When you’re new to SEO, one of the things you need to understand is SERP and how it impacts your optimization strategies.
What is a SERP?
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. It is the page that you see after you enter a query on any search engine. This page includes organic search results, paid search, and pay-per-click ads.
The SERP determines how a site appears on search results. Some features attract more users and gain more clicks. This is why understanding SERPs is important in SEO.
What are the features of a SERP?
There are dozens of SERP features and search engines are constantly testing new ones as well. Each feature has its own merits and impacts how a business crafts its SEO strategies. Below are just some of the most common features of a SERP.
Paid ads are what users first see on top of a SERP. These are clearly marked as “Ads” and appear before any organic search results. They work on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis where prime placement is given to the highest bidder.
Organic or non-paid search results are listed under the Paid Ads. They are displayed with their titles, URLs, and descriptive snippets. These pages are taken from the search engine index and ranked according to an algorithm. Usually, the most relevant and high-quality pages appear on the first page of SERPs.
To attract more visitors, site owners strive to gain a spot in the featured snippets. These appear in a box separate from the list of search results. They display content from the sites in different formats such as a short paragraph, a list, or a table. If the content is useful, the snippet can get a high click rate. However, a site must already rank high on the first page to get a featured snippet.
When an algorithm determines that visual information is relevant to a query, it displays a row of images with a clickthrough to Images Search. This row of images is called the Image Pack. Pages that use accurate and descriptive file names, image captions, and alt text are likely to appear here.
Informational queries usually get top results in a knowledge card. This is a box on top of the SERP that provides a definitive answer to a search query. It shows quick facts and links to other sites relevant to the query.
Like the Knowledge Card, the Knowledge Panel displays information that answers a query. It appears on the right-hand side of the page and includes more targeted results. When a business page appears here, it is usually shown with its logo, address, phone number, operating hours, website, and links to social media accounts.
The local pack appears when a user searches for keywords that include the name of a location. It also appears when a product or service being searched is available nearby. It is displayed as a map with pins marking the places or businesses related to the search. A list of names and contact information for the marked sites is also listed below the map.
Local Teaser Pack
The local teaser pack is similar to the local pack but provides more information about the businesses related to the search. It includes a clickable image next to the business name. Users can click on the image to view more details about the specific site.
The news box is relevant to news sites or sites that publish recent events. This appears in results for time-specific queries.
A SERP always includes a list of questions that are similar to the search query. The list is displayed under “People also ask” and provide users more information relevant to their search.
Transactional queries include Reviews in their SERP. The reviews are displayed with their star rankings. Sites with 4 or 5 stars get more clicks from users. To appear in this feature, a site must enable star ratings and testimonials using a plugin on their pages.
Another feature that appears in transactional queries is the Shopping Result. This appears at the top of the page and shows products from paid ads. It displays the product name, price, seller, and other product details.