what is serps

What are SERPs and Why It’s Important in SEO?

You have read a blog post and come across the word SERPs and want to know what are SERPs?

In short, SERP or SERPs means Search Engine Results Pages.

This is how Google search or any search engine reacts to the search queries received from users each day.

SERPs are very important to SEO and that is why you need to know how it will affect the search result.

When you perform a search query on Google, your search result will include paid Google Ads, Featured Snippets, Organic result, Knowledge Graphs, and video results.

Google receives a lot of queries from individuals every day.

Most of that queries are extracted from over three billion web pages where Google algorithm finds the one that best fits your query.

According to AnswerThePublic, “There are 3 billion Google searches every day, and 20% of those have never been seen before. They’re like a direct line to your customers’ thoughts…”

To be precise, Google makes up 92.19% of the search engine market share. – Search Engine Journal.

But none of the results on the internet tends to move Digital Marketers enough as search engine optimization – SEO.

That is where your most potential customers are, followed by Google Ads usage and Social media Ads.

You might be asking the same question, why are SERPs so important to SEO?

Don’t worry, I will explain that in this article.

How does SERPs Work?

If you’ve been performing search then you must have been seeing SERPs but you don’t know what is SERPS?

In another way round.

When you start typing your keywords to Google search engine and hit enter.

The feedback Google will send to your system is what is called SERP.

what are serps preview

When you receive that feedback, you will see so many SERP features from Google.

Mostly, you will often see the organic result and paid results.

Other search results you will see are Google My Business, Map, Featured Snippets, People Also Ask, video results, and many more.

These two most SERPs features actually depend on your search queries and how Google algorithms understand it.

However, the paid search result you receive is from the Google Ads which is paid advertisement. This is based on your search quires and paid to bid.

In addition to that, this is what Google knows as “ad relevancy“.

You can solely determine your Google Ads quality score and relevancy through your ads, keywords, and landing pages.

The other result you’ll receive is the organic result which is determined by the Google algorithm.

These have to do with how your content is relevant to the search queries, it’s a keyword and user experience.

Mostly, this can as well be determined by the competition in the best results found by Google algorithm.

Thirdly, you also have the featured snippets which you’ll see as the first result if your query is a question or listing search.Let’s now get to see why SERPs are important in SEO.

Why are SERPs so Important in SEO?

Google uses SERPs to know-how your website/blog is performing on the first page.

For instance, you happen to work your way and rank for a keyword then suddenly it changes and someone else website ranked for that word.

The truth is, Google will always find the best result to provide a better user experience to its audience.

It doesn’t mean that your result was not better or perhaps the best.

It just that someone else has written content on that same topic and provides better information than yours.

Or it can be that your content is out of date which needs to be updated in order to fit in the trending result.

Constant update of your content will lead you to continue ranking for that particular keyword but not a guarantee.

Let me set an example for your understanding.

If you write an article on “Best smartphone 2020” and wait to see your post rank on the first page or #1 result.

SERPs features showing position one ranking

Until you can find your website position in that first organic result in the search result you have not yet ranked for that keyword.

In some cases, if your content was in google performance, it can take up to 6 months while some are within 7 days or less.

It all depends on the competition of that particular keyword and how your article provides better user performance.

Note: Not all your articles will rank on #1 result or first page but some can rank for a month or even a year.

You Rank for a Keyword But No Click: Why It’s So?

The featured snippet has a big impact on your clicks and that is why your Google search console will give you more impression on a keyword but less click.

For example, someone performs a search on “how many people live in Lagos” and here is the result.

SERP – Google featured snippet

You start writing an article on that same query.

You will tend to have more impressions in your search console but no click.

This is because Google featured snippet has already provided the answer to the person from the search result.

If it were you, what else would you have done.

Would you’ve visited other people’s websites when Google has already provided the answer?

That is why some keywords with the highest search volume don’t convert as others.

It might be that the search queries are a question keyword that Google featured snippet has the answer already.

