SERP. You may have heard this acronym before; you may even know what it means. But do you know why it matters? A Search Engine Results Page, in short, are the results given by a search engine in response to a search query. A search query is what the viewer types in to search. This can range from a few keywords to a full sentence. In the example below, the search query is “flowers.”
You have probably viewed thousands of these but the key is identifying the components of a SERP and understanding them enough to know the do’s and the don’ts. Hopefully, by the end of this post you will be able to:
- Identify the various aspects and components of SERPs.
- Determine the importance of SERPs and how monitoring them benefits you and your business.
There are two main components of a SERP, as well as a few other features that will vary based on the search engine:
- Organic results – These are the natural listings that the search engine generates based on its algorithm. The algorithm takes several factors into account when generating a website’s ranking, including its relevance to the search keywords. The process of trying to improve a website’s ranking in the organic results is referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). The organic results are listed after the paid results. In our example, they start with “proflowers.com” and continue down the rest of the page.
- Paid results – These listings, usually found at the top and right side of the results, are advertisements that search engines include in their results and are paid for by various websites. Your ad can be included here through pay per advertising. The positions of the ads are determined by keyword bidding as well as other factors such as relevance to the search query. The paid results (PPC) are all at the top of the screen before the organic results and are also ads on the right side of the page. Notice that they all include the keyword “flower” because that is one of the words the viewer typed into the search query.
- Other features – You can also see a map on the results page and suggestions for stores that are near your current location. Google may also include information from its Knowledge Graph and suggest Google+ profile and pages related to the query. Knowledge Graph is a carousel feature that Google may display at the top of your search results. For more information on Google’s “Knowledge Graph” and Google+, these links might be good to look at:
Why it’s important to understand:
Showing up on one of the first few pages of search results will bring more traffic to your website and therefore bring in new business. The best strategy for achieving maximum exposure would to be to split your focus between search engine optimization and pay per click advertising.
Tips for improving your search visibility:
- Research search engine keywords that will generate the most and most valuable traffic to your site.
- Organize these keywords and create efficient ad campaigns. You can refer to this post for more information on how to avoid making mistakes with PPC.
- Manage your SEO and PPC workflow. In our example, we can see several of these at the top of the results page. More information on workflows can be found here.
- Monitor and measure the results to this and work toward improving your visibility in search with the information that you obtain. What worked? What didn’t work? Measure your results and adjust your efforts accordingly.
By Kathena Siegel