Have you ever heard of a SERP?
Every day, thousands of individuals all over the world turn to the internet.
They use this to get a quick answer to their queries.
This is understandable given how fast and easy it is to use the internet.
From getting help on a particular recipe, finding a specific product, to navigating your way in an unfamiliar location, the internet has made things easier for a lot of people.
Gone are the days when using the internet is only for those who have desktops in their home or offices.
Over the years, the internet has improved drastically to help individuals by providing easy access to various fields of knowledge.
With the continuous advancements in smartphones, one can easily access the internet wherever they are.
As long as you have a data connection or Wi-Fi, you can connect to the internet.
By simply typing in your query into the search engine, the internet will provide you with hundreds, if not thousands, of answers.
The web page that appears after keying in your keyword query is the Search Engine Results Page or SERP.
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How Does a Search Engine Results Page or SERP Work?
The page that comes up after putting in your keyword in the search engine is the “Search Engine Results Page”.
Most people often just call this as the “results page”.
SERPs work simply.
Just type in your keyword or query into any search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing and it will automatically bring you to a Search Engine Results Page that corresponds to your keyword.
The results on the SERP lists are the response of the search engine from the keyword or phrase that you type in.
The list of results is ranked according to how relevant the answers provided by a site to your query.
Almost always, every search query will result in thousands of results that can go for a number of pages.
A keyword can range from a single word such as “bicycle” to a more specific one like “How do I repair and clean my bicycle?”
Shorter keywords will have a higher number of SERPs while longer and more specific ones will often be lesser.
Every different phrase typed into a search engine will result into a different SERP.
Try adding or removing a word from your keyword phrase and you will notice a change in the results listed on the SERP.
Generally, the listed results will include the link to the pages or sites, short descriptions, and the title of the website.
Are All SERPs from Different Search Engines the Same?
All SERPs from different search engines are unique.
Even though the results may be same when you search on Google and Yahoo, there will still be differences.
The reason behind this is because every search engine has its own customized enhancements.
Factors such as a person’s location, linked social settings, and browsing history can all affect how enhanced a search engine is in providing results.
Search engines are always in a constant process of enhancement experiments to provide better search results.
Their goal is to provide better search results for users.
This makes their search engine more convenient for giving quick answers.
As such, the competition between search engines is with regards to which can provide better results.
What Are the Factors That Can Affect a SERP?
Is it possible for two individuals to have the same search query and get different results?
The simple answer is yes.
There are different factors that can affect the results listed on the SERP such as the location and device used.
The following are the most common factors that can affect the results listed on a SERP:
1) Previous Searches on the Same Device or Browser
Internet browsers like Google have a way of keeping date made by users regarding the past searches that they made.
If you did not clear your browser cookies and cache before conducting your search query, it is most likely that your browser will provide you results based on the past searches that you made.
The algorithms on your browser and on Google will assume that the keywords that you are searching for at present relate to the searches that you made before.
This is especially more applicable if you have entered the same keyword a couple of times or more.
As an example, if you search for an item and proceeded to an online store’s website and click on links from there, Google will assume that this result is relevant and useful to you.
On your next search query, Google will then present the link to the online store’s website on the top of your SERP.
If you want to have different search results on your SERP, you can clear your browser’s cache and cookies.
You can also choose using an incognito window on chrome or set your browser to ‘private’.
Search engines, especially Google, rely on location services a lot to provide better search results to users.
When you search for a service or a restaurant, you will often find services and restaurants that are nearest you on top of the list.
Oftentimes, Google will even provide a Map to show your proximity to these results.
This can be beneficial for users since they can see which are nearest them and would be able to get the services sought for faster.
This is also advantageous for local businesses since users will most likely prefer choosing them if they are closer.
On the other hand, bigger businesses that do not have local locations but operate nationally will be affected negatively.
Another way of checking how location can widely affect your SERP is when you visit other locations or countries.
Automatically, even if you search for the same keyword like “best hotels”, there will be different results.
The list of best hotels you searched for in your hometown will be different from the results even if you put in the same keyword while you are in China.
3) Keywords Used in Your Search
Of course, the type of keywords that you put in the search engine will have a huge effect on the results.
By simply putting in “image” or “video” along with your keyword, the results will be very different if these terms are not present.
Putting in “image” on the keyword query will put top image results on the SERP.
This is because the search engine will assume that you are looking for images.
Another thing is when you place a specific name of a product that is currently shopped for by a number of people.
The search engine will assume that you also have interest in purchasing said product.
It will therefore place online shopping sites where you can do your shopping.
What Are the Different Components of a Search Engine Results Page?
Search engines like Google provide different answers depending on a specific query.
Oftentimes, there are different components in a single SERP.
The following are the most common components that you can find in a SERP:
1) Organic Results
Organic results that appear on SERPs are generated by search engines depending on their relevance to a search query.
