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What Is SERP? A Simple Explanation (+ 3 Recommended Tools For You)

serp seo and digital marketing whitebox

In this blog post, we’re going to talk about SERP or Search Engine Results Page. It’s got something to do with ranking your website on first page and being visible to people searching for specific keywords that can help your business. Read on!

A Search Engine Results Page (SERP) contains two types of content: organic and paid results. In an effort to make the user search experience more direct, Google created SERP features, on-page content that gives users answers to their queries without requiring them to click into an organic result. Although on-page SERP features may be beneficial for the user, they can make it more difficult for marketers to get noticed in organic search results, even when they’re ranking #1.

Search engines are more intelligent today than they were in the past. A few years ago, if you searched for “pizza,” you would get a predictable mix of restaurant websites, directories, review sites like YELP, and blog posts about the best pizza places in Bali.

You can see that the first thing that appears on the SERP is an advertisement, followed by a map of pizza restaurants nearby, and then a card from Wikipedia with nutritional information about pizza. All of this content is displayed more prominently on the page than any of the organic results, so even Pizza Hut, which ranks #1 when you do a search without specifying any particular filter, is hidden below the SERP features.

As a marketer, it is essential to stay up-to-date with new SERP features. When ranking organically, number one does not provide as much visibility as it used to. Therefore, marketers must take full advantage of Google SERP tools in order to learn how they can rank higher.

There’s a marketing joke that goes something like this: “Where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Page two of Google.” But nowadays, a good place to hide a dead body is actually anywhere below these SERP features. Here’s how you can keep up.

serp seo and digital marketing whitebox

Rich Snippets Are Your Friend

A rich snippet contains more information than a normal snippet, including pictures, reviews, or customer ratings. You can recognize a rich snippet as any organic search result that provides more information than just the title of the page, the URL, and the metadescription. Operators of website can add structured data markup to their HTML in order to help search engines understand their website and optimize for a rich snippet. The Starbucks app, for example, includes customer ratings and pricing within the search description.

Paid Result (Search Ads)

There are two types of results that can appear on a Google search engine results page (SERP). The first type is paid results, which are ads or sponsored posts that appear at the very top of the page. Paid results are differentiated from organic results by the presence of a sponsored or ad label, as seen in the example below. The second type of result is organic, which refers to results that are not paid for and appear further down the page.

Universal Results

Google’s universal results are a way of incorporating results from its other vertical columns, like Google Images and Google News, into the search results. A common example of universal results is Google’s featured snippets, which deliver an answer in a box at the top of the page, so users ideally don’t have to click into any organic results. Image results and news results are other examples.

serp seo and digital marketing whitebox

Local SERP (Geographical Search)

Local search results appear any time your search includes location parameters. For example, if you type in “restaurants”, “gas station”, or the name of a specific product sold in stores, Google will surface locations near you that match your query, and show you exactly where you can find them on a map.

Vertical Search (Media)

When you search for something on Google and the results pull from other categories like images, news, or video, this is called vertical search. An example of vertical search would be if you searched for a geographical region, like “Columbia, South Carolina.” Google would then deliver a “Things to do in Columbia” box, along with a “Columbia in the News” box.

Knowledge Graph Data

Google Search is designed to surface the best answer to your query. When you search for something and there is only one likely answer, Google will show a Knowledge Graph. This is a box that pulls the answer to your query from an organic result and displays it at the top of the page.

serp seo and digital marketing whitebox

Recommended SERP Tools!

Now that you have a sense of the different SERP features, you’re probably wondering how you can rank higher in SERP. At Moz, we want to give you the best tools possible to help with that goal. Here are some of our favorite tools to help you evaluate your current standing in SERP, compare keyword ranking to competitors, and ultimately figure out how to rank higher:

1. MozPro

It’s good to know how you rank both nationally and locally for keywords, but it’s undoubtedly more helpful to get actionable data and insights on how to improve. Moz Pro offers strategic advice on ranking higher, a major benefit to the tool. It also crawls your own site code to find technical issues, which will help search engines understand your site and help you rank higher.

2. Moz Local

Did you know that 61% of local searches result in a purchase? That’s why it’s so important to ensure your business is optimized for local SEO. Moz Local scours 15 sources, including Google and Facebook, to check out how your business ranks locally. Similar to Moz Pro, Moz Local offers actionable advice for fixing incomplete or inconsistent listings. So if you’re looking to improve your local SEO, be sure to check out Moz Local!

3. SemRush

If you’re looking to compete for SERP features like featured snippets, local SEO, Knowledge Graph data, and Google News, SemRush can help. By figuring out which keywords your competitors are ranking for, you can get a leg up in the race for these prized SERP features.

We implement these methods for clients that are looking to grow their website visitors and target the right searching customers through great SERP research, analysis, and content generation. Are you having difficulties working on this?

If so, we can help guide you to perform well in your work. Email us your preferred time, and we’ll send you a Google Meet link to help you out!

Get your free 30 minutes consultation with Whitebox!

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