While the standard blue links used to provide a comprehensive ranking story 10 years ago, the SERP has become increasingly crowded with a variety of new visuals and features.

In fact, we've discovered over 1,200 different SERP features, many of which show up before the first organic result.

As a result, traditional rank tracking methods no longer provide SEOs with the full picture of their rankings. So how do you uncover your true position in the search results?

Enter Visibility Share. 

Below, we'll dive into what Visibility Share is, why it's important, and discuss valuable use cases.

Table of Contents:


Visibility Share Definition

To identify your share of the SERP, we've introduced the Visibility Share metric, which changes the way SEOs look at rank positions in their search results.

Instead of a rank position, Visibility Share determines which result has the highest visibility by measuring:

  • How far away your result is from the top of the page
  • Which fold your result appears in
  • How big your listing pixel height is
  • If there is even any opportunity for organic placement in the first fold
  • How many organic results are being displayed for your search (travel often has 7-8, therefore throwing a wrench into the perception that 1-10 is first page)

With Visibility Share, we aim to identify how much attention a result receives in the SERP. The more prominent your listing on the page, the more attention you receive.

For example, a result that appears at the top of the page would have 100% share of visibility. This percentage decreases for any result that falls X-number of pixels below that result. 

See Visibility Share in action here:


Visibility Share vs Traditional Rank Tracking

Rank tracking and reporting are fundamental to tracking, measuring, and reporting on SEO performance. But even though the SERP has completely changed in the last two decades, the current approach of rank tracking hasn't changed.

As more and more SERP features which are often visual and take up greater real estate than a link and its description divert attention away from organic links, the correlation between traffic and rank position becomes weaker.

Just look at how much the SERP has changed over time for the query "hotel."


This calls for a new way to understand your visibility on the page that can more closely correlate rankings to actual traffic. 

Visibility Share provides a detailed and nuanced picture of true visibility in organic search, essentially acting as a measuring stick between you and the rest of the SERP. 

In doing so, it allows SEOs to understand the impact of the countless SERP features, as well as paid interference, and communicate that throughout their organization. It answers questions about how the SERP is changing and provides insights into actionable opportunities for optimizing for SERP features.

Below, we'll go into some of the most valuable use cases of Visibility Share.


Common Use Cases for Visibility Share

We commonly see the Visibility Share metric being extremely useful in the following ways.


Identifying True Competitors

In Rank Intelligence, the Top Competitors view tells users who have the highest share of voice, based on click-through rate, across an aggregate of all of your tracked keywords. This is a list of top-ranking domains where your competition also ranks for some of your target terms.

In the example below, we see the top-ranking domain competitors of an e-commerce retail brand and their associated share of voice. 

In Visibility Share, the top two competitors are no longer websites; rather, it's features like People Also Ask, Local Listings, or paid ads that appear in the SERP that receive the highest share of visibility (as shown by the percentage value). 

Beyond that, the competitors that take up the most real estate in the SERP for this ecommerce brand are Google Images, Google Shopping, and Amazon - to name a few.

Where standard rank reporting shows your competitive domains, the Visibility Share metric displays the percentage of visibility you have in the SERP compared to your true competition.


Uncovering Real Opportunities

In SEO, the concept of above the fold and below the fold is incredibly important to understand. As soon as a page loads, what you see on the screen is considered "above the fold". Anything that shows up below that - meaning, what you have to scroll to see - is "below the fold". 

In Visibility Share, users have the ability to filter and see where their domain has an opportunity in the first fold. It takes every keyword you are tracking and looks at the opportunity for a web result to appear in the first fold. Then, it checks whether or not it's your result, therefore determining your opportunity. 

Identifying first-fold opportunities is very helpful when leadership wants you to focus on specific keywords, but you haven't been able to move the needle organically. If you uncover that there is little to no first-fold opportunity for those keywords, it might be a good idea to work with paid search.

Beyond the fold opportunity, Visibility Share also shows how many results have the ability to show up on page 1 in a search. As I said above, the idea that Google shows 10 blue links on page one has been gone for years. With Visibility Share, users can drill down into how many results really appear on page one for a specific query for their domain. 

Using the same retail brand from above in the visual below, we see the target term dresses, for example, appear in 17 elements on the first page. This isn't the standard 10 links - it's almost double the number of results you should expect. 


Measuring Accurate Visibility

Within Visibility Share, users can compare their visibility to that of their competitors week over week. In this visual below, the retail brand in our running example is neck and neck with its closest competitor. 

Going one step beyond that, we can see where the retail brand has visibility among a list of their keywords. For brand-related terms, the visibility percentage should be near 100% - of course, you should dominate the SERP for your own brand!

We can also see how this compares to the same competitor's visibility for associated terms.



By knowing the share of visibility in the organic search results, digital marketers can make sure they have prime real estate in the SERP based on the pixel height of the result, its location in the fold, and how it compares to competitors. 

These critical insights further demonstrate whether or not the domain appears as a small, link-based listing or a larger box-sized result. 

It’s obvious by now that organic search results no longer display a simple list of links. From video carousels to featured snippets, the value of rankings has changed significantly. Top positions no longer guarantee impressions and clicks, and SEOs are forced to work harder at vying for their target users’ attention.

Search engine optimization requires agility these days and SEOs must reevaluate their ranking factors by understanding the SERP real estate that their domain covers. 

Luckily, we’re making this available to our current clients to test. If you want to leverage all of the above for both desktop and mobile versions of your site and analyze your performance by visibility instead of SERP position, then Visibility Share is for you.

Uncover the power of Visibility Share with a free customized demo.

<<Editor's Note: This piece was originally published in May 2020 and has since been updated.>>