What is Search Engine Saturation?
Search engine saturation is the amount of space that search results occupy on a single search engine result page (SERP). This includes everything from images and advertisements to organic results.
Search engine saturation can be measured in percentages (%). If we take the major search engines to mean; Google, Yahoo and Bing, then a 50% search engine saturation would mean that half of your total web pages are indexed on all of them. That does not necessarily mean 50% on each search engine; Google may have indexed 50 pages, Yahoo may have indexed 15 pages and Bing may have indexed only 5 pages. For example, lets assume you have 80 pages on your site. Now, 50% search engine saturation means that a total of 40 out of 80 pages are indexed on these three search engines combined.
This saturation can be analyzed with these 2 parameters:
- Crawl saturation – how much search engines fetch from your site.
- Index saturation – number of indexed webpages listed in a search engine’s index.
How can you increase Search engine saturation?
Search engine saturation is a tactic used not only in lieu of high ranking results, but also in conjunction with them; providing the searcher with multiple opportunities to reach your site.
You can increase your site’s saturation several ways:
- Ad Extensions – Google AdWords ad extensions display links to other pages of your site.
- Sitelinks Search Box – The sitelinks search box displays within site specific organic results to help users find site content more quickly. The search box shows up almost exclusively when a brand name or URL is searched in Google.
- Sitelinks for Organic Results – Sitelinks are generated automatically by Google when it will help the searcher. Similar to the sitelinks search box this happens within a brand, and there isn’t a lot you can do to make sure these show up other than optimize your site as best as you can using google guidelines and hope for the best.
- Google+ / Knowledge Graph – Creating a Google+ profile for your company or brand will add more brand or company exposure to the SERP by being included as part of the Knowledge graph. Google + promotes your recent post from Google + in addition to just showing branding/company information.
- In the News – Sites can be included in Google News by submitting their site for inclusion. To be considered, sites must provide news content (obviously), plus have authority, accountability and readability.
- In-Depth Articles – Similar to Google News, in-depth articles will most likely be other sources with an article about your brand or company, maybe even on a specific keyword.
- Social Media – Social media has the ability to show up in SERPs next to the original content. Whether you share the content, or someone else does, that result can show up alongside the original source in the search.
- Images – Images show up as part of the SERP, and including them on a high ranking page, having a relevant image name as well as alt text that matches a keyword all contribute to having the image rank as well.
- YouTube – When a YouTube video ranks and is displayed on the SERP it occupies a bigger space than traditional results by including a thumbnail image of the video. The image stands out, differentiating it from other results.
- Shopping – Shopping results are also displayed near the top of the SERP, generally in the right column, pushing the Knowledge Graph and advertising down.
Often times, digital marketers become too obsessed with keyword ranking thus squandering resources to acquire a ranking that is near impossible, or expensive.
Instead, it would be wiser to integrate other strategies (alongside traditional methods) to saturate the SERP and make for multiple ways users can find your page. This would in turn allow for pages that are ranked lower to offer results that even the top ranked pages may not.
Having the ability to track you search engine saturation is very important has it will provide you with the required data to gauge your marketing success.