What Is a SERP? What is Search Engine Ranking Pages
You’re probably familiar with how search engines work. You enter a query, and the search engine returns a results page. That’s what we call a SERP:
Search results don’t stop at one page, though. Depending on the query, you might be looking at hundreds or thousands of entries. However, the most important results are all on the first SERP.
To give you an idea of this importance: 39.6 percent of all clicks go to the top entry in the SERPs. Positions 2 and 3 get a combined 28.5 percent of clicks. Furthermore, most users never get past the first page of results.
The reality is that if your website doesn’t appear among the first-page results for a keyword that you’re targeting, it might as well not exist. That might sound harsh, but it’s the truth. Understanding how SERPs work and how to rank highly in them is crucial.
Search Engine Results Page Breakdown
When we talk about SERPs, overall page rankings get most of the attention. However, modern results pages also include many other elements. This section will focus on the SERP elements that you can find in Google, as it’s the most popular option worldwide. However, many alternative search engines such as Bing and Ecosia also feature many of these same elements.
Featured snippets complicate Click-Through Rates (CTRs). On average, featured snippets get a massive 35.1 percent of all clicks in a SERP.
That massive statistic is fantastic if your content appears as a featured snippet. However, featured snippets also siphon traffic from other entries in the results pages. Which makes sense.
Not all results will display featured snippets, though. Traditionally, Google will only show a snippet if it includes a well-structured and concise answer for a specific search.
Search results mainly include the same elements. Each entry displays a page title, a meta description, and a URL. However, some results show additional details depending on their metadata. Those are SERP entries from pages with schema markup.
You’ll run across results that include “rich” snippets for some searches. Take recipes, for example — adding the correct markup to a recipe post can display an image, rating, and even cooking time in the SERPs:
Rich snippets aren’t all about visuals, though. You can also include additional information in your schema markup. The results in the image above show details about specific events and their dates.
Studies show that rich snippets have an average CTR of 58 percent. For searches without rich snippets, that rate goes down to 41 percent.
The main takeaway is that you should consider using schema markup if you publish content. You can even utilize schema plugins to simplify the task.
People Also Ask Sections
People also ask sections often appear for searches that have featured snippets. These elements include a box with multiple related queries and answers that you can see by opening individual tabs.