Travel back with me in time to 776 BC and watch local athletes, in a kingdom called Greece, gather together to compete for a prize krotinos—the olive tree wreath. The athletes come from different villages and towns to prove themselves on the plains of Olympia. The winner of such a wreath will experience instant fame and be known throughout the kingdom for their great skill. Someday this set of Olympic Games will grow into a world-wide event and Olympic honor will be sought after by athletes from all over the globe.

SEO Manager – the athlete

Now you may be wondering what the Olympics have to do with SEO but the similarities are there. Think of the SEO manager as an athlete and their skill is, well, Search Engine Optimization. In the early days of SEO, the athlete only had to worry about competing against other text content on the Google plain. Instead of an olive branch, the SEO athlete wins a coveted high rank on the Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Google SERP – the competition field

Just as with the Olympic Games, today, SERP has more competitors than ever before and the field is changing continuously. The text SEO athlete has a greater challenge as it must face off with image, video, social, and local competition to win a high rank on SERP. Check out Google’s graphic below:

As you might notice, Google is putting more emphasis on universal results, displaying image, video, social, and local results to make search results more relevant to the user. With Search Plus Your World, Google signaled a greater importance for Google+ pages in the search algorithm. The search engine also recently announced that it is offering Google+ Local as part of its Google+ initiative, which means that your competition field has just become a little tougher to navigate. Stating the obvious, tracking rank among text results in the new SERPs is necessary but not sufficient.

Blended Rank – the real measure of success

Blended rank measures rank among all types of search results including text, images, video, local, and social results. This is your true measure of SEO success and it is important to understand how this works.

Let’s take a look at the website rank of a company called Café Press. Now, Café Press specializes in custom T-shirts and wants to take advantage of a large music festival named Bonnaroo. If you are the SEO manager for Café Press, and you type in ‘bonnaroo t-shirt’ as your keyword, this is what you would see on the SERP:

What do you see?

At first glance, it looks like Café Press comes up within the first 10 positions on the SERP. However, if you look more closely, you will notice that this is only in relation to a text results. The actual rank of this site in the blended rank competition is 14. If that’s not enough bad news, notice that the non-text listings before the Café Press page are serious competitors.

BrightEdge S3 – your coach

Just as the most accomplished Olympic athletes could use a little help from a coach to keep them going, we like to see ourselves your SEO coach— especially when it comes to blended rank. BrightEdge S3 shows you true blended rank and then gives you the tools you need to improve your SERP ranking.

  1. Measure true rank – Track the blended rank for your pages among ALL types of results including text, images, video, social and local.
  2. Outrank competition – Track your competition’s blended rank for all your keywords; identify competitive trends in blended rank and take corrective action fast.
  3. Drive blended rank with social– Correlate social media activity such as Likes, Shares, Tweets and +1s with blended rank, and manage social media campaigns to drive blended rank.
  4. Drive greater conversions, traffic and revenue – Understand and manage the impact of blended rank on real business results such as revenue, traffic and conversions.

Top Blended Rank – SEO Gold

By understanding how blended rank works, you will be able to draw closer to your goal, which is to put your website at the top of the SERP page. Look for an upcoming post, which will tell you how you can use BrightEdge S3 to manage the impact of a special type of universal search results, the Google+ page, on your site’s ranking.

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TL:DR)

Taking a leaf out of AJ Kohn’s book, here is the ‘Too long; Didn’t Read ’ for this article (scroll down to the bottom of ‘How To Tweet What You Want, Because Content Matters’ to see why TL;DR is a great idea):

  1. Search is changing. SERPs increasingly feature universal results such as image, video, social and local results along with text results.
  2. Blended rank among universal search results gives marketers a better benchmark on how they are doing, what they should aim for, and how they can get there.
  3. BrightEdge is the first and only company that helps marketers to achieve greater SEO results by tracking true blended rank and providing insight into competitive intel, influence of social media, and impact on web analytics based on blended rank.

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