The Definition of SERP

What is a search engine result page (SERP), anyways?

SERPs are the webpages that a search engine displays as a result of a searcher’s question or query.

If you ask a search engine “what is the fastest dog breed”, the resulting page is an example of a SERP. There may be a whole host of information on this page — not just the information that answers your question, but further information such as images of fast dog breeds, other related questions, blog posts about the topic, videos of running dogs, and much more.

SERP results are determined by matched keywords, demonstrated authority on behalf of a site, and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

Typical website results will appear as a linked descriptor, with a URL below it, date (although not always dated), and a small description of what is on the site. These elements are known as the title tag and meta description (respectively). However, SERPs may also include advertisements, knowledge graphs, or other unique features. As search engines have evolved over the years, so has their ability to determine the “best” results for any given query.

Google Search Results Pages Versus Other Search Engines

According to 2018 research from Statista, Google by far has the most market power, in terms of percent, of all searches performed online, with 63.1 percent (and 93 percent of all mobile searches). However, they’re not the only company that offers search on the web, even if they are the most prominent.

Other search engines include:

  • Bing (Microsoft) at 24.3 percent;
  • Oath (formerly known as Yahoo) at 11.6 percent;
  • Ask, AOL, Duckduckgo, and other services at about 1 percent, respectively.

Google and Bing have been long-time competitors, and many marketers have wondered over the years which search engine works best for their business, or why their page may be the number one result on Bing, but not on Google. Algorithm differences and differing ranking factors often mean different results, depending on the search engine being used.

However, it’s important to remember that all of these services — no matter how many people use them, and although results may vary greatly due to the differing algorithms and various display differences between them — are all aiming for the same purpose: answering the searcher’s question to the best of their ability.

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