What is a Search Engine Results Page? (SERP)
A search engine results page, or SERP, is the page that is displayed after a user enters a search query into a search engine like Google or Yahoo. These pages typically include both organic search results and paid search and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. The ranking position on a SERP is important because users are more likely to click on results at the top of the page. With the introduction of schema markup, SERPs are becoming more complex to anticipate user needs.
Types of Search Queries
The features that appear on a SERP depend on the type of search query entered. There are three main categories of search queries: navigational, informational, and transactional.
Navigational queries occur when someone is searching for a specific website but doesn't type in the full URL. These types of queries can be difficult to rank highly for unless the searcher is specifically looking for your website. One way to improve your ranking for navigational queries is to purchase ads for keywords that are related to your business.
Informational queries are made when someone wants to learn more about a topic or how to perform a certain task. The searcher is not usually looking to make a purchase, but relevant content can often drive them to a particular brand. It is important to create content that caters to the interests and needs of your target audience in order to generate traffic from informational queries. Adding multimedia content to your website, such as how-to videos, instructional blog posts, infographics, or guides and whitepapers, can be a particularly effective way to attract traffic from these types of queries.
Transactional queries are made when someone is considering purchasing a specific product or item from a particular category. These types of queries have the most revenue potential, so keywords related to them tend to have a lot of bids for PPC spots. In addition to organic search results for transactional queries, users will also see relevant paid results. Paid ads are popular among businesses because they are effective; according to research by online advertising group WordStream, almost 65% of clicks on transactional SERPs happen on paid ads.
Paid Ads versus Organic Listings
Paid and organic listings on a Google SERP can look similar, and both can help boost traffic to your website. It is important to consider creating a strategy that includes both types of listings.
The Advantage of Paid Ads
Google typically displays 4 paid ads at the top of the search results page on desktop computers and 3 on mobile browsers. There are often more than 4 businesses competing for the same search keyword, so Google must determine which ads appear on the first page of results. Google considers factors such as the bid amount, the quality of the page users are taken to when they click on the ad, the quality of the ad itself, and the relevance to the search when deciding which ads to display on the first page. If Google determines that your website is better and more relevant than the competition, it will appear on the first page.
The Value of Organic Listings
Organic listings earn their place on a SERP through search engine optimization (SEO), a set of techniques that can be used to improve the ranking of your website on SERPs. As with paid ads, the ranking of organic listings is determined by several factors, including the relevance and quality of the website, the user experience, and the credibility of the website. Unlike paid ads, organic listings do not cost anything to appear on a SERP.
What is SEO?
SEO is the practice of optimizing a website in order to improve its ranking on search engine results pages. There are many factors that contribute to a website's ranking, including the quality and relevance of the content, the user experience, and the credibility of the website. In order to improve a website's ranking through SEO, it is important to use relevant keywords, optimize the website's structure and navigation, and create high-quality, engaging content.
There are many techniques that can be used to improve a website's ranking through SEO. Some of the most common techniques include:
- Keyword research: Identifying the most relevant and popular keywords to use in your content in order to improve your ranking for those keywords
- On-page optimization: Optimizing the content and structure of your website in order to improve its relevance and user experience
- Off-page optimization: Building links from other websites to your website in order to increase its credibility and authority
- Technical SEO: Improving the technical aspects of your website, such as the loading speed and mobile-friendliness, in order to improve its ranking
- Content marketing: Creating and promoting high-quality, valuable content in order to attract and engage a target audience
Benefits of SEO
There are many benefits to implementing SEO strategies on your website. Some of the most significant benefits include:
- Increased traffic: A higher ranking on search engine results pages can lead to more traffic to your website
- Increased credibility: Ranking highly on a SERP can increase the credibility and authority of your website in the eyes of users and search engines
- Increased sales: By attracting more traffic and improving the user experience, SEO can lead to increased sales for your business
- Cost-effectiveness: Unlike paid advertising, SEO is a long-term strategy that does not require ongoing expenses in order to maintain its benefits
Despite the many benefits of SEO, there are also challenges that businesses may face when implementing SEO strategies. Some of the most common challenges include:
- Competition: There is often intense competition for top ranking positions on a SERP, which can make it difficult to achieve a high ranking
- Constant changes: Search engine algorithms and user behavior are constantly evolving, which means that SEO strategies must also evolve in order to remain effective
- Time and resources: Implementing and maintaining an effective SEO strategy can require a significant amount of time and resources, particularly for small businesses
Search engine results pages (SERPs) are an important aspect of online marketing, as they determine the ranking of websites on search engine results pages and can have a significant impact on traffic and sales. By understanding the different types of search queries and the benefits and challenges of both paid ads and organic listings, businesses can develop a strategy that utilizes both in order to maximize their visibility and success on the internet.