For you to overcome this such mistake, just focus on “longtail keyword” that the answer is not short but need a better explanation.

How Organic Search Result Work?

To rank your website as the #1 result or on the first page is simple if you keep to the ranking secret.

Although Google ranking factor is a top-secret to the world of digital marketing, they’re more information out there that can help your ranking.

Google ranking factor is totally determined by 200+ ranking signals of the algorithm.

Even thou the ranking factor of Google has always been a secret but they are these five things that will guarantee your organic ranking.

  1. Off-Page SEO: This factor has to do with how many websites link to your own website which is called “backlink”
  2. On-page SEO: This other factor has to do with the keyword you use for your article (H1 tag) and how frequently it appears in your content (H2 and paragraphs).
  3. Site Speed: If your user waits much longer to see the result on your page, this will affect how you rank for that particular keyword.
  4. Website Awareness: This has to do with how long your site has existed and the user reactions to your content which will indicate in bounce rate.
  5. Trust signal: Maybe you’ve heard of Domain Authority “DA”, this shows how important and relevant your website is to the public.

Top Secret: Google use your first 100 words to determine what your content is all about.

Note: None of this information is been well proven by Google on how your website will be rank but it what other digital marketers have experience in the past years.

Sometimes a new website tends to rank for that particular keyword more than the authority website.

This shows that there are other things that add up to the 200+ ranking factor signal for any page.

What is The Standard Organic Search Result in SERPs?

The standard organic search result snippet for SERPs includes three to four things.

  • Page title (title tag)
  • Page URL
  • Meta description
  • Publication date
organic search results example - SERPs

Why you will see three and four in some snippet results is actually determined by the website owner but it really affects SEO.

Sometimes when Google is doing an update in its algorithm, more features are rolling-in why some are ignored.

This combined to affect the way your website is rank on the first page and the number one result.

However, the publication date is mostly considered in some pages but you might not find it shown in the organic result.

Organic search results example with date - SERPs

It might be that the website owner has deactivated it or Google itself doesn’t want to show it.

Even with that, if Google wants to show the publication date of some website even when deactivated you will still see it.

Maybe you have searched for a band website then you come across this.

Organic search results with sitelinks - SERPs

It happens because the human experience has discovered that it is a brand name but not a normal search keyword.

With that, Google will be showing “sitelinks” of that website below the organic search result.

Some of these pages are where you’ll find major information about that website that tends to be the authority page of that website.

Sometimes you will find 6 sitelinks or 4 or even 2 sitelinks (as shown above) on the result page.

This is automatically determined by Google itself and the human experience behind it.

Sitelinks link to sections of a page. Or to related pages on the same website.

And when Schema is used on a page, Google will sometimes add review stars, images, and event info that turn a normal result into a “Rich Snippet”.

Here is an example of Rich snippet.

Organic search results example with image and review stars- SERPs

What are the Paid Search Results in SERPs?

Maybe you’ve performed a search in Google and see a small “Ad” icon located beside the “URL” of the website at the top left corner of their snippet.

paid ad example - SERPs

Anytime you come across sometimes like that as the first snippet, just know that it is a paid search result.

According to Rank Ranger, Paid Ads are seeing on an average 51.61% of page one SERPs.

This shows that many websites tend to pay Google through “Google Ads” to be rank on page one.

With this, the website will receive more website traffic that converts to sales because those are the actual buyers.

If there is more competition with paid ads placement for that particular keyword, Google will place Ads on both top and bottom of that page result.

Competitive paid ads on SERPs

According to Rank ranger too, there is an average 3.10% ad placement on a page result.

Due to the fact that more ads are placed on that particular page result, the snippet will be more than 10 results and even crowd the search result page – SERP.

In that sense, you’ll discover that that keyword is valuable to Google and those websites that paid for it.

However, Paid ads are actually charged by click – CPC. 

It’s can cost anything between $0.02 to even $10.00 or more.

