SERP stands for the Search Engine Results Page. It’s the page displayed to you when you search a keyword on a search engine.
Why should you understand SERP? The equation is simple. If you create your website, the driving force is the traffic that’ll visit your website. The higher on the SERP you are, the more traffic you’ll get. You’ll get the most traffic if you’re on the top 10, which is the first SERP. However, getting ranked in the first SERP isn’t easy, as there are a lot of existing competitors.
Then why should you put in the effort to rank high? Simple, you’ll be getting organic traffic, which is free as opposed to paid traffic.
It’s understandable if you’re confused. Follow us until the end, and your questions will be answered!
You might also be interested to read: Optimizing CTR for Google RankBrain
What is a SERP Exactly?
Search Engine Results Pages are the web pages displayed to you when you search for something on a search engine. Here’s an example:
When you’re searching, you enter a word or a phrase – that’s known as a keyword.
Not every person in this world is presented with the same SERP. In fact, you may find that your neighbor is getting a different SERP than you are. Every SERP is unique and personalized according to the following factors:
- Browsing history (If the cache isn’t cleared)
- According to user preference (If logged into Google account and searched through Google)
- Device (SERPs vary from device to device; a phone won’t get the same SERP as a computer)
This isn’t to say that two SERPs can’t be similar, but in most cases, there are subtle differences at least.
SERPs are constantly updated and changed as the search engines strive to provide the most intuitive and personalized experience to each user. In a sentence, they want more clicks, and so do you.
You can enable your website to rank on the first SERP in two ways. These are:
1. Organic Results
If your website fulfills some basic requirements of the SERP algorithm, which is also free of any charge, the resulting ranking will be known as an organic result. There are people who specialize in ranking websites through a process known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and they’re known as SEO professionals.
However, there are other factors to consider here, known as SERP factors. We’ll get to those later on.
2. Paid Results
Unlike organic results, the paid results appear because advertisers pay search engines to display their page. Paid results have come a long way from being a box of text to containing a lot of knowledge beneficial to the advertiser.
Another type of paid result appears in the form of a shopping list. If a user searches for a particular product, the search engine may present that product and other similar products as a list on Google.
There are certain features that you may or, in some cases, may not find on a SERP. Here’s a list of some of those elements:
Basic SERP Features
These are the elements that you’ll surely find with each link on the SERP.
The title of each link is always displayed in blue. This is the section you click to gain access to that website.
The URL is displayed in green just below the title.
The meta description is displayed just below the title and the URL. If the meta description isn’t present, the first few lines of the page are displayed.
These are commonly known as the traditional search engine page features as they’ve been around for a long time. However, there are a lot of advanced elements nowadays, and we’re coming to that.
Advanced SERP Features
These are the new additions of SERP, and they’re evolving every day. Here are the most common advanced SERP features:
- Knowledge Panel
If your search was informational, Google will often gather information and display them as a snippet on the top right corner of the page. Pages with a knowledge panel generate more clicks than the ones without.
- Knowledge Graph
Knowledge graphs are similar to knowledge panels; they are shown in the same position too. The difference is that these show graphs or charts for data-based queries.
- Featured Snippet
Snippets show a specific portion of information pulled from sites, and these usually comprise answers to specific questions.
Although shown mostly for searches asking for tutorials, some other keywords may also display videos as a search engine page, and these videos are mostly from YouTube.
If you search keywords related to objects, products, places, or architectures, chances are that you’ll get images as a SERP element. These are usually taken from multiple sources to provide a visual aid.
If you add schema mark-up – that is, structured data – to your website, the SEO algorithm might include sitelinks in SERP. Utilizing SERP for SEO boosts can make your website look more professional and easier to maneuver.
If the search query asks for a location, or even a particular service, company, or a store, the location of it will be visited as a search engine page element.
You can choose to display your product, store, or service ratings as a SERP element. It can make your link more credible to the traffic and will generate more clicks.
- People also asked
This is the section where relevant questions asked commonly by others are included. This allows users to find the information they were looking for, and it’s a very common SERP.
Why are SERPs Important for SEO?
How your website will be viewed depends completely on SERP features. Even if your website is SEO optimized, a website with SERP features may outrank it.
However, you won’t find advanced SERP features for every keyword you search for. If there aren’t any SERP features, organic results will surely shine.
Using SERP to Your Advantage
In any SERP, the links with SERP features are ranked right after the paid advertisements. Here are some tips on how you can get SERP features for your page:
- Provide concise and correct answers
- Use both numbered and bulleted lists for ranking products, places, or for giving step-by-step tutorials
- Use tables, charts, and graphs as a visual display
- Structure your site data for getting sitelinks
- Get extra SERP features such as knowledge panels, local packs, etc.
Having excessive search engine page features may end up affecting you negatively. As you can already see, featured snippets provide a satisfactory answer to many. In most cases, the snippets provide the information asked for but also does a great job of making the reader curious.
However, if the reader was searching for a specific date or a name, and if the snippet provides the specific answer the reader was looking for, your website will get no clicks, which means there’s nothing in it for you. These are, hence, known as no-click searches.
If you want your page to rank high on Google’s search results, it’s essential to have knowledge about SERP. Having good search engine page features for your page will allow you to gain the upper hand over the organic results competing against you. And if done right, by doing so, you can ensure the highest click-through rate for your website!