What is a search engine results page?
A search engine results page is the list of results a search engine displays after a user conducts a search for a word or phrase on the Internet. The most relevant results are listed at the top of the page while less relevant results are listed towards the bottom. Depending on the word or phrase being searched, the SERP can display a few options or many more options listed on subsequent pages.
Each item on the page includes a linked web page title, a linked URL, and a brief description of the information that can be found on the page. The description can be pulled as a snippet from the information directly from the page or it can be entered by the content creator in the form of metadata.
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Types of entries on a SERP
Organic results make up the bulk of the items on a search engine results page. These are websites that a search engine spider has indexed based on their relevancy to various keywords and phrases. However, there are other types of entries on the SERP. Modern pages also include paid ads and entries that are listed at the top of the page before the first organic search result and at the bottom of the page. These items are labeled as ads and often include other details in the result like additional clickable pages that may be of interest to the user. Depending on the term being searched, a page may include a map with local businesses that pertain to the search. For example, a search for “wedding dresses” will produce a list of wedding dress stores in the area.
Additional sections of the SERP page can include:
- Related searches
- Common questions and answers
- Slideshows of images
Importance of SERP placement
Placement on a SERP page is important. Over 90-percent of users click on entries on the first page of the organic results. Over 30 percent of the users click on the first organic search result. Businesses and content creators need to create relevant content for targeted keywords and phrases in order to appear on the first page as one of the first results. In the past, 10 results were listed on the first page, but the average number of organic results on the page today is 8.5, so it’s even more important to focus on high ranking content than in the past to ensure first-page placement.
Factors impacting the search engine results page
There are a number of things search engines consider when ranking the organic results on the search engine results page. Google considers over 200 factors that influence a page’s ranking, many of which search engine optimization teams can utilize to increase a website’s ranking on the page.
The use of keywords and phrases is a popular strategy for increasing a site’s spot on the SERP. However, using related terms is just as, if not more, important, as making sure that the same keywords and phrases aren’t used too many times on the same page.
Additional factors that can boost search engine results page placement include:
- Longer content
- In-depth content
- Newly posted content
- Backlinks to high domain-authority websites
- Mobile versions of websites
- Site loading speed
In addition, the appearance and details of a search engine results page can vary. Location-specific details will only be included in some searches. For example, a search for plumbers will retrieve a map with a clickable list of nearby businesses, while a search of SEO strategies won’t.
The location of the user can impact the details on the search engine results page. Your location will determine which locations are included in the SERP, but different regions may uncover different results based on the same keyword. Searching for the same content in different countries will also turn up content that is relevant to those locations.