All About SERPs
Practically everyone has used Google to look things up before, and for many people, it’s become second nature to input a query and get millions of results for that question. This has been happening so frequently over the years that there’s even a name for the lists of these results – Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). They’re displayed after a user inputs a search query, and the most relevant information is served at the top of the page, which means it’s high ranking.
Search Intent and Queries
Search queries are the string of words that a user inputs in the search bar to look up something in a search engine. Every search query corresponds to an underlying intent for the users, which is called search intent. There are four different categories of search intent, including navigational, informational, transactional, and commercial. That means users use search engines to find a specific website, learn something new, purchase something, or investigate a product with the intent to make a purchase later on.
The search engine results pages are always determined by the algorithm that Google uses, which is constantly changing. The results that a user sees when they look up something online show after a three-stage process that Google has developed. The stages include crawling websites, which means the algorithm is looking for updated or new pages to index. Then there’s indexing, which means examining the URL of the page, its content, images, and any other media files, and storing this information in a database. Lastly, there’s the serving stage, which is when Google determines which of all those pages are the most relevant to the search query, and then presents that result to the users.
These days, it’s not enough for a website to simply go through all those three stages to rank on the first page of Google’s SERPs. Websites that are able to rank well usually tend to utilize strong SEO efforts which gives them a competitive advantage. To do well in SERPs, companies should be pleasing the users by answering their search queries, as well as by following all of the SEO rules.
Paid and Organic Search Efforts
When someone inputs a query in the search bar, they get two types of results – organic and paid. Depending on the information they’re looking for, they can get one or both of those types of results. Generally, paid results tend to be the first results that appear after a user enters a search query. They’re placed at the very top of the page before the organic results and come in the form of paid or shoppable ads. Organic results are just underneath the paid ones if those are available. If there aren’t any paid results, the organic ones appear under the search bar.
Organic SEO efforts tend to take up a lot of time and effort to bring a website to a higher rank, but they tend to have long-lasting impacts on the website ranking in SERPs overall. Paid results tend to generate faster results, but companies still have to bid against their competitors to get to that position.