different devices will display different search results.

google local pack results screen shot

An example of Google’s local pack results

When you perform a query with local intent, there is a high probability that the first result you will see is the Local Pack, a set of three local businesses that includes contact details and a map.

Usually when people search for local companies, they don’t want to explore those companies’ sites, they just want to check their contacts, opening hours and reviews.

If your company is listed in the Local Pack, a potential customer can get your contact details right from the results page, which gives you an advantage over your competitors.

google featured-snippets-bluetooth

An example of a Google featured snippet

When a user asks a question, Google might show a summary of the answer in a special Featured Snippet block at the top of the page, which is enhanced to attract users’ attention.  This block includes a summary of their answer taken from a webpage, with a link, page title and URL.

The Knowledge Graph, a separate box with detailed results on the right side of a page, may replace many blue link results,  providing almost everything you may want to learn about a place or a person,  for instance.

If you search for ‘Da Vinci’ the Knowledge Graph will show some brief information about the Renaissance painter, including his date of birth, a short bio, images and a list of his works and achievements.

It will also provide links to websites where you can get more detailed information about him.

google knowledge graph

An example of a Google knowledge graph

But regardless of these elements blue link results still dominate search result real estate. As a website owner, you should track and monitor SERP element variations for each keyword you target, and optimise your SEO strategy to target as many special elements as Google might display.

Another thing you should do is monitor your competitors. Are they showing up for more than just simple blue links results? If so, which ones?

Tracking your competitors’ domains in SERPs will not only indicate how many non-traditional SERP elements might be helping them increase their online visibility, but also, through careful analysis, reveal how they’ve taken advantage of them.

Based on this information you can retrace their steps and adapt your online strategy to get more attention in search results.

Anna Lebedeva is the PR manager at SEMrush

Research note: SERP elements presented in the infographic link to live queries and some results may have changed since the data presented was captured on May 12, 2016. Percentage represent the amount of keywords from 12 million SEMrush Australia Data Base that triggered any element displayed by Google.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.