The term, Google SERPs*, may seem like a daunting, new digital marketing vocabulary word to add to your list, but you are way more familiar with SERPs than you think. You probably visit the SERPs every day—multiple times a day, in fact. Google Search Engine Results Pages are what you get when you type in a search query to everyone’s favorite search platform.
Let’s break down why these pages are so crucial to a company’s web presence and what you’ll see in each results page.
* There are, of course, many different search engines, and thus, many types of search engine results pages. However, we are only covering the anatomy of Google SERPs in this blog. You know, since no one uses Bing or Yahoo!, anyway.
Why Should I Care about Google SERPs?
Google’s search engine results pages exist to provide potential answers to a user query entered into a search box. Everything we do toward a company’s SEO is meant to get their website to rank high on Google to increase their visibility.
In a digital marketing mindset, the best place to be on the Internet is the first page of Google. Why not settle for page two or three? Well, many people often stop reading through results at the bottom of page one—if they even get past the first four organic results, that is.
So, like Ricky Bobby says, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
Breaking Down Google Search Results Page Layout
If you’re new to the whole Google SERPs thing, (and if you are, where the heck have you been the last 20 years?), here are the components of a SERP:
Paid search results
The first part of the anatomy of Google SERPs is the paid search results. When you type in a search, you’ll see paid, or pay per click (PPC), search results at the top. This shows the ads that business owners and marketers buy to have their business show up in Google search results. Text ads show the word “Ads” in green next to the listing and can show up at the top or the very bottom of the page.
Shopping ads show up as images at the top of the Google SERPs or on the right sidebar. They have the word “Sponsored” next to the results to show that it’s paid content you’re seeing.
Local search results
When you search for a local business, service, or product, Google will notice that your search is related to a location. Thus, they’ll show you local results through Google My Business. They’ll provide you what is called the “local pack,” or three relevant listings that are best for the searcher, depending on their location. These are linked to Google Maps to make it even easier for users to find you.
Google will also present to you a Local Knowledge Graph which is linked to the business’s Google My Business account. These results are based on branded searches that are specific to a business or product. This little card will give you all the crucial information you need about a business, like their website, phone number, address, and hours of operation.
The good stuff: organic search results
The next section of the Google SERPs (and the most important, if I do say so myself) are the unpaid, organic search results. Google organizes these listings by relevance to the search terms, in addition to many other ranking factors. All the work SEOs do is for a position here on the first page.
Here are some of the aspects of the Google SERPs organic results:
Title: Most of the time, Google pulls the title from the web page itself. For the best results, create titles that are about 60 characters long, include a relevant keyword, and are eye-catching to the user.
URL: Google generates the URL of the page and sometimes omit the middle sections if the link is pretty long. The length and awkwardness of your URLs can affect your ranking. Optimize your URLs with your content’s title to make it shorter, and avoid long chains of numbers and other random characters. For better use experience, some URLs also include the site’s breadcrumb navigation.
Snippet: This section offers a description of the page, also known as meta description. Google sometimes grabs content from the page to plug it in here when it’s relevant to the search query. However, you can optimize this snippet to make your content more successful in the SERPs depending on the keywords you’re targeting. These keywords show up in bold when a user searches for them.
Want to Be First in the SERPs?
Post Launch is here to help you navigate the Google SERPs, as well as put in the hard work to get you ranking there. Contact our Las Vegas SEO agency to get started.