The click rate is as well determined by the country where the clicks are received from.

For example, the keyword “Website hosting” has a CPC of “$3.78” in Nigeria and a CPC of “$25.89” in the United State with Google Adword.

Besides, If you’re using Bing Ads served through Media.net, you’ll get a CPC of “$1.12” in the United State for that same Keyword.

This shows that apart from the CPC – Cost-Per-Click, Country traffic also matters in converting the customer to sales even with Google AdSense.

What are featured snippets result in SERP?

The featured snippet result is short content extracted from a given webpage or video to better explain the steps or processes behind your query.

featured snippet example - SERPs

Mostly, you’ll find featured snippets on a listing search query.

For example.

If you perform searches that contain best, how, and more at the beginning of your search then you’ll get featured snippets to result.

According to an industry study by Ahrefs, 12% of all SERPs have a Featured Snippet.

Here are other types of featured snippets you will find during your search queries.

  • Numbered List: Used for instructions, DIY, recipes, ordered tasks
  • FAQ: A short paragraph in response to “What is” and “Who is” types of searches
  • Tables: a visual display of dates, prices, rates… or any data presented in a table
  • Bulleted List: For rankings and “best of” lists

It’s not only limited to listing…

But anything that Google Algorithm feels like they should be a featured snippet.

In today’s search, Google now featured video snippet which tends to give a better explanation to your query.

However, featured snippet tends to appear in almost 90% of search queries especially if the query is all about the question.

In fact, that position in “SERPs” mostly refers to as “Position #0”.

It can be an opportunity for the most search query and a threat to others because it gives nearly every information about that search keyword.

And when it does…

You can find your website with a super high organic CTR – Click Through Rate.

What is Direct Answer Box in SERPs?

Direct answer box in SERPs simply gives the direct answer to any search query.

direct answer result example - SERPs

According to Rank Renger, an estimated 18% of every search result includes direct answers provided by Google.

However, Google considers this answer as a public domain that doesn’t have to cite any source or link to any page.

If you write an article on any keyword that contains a direct answer box, your content tends to only have an impression but no CTR even on the first page.

What is the Knowledge Panel in SERPs?

The Knowledge Panel is also known as “knowledge graph” is an organic search result usually found on the side widget of SERPs.

Knowledge panel result example -SERPs

However, this knowledge panel is usually shown as “bio info” or “biodata” for a given company, brand, personality, and place.

The information is actually scraped from a different source. 

About 85% of the knowledge panel is scraped from Wikipedia.

What are Local Packs in SERP?

Local packs are a local search result for a location, store, or places that can easily be located on the map.

Most of this local pack’s results are scraped from Google my Business and manually review by humans.

Here is an example of how it looks.

For instance, you search for someone in a particular profession, the Google Local Packs will provide results base on your location.

Local park result example

This also implies if you perform a search on places, stores, popular location, and so on.

Most of the time, it’s not necessary a location but your query seems to Google algorithm that your result should include Local packs.

Let me set another example here.

You perform a search on “Restaurant” or “Printing Press”. Google will now show the result with the one “near me” even if you didn’t include that in your search.

What is Google Image Result in SERPs?

If your search query seems to Google that image will better explain what you need to know then Google will show the image before organic ranking.

However, these images are extracted from Google Image base on your search keyword.

There are some keywords that image best explain the meaning and convey result in more than text or videos.

Google image results example

Such a result is better to understand by Google even if you didn’t ask for an image.

What is Video Result on SERPs?

According to Stone Temple, 80% of video results shown by Google are from YouTube.

Since Google understands its neighbor business “YouTube” for video.

They will try to provide you with a bunch of information that best explains your search.

Video results example in SERPs

Basically, the search result is shown in either one preview or packs of 3 videos with a carousel.

This feature in “SERP” does not stick to all search query and it solely depends on your keyword.

For example, your search for “How to Start a Youtube” 

Google will see that video will better result than the article

In other words, they tend to show you videos results from YouTube which will definitely help you.

