Every industry has its own lingo and acronyms. The medical profession has its M.D.s. Professions that offer services to the public have their SPs (Service Providers). And in the digital world, online businesses care about the SERP.


When you are new to the world of online advertising, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the SERP. There are so many other things to consider when marketing a website, so it’s understandable how one can overlook the importance of something right in front of you.


While some may overlook it, the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) should not be discounted. SERPs are the gatekeepers of the digital world and they wield immense influence. Used countless times a day, it is the intermediary that connects people to websites.


Before you can make it to the top in any field, you first need to understand the game. So, in today’s post we start with the basics and explore the anatomy of the SERP. By understanding the core basics, strategies can be developed to maximize marketing efforts and get you to the coveted first page placement.



What is a SERP?

A SERP is the webpage returned to a user after a search engine query has been performed. The user would type in a word or phrase (known as keywords) into a search engine and a series of websites would be suggested to help the user find the information they are looking for.


Because each user is unique, search engines do their best to tailor the search results to meet each person’s needs. Factors such as the physical location of a user, their browsing history, and social settings all play a factor in which websites appear in the SERP.



Why Are SERPs Important?

1. They Are the Gatekeepers

A SERP can be considered the digital world’s gatekeeper. It determines what websites appear on page one and what websites appear on page 311. Now, appearing on page one is a big deal and the numbers back this up.


Sean Si took a look at the click through rates of different positions on the SERP. He found that the 1st position on a results page had a click through rate of approximately 42%. The second position had a rate of approximately 12% and the tenth position had a rate of only 3%. And that is just the first page of results!


What this means for you is that if your website doesn’t show up on the first page of results, it’s highly unlikely that you are going to see the flood of traffic you are hoping for. If you want to get noticed, you need to appear on page one.



2. They are Matchmakers

A SERP can also be considered a matchmaker. It has considered all the possibilities out there and has chosen the best of the best to show you in descending order. And not only does it show you the name of the website, it also shows you a little bit about it too. This helps you to get to know the website a bit more to see if it’s something of interest to you.


SERP snippet example


Here is an example of some returned search results from Google. The title of the webpage appears in blue text. The URL is displayed using green text and the black text is a short description about the page. Put all together, this grouping is called a snippet and it allows you to scan the results so you can find what you are looking for.



The Types of SERP Results

There are two main search result categories; sponsored results and organic results.


Sponsored results usually appear at the top of the first page and have the word “Ad” at the beginning of their site description. This means that someone has paid to have their site appear in that spot.


SERP example

Organic results usually appear after the sponsored sites. These are the sites determined to be the best match for your query based on the search engine’s algorithm. Showing up in the organic results section is a big deal as demonstrated by an entire industry being created for the purpose of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO experts work hard to help websites improve their search engine ranking so they can get noticed by their target markets.


Showing up in the organic results section is a big deal as demonstrated by an entire industry being created for the purpose of search engine optimization. Share on X


Final Thoughts

Optimizing your site for search engines is a vital step for any website owner. You want people to find your site, so you need to ensure that you appear as close to the top of the SERP as possible. By understanding the basics of the search engine results page, you can develop an SEO strategy that will give you the best chance for success.




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