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Understanding Google’s SERP – Search Engine Results Page

When talking about improving your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or visibility on Google, it’s important to understand the anatomy of Google’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

Google SERP

Google’s results pages are changing all the time. Depending on where you are searching from and what you are searching for you may see a combination of different results being displayed as snippets, lists, panels, carousels and maps.

In this post, using the screenshot below, I’d like to explain three of the more common types of results.

1. AdWords Results

Google AdWords or PPC (Pay Per Click) results may show up at the top of the page and/or in the right hand column. AdWords results are sponsored links and are labeled with a small yellow “Ad” or “Ads” tag.

In order to have your site listed as part of these results you will need to run an AdWords campaign, which involves bidding on your targeted keywords. When a user clicks on your link you will be charged the allocated cost per click (CPC) amount based on the bidding process for that specific keyword.

2. Local Search Results

Local search results will usually show up if your search phrase includes a place (city, town, neighbourhood, etc.). These results may also be displayed on a map and are based on Google Places listings. To show up and rank in these results you need to make sure that you have claimed and optimised your Google Places listing for your business.

3. Organic Search Results

The organic results usually show up right below the AdWords results, but can also show up below the Local Search Results. These results are ranked and displayed using Google’s ever-changing ranking algorithm. Ranking well in organic results is based on a selection of criteria including on-page and off-page ranking factors including the setup and structure of your website, the qualtiy of your content,  the quantity and quality of inbound links as well as your brands’ social presence.

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