SERP also known as Search Engine Results Pages are search engine responses of a query. Every time you Google a keyword or a question in the search engine, the results page responds to your query, display a ranked list of URLs related and other featured snippets. Paid advertisements relevant to the query may also pop up in a SERP.
Each time you google or search a phrase(s) or keyword(s), relevant website pages to the keyword or phrase are ranked from the most relevant to the least relevant. The ranking is based on the unique search engine ranking factors, also known as ranking signals. For example, Google has at least 200 ranking factors which nobody outside Google knows what they are.
Basically, the first SERP gets the most attention and clicks from users despite search engines displaying multiple pages of results. So making sure your website shows up as the first SERP is very crucial and something you need to consider very seriously.
A SERP displays two categories of results: organic and paid, with organic search results dominating the listing.
Organic search results refer to the listings on SERP that appear naturally because of factors such as relevance, quality, authority, and more The purpose of SEO is to help a site get a prominent spot on SERP. Ranking algorithms contribute to SERPs by assessing online content within a range of ranking factors. Now considering the organic results correspond to the intricate system of Google, extra effort is required to satisfy users. That means doing everything possible to appeal to the search intent behind the queries to generate better rankings. The search intent usually falls into these three categories:
- Information based: The user is yearning to learn about something, for example, a topic, products, etc.
- Transaction based: The user is ready or contemplating making a purchase.
- Navigation centered: The user is focused on reaching a predetermined piece of information or destination—for example, access the phone number of a particular area.
With more emphasis on quality content and user experience by Google, accurate intent-geared pages tend to perform better in the organic section of SERPs.
Paid search results cost a fee to display on search engines and usually surround the organic results at the side, bottom, or top. Image-based ads, for example, can be positioned around SERPs, mainly for the listing of shopping options and listing products. Though paid results follow the same setup as organic text-based ads, there are a few dissimilarities like the subtle green “Ad” box on Google that make them unique. Paid search results fall into the internet structure of pay-per-click (PPC) and cost-per-mille (CPM).
- PPC: You pay to achieve prominent positioning on SERPs. You pay when people click on your ads.
- CPM: You pay for thousands of impressions
As search engines continue to advance, more SERP features that make specific results pop up have continued to be added. Below are some SERP features prominently in Google that you can use to leverage SEO:
Rich snippets act as accessories to existing text-based results. Using schema markup, they could be recipes, breadcrumb lists, and review stars. Use Structured Data to improve your visibility in Google's rich snippets.
A knowledge graph is a piece of information that normally appears in a panel or card format.
Direct answer box, as the name suggests, provides specific answers to specific questions. In fact, 18% of search results have direct answers. The answers that Google displays are considered public domain. So, unlike a Featured Snippet, they don’t link to the answer or credit a source.
Universal results have additional media like maps and images that show up around text-based results. Featured snippets fall in this category of SERP features.
The shopping section in SERPs features product name, pictures, pricing, and store name. This form of advertising specifically lists the top of Google SERPs and targets transactional queries.
Google Ads are weightier. They can occupy up to four spaces above the organic results. The auction framework helps place Google Ads uniquely based on ad relevance, maximum bid amount, and click-through rates.
Google does also features Google Images for keywords where images make sense or are relevant. Even though a huge fraction of Google Shopping Results is ads, they feature select organic results too. Often most Google Shopping Results will appear at the very top of the page.
Today also Google pulls the latest tweets from specific Twitter accounts. For example, if you search about Covid-19, the following will likely pop up.
They show up for local searches like “restaurant near me” and “virtual reality arcade in nyc.” Local packs also pop up when Google feels a search needs a few local results. For example, when you search for the best barber, Google knows that you are probably looking for one near you.
Usually display as a pack of three videos, with a carousel to see more. Roughly 88% of video results are pulled from YouTube. Though no one knows how Google decides which results must display a video, it is believed, videos pop up based on the keywords used.
According to Moz, 58% of Google’s results contain a People Also Ask SERP feature. A feature that Google inserts in the middle of SERP to allow users to see related content to their queries or searches. When clicked, this feature expands out to reveal the answer to the question. Your business's ability to leverage this feature is very crucial.
Top stories also show on search and not necessarily based on trending keywords. Sometimes they will display on SERP for other keywords. Note that your website must be Google News Approved to get in the Top Stories section.
SERPs gives your business an arena to wrestle with other websites to receive the most amount of traffic by ranking number 1. Just like choosing a perfect physical location for your business, doing proper SEO gives you an edge. Leveraging this arena well helps attract more prospects to your pages. Here is why SERPs matter for SEO:
Every portion of SERP is crucial. Leveraging each portion goes a long way in increasing the chances of users clicking on your results over other countless results. One section you can improve is the text-based result, which has a title and Meta descriptions that users scan as they scroll down the SERP. Improving this portion triggers your prospects to consider your results. By improving, we mean coming up with engaging titles and Meta descriptions to boost your ranking. And that results in success on SERP.
Boost your SEO campaigns and make your pages stand out by using identifiable URLs. These URLs plus domain names play a big role in brand awareness. Instead of using an URL such as https://example.net/folder8908/page17, you should use this simple and informative URL https://example.net/news/latest-updates.
Promote your business locally by creating your Google My Business. Google My Business listings provides a convenient resource within SERPs that helps establish your presence in SERPs. Once you register, people can effortlessly locate your business contact details, location, and so on when combing the web.
SEO is crucial to the discoverability of any website today. To optimize your website well for discovery in search engines, you must consider these two SEO techniques.
Refers to all best practices website owners and content creators can follow to ensure their content is easily discoverable. These practices include the use of unique, static URLs, the creation of detailed metadata, adding relevant keywords, and more.
Off-page SEO includes social bookmarking, search engine indexes, link building and exchange, and creation of social communities. All these practices affect a site as a whole.