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What Is A Search Engine Results Page?

What Is A Search Engine Results Page

Date First Published: 21st August 2022

Topic: Web Design & Development

Subtopic: SEO

Article Type: Computer Terms & Definitions

Difficulty: Medium

Difficulty Level: 4/10

Learn more about what a search engine results page is in this article.

Often abbreviated to a SERP, a search engine results page is a list of results that displays after a searcher submits a search query into a search engine, such as Google. Search engine results pages return results relevant to the searcher's query and contain listings, all of which consist of a title, the URL of the page that points to the website, and a brief description. The description may come from the meta tag of the page or a relevant section of text may automatically be chosen by the search engine if that meta tag is not present or if search engines can find a better chunk of text to use.

In order to prevent the SERP from becoming overloaded and increasing the page loading time, search engines use page numbers, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Most search engines do not include more than 10 results per page, although, in Google, the number of results per page can be customised. Most searchers do not click on results past the top ten, so unless a website appears on the first page, it is difficult to find. If it is past the third page, it is practically invisible unless a searcher looks hard for it. The SERP page can show anywhere from 0 to billions of results once a query is submitted with words or phrases.

Layout Of Search Engine Results Pages

Different search engines have different SERP layouts, but the paid search results often appear at the top of the page, which comes from individuals and companies that have paid search engines to appear at the top in order to increase their website traffic. Each time someone clicks on one of those paid ads, the advertiser will have to pay the search engine a small amount of money. These are known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Below the paid ads are the organic search results, which is essentially free website traffic. Search engines use complex algorithms to rank these indexed pages and lots of webmasters hope to get their website quite high on this page. A variety of SEO techniques can be used to improve the ranking of pages on search engine results pages here.

SERPs may also contain additional features, such as:

Featured snippets

Not all featured snippets are text and search engines may show images and videos. Google often pulls the featured snippet out of one of the top five search results that are relevant to the searcher's query and the snippet does not have to rank number one on Google. Even though it is possible to opt websites out of featured snippets, pages cannot be marked as a featured snippet as Google automatically determines whether a page would be a suitable featured snippet for a searcher's query.

Image packs

Image packs appear at the top of the search results and consist of a variety of images from other websites. Clicking on the images will go to Google Images, not the source of that image. Clicking through on Google Images will take the searcher to the source of the image.

Knowledge panels

On bigger screens, knowledge panels are on the right-hand side of the page. On smaller screens, they appear at the top. Most of the data from knowledge panels comes from Wikipedia and Google sometimes links to social media profiles and the company's website. Knowledge panels contain information about a person, company, or a term.

Top stories carousels

Most results from top stories carousels come from Google News. Trusted news websites often appear here with the latest news and don't appear there for long as the purpose of the top stories carousels is to display recent results.

Shopping results

The shopping results are parts of paid ads that advertise products and show up at the top of search results, containing the product name, price, star rating, and company. Individuals and companies have to pay money to show up in these search results.


The sitelinks appear as extra links below the search result and usually show up when searching for the name of a company, known as branded queries.

'People also ask' box

The 'people also ask' box contains questions related to the search term. Clicking will reveal an answer that comes from another website. Having content that answers these questions will increase the chances of appearing there. This feature was introduced on Google in 2015.


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