SERP stands for “Search Engine Result Page”. The term describes the search results pages of search engines such as e.g. Google.
The SERPs of the search engines list the search results of the search queries.
On the search results page, the results of the requested keywords are ranked.
The display of SERP’s is done through a pre-calculated results page – meaning the results are merely retrieved and not recalculated for each query. Thus, the results pages can be displayed by Google at lightning speed.
It can change due to the change of the search query or a change by Google to the search algorithms. Some algorithms are kept secret because they determine the rankings in the SERPs, thus they can prevent unnecessary spam.
Development of the SERP
Today, SERP’s are nothing like they used to be. Back then, SERP’s weren’t really dynamic and therefore looked the same to all users. Since 2015, Google is no longer a pure result provider, but a service provider.
Over the past few years, Google SERPs have been constantly evolving and are now dependent on many different factors. In the past, simple snippets were displayed for the link target, but today they can also consist of infoboxes, Knowledge Graphs or so-called carousel results.
The search query decides what form the SERPs take. So if you search for a well-known athlete, the Knowledge Graph will also provide general information, summarized.
On the right you can see the mentioned Knowledge Graph, which contains all important information. Below is another example of a video carousel.
The use of these ads varies according to the type of search, so SERPs can also consist of news, videos, book titles or images, etc.
Google has added more helpful extras to the SERPs to date. For example, users can book flights and a hotel or even order food without leaving the Google results page.
Snippets in the SERPs
SERPs show the results of a search for a keyword or keyword combination in the form of a snippet.
A “snippet” is the preview of the content in the search results of Google & Co. They are generated depending on the search term and consist of a headline (1) and a link (2) (or, depending on the size, a snippet of a link). Below follows a small description of the content (3) of the link.
The structured data that the search engine reads and processes on the corresponding target page is called Rich Snippets.
You supplement the results with additional information, such as rating stars, illustrations or price details.
The amount of results per SERP are different and changing. Normally Google shows 10 snippets in the SERPs. However, the decisive factor is the search query.
It depends on whether the SERPs are improved with results from image search or from Google News. Are you looking for example. a song on Google, the result will most likely show you Youtube videos with that song first.
Furthermore, the results can be compared with a Knowledge Graph
or a Google Answerbox. A link to an app may appear if the user is using mobile search, for example.
In addition to the so-called organic search hits, paid advertisements(Google Ads) are also shown in the SERPs. These always appear at the top and are marked with the note “Display”. You are charged a certain amount per click to the providers like Google.
Ranking influences for the SERPs
Google’s algorithms use over 100 factors to determine and customize the results page for a search query. It is assumed that the crawler can crawl and index the page.
If this is given, the loading speed, keywords, quality of the content and the link structure still play a role.
Furthermore, user signals such as the return-to-SERP rate or the dwell time influence the placement on the search results pages. Google also takes into account whether a website has a valid SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate. SSL is a hybrid encryption protocol for secure data transmission on the Internet.
It is not possible to say exactly which of the individual factors play the most important role, as Google does not comment on this.
Relevance of SERPs for SEO
The goal of search engine optimization is to get a better position in the SERPs compared to the direct competitor.
In order to drive as much organic traffic as possible to one’s own web content through good rankings, the website must deliver the best and most relevant results for a search query, both technically and in terms of content.
Furthermore, the domain trust and its links also play an important role.
With the help of a meaningful meta title and a short description, you draw the attention of the user to the snippet. In the best case, such a snippet includes a prompt to click. Thus, snippet improvements are an important part of search engine optimization and an integral part of OnPage optimization. For the title and the description in the snippet, search engines usually use the Meta Title as well as the Meta Description of the target page.
Only top 10 SERPs really relevant
For SEOs, the first ten views of the result list are in focus (top 10), since 90% of the clicks of the users are spread and distributed on these . Furthermore, the chance that the user will click on the result increases with an optimized snippet.
Google is tightening up rankings by expanding AdWords ads to show in the top 3 position above organic results. The featured snippets and rich snippets are also another important part. These are search results that are enriched with machine-readable metadata and are intended to provide the user with an immediate answer to their search query.
The ratings are displayed in the search results within the snippet. In this way, the attractiveness of a snippet increases for the user and
the likelihood of him actually clicking on it increases.
As a possibility for rankings on position “zero” the “Direct Answers” (part of the Freatured Snippets) were often measured. Google uses content elements of a web page to answer a user question and ranks them above the regular search hits. Especially in mobile search, this element of the SERPs should be expanded even more.
Due to the increasing importance of mobile internet usage, SERPs are adapting more and more to the needs of users.
It is foreseeable that in the coming future more and more results for search queries with the mobile device will also show apps or links to gadgets.
At the same time, the index is constantly being expanded in order to provide the user with SERP’s that are adapted to him and his situation.
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