What are SERPs? (& Why Should You Care)
Every single day, Google processes over 3.5 billion searches.
That’s an average of 40,000 people searching for something on Google every second of the day.
People look for anything and everything on Google – from “how to make a no-bake cheesecake” to “What is Elon Musk’s net worth” or “What are SERPs”, there are no limits to what you can ask a search engine.
Every time you ask a search engine a question, you get a results page. That results page is a SERP.
Here, we’ll look at what SERPs are, why they are essential to businesses, customers and SEO, and answer all of the frequently asked questions surrounding SERPs.
What are the SERPs?
SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages, are a search engine’s response to a query. Every time searchers ask Google or any search engine something, they see the results on a SERP.
Many different search engines crawl the internet carousel, including yahoo.com, duckduckgo.com, bing.com, Yandex, ecosia.com, and baidu.com. Various countries use and promote different search engines, but all these search engines display a user’s search query results on a SERP. Google is by far the largest search engine, controlling over 92% of the global search engine market share.
SERPs generally display pay-per-click (PPC) Ads, paid ads, Featured Snippets, organic search results, and related questions. SERPs look like this:
As the Google search algorithm becomes more and more sophisticated, SERPs are showing more in-depth result features, including news thumbnails, videos and image results:
The most critical component of SERPs are the sitelinks pointing to websites relevant to the users’ search query. These are the organic listings on the search engine results page, and are what most people use search engines for – to discover new websites that can help the user solve their problem.
Why are SERPs Important?
SERPs are important because they help internet users access all online material.
When you consider that 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine and looking at a SERP, you start to realize just how vital SERPs really are.
There are over 1 billion live websites on the world wide web. Search engines and SERPs are the gateways that allow people to find the websites they are looking for.
Without SERPs, we would be oblivious to most of the webs’ content, as we wouldn’t know the URLs or different web pages. SERPs enables us to discover a new local business, learn about an E-commerce store selling the backpack we wanted, and find that Wikipedia has the answers to most of our questions!
Notably, the results search engines show us in their SERPs are ranked according to hundreds of ranking factors. According to a users ‘ search terms, these ranking metrics determine the suitability and value of a web page.
Google and other search engines are constantly crawling the web. They analyze and assess websites to markup the most valuable search result and present it to users on the Google SERP first page.
Search engines do this by creating schemas against which they assess a website.
How does a SERP work?
An SERP works by presenting search engine users with the results that it determines are most relevant to the users’ query.
Search engines achieve this by scanning their catalogues of webpages, analyzing the content of all webpages and the reliability of each domain, then ranking relevant webpages according to a set of ranking factors.
What factors affect SERP rankings?
There are literally hundreds of metrics Google’s algorithm assess when determining page ranks in the SERPs and showing searchers relevant results.
Some of the most common metrics include backlink profile of the domain, average dwell-time, bounce rate, and page loading speed. But Google and other search engines strive to give their users the best experience possible.
This means they are constantly looking for high quality content that answers a users query in its’ entirety. Digital marketers strive to create outstanding online material around keywords that will help their business rank on Google’s first page in the SERPs.
How do I check my SERP?
Checking your SERP is simple.
There are two ways.
The first way is to type your website domain or business name into Google, click through the SERPs until you find your business, and count your rank. This is quite time-consuming, and is unnecessary, considering the second way you can find out your SERP position.
The better way is to use a free SERP Checker tool, such as whatsmyserp.com:
To use this free tool, all you need to do is search for your business keywords and select the region your searching, and the SERP Checker will show you where you rank compared to your competitors.
How can I improve my SERP ranking?
Improving your SERP ranking is what every webpage on the internet wants to do.
It’s well known amongst digital marketers and SEO (search engine optimization) professionals that the first page of Google captures over 70% of web traffic. That means if you’re not ranking of the first page of Google, your competitors are organically getting 70% visits and customers than you are.
Improving your SERP ranking depends on optimizing your website for SEO.
This is divided into on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO means writing content that is thorough, engaging, and directly answers the kind of questions your target audience might ask Google. Good on-page SEO means your webpage visitors enjoy a good user experience.
Writing this kind of content requires in-depth market analysis, proper research, and writing with the customer in mind. You need to speak directly to the problems, pain points and desires of your customer in order to keep them on-page and reading. You also need to ensure your content is comprehensive, so your potential customers don’t need to click off your website and go somewhere else looking for more information.
Other on-page SEO components include page speed, meta descriptions, keywords, Adwords and images.
Optimizing your page speed can include caching your files, using reliable servers and domains, but it can also get far more technical.
Meta descriptions are an HTML element that summarizes the content on a webpage so search engines know what’s there. Correctly formatted meta descriptions with a proper title tag are essential for good SEO rankings, as they are essentially the barcodes that search engines scan while they crawl the internet.
Keyword optimization means knowing what your target audience is searching for and writing content that attracts them to your website. Webpage audits and keyword research are the backbones of successfully improving your SERP rankings.
There are over 10 billion images on the Google images database, most of which are not optimized for search engines. To increase your websites SERP rankings, you can strategically create and name images on your website to focus on your keywords.
Do this by creating an infographic or original picture, then naming the file with relevant keywords you want to target, and uploading it to your website. Do this 10+ times, and you’ll start to notice more traffic and gradually better rankings in the SERPs.
Off-page SEO is where things start to get technical. In a nutshell, off-page SEO is how Google and other search engines perceive your website. They use your website profile, backlink profile, and social media to assess the authority and credibility of your website.
Building off-page SEO takes time and expertise, but the payoffs for businesses are exceptional. In as little as six months of content strategy with link building through guest posting, winning authority links, and even editorial links, businesses can enjoy first-page rankings in the Google SERPs. This attracts thousands of monthly visitors, which converts into thousands more of monthly revenue.
Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of SERPs and their role in helping internet users find your website.
A great analogy to remember is search engines are like the Yellow Pages, and the SERPs are the pages within the book. Without the Yellow Pages, no one ever managed to find out about an address or a business. The same goes for the modern-day webpage.
But ranking near to the top of the SERPs is very challenging.
Many businesses benefit from working with digital marketing agencies that help companies optimise their on-page and off-page SEO efforts to guarantee they enjoy higher rankings, more web traffic, and greater profitability.