A search engine results page (SERP) is the page that appears when you search for a keyword on Google, Yahoo or Bing. It’s also known as organic results page. This article will help you to understand what SERP is and how it works.
Words Run the Web
Most marketing teams and small business owners fixate on website images and video (and they are important!), but the reality is that words run the web. When people type a question or search phrase into a search engine, they are using words, and those words need to get connected to the words on your website.
Not only do the searches need to connect to the words on your website, but Google (which represents approximately 90% of all search at the time of this writing) needs to believe that your website is worthy of suggesting as a response to the inquiry.
So optimizing your website for SERP is an important way to attract qualified traffic (leads) so you can take the next step and turn them into customers.
Organic Search Results
SERP is much more than just having the right content relative to a search question. Many other factors affect your SERP ranking, including:
What are keywords? They are the words that people use in their search queries. But today it's more important to think in terms of key phrases. The more relevant and specific these key phrases are to your products and services, the higher your chances of appearing in the top positions of the SERP.
2. Domain Authority
Domain authority is a metric used by Google to determine which websites are most authoritative. A high domain authority means that your site has been around longer, has more backlinks pointing to it, and has more pages indexed by Google. Learn more about Domain Authority here.
Backlinks are links from other sites that point to yours. These links can be very valuable because they indicate that someone else thinks highly enough of your website to link to it. But don't just go trolling for any old backlink! If a site that's filled with spammy articles with low Domain Authority sends a link to your site, it won't help and it might hurt. As in life, in online linking you can be judged by the company you keep.
4. Content Quality
The quality of your content is one of the biggest factors affecting your SERP rankings. If you have great content, then you should be able to rank well for any given query. This is why blogs (or any other series of informational articles - it doesn't have to be called a blog) are still one of the most important things you can do for your website.
5. Website Speed
Google wants to make sure that users don’t leave your site before they find what they want. So if your site takes too long to load, Google may not show your site in its search results.
6. Mobile Friendliness
If your site doesn’t look good on mobile devices, Google won’t display your site in its search result. Not "might not," but won't. Starting in September of 2020 Google began indexing the mobile version of your site first, and won't even commit to indexing the desktop version. So your mobile game has to be spot on if you want SERP results.
7. Social Media Presence
If your social media profiles aren’t optimized, then you won’t appear in Google’s search results.
8. Local SEO
Local SEO refers to the optimization of your local listings such as your address, phone number, hours of operation, photos of your business and more. If you're not managing your Google My Business page, you're missing out on important SEO juice.
9. Time On Site
Once a visitor clicks a link to go to your site, how long do they stick around? If they stay less than two seconds, then either you have a problem with your site speed or the result the customer found wasn't the answer they were looking for. Either way, the search engines pay attention. If people pop right back to the search results page without spending time on your site, the search engines lose confidence in your site.
Do you have a lot of negative reviews? Do you offer poor customer service? Are there complaints about your company online? All of these things could negatively impact your trustworthiness. This is one reason that Google Reviews are SO important to your SEO.
11. Off-Page Optimization
Off-page optimization refers to activities outside of your website that help improve your position in the SERPs. For example, if you have a blog, you can write articles related to your industry and submit them to article directories like EzineArticles.com, LinkedIn publishing or trade publications. You can also create videos and post them on YouTube.
Paid Search Results
SERP result pages also show paid search results. The search engines display paid results at the top and the bottom of each page, with the organic results sandwiched in the middle. You may have to look closely to see which results are organic and which are paid though! Google clearly marks the paid results, but Bing and Yahoo (at least at the time this article was written) make it difficult to tell the difference between paid and organic.
If you are looking to improve your SERP rankings, you need to focus on improving each of these areas., because all of them play a role in determining your position in the SERPs.
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