SEO Glossary / SERPs


What are Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs)?

Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are the pages displayed by a search engine in response to a user’s query. The results on Google’s SERPs can be categorized into two main types: paid results and organic results.

  • Paid results (ads) appear at the top and bottom of the SERP to attract more attention from searchers.
  • Organic results are determined by the search engine’s algorithm, which evaluates various factors to determine the relevance and quality of web pages.

Today’s Google SERP includes more than the traditional ten "blue link" search results. Some of Google’s SERP features include Knowledge Panels, Featured Snippets, image packs, shopping results, maps, and more.

Why are SERPs Important?

Ranking on SERPs, especially on the first page, is crucial for driving organic search traffic to your site. While paying for ad placements can yield quick results, optimizing for organic search is more sustainable long-term as it doesn't require continuous financial investment.

For most industries, organic search traffic is highly qualified because the results are relevant to the user’s search intent and query. Additionally, for users, SERPs provide a structured and ranked list of results that best meet their needs.

How to Get Your Pages onto SERPs

1. Ensure Your Website is Crawlable and Indexable

Your website must be visible and accessible to search engines to appear on SERPs. Search engines discover your content by crawling and indexing. Crawling involves search engines deploying robots (crawlers or spiders) to scan the internet for new and updated content. Indexing involves storing and organizing the content that has been crawled and is eligible to be ranked.

To ensure your content can be crawled and indexed, use Google Search Console. This tool allows you to submit sitemaps of your website and monitor for any crawl or indexing issues.

2. Create SEO Content

SEO content is created specifically to rank on SERPs. The best approach to creating SEO content is to address topics that searchers are actively searching for while ensuring it is of high quality, benefiting both the search engine and the end user.

When executed effectively, you can establish a feedback loop that contributes to higher rankings for your content. When searchers find value in your content, they are more likely to stay on your page, explore additional pages, and signal to search engines that your content is of high quality. This, in turn, helps your content rank higher, leading to increased visibility and click-through rates from users.

3. Follow On-Page SEO Best Practices

On-page SEO involves optimizing the web page itself to improve rankings. Key on-page SEO tactics include:

  • Keyword Research: Identify relevant keywords and strategically place them in the title tag, H1 heading tags, URL, and meta description.
  • Image Optimization: Add descriptive alt text and filenames for images to help search engines understand and rank the content. Compress images to ensure they don’t slow down your site.
  • Internal Linking: Use internal links from other relevant pages on your site to signal the importance of specific pages to search engines.

Backlinks, or external links, are links from other websites pointing to your site. Search engines consider backlinks as votes of confidence for your content, using them as a signal to rank your site higher.

To acquire backlinks, use methods like guest blogging, reaching out to industry influencers, and creating valuable, linkable content such as infographics or research data. The quality of the site providing the backlink is crucial. High-authority sites boost your rankings more than low-authority sites.

Achieving organic rankings on SERPs is a sustainable strategy, but it can take time. In some cases, advertising on Google can generate immediate clicks from the SERPs. This is especially useful in highly competitive industries or for content targeting users with high purchase intent, like product pages or landing pages for webinars.

Advertising on SERPs can complement your SEO efforts by increasing your visibility and attracting relevant traffic, especially for content with strong conversion potential.

In summary, while organic rankings are ideal, advertising on Google search can enhance your SEO strategy, particularly in competitive markets or for specific high-conversion content.