A search engine results page (SERP) is the page that a search engine returns in response to a user’s search query.
SERP pages vary from user to user based on various factors, including whether you are logged into your Google account, your location setting, language preference, and search history.
SERP includes organic search results, paid Google Ads results, Featured Snippets, Knowledge Graphs, and video results.
Each SERP listing includes the linked web page title, linked page URL, a brief description of the page content, and sometimes the links to the points of interest on the website.
The highest-ranking results generally link to the page with the most useful information, and links grow less relevant as they move farther down the page.
Owing to search engine optimization (SEO), the ranking position on a SERP has become highly competitive since users are likely to click on the results at the top of the page.
Even though Google now has several SERP features on the first page, the two most important categories are paid results and organic results
The paid results are from advertisers who bid on keywords via Google Ads. Although Google Ads considers ad relevancy, the placement goes to the highest bidder.
The organic results are earned spots determined by Google’s algorithm to be the best and most relevant results for a given query.
Why Are SERPs Important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Most people click on the results on the first page and rarely visit the second page of the SERPs. This is why everyone wants to rank on the first page of the search engine. So, if you are on page two or beyond, you are basically invisible.
However, ranking on the first page does not always mean getting a lot of traffic for many reasons.
Firstly, most of the organic clicks go to the first few links. Second, paid results usually push the organic rankings lower in the SERP. Third, Google sometimes shows SERP features that answer the query in the search results. Thus, this eliminates the need for searchers to click on a result.
What are the features of a SERP?
Nowadays, SERP is more varied than it was in the past years. In addition to generic search results that just display the site name and meta content, searches also show images, shopping suggestions, tweets, or other information.
While mostly SERP features are aimed to generate revenue for Google (e.g., shopping ads), the aim is to provide information in the search results without having to click on a result.
This is why SERP features have a great impact on Search Engine Optimization.
Let’s look at the SERP features that are most often seen on Google.
1. Featured Snippets
Featured snippets mostly appear at the top of SERPs and offer a portion of content from one of the top organic search results of a particular query.
They are typically labeled as such in the lower right corner under the snippet content. Another featured snippet format is a numbered or bulleted list, especially when the query is on a specific process. To appear in the featured snippets, your website content has to be optimized for such a query. If you want your website to be a source of a featured snippet, we can help you as a Search Engine Optimization Agency to optimize your content for featured snippets.
2. Image Pack
When Google’s algorithm determines that visual information will be relevant to a search, the SERP will show a row of images and a clickthrough to the Google Images search.
Although Google uses different algorithms for images and written content, adhering to the following practices can help search engines find and rank your image content.
- Accurate and descriptive file names
- Image captions and alt text
- Relevant surround text
- Accurate and Engaging page title
- A readable page URL
- Rectangular photos of moderate size and dimensions
So, when you develop your website, make sure to get your page optimized by a search engine optimization agency that will ensure that your page incorporates the above tips.
3. Knowledge Graph and Knowledge Panel
The Knowledge graphs and panels usually show up on the right side of the organic results. Knowledge panels provide information on the main subject of the query.
Your company logo can also appear in the competitors’ Knowledge Panels, although this does not link to your website, and it instead performs a Google search for your company name when clicked.
Sometimes review data- displayed as star rankings- will appear on a SERP following a transactional query. Naturally, results with 4 or 5 stars tend to get more clicks.
Having reviews with star ratings on your website in order to be included in the reviews feature can help you with this. Consider adding a plugin to your website that lets clients share testimonials and rate your business.
5. Shopping Results
Google Shopping Results are results that appear for keywords on a specific product.
Although most Google Shopping Results are ads, they also include organic results.
This is because the shopping results appear at the top of the page in a carousel form.
Sitelinks help users find specific pages on a site, and they are an enhancement to regular organic results than a SERP feature.
One can appear in site links if their page is popular and has been internally linked to relevant content. Search engine optimization specialists can internally link your site, making it user-friendly and increasing your traffic.
Video results are also organically generated with a video thumbnail. Only pages with embedded videos are eligible, but Google also displays the upload date, duration, and the uploader’s name on the search engine results page.
The above are a few of SERP features. The more one knows about SERPs, the better you can build your search engine optimization strategy. Appearing in SERPs can greatly help with the search engine optimization for your website. But for this, you need to ensure that your site is properly optimized as per Google’s policies.
Google continuously updates its algorithm and search features to create a better experience for its users. So staying up to date with Google’s policies will help you keep your site in shape and stay ahead of its competitors.
As a digital marketing agency providing a search engine optimization service, we help you discover new ways to optimize your web pages to appear in search features to draw more attention to your brand in SERPs.