The term SERP stands for Search Engine Result Pages. Within the SERPs of search engines, the search results of a search query will be listed. The results are organized by relevance in a descending order. Each search engine provider will calculate the ranking. This ranking is based on many different factors and can change by adjusting the Search Algorithms. The algorithms that determine the rankings in the SERPs are kept secret by the search engine providers to prevent spam.
Definition Of SERP
SERPs will show the results of searches for a keyword or phrase combination in the form of Snippets. These consist of a headline, a small description, and a link. Or depending on the length, it will contain a part of the link of the link target. With a Rich Snippet, the result is reinforced with additional information which is read as structured data from the search engine on the relevant page.
The actual number of results per SERP can vary. Google will usually display 10 snippets in their SERPs. However, it can depend on the specific query as to whether the SERPs are enhanced with results from the image search or from Google News. Links to applications may also be listed in mobile searches. In addition to Organic Search Results, text or image ads will be displayed on the SERPs, as well. Unlike the organic search hits, advertisers will pay a specific amount per click to the provider that has been determined in a click auction.
Components Of SERP
In recent years, Google SERPs have developed steadily. When search engines started up at the end of the 1990s, the results lists could only display simple snippets to link targets. The SERPs can now also provide info boxes, which are called Knowledge Graphs, or they can provide a Carousel Result. The actual format in which the SERPs will be provided is determined by the specific search query. Say for example, you are searching for a famous actor or musical group with Google, both the Knowledge Graph and the Carousel will appear. This change in the SERPs transpired after Google introduce the Hummingbird Update. Since the update, Google is now also able to answer questions in the SERPs.
Specific information, such as how to make your favorite dish, can be listed directly in the SERPs. Then, if you use the Google Image Search, clickable images will appear. These will direct the searcher to a new view and displays the image source and the actual size of the graphic. And depending on the type of the search, the SERPs can be condensed to consist only of news, book titles, videos, or pictures.
Google has not only updated and expanded the SERPs to include the Knowledge Graph and carousel display, but they have also added other features to it. Users can now search for and book a flight or make a hotel reservation directly in the SERPs. In the US, you can now also order food on the SERPs.
I use Google here as an example first because they are the most used search engine provider. Additionally, users can take advantage of their many features. The SERP structure will be similar to the other major search engine providers.
How and Why Results Are Displayed
When the Google SERPs were first being established in the very late 1990s and the early 2000s, they were relatively static and were just about the same for every user (within a country). Now, they are controlled by many different factors. On one hand, there are different ranking factors in relation to the positioning of each snippet. Furthermore, there are also further indicators which will influence the order of the results:
- Registered Google users: If a Google user is registered with their account, the search results will be related to and adapted according to previous user behavior. This happens provided that this is allowed in their data protection settings.
- Browser history: If the user does not empty the Cache of the browser, Google will obtain information related to previous search queries with cookies. They will then adapt the results accordingly.
- Location: If the Geo-Localization is activated, Google will align the SERPs to the physical location of the user. In this way, the search results to the search term “Pizza Delivery” in Dallas will be different to that in Houston. With local search results, they will be combined with results from Google Maps should the user have the need.
- Device: If a user searches by way of a mobile device, the search results are going to look different. This is because Google favors mobile optimized websites in the SERPs.
Importance For SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The primary goal of SEO is better positioning in the SERPs compared to your direct competitors. To be able to direct as much traffic as possible by way of good rankings to your own Website, your site must provide the best and most relevant results from a technical and from content perspectives. Additionally, trust for your website and its links will play a very important role. But ranking alone is not the only element for a high click rate. If your search result snippets possess a meaningful title and a brief description, you will have the ability to draw the attention of users onto the snippet. Ideally, such a snippet will contain a request to click. So, improving your snippets is a very important part of search engine optimization and a fundamental part of on-page optimization. This is because the meta title and meta description of the landing page are usually being used by search engines for the title and the description in the snippet.
For SEOs, the focal point is on the first ten results of the SERP (The Top 10). This is because 90% of the user clicks are distributed among these results. With an optimized snippet, the probability that users will click on the result increases, and this increases the CTR (click through rate). As a result of the expansion of AdWords advertisements to a block of four, Google has escalated the battle for the top positions in the organic SERPs. Most importantly, with transactional Keywords and Keyword combinations, AdWords advertisements or shopping advertisements will not be included in the results.
And another important element are the Rich Snippets. These are search results that have been enhanced with machine-readable metadata. Webmasters can for example, differentiate the source code of their website with officially accessible reviews as structured data by using markup language. These reviews will be shown within the snippet in the search results. Hence, the appeal and attraction of a snippet for the user, and the probability that the user clicks on it, will increase.
Five Steps To Succeeding With The New Google SERP
- Use data as feedback to identify highly preferred content and develop content and material that provides
the user with what they need. Remember, its important to create a variety of different types of content. Additionally, you should regularly track customer reactions to see what people respond to best at different points during the buyer’s journey.
- Do not neglect or forget to optimize for Local and Places.
- Use the content, search, and social triple play to promote your content, attract attention, and to improve quality metrics. This includes such elements as Engagement Rates and Backlinks. While you are on social media, you should actively engage with your audience. This will help you to improve your reputation as a trusted authority.
- Make sure that your content is expanded with meta tags and design so that you will be able to attract as much attention to it as possible. It is likely that your ads are going to continue to evolve and become more visually attractive. So, be sure that your content answers the same need.
- Measure your results and then make the necessary adjustments. Monitor your rank position, your click-through rate and engagement rates. Keep an eye out to see how this SERP adjustment has impacted your success.
Since mobile Internet usage is increasing in importance, the SERPs are further being adapted and adjusted to the needs of the users. It is conceivable that in the future when someone searches using a mobile device, applications or links to gadgets will appear in the SERPs, not just in the results from websites. As of July 2015, Google is no longer solely a SERP provider, but they are also a service provider. At the same time, the index is regularly expanded to provide SERPs that are customized to them and their current situation.
There are definite benefits and drawbacks to the new Google SERP layout. For marketers, the first priority should be learning how to succeed within the new system.
Keep in mind that a positive customer experience in every interaction with your brand, is extremely important. This is while also improving and optimizing your content to maximize your power to attract interest against the results of the ad. You will improve overall performance by working smarter and creating a comprehensive search and content strategy.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post on SERP in relation to you online business success. I hope it provided needed information and was of some help to the reader. Please feel free to leave Comments or Questions below.