Generally, websites that have a high-quality content that is informational to users rank high on SERPs.
Different algorithms of every search engine have their own way of determining how relevant a website’s content is to a specific keyword.
The more relevant a search engine sees a website’s content is, the higher it is on the SERP.
Other factors that can affect a website appearing on top of a SERPs organic list is its trustworthiness or how often people visit a site for reference.
Basically, the higher amount of traffic on a website means that more people trust it.
This is the reason why websites try to attract more people to visit their sites through other means like social media and advertising to create more traffic.
2) Paid Advertisements or Sponsored Results
Major search engines like Google and Bing accept have paid listings that come up on SERPs.
For businesses, especially those that are still starting out, going into this form of advertising guarantees that their site is on top of the Search Engine Results Page.
3) Images and Videos
Search engines, especially Google, will try to show relevant images and videos to your search query.
Images and videos are often found on top of the SERP.
When you search for a car model, images and videos of the said car will appear on the results.
4) Search Suggestions
Found at the bottom of the SERP, search suggestions are just what they are.
They provide alternative keywords or phrases from the one that you entered to the search box.
These search suggestions try to optimize your search based on what other people have also searched the internet.
5) Related Questions
Related questions are usually located on the top of a SERP,
The related questions box list four or more questions that the search engines think can be related to your query.
Most of the time, people don’t type in the complete keyword or phrase.
This can result in a list generated on the SERP which is different from what the user is searching for.
The related questions box will generate questions that relate to your question and are very helpful.
It comes with a drop down box that you can click.
This drop-down box contains a snippet from a top-ranking site much like a featured snippet box.
When you click on a related question, you will be taken to the page that is featured.
6) Featured Snippets
On top of the organic results are the featured snippets.
Most of the time, the answer inside a snippet box comes from one of the top five site links on the first page of a SERP.
Having your site inside a snippet box is advantageous.
Featured snippets may get users to click the link to go to your site.
This depends on whether or not a user has already gotten the answer from the snippet or not.
Still, for a business to land in a snippet box will most likely give them credibility and better visibility than others.
7) Local Pack
Search queries that are location specific provide different results depending on your location.
With this, local businesses find a SERP’s Local Pack very important since it shows users the proximity of a business or service to where they are.
The local pack takes up a huge space on the screen and is very noticeable because of its map image with pins that indicate the locations of local businesses.
8) Knowledge Graph
When a SERP comes up on Google, there is a panel on the right of the page where you can find information about your query.
This box is the “knowledge graph” and come from Google itself or a third party source.
Knowledge graphs provide quick answers and information so a user will no longer have to click on a link.
Most of the time they appear when you type a question that seeks information.
When you type a title of a movie or a president, you will see a knowledge graph that contains quick information about your query.
9) Answer Box
Much like the Knowledge Graph, the SERP Answer Box aims to provide a short and quick answer to a question.
Specific questions like “what is the temperature in Canada today” will show an answer box on the first Search Engine Results Page.
Other specific questions about events, facts, personalities, etc. will produce different types of answer boxes.
This SERP component can be very helpful for users since they will no longer have to open new pages.
However, businesses will not gain anything from it if they want people to visit their site.
10) Product Listings
When you type in an item or a name of a product, a product listing will come up on your SERP.
This is a form of advertisement that is more effective in having users to click them.
Product listings feature a number of advertisements that are most relevant to your search query.
When you search for the keyword “latest iPhone model”, you will get a product listing located on top of the SERP.
The list will include product images, prices, and links to various sites that sell the product.
Sometimes, a review score from users is also present.
Why Is It Important to Rank High on the Search Engine Results Page?
For businesses and companies, it is very important to rank high on the Search Engine Results Page.
A website’s ranking on the SERP is the page rank.
The more relevant your site’s content is to a particular keyword, the higher your page rank is.
Landing on the first page of the SERP is very important.
This is especially true for businesses who want to have more traffic on their sites.
Not only because the search engine sees you as relevant but because individuals will be more likely to visit your site when you are on top.
For example, being on the first page of the Search Engine Results Page and on top of the list will mean that somebody will click on your site to read your content.
Sites that are on the tenth page are often no longer seen by users.
If a person is looking for fast and quick answers through the internet, he will click on the first item on the list.
He will not have the time to go through page after page and read what each site has to say.
When somebody types in “best Chinese restaurant in town”, the first result on the SERP will most likely be clicked and visited.
A person will believe that the first result on the list is the best which is why it is on top.
Otherwise, it will not be there.
According to some studies, more than 80% of internet users won’t go past the first Search Engine Results Page.
This is the reason why businesses and companies focus on making their sites rank high by using various techniques like Google Ads and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Now that you know the basics about the Search Engine Results Page, you have a better idea of its importance.
It works both ways where a user can get better and faster results.
On the other side, businesses and companies can better optimize their sites and pages.
Doing so will help them rank higher and land on the first page of a SERP.