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What Does SERP Stand for?

What does SERP stand for
An example of a SERP

SERP is a commonly used term when talking about SEO. A basic understanding of SERPs and their relevance to your digital marketing efforts is crucial to developing a successful SEO strategy. In this article, we delve into SERPs, their features, and how they’re relevant to SEO. But first, what does SERP stand for?


What Does SERP Stand for?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Any time someone searches for something on Google or any other search engine, the SERP lists all the results relevant to their search. Google uses an algorithm to assess the relevance of these results to the search query and ranks them accordingly. So, the most relevant sites will appear on the coveted first page of the Google.

The term SERP describes the results page of any search engine. In this article, we’ll refer to Google, given its dominance of the search engine market. So, let’s take a closer look at the different features of a Google SERP.


What Are the Different Features of a SERP?

Google’s SERP displays organic search results as well as a combination of different features, depending on the nature of the search.

Organic search results are the results most relevant to the user’s search terms. Google’s algorithm determines what appears as an organic result, and websites can’t buy these spaces.

A Wide Variety of Features

In addition to organic search results, Google’s SERP will include other features, such as:

  • Paid ad listings: Depending on the type of search, paid ad listings usually appear at the top of the SERP.
  • Knowledge cards: These are a concise direct answer to a general knowledge question the user has asked.
  • Knowledge panels: These contain details on places, people, or things. They collate the information Google collects each time someone does a related search.
  • Featured snippets: Sometimes called answer boxes, these are excerpts from a webpage that concisely answer a user’s question. A featured snippet will appear at the top of the first SERP. They can contain definitions, steps, tables, or lists.
  • People Also Ask boxes: These present questions related to the user’s search terms. Each suggestion in a People Also Ask box will contain drop-down featured snippets in response to the question.
  • Video and image carousels: These highlight videos and images that are relevant to the search query. They are usually presented at the top of the page.
  • Sitelinks: Links featured underneath the main URL for a domain that Google thinks will help users who want to navigate to a specific page of a website.
  • Top stories: These feature important or breaking news relevant to a search.
  • Product carousels: Product carousels appear when the search indicates buyer intent. They consist of photos of items available on e-commerce sites.
  • Related questions: These appear at the end of a SERP. They’re questions related to the original search that Google thinks might interest the user.

Exactly which features appear on a SERP depends on the nature of the search and the device being used. SERPs on a mobile device appear differently to those on a desktop. Let’s take a closer look at how different kinds of searches impact a SERP.


Types of Search Queries

A search can be:

  • Navigational – The user is looking for a specific website but doesn’t know the full URL. For example, “twitter” is a navigational search.
  • Informational – The user wants to find out more about a topic or answer a question they have. “Men’s runners” or “how to make pancakes” are examples of informational searches.
  • Transactional – The user is looking to complete a transaction, usually by buying a product. Some examples of transactional searches are “buy coffee pods” or “women’s Adidas Stan Smiths”.

The type of search influences what features appear in the SERP. For example, if someone does a transactional search, the SERP will present a product carousel at the top of the first page. If someone does an informational search for “how to make pancakes”, a featured snippet with a recipe for pancakes will probably appear at the top of the SERP instead.

But how exactly is all of this relevant to your website’s digital marketing strategy?


Why Are SERPs Relevant to SEO?

The aim of SEO is to get your website ranking highly on the SERPs to drive traffic to your website. A Google search will generate thousands of results. The higher your website appears in SERPs, the more likely users are to click through to it.

In fact, a recent study found that the first organic result in a SERP has an average click-through rate of 28.5%. The click-through rate for the second organic result then drops to 15%.

When developing an effective SEO strategy, it’s important to understand exactly which SERP features you’re targeting. Targeting the right features improves the chances of your website appearing in the top search results. This boosts the visibility and credibility of your site, leading to increased traffic and conversions.

If you want to learn more about SEO basics, read our other articles here!

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