SERP stands for “search engine results page.” This page is what a search engine displays after a user enters a search query.
It contains links to web pages that are relevant to the user’s query, as well as other information or images.
Many search engine result pages (SERPs) have paid advertisements at the top of the page, with organic results below.
Why SERP matters
Most people click on an organic result on the SERPs’ first page and rarely on the second page.
This is why most people want to rank on Google’s first page.
If you are on page two or above, you are practically invisible.
However, ranking on the top of the SERP only sometimes means much traffic for several reasons.
Firstly, Paid ads often push organic rankings down.
For example, Google displays four paid ads above organic results for “buy eyeglasses online,” resulting in 39% of all organic clicks going to paid results.
Secondly, Google sometimes displays SERP features that respond to the query in search results.
The Most Important SERP Features:
Featured snippets are an essential element that Google has extracted from a web page to condense critical points.
Featured Snippets are usually displayed at the top of the organic SERP.
Therefore, they are one of the most potent SERP attributes.
Featured snippets can be of different types. Many of them are text-heavy.
Images are included in other featured snippets.
Additionally, some featured snippets include a preview of the embedded video.
“Questions related to your search” box.
The People Also Ask box lists several questions related to the initial search query.
They are often displayed for keywords that have commercial or informational research purposes.
The People Also Ask dialog box appears when you search “Does it snow in New Zealand?”
When you click a question in the People Also Ask box, that question expands with a featured snippet inside.
As well as a link to start a new Google search using this question.
Related searches are keywords that are related to your initial search query. When you click on one, Google will open a new SERP with these keyword-related searches displayed at the bottom of the SERP. Moreover, they are trendy.
The most basic version of Relevance Search is simply a list of keywords.
However, some related searches also include the above images.
The knowledge panel is a feature of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) that displays relevant information about a person, place, thing, or topic on the right-hand side of the page. The knowledge panel is generated from various sources, such as Wikipedia, Google Maps, social media profiles, and official websites. The knowledge panel aims to provide users with quick and accurate answers to their queries and enhance their search experience by offering additional links and resources.
Local packs show information about nearby businesses and organizations and built-in maps from Google Maps.
The local packages shown for search queries can be linked to local demand. So naturally, they offer different results depending on the searcher’s location.
This local pack shows up at the top of the SERP when someone in Alexandria searches for bowling.
Local packages may also appear for search queries that do not have an explicit local search intent.
However, they will generally rank lower on the SERP in this case.
For flight search queries, Google typically shows the Google Flights SERP feature. Google Flights SERP features can be interactive, like this one for the keyword “LA to Hawaii.”
Image wrapping is how Google displays images on the SERP. Clicking on one of them will take you to the Google Images search results page.
Image packs can be displayed anywhere in regular search results. Sometimes, they are shown as a drop-down carousel.
They can be presented in a row or a larger package. Here is the image pack for the keyword Norway.
Moreover, a larger image pack below shows the keyword “Adidas Shoes.”
In this case, some images have a shopping tag icon. This indicates that the photo was taken from the retailer’s product page.
The “Recipes” SERP feature is a rich result that displays a list of recipes related to a user’s query. It can include images, ratings, cooking time, calories, and other information to help users decide which recipe to choose. The “Recipes” SERP feature can appear on the main search results page or a dedicated recipe tab. To be eligible for this feature, web admins need to use structured data markup for their recipe pages, following the guidelines from Google.
One of the elements that can appear on SERPs is the Top Stories carousel. This section showcases the latest and most relevant news articles related to the user’s query. The Top Stories carousel can help users stay updated on current events, discover new perspectives, and access authoritative sources.
The Top Stories carousel is not always displayed on SERPs. It depends on several factors, such as the user’s location, language, device, and query intent. For example, if the user searches for a general topic, such as “sports,” the Top Stories carousel may not appear.
The Top Stories carousel is also dynamic and constantly changing. The search engine algorithm determines which articles to display based on relevance, freshness, quality, and diversity. The algorithm also considers user preferences, such as search history and settings. The Top Stories carousel may change in real time as new articles are published or updated.
The Top Stories carousel is an essential feature for both users and publishers. It can help users find the most timely and trustworthy news content online. It can help publishers increase their visibility, traffic, and engagement. However, publishers need to follow specific guidelines and best practices to appear on the Top Stories carousel, such as using structured data, optimizing for mobile devices, and adhering to quality standards.
As you can see, there is no standard search engine results page SERP.
Search engine results pages can vary significantly from keyword to keyword and location to location.
However, after understanding how Search engines work, you can go to the next step in your SEO journey.