A Guide From Semalt On How To Boost Brand Awareness And CTR With On-SERP SEO

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On-SERP SEO is almost a buzzword in 2022. It's like the latest challenge for SEO professionals trying to navigate the constantly changing search landscape.

Search engine results page optimization (or SERPO) is not exactly a shift from what we all have been doing for the past few decades in SEO. The difference mainly lies in the approach and what we gain from it.

On-SERP SEO is in vogue in digital marketing right now because it promises an integrated solution to both brand awareness and conversion. Sort of like hitting two birds with one stone.

But what exactly is on-SERP SEO? How can you execute it? How does it help?

Let's find that all out in this quick guide by Semalt.

What is On-SERP SEO?

We know it's a misnomer because on-SERP SEO is technically an overloaded jargon. The term "search engine" appears twice if you look at its full form. Besides, the term on-SERP SEO is borrowed from the tried and tested method of on-page optimization.

And that's also where its benefits lie.

On-SERP SEO means optimizing your web property for the entire first search engine results page (SERP). In other words, it is an attempt to gain maximum real estate on the first page of search engine results so that searchers know about your property and also visit it. It is like grabbing more attention from users when they are searching for a specific thing.

Semalt believes that this strategy was born out of Google's and other search engines' attempts to keep users on their sites for longer. As an SEO professional, you must already know that Google, with its answer boxes, Q&A boxes, rich snippets, knowledge panel, and even in-SERP videos, has been trying to prevent users from going beyond its search engine. It's a monopoly these days where search engines (mainly Google) do everything they can to prevent users from leaving their portal.

In the above example, a casual searcher won't even have to click on any of the links to find out more information about dolphins. There is a short description in the knowledge panel, along with fun facts, issues, and characteristics. Clicking on any of these will get the user more information without even leaving Google. There are also questions and answers that keep on expanding as a user clicks on one of them.

One way to circumvent these attempts by search engine giants is to bump up your own properties wherever possible. The more areas in the SERPs that you can occupy the better. That's basically what on-SERP SEO attempts.

Why is On-SERP SEO Important?

Half a decade ago, the goal of any SEO professional was to get high rankings for their clients. This could be done by targeting the right keywords, optimizing web pages, and getting backlinks. As long as something ranks in the first fold of an SERP, the job was done. And pat came all the traffic, conversions, and revenue.

Today, just taking the number one position isn't enough. You need to appear in answer boxes, knowledge panel, and rich snippets in the SERPs to actually make a difference to your traffic and CTR numbers. Google and other search engines have designed their SERPs in such a way that appearing in multiple places is the only way to be "found" online.

As a result, you have to think outside the box to come up with strategies that go beyond just result rankings. One way is to look at on-SERP SEO strategies.

How to Execute an On-SERP SEO Strategy?

Whether you are a business owner with a website or a digital marketing executive managing SEO projects for clients, you can execute on-SERP strategies for any property or business. The only requirement is that you should have complete control over the website.

Here are a few ways to get started.

Aim for the Featured Snippet

Take Cyberwaters, an online security blog that focuses on VPNs. Most of its articles target the featured snippet or the answer box that appears when people search for long-tailed questions.

Answering specific questions in the first fold of the article, highlighting answer texts, and giving regular signals to bots within that article are a few ways to get this done. However, you'll need a strong domain and page authority to be even eligible for it though.


Snatching the answer box position is a sureshot way to get the whole of attention for the searched keyword as users are unlikely to scroll down if they get the answer right away. On the flip side, answer boxes may not provide you with much traffic. This is where the brand awareness part kicks in.

If you appear in the featured snippet for multiple keywords in your industry, you'll over time create awareness about your website. If Cyberwaters appears for most VPN-related questions and helps users, they are more likely to depend on it for future queries.

Implement Schema Markup

Another quicker way to gain more real estate is to implement Schema markup across your pages. For example, if you sell a product that's highly rated, try to implement the review Schema on your site. The rating Schema will show up as a rich snippet along with your result, giving you an edge over other results.

Users prefer those results that are neat, tidy, and have additional information such as a rating.

Add Breadcrumbs

Google Sitelinks are a feature that literally expands a search engine result. In addition to the main URL, other related pages also appear beneath the result, taking up double the space compared to an individual listing.

While there is no sureshot way to get sitelinks to appear on Google SERPs, you can still attempt it. We at Semalt think sitelinks will appear if you:

In most cases, if the homepage is the result, Contact Us, About, Services, and other key pages appear as sitelinks. If your potential user just wants to go to your Contact or Pricing page, they can do so using these sitelinks.

Activate Google My Business

What better way to gain more real estate on Google than using one of its most popular products?

Yes, Google My Business is a fantastic and worthy option for any business out there. When we onboard new clients at Semalt and regardless of what country or industry they are in, one of the first things we do is create a GMB profile. It has a whole gamut of options for businesses including those for reviews and Q&As. Google loves it when you use their products, giving you one more, easy opportunity to work on your in-SERP SEO.

Semalt Tip: Work on creating profiles on Yelp!, Crunchbase, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more to further improve your on-SERP SEO. 

The advantage of creating social media profiles is that they can appear in your knowledge panel. Even if Wikipedia is out of bounds for you, a knowledge panel can still appear, and getting these social icons up there can aid in your on-SERP SEO.

Claim Your Knowledge Panel

This is a myth: Wikipedia is mandatory for a business to have a knowledge panel on organic search.


Since a Wikipedia article is only a dream for small, non-notable businesses, Google and other search engines have stopped depending on the Wikimedia platform for its knowledge panel. Engines instead extract data from a lot of other sources such as news platforms, Crunchbase, Wikidata, etc. 

Moreover, today you can claim your knowledge panel and edit it to an extent. All you need is the Google Console access to your property and you're sorted.

Pay for a search ad

This is the most obvious option but still a worthy one. Just bid for some real estate across search engines in real -time to improve your on-SERP SEO. It's quick, easy, and sureshot. What else do you need?

Semalt doesn't recommend pay-per-click (PPC) ads to our SEO clients because they're usually not part of the strategy. However, if on-SERP SEO is the name of the game, PPC is definitely a wise option. At least, your competitors will stop bidding for your brand name.

As you can see, tweaking your SEO strategy can allow you to focus on improving your SERPs than getting mere rankings. It's definitely one of the freshest SEO strategies out there. When are you starting it for your clients?