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Understanding SERPs

Understanding SERPs

Nov 23 2020

Any search engine’s primary goal is to answer the searchers intent.  Did you know that there are approximately 40,000 Google search queries per second in 2020?

Search engines show a list of results tailored to the searcher to answer their query. With Google, it presents these results via SERPs, aka Search Engine Results Pages.

There are two main types of SERPs, paid results and organic results.

Businesses pay Google to be on the top paid results section and to gain authority on organic search results. They also often use professional SEO services to rank higher organically.

What are SERPs, and why are they important?

Most people click on websites located on the first page of search results and rarely visit the second page. Looking at search queries from the searchers perspective, if their answer is found on the first page, why keep looking further?

Search engines tend to favour reputable and informative websites. This refers to pages that are more likely to offer exactly what the search intent needs answering within the first SERP.

The first page, though, isn’t always a dependable CTR guarantee. The vast majority of organic clicks go to only the first few positions on a results page.

With paid search results pushing organic links further down the search results scene, organic click-through-rate is declining.

A recommended fool-proof way to acquire organic traffic, countering this digital market invasion is for businesses to have ongoing SEO maintenance.

SERPs create threats and highly valuable opportunities for businesses on the web. Having your content in a SERP featured snippet, for example, will boost your organic CTR through the roof. More on that later in this blog.

What makes each SERP unique? Search engines use keywords to generate content relevant to a search query but also personalises and curates search results based on specific information such as physical location and browsing history.

Up to 180 days of your browsing history can be used to tailor your search results using internet cookies.

Digital cookies are small text files, stored in your browser directory and the program’s data sub-file system. Cookies personalise your browsing experience, keeping track of your movements and log particular details such as settings and logins to enhance browsing efficiency.

Understanding different types of SERPs to boost your SEO ranking

Paid search results appear on almost half of search results pages according to Rank Ranger. These ads are almost identical to organic results, omitting the AD indication on the meta title.

Paid ads work on a pay-per-click or PPC basis where advertisers make bids on relevant keywords to their campaigns. The higher the bid, the higher the paid search result.

In comparison, organic search results are pages from Google’s directory sorted using hundreds of ranking factors then presented to the searcher in the form of a SERP.

These pages are shown as a result of Google’s algorithm, in which SEO favours the most relevant and high-quality content from the internet’s millions of websites.

Wordstream identifies three primary types of internet searches in organic search results:

  • Informational
  • Navigational
  • Transactional

Informational searches have extremely low commercial intent and the results for this kind of search present information in an attempt to answer the searchers’ query.

Navigational search results present location-specific websites for those who can’t remember specific URLs of websites. Transactional search results are most likely paid results, leading with keywords such as “buy”.

Alternative SERP features to explore

There are over a dozen SERP features businesses can use to their advantage, by optimising content specifically for these search results page sections. Most SERP features show up at the top of a page, which pushes organic search results down the page, becoming a threat to businesses.

Having your content displayed in a SERP feature can also be a massive opportunity for websites to grow their organic internet traffic.

The most prominent and well-known SERP feature is Google’s Featured Snippet. This information card presents answers to the searchers’ query directly on the search result page. Some content featured snippets can include FAQs, lists, tables and even videos. Most of the time, Google pulls a featured snippet from one of the top 5 ranking results.

Google has also included a direct answer box, in which an answer that is presented is considered public knowledge and therefore doesn’t credit a link or source. Knowledge cards and panels are primarily pulled from Google-owned or trustworthy third-party sources and are found on the right-hand side of a SERP. Your business or well-known person would be presented in this SERP feature.

There are a wide array of other SERP features to explore, some of which can dramatically increase your internet traffic. Some of these include local search packs, sit links, google image results, video results, PAA (People also ask), top stories, and google shopping.


Organic search results and paid ads can both benefit your online website and increase the quantity and quality of website traffic. Choosing one or the other depends on your audience.

To truly reap the benefits from either of these search results methods, you would need to consider the financial expenditure attached to your digital marketing campaign.

With so many options and digital marketing agencies out there, finding affordable search engine optimisation can be stressful at times. Call FX Web Studio 1300 090 401, a leading Sydney-based SEO Specialist to talk about your SEO needs today.

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