Introduction to SERPs and Basic Elements

What are Search Engines?

Search engines connect users to relevant content (usually in a webpage, but can also be videos, images, maps, answer boxes, etc.) based on their search term or query. They aim to provide a set of results that matches the user intent expressed through the search query. Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, etc are the examples of some famous search engines.

How Does a Search Engine Work?

Search engines provide a facility to search their database of web pages and related elements (documents, videos, images, answer boxes, etc.) through a simple interface (text box or voice input) i.e. Search box.

Search Engines have billions of web pages and elements in their database. Search engine basically works on few important processes and components.

Important Components involved in Working of Search Engines

  1. Search Engine Interface (Search box)
  2. Search Engine Spider/Crawler/Robots
  3. Database
  4. Relevancy Algorithm

How Search Engine Gets the Data and Populates the Results

1. Crawling

Crawling is the acquisition of data about a website. Crawling is a process by which search engines crawler/ spiders/bots scan a website and collect details about each page: titles, images, videos, content, keywords, other linked pages, etc.

2. Indexing

An index is another name for the database used by a search engine. Indexes contain the information on all the websites that Google (or any other search engine) was able to find. If a website is not in a search engine’s index, users will not be able to find it. The process of storing the crawled website data into the database is called ‘Indexing’.

3. Display Results in SERP (search engine result pages)

When user enters any query in the search box in Google, the search engine apply different and applicable algorithm rules on the website present in the index/database and displays the best possible result within a fraction of seconds. This process of displaying result is called rankings of websites in SERP.

Rankings refers to a website’s position in the search engine results page. There are various ranking factors that influence whether a website appears higher on the SERP based on the content relevance to the search term, or the quality of backlinks pointing to the page.

At its simplest search engines follow a 3 step process

  • Users type text search queries in a search box (or speaks in a voice input device)
  • Search engines try to identify what the user meant using an algorithm
  • Search engines rank web pages, elements from their database based on the meaning through another algorithm

Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing

Introduction to SERPs and Basic Elements

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are the pages displayed by search engines in response to a query by a searcher. The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query.

The table below shows SERP Features that commonly appear in Google SERPs.

Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing

Examples of Different Result Types in SERPs

Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing
Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing

                                 Image Results                                                                            Video Results

Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing


Answer Box

Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing

Local Results

The results are of two general types, organic search and paid search (i.e., retrieved by the search engine’s algorithm) and sponsored (i.e., advertisements). The results are normally ranked by relevance to the query.

Each result displayed on the SERP normally includes a title, a link that points to the actual page on the Web and a short description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page for organic results. For sponsored results, the advertiser chooses what to display.

A standard non-local single SERP page contains:

  • 3 Paid PPC Ads
  • 10 Organic Results
  • 2-3 Paid PPC Ads

The SERP information may change depending on the search query intent.

Introduction to Search Engines and SERPs - Basics of Digital Marketing

Elements of SERPs

Frequently Used Terms in Digital Marketing (Glossary)

Generic Concepts:

  • Google Updates: Google makes changes to their algorithms.
  • Black Hat: Spam techniques used to manipulate SERP
  • White Hat Techniques: Ethical ways of doing digital marketing
  • Spamming: Act of manipulating SERP
  • Penalty: Punishment imposed by search engines after following black hat techniques
  • Domain Authority and Trust: Trust of a search engines or users on the website. 0 is the lowest and 100 being the highest.
  • Campaign: Any online campaign
  • PA – Page Authority – Reputation earned by website page.
  • Page Rank – Authority of the website given by search engines. 0-10 (0 is the lowest)

Social Terms:

  • Hashtag
  • Handles
  • Username
  • Profile
  • Page
  • Group
  • Communities
  • Social media channels
  • Social Postings

Other Marketing Terms:

  • Influencer: Person who can influence other people
  • Viral marketing
  • Webinar: Online seminar using web technologies.
  • Podcasting: Audio streaming of the lectures or talks.
  • Banner Ad
  • Infographic
  • Memes
  • Trending topics

Research Level:

  • Niche
  • Relevancy
  • Competitors
  • Industry

Client’s Terms:

  • ROI (Return on Investment)
  • Conversions/Leads
  • Budget
  • Where are my Reports 🙂

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