However, it’s not known to anyone how Google knows which keyword will show video instead of an article.

If it’s known then YouTubers will have leverage the opportunity to rank on both search engines.

The People Also Ask snippet

This is a new feature that was introduced by Google which tends to be more useful to their audiences.

Moz explains that 58% of the search result on SERP contains “People Also Ask snippet”.

It turns out to be a free keyword research tool to many marketers.

For example, your search for “Inspirational books”

People Also Ask results snippet in SERPs

If you scroll to the SERP then you will find the “People Also Ask” snippet.

When you click and expand it.

Google will then show you a short answer to that question shown on snippet.

That answer is scraped from a different article which they will link to in the bottom of each answer.

However, If you haven’t used those features before a keyword research tool, that means so many longtail traffic has been passing you.

You can utilize that result as a keyword for blog posts, YouTube videos, and even Podcasts.

What is Google Shopping Results in SERP?

The Google shopping result is shown when you type in keywords that associate with product listing or online store.

Google Shopping results example on SERPs
Screenshot from Backlinko – Source: Backlinko.com

However, some of those Shopping results are paid ads but some are organic results that send the potential buyers to the actual product listing page.

In other words, Google shopping results can also be known as “Product Listing”.

This is one of the recent Google snippet features that tend to promote e-commerce in search engines.

Top Stories featured Snippet

Google shows this result as a link to news sources regarding recent trends on that keyword.

For example, your search for a Country like “Nigeria” or a brand like “Tecno” to even personality.

Google to stories results  example

Google will provide top stories result from the different News site.

These Top stories can be either in the “listing” or “Consuel” format of the snippet.

Note: Unlike most of the other SERP features on this list, your site has to be Google News approved to get in the Top Stories section.

Twitter Results on SERPs

The twitter result is displayed when you search for a brand or personality that has a twitter account.

Google will try to find out that twitter account.

Twitter result example on SERPs

Link it recent tweet in three “pin cards” with the twitter username and tweet time/date at the bottom.

It’s not only twitter that that will show but as well as Facebook, Youtube, and others.

However, it’s only twitter that tends to draw the attention of searchers.

It comes in the form of “business card”.

TV Show

If your search query is about a tv channel, entertainment subscription service or streaming music and video website.

Google will show a preview of movies or music.

Here is an example.

TV show results example

Search Related result in SERPs.

This is where Google will inform you about the keyword that is related to the one you were searching for.

Searches related results example

Google extracts that data from the way peoples use the Google search engine.

However, it shows that when people search for that query, they also want to know more about the suggested related query.

You’ll find searches related at the bottom of the SERPs.

My Final Lesson to you

SERPs are very important to SEO

No matter what your online business is, you need SEO to gain more customers.

Even if your online business is for products or services, you should try to take advantage of either four of those SERP’s features.

However, most of those features categories are free to gain for your business, you just need to understand how it works.

Basically, I will recommend you focus on organic results and featured snippets.

Paid ads work very well for e-commerce and service websites.

This will cost you more money.

If properly optimized ad then you’ll see over 10x return on investment – ROI.

The website traffic will come constantly but immediately you stop paying for it, your website traffic will drop.

For organic traffic, it will convert for a lifetime as long as you keep producing valuable content that focuses on reader interest first.

The People Also Ask snippet, knowledge panel, Google Images are not determined by you but by Google algorithm.

When you leverage YouTube to start promoting your online business, you will see a high rise in your traffic and discovering potential clients.

Don’t forget to set up Google My Business page for your business both with online detail and physical address (if there is).

The Bottom Line

Now that you’ve known what are SERPs and why it is so important to SEO.

What will be your next steps? Have you ever ranked on Google first page before? How will you outsmart SERP in your online business?

I am curious about knowing how I can help you better.

Use the comment box to tell me anything while I see how I can help your business grow.

Remember to visit this website frequently for your to-do SEO technique.

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