This year and for many years to come, billions of people will do internet searches. They do this by entering a query of some sort into a search engine, like Google. Google is clearly the top search engine for such queries. The results that show up on your webpage for your search, is called a Search Engine Results Page (SERP). In this article we are going to discuss a lot about SERP and how it is defined.
Let’s get started.
What Is SERP?
Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are pages that contain a list of websites as a result of a user entering a query into a search engine. These pages are displayed by the search engine, showing results that align with the keywords in the user’s query. The websites displayed and the pages the search engine presents are ranked according to the relevance to the searched content.
The search results displayed in SERP are generally categorized into two types, Organic search or a Sponsored search:
• Organic search is results retrieved by the search engine algorithm using keywords and type of query the user requested. They may include images, videos, lists of relevant websites, maps, and the most recent search results in many search engines, the feature snippet.
• Sponsored search is the content that advertisers choose to show. These are typically the big guys who have the money to pay to be featured on the first page of a search engine. They will show up as Ad, as shown below in the example query in Figure 1. The second result is not an add and would an awesome ranking for the content creator, in position 1 on page 1. That is where we want to be ranked with our content!
As you can see above in Figure 1, the list of relevant websites displayed include a title, a link that would take the user to the actual page, and a brief description that show the keywords and how they are associated with the content. The description is often written by the owner of the website and helps the user decide what result best suits their need. Hopefully, it is the first result that is not an Ad.
Search engines have universal search features and massive databases that help in best answering the query posed by a user. This leads to a huge number of responses that relate to the query or feature keywords from the search. The several pages that pop up range from higher ranking pages that have the most relevant content to lower ranking pages that have are not as relevant to the user’s query.
How Does Mastering SERP Get an Article Ranked to Page 1?
First of all, you need to know that Google’s algorithms are constantly being updated, so no matter what you do, you still may not make it to page 1 position 1 all the time. But, if you do proper SEO to get to the top of SERP, you have a fighting chance.
To get consistent traffic to your website, you need to have a high listing on SERP and appear at a relatively high position for success. A successful website is one that is ranked on the first page of a search engine, and in the first 10 search results. Users who have done a search rarely even venture to the second page of results, because those results tend to not meet the complete search query. Bottom line, a good SERP ranking is key to your success.
The ranking of SERP after a search is determined by the search engines algorithms. The keywords and their combination entered during a search play a role on how the search engines algorithm works. Search engines also customize their response to fit individual users, making every SERP unique even when the same keywords are used.
The quality of page content and relevance of information is also a big part on how well the website is ranked on SERP. Search engines, like Google, have even taken it a step further an added a feature where SERP can reflect user location and search history. This feature can be disabled if the user feels their privacy is being infringed upon.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was among the first determinants of how a website ranked until SERP features were updated to be more efficient. The presence of relevant keywords on the websites is still a factor that plays a part in the ranking. For example, Google applies more than 200 SEO factors when ranking websites. This feature also includes the detection of semantic relationships, so it’s important for the website to also have optimized topics.
Let’s summarize how mastering SERP will help get your articles on page one of search engines:
• SEO your site, your content, your images, and your videos.
• Create high quality relevant content. Remember quality, not just quantity. Content is King!
• Make sure you have great keywords that people are searching for. I Highly recommend Jaaxy as the best keyword research tool on the planet. I use it every day.
Is On-page SEO enough though, to get you ranked on the top of SERP?
Is It Possible to Rank On Top of SERP with Only On-Page SEO?
Ultimately, SEO makes the user search experience easier and gives websites a strong standing when it comes to phrases and words to use in their description. We’ve already seen that in the end, a search engine considers a number of factors to influence the ranking of websites on SERP. Google, for example, created SERP on-page content that answers the users queries at the top of the page without the need to click on a website. This feature gives instant answers that are optimal for the user and showcases whichever website catered for the right arrangement or presence of keywords searched. However, it makes it harder for website owners relying on organic search results to get noticed, even when highly ranked on SERP.
As a website owner, you need to stay up-to-date with all the SERP features that will help your ranking. The search engine algorithm looks into several aspects of both the user and your website quality before it’s able to rank you. Things like Google SERP tools help you learn about how you can increase your visibility and ranking on SERP to better market your website. To check your ranking on SERP there are several apps and websites online that help you discover how well your website is doing.
My favorite SERP tool is SEMrush. I use it and it has found many issues with my site that I have been able to quickly resolve. There are other good SERP tools out there, including Ahrefs, that many internet/affiliate marketers really like.
To be on the top of SERP, you need not only On-Page SEO, but also Off-Page SEO, so make sure you learn to do both.
Final Thoughts on the Importance of SERP.
It is of importance to know that one of the most common ways of topping the results list is by paying for it. Unlike the organic results, which are determined by a bunch of algorithms, these results have been put on display due to payment by advertisers. So, a certain amount of money can be paid to get an article at the top of the search listing. Us little guys can’t afford that, so we have to rely on great SEO and content.
In the past and even now to an extent, ranking signals were important to the placement of an article index wise in the results listing. Ranking signals are factors that determine the placement of an article in a results listing. Ranking factors form the search algorithm, which is used by search engines. There are some factors or signals that are argued to be more important than others, but outside the companies behind these algorithms the public is not privy to this information.
One of the most important ranking signals is when several external links lead to a specific web page or website. This will positively impact the indexing of the article on a search listing.
SERP has evolved over the years to include images, videos, reviews, and even maps instead of just plain text. You need to be able to keep up with the updates and changing trends to ensure your website is a success.
I subscribe to Search Engine Journal (SEJ) and it is Free to join, and it always is up to date on SEO, SERP and everything related. They even find ways to figure out what the latest Google updates are going to do to our websites.