What the heck is a SERP?
Updated: Jun 1
What is a Search Engine Results Page, or SERP? It's the page that a search engine returns after a user submits a search query. In addition to organic search results, search engine results pages (which we will call SERPs moving forward) usually include paid search (often called SEM) and pay-per-click (PPC) ads. And, yes, SEM and PPC can be used interchangeably. Thanks to search engine optimization (SEO), the ranking, or position, on a SERP can be highly competitive because searchers are more likely to click on results at the top of the page. With the launch of schema markup, SERPs are becoming much more complex to try to anticipate user needs. If you're like me, you're more likely to click on the organic results before paid results, which is why it's so important to understand the art and science behind SEO.
SEO doesn't have to be a mystery. AGM Digital is here to help.
Websites that rank on the first page win over 90% of consumer traffic of all Google search results, whether they be paid search (PPC/SEM) or organic (SEO) results. If your website isn't there yet, don't fret. There are many different strategies you can employ to help boost your ranking and some of them are really easy. First, you have to understand the different types of search engine results pages and how they rank results.
First, the basics. What is a search engine results page?
A SERP is a page you see after you search for something on Google, Bing, Baidu, or any other search engine. Each search engine's SERP algorithm is different, but as Google is the most popular with over 80% of the market share, we'll focus on its features.
What are the different types of search queries?
The SERP features that display after a search depends on the type of search the user is doing. Searches usually fall into 1 of 3 search types: navigational, informational, or transactional.
A navigational query is an internet search with the intent of finding a specific website or web page. For example, the search query "facebook" is navigational because the goal is to access Facebook. Think of a navigational query as an alternative to typing a full URL. (Source: https://www.wordstream.com/navigational-query)
An informational query is a search where the user's primary goal is to get an answer to a particular question or find a specific piece of information. The query is informational if there is an intent to find facts, data, or knowledge. (Source: https://ahrefs.com/seo/glossary/informational-query)
Informational queries are important because they allow you to establish yourself/your company as an authority within your market, display your resources, and introduce your products, services, and business to prospective customers.
Transactional search queries
Transactional search queries indicate an intent to complete a transaction (thanks, Dr. Obvious), such as making a purchase. Transactional queries may include exact brand and product names or are generic. In either case, transactional queries have the most revenue potential, so the associated keywords tend to have a lot of bids for pay-per-click spots. Accordingly, the organic search results for transactional queries are likely to have corresponding relevant paid results, too.
Despite my hesitancy to click first on paid ads, they are popular among businesses because they're effective at the business end of the conversion funnel. According to research by WordStream, almost 65% of clicks on transactional SERPs are on paid ads.
Now that you're familiar with different query types do an audit of your content to see how it breaks out. In my next post on SEO and PPC, I'll cover the different kinds of search results and how to make sure the content you already have is showing up.