A Search Engine Results Page, or SERP, is the web page that appears in a browser window when a keyword query is put into a search field on a search engine page.

  • The list of results generally includes a list of links to pages that are ranked from the most popular to the least popular from the number of hits for the particular keyword.
  • The list will include not only the links, but also a short description of each page, and of course, the titles of the webpage. The term “search engine results page” may refer to a single page of links returned by a query or the entire set of links returned.
  • Many search engine results pages have different types of These types of SERPs are found most commonly in larger search engines, such as Google.com and Yahoo!. They include results such as:
    • Contextual
    • Algorithmic
    • Sponsored listings
    • Images
    • Maps
    • Organic search listings
    • Definitions
    • Suggested search query refinements
  • Major search engines can also offer specific search engine results pages that pertain to specific the specific types of listings. Search engine results pages can also be the results page for an image search, a map search, a news search, a blog search, or many of the other options major search engines offer.

The main elements of SERP are:

  1. Direct search results, consisting of links to sites. This is the natural issuance of search engines, where sites are struggling for the highest positions. The search results page contains, by default, 10 links, but the number can be changed in the search settings;
  2. Blocks with contextual advertising;
  3. Small fields before search results. They can contain typing errors, a quick response to a user request, a calculator, and so on;
  4. Pictures are issued in response to a particular search query;
  5. Related queries – the search query is The user is offered word forms or similar requests;
  6. Elements of management – this includes links to go to the site, prompts when entering a user request.

A search engine results page (SERP) is the list of results that a search engine returns in response to a specific word or phrase query. Each listing includes the linked Web page title, the linked page URL (Uniform Resource Locator), a brief description of the page content and, in some cases, links to points of interest within the website.

There are three main types of results on a SERP:

  1. Pages that the search engine spider has crawled and indexed;
  2. pages that have been manually added to the search engine’s directory;
  3. and pages that appear as a result of paid inclusion.

The highest-ranking hits generally link to the most useful information; links grow less relevant as they move farther down the list.

Search Engine Results Pages: What They Are and How They Work

Search engine results pages are web pages served to users when they search for something online using a search engine, such as Google. The user enters their search query (often using specific terms and phrases known as keywords), upon which the search engine presents them with a SERP.

Every SERP is unique, even for search queries performed on the same search engine using the same keywords or search queries. This is because virtually all search engines customize the experience for their users by presenting results based on a wide range of factors beyond their search terms, such as the user’s physical location, browsing history, and social settings. Two SERPs may appear identical, and contain many of the same results, but will often feature subtle differences.

The appearance of search engine results pages is constantly in flux due to experiments conducted by Google, Bing, and other search engine providers to offer their users a more intuitive, responsive experience. This, combined with emerging and rapidly developing technologies in the search space, mean that the SERPs of today differ greatly in appearance from their older predecessors.

SERPs typically contain two types of content – “organic” results and paid results

1. ‘Organic’ Results

Organic results are listings of web pages that appear as a result of the search engine’s algorithm. Search engine optimization professionals, commonly known as SEOs, specialize in optimizing web content and websites to rank more highly in organic search results.

In the following figure, the highlighted results are all organic results:

Organic results on the SERP

The box on the right side of this SERP is known as the Knowledge Graph (also sometimes called the Knowledge Box). This is a feature that Google introduced in 2012 that pulls data to commonly asked questions from sources across the web to provide concise answers to questions in one central location on the SERP. In this case, you can see a wide range of information about Abraham Lincoln, such as the date and place of his birth, his height, the date on which he was assassinated, his political affiliation, and the names of his children – many of which facts have their own links to the relevant pages.

Some SERPs will feature significantly more organic results than others, such as the example above. This is due to the differing intent of various searches. There are three primary types of Internet search: Informational, Navigational and Transactional.

  • Informational searches are those in which the user hopes to find information on a given topic, such as Abraham Lincoln.
  • Navigational queries are those in which the user hopes to locate a specific website through their This may be the case for individuals searching for a specific website, trying to locate a website whose URL they can no longer remember, or another type of navigational objective.
  • Transactional searches have high commercial intent, and search queries leading to transactional SERPs may include keywords such as “buy” and other terms that suggest a strong desire to make a purchase.

2. Paid Results

In contrast to organic results, paid results are those that have been paid to be displayed by an advertiser. In the past, paid results were almost exclusively limited to small, text-based ads that were typically displayed above and to the right of the organic results. Today, however, paid results can take a wide range of forms, and there are dozens of advertising formats that cater to the needs of advertisers.

Some paid results on your SERP:

In the example above (a SERP for the search query “lawnmowers”), all of the results on the SERP – with the exception of the map and business listing beneath it – are paid results. The three large text-based ads at the top of the SERP are typical PPC ads.

Of those three ads, the lower two (for Craftsman.com and Husqvarna.com) both feature ad extensions allowing prospective customers to navigate to specific pages on their websites directly from the ads.

The image-based ads on the right of the page are Shopping ads, a feature offered on the Google AdWords platform that allows ecommerce retailers’ product information to be displayed alongside other results on the SERP. Shopping ads can contain a wide range of information, such as product availability, user reviews, special offers, and more.

There are two additional PPC ads directly beneath the Shopping ads that also feature the user review ad extensions, indicated by the star ratings directly beneath the destination URL.

The map and business listing are the only results on this SERP that are not explicitly paid results. This map is shown based on a user’s location, and feature listings for local businesses that have set up their free Google My Business listing.

Ranking Signals and Search Algorithms

Organic results are listings that have been indexed by the search engine based on a number of factors, also known as “ranking signals.”

For example, the search algorithm used by Google features hundreds of ranking factors, and while nobody outside of Google knows precisely what they are, some are thought to be more important than others. In the past, the link profile of a site – the number of external links that link to a specific website or web page from other websites – was an important ranking signal. It still is to some extent (which is why Wikipedia ranks so prominently in organic results for so many queries), though search advances at such a rapid pace that ranking signals that were once crucial to the search algorithm may be less important today, a source of constant frustration to SEOs.