There are plenty of marketing buzzwords that may sound complex but are actually pretty simple when you break them down. In Buzzword of the Week, we’re going to be parsing these commonly used buzzwords. This week’s term is SERPs.

If you’ve spent time on marketing sites, you’ll likely have seen this term before. It stands for Search Engine Results Pages, and it refers to the pages you see when you search for a specific word or phrase — known as a “keyword” — on Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other search engine. Since Google owns 92 percent of worldwide search engine market share, let’s focus on that. 

Ranking high on SERPs is a top priority for businesses, universities, blogs, news companies and everyone, really. After a user enters a keyword, they’ll see the total number of results right above the results themselves. For example, the keyword entered in the image above is “serps.”

So everyone’s SERP look the same for the same keyword?

No. In fact, every SERP looks different. Google, for example, changes results based on the searcher’s past search terms, location and other factors. A pretty basic example to show that SERPs can be different is when someone searches for certain services “near me.” 

Two buyers on either side of the country looking for “real estate agents near me” or “homes for sale near me” will see very different results, because they’re in different physical locations. Even if two people search for the same thing from the same location, the SERPs will have differences, albeit not as conspicuously. Also, these sites experiment all the time to see what is the most effective model for ads and user interface. 

Knowledge Graphs

When Google thinks a query is particularly simple and well-answered by a specific result, it will showcase it above the full search results. See example:

Not all content is organic

While there are usually 10 organic results per page, some of the content on SERPs is paid advertising, and you can usually tell from stylistic or textual differences. For example, on Google, paid text content usually has the word “Ad” in a box preceding the content, while paid photo content has the word “Sponsored” above the images. 

Because you can target specific keywords via Google search ads, they’re very advantageous for getting in front of high-intent consumers.

Is ranking high really that important? 

Yes. It really is. If you think lots of users are clicking across to Page 3 or even Page 2 of search engines, you’re wrong. Page 1 of Google gets 95 percent of searchers’ attention. Ranking high is really important for businesses, as sites like Google are a great place to find clients. 

Google, in particular, has so many users (63,000 searches per second). Having a presence on it and its SERPs is a meaningful way to grow your business in both the short- and long-term. Look into creating a Google My Business page — it’s a free piece of real estate to keep you ahead of the competition.

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