Get Found on Google - Search Results Explained
Updated: Dec 22, 2017
How do Search Results Work?
The purpose of #SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is to get search engines to share your website near the top of the search engine results page, better known as a #SERP. When you search online, you're browsing through the results for a webpage that has what you're looking for. Although we all see SERPs when browsing, a lot of us don't really understand how the results are displayed. Well, that's why I'm here to help! This blog post will explain the elements of a SERP so that you can improve your SEO! Here we go!
When you type in a search phrase (also called a query), the search engine will respond with a bunch of results, organized in a list based on relevancy to that specific query. This page of results is a SERP.
SERPs are shown based on a number of different factors. Let's look below at an example SERP and what is means, and then I'll show you how to customize the way your own website shows up in Google.
What is a SERP?
The sites that you see along the right side and on the top of the results page are typically advertisements. It’s a fact — the most ideal real estate space on the page is reserved for people who pay Google to show off their website. These are known as PPC, or pay-per-click ads. For #PPC, businesses will pay search engines for each person who clicks on their specific link(s).
Underneath the paid results, in the center of the page, you'll see a list of the top 10 #organic search results. #Google has determined that these websites are most likely to provide an answer to the search that you Googled. If you'd like to see additional results, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the right arrow. This arrow will then take you to page 2 of the organic results. You can repeat this process and continually click through thousands, or quite possibly millions, of #search results (if you have the patience!!!).
If you search for a local business, Google will show you an interactive map displaying the location of the top-ranked options for your search. In addition, you'll see a list of the businesses that are shown nearby on the map. Once you click on one of these results, you’ll see the business’s location. Also, you may see a rating for each of the local listings (from 0-5 stars), hours of operation, customer reviews and quite possibly even answers to questions about the business. This data is pulled from Google My Business, where anyone can set up a profile for their own business.
Titles & Descriptions for SEO
For every website listed on the SERP, it'll show the SEO page title and a short description of what the website has to offer. When building your website, you get to choose what to write for each title and description on every page of your website, which means that you get to decide how they show up on a SERP.
The title and description are short texts that summarize the specific content and purpose for each page on your website, (ideally) with several phrases and keywords included — and we'll discuss keywords in another post! Your title can have a maximum of 60 characters and your description can total up to 160 characters long.
Tip: Businesses that have a profile as well as reviews in "Google My Business" are most likely to show up in results. As a business owner, it’s definitely worthwhile to create a Google profile.
Google is Smart!
SERPs vary depending on the specific search phrase that you type out. Google’s objective is to assist people with finding the information they want as fast as possible, and the SERP layout can change to help solve what someone is looking for.
For example, if you type into the search bar “my flights” while signed into your Google account, Google will instantly list out any upcoming flights that are listed in your calendar. Type in “Denver Broncos” and Google will show you the scores from their latest match-ups as well as their upcoming games.
Results like these are know as “rich snippets” and they're a great example of how Google tries to interpret people's queries and give them instant answers right on the SERP.
The best way for your website to be included in a rich snippet is to have it be part of the local results described above. If you can appear in a rich snippet, you have earned what's called a "zero ranking," which means that your webpage is even more noticeable than the top-ranked sites on a SERP.
Now you know what SEO is, why it's important, and how search results appear on a SERP! Next I'll show ya how Google decides which sites will show up on a SERP - which is some of the most valuable real estate on the Internet.
Have any questions regarding getting found online? Contact me and I'll help ya out...