What is SERP: Analytics, Trends, Researches and Actual Ways for SEO
Most people who have come across the topic of SEO are also familiar with the concept of SERP. Thes people are business representatives, manufacturers of goods, owners of an information resource, bloggers, or marketers. They all strive to get to the coveted first positions in the search results. We will find out the basic principles of SERP work and rank, as well as find out what SERP features are and how to get high results in the Google search engine.
What is the SERP?
SERP is defined as Search Engine Result Pages. These are pages with results that search engines have selected as responses to a user request. For example, the output in response to the What is SeoQuake request looks like this:
As you can see, all links are accompanied by short descriptions of the essence of the page content. The most expanded snippet can be seen at the link located in the first position of the SERP:
In addition to the standard snippets that Google generates, there are featured snippets that can make a link more attractive to users and make it stand out from the rest of the SERP results. For more information on how to create featured snippets and use them for SEO, see How to Optimize Featured Snippets Google to Increase Traffic.
SERP pages can contain various search blocks. With the help of which users, they can quickly get the necessary information and select the link of interest to them. A schematic of the list of blocks and SERP features, as well as how they interact and what they affect, can be found using our infographic:
You can learn more about what a search engine result page is,, how it looks, and how it functions in the article What is the SERP in 2020?
What is SERP for SEO?
Search engine results are what the user sees first when making a request on Google. Search engines use ranking factors to form the location of links and titles on pages. Often, the top positions on the first page are occupied by sponsored links, under which the organic search results are already located.
A study conducted by Backlinco specialists highlighted a number of trends that have formed in user behavior:
- 75% of users click on links located in the first three positions of the SERP.
- On average, the CTR for a link that takes the first position on the SERP according to organic search results is 31.7%. Read the related article – What Is a CTR. Why Is Click-Through-Rate Important?
- Moving to #1 in organic search results brings a 30.8% increase in CTR.
- A link that takes 1 position in the search results gets 10 times more CTR than a link located in the tenth position.
- The number of clicks on links occupying 3-7 positions is about the same. You can make a qualitative leap in the growth of organic traffic only by reaching the top 3 positions.
Another recent study by Backlinko found that only 0.44% of users make it to the second SERP. This is 0.34% less than last year. This means that if you are not on the first page, then you are practically invisible. The study provides a number of other interesting data:
- The majority of users (59%) visit only one page suggested by Google. Only 6% open several pages to find information on request.
- In 23% of cases, users use searches that are automatically generated by Google.
- 50% of users click on a link within 9 seconds after starting a search. On average, the time before clicking on a link is 14.6 seconds.
- The average session duration is 76 seconds.
- Only 9% of users go to the bottom of the first SERP to look at the links.
- 17% of users return to the search results again after following the link. Only 5% do it multiple times during the session.
- 15% of users change the wording of their question, so Google has obviously learned to give people satisfying results.
- 19% of users click on a Google Ad during a session. This largely depends on the specifics of the request.
Speaking about user behavior, according to the data of SparkToro, more than half of Google users received an answer to their question without clicking or going to the site from the SERP page:
One of the main reasons for this is the use of SERP features, particularly Featured Snippets 12.29% of sites are currently receiving them:
Many users find the answer to their request in a brief description and illustration. For example, in a request for what is font style, short answers can be found directly on the SERP in the form of a quote from Wikipedia and other information site:
A quote from Wikipedia is located in the SERP zone, which is used to host the Google Knowledge Panel block. This also provides brief information about a company, person, business, etc. You can read about how to work with Google Knowledge Panel in the Google Knowledge Panels: The Ultimate Cheat Sheet.
You can also quickly get an answer without going into details in People Also Ask boxes, where Google issues similar requests with links to sites where you can get information:
It is quite possible to get into the PAA blog. To do this, you need to have content relevant to your searches, which will be ranked by Google. Getting into this block does not always affect traffic growth. According to Backlinko, only 3% of users use PAA Boxes. However, these statistics are changeable and depend on the type of request, and PAA can be used as a resource for studying requests and analyzing. For more information on how to work with PAA Boxes and how they can help SEO, see Google’s ‘People Also Ask’ (PAA) Boxes.
Using a search on Google images can also only indirectly affect traffic. When a user clicks on a picture, they do not go to the site but to the corresponding section of Google. Now, you can go directly to the original source site. Because of this, it is important to pay attention to the quality and uniqueness of the visual content. As you know, most users prefer it.
According to SparkToro, only 4.42% of users click on sponsored links, so it looks like getting paid traffic is hardly a very effective way to promote content. At the same time, advertising content appears on more than 50% of the first SERP pages according to Rank Ranger:
Most of the sponsored links appear at the end of the page. Google is taking this approach to create a healthy competitive landscape for organic content and for those who pay to be on the first page of the SERP.
In a recent MOZ survey of 1,400 respondents, 72% of whom are residents of the United States, it was found that 77% of users use Google on average three times a day. Addittionally, a correlation was noted between the frequency of visits to Google and ages:
- 80% of users aged 13-21 google more often than 3 times a day.
- Only 60% of people over the age of 60 use Google at the same rate.
The vast majority of users (72%) prefer to click on links obtained from organic search. The difference in behavior depending on age was again noted: users aged 60+ are 200% more likely to choose the link that gives them the most appropriate answer to the question. They do not care if it is advertising or not.
The survey showed that most people make a click decision based on what is written in a featured snippet. Only 22.1% said they prefer Featured Snippets. This could reassure marketers and SEO professionals who are worried about snippets stealing organic traffic.
Experts noted another alarming trend. Young users (13-18 years old) are 200 percent more likely than older ones not to click on the link. They believe all necessary information is received directly on the SERP. Older users are 170% more likely to continue searching after reading the search results. They want to receive extensive and detailed information.
Every year it becomes more difficult to influence the growth of organic traffic. Competition for attention is growing and gaining momentum. Keeping attention is a challenge.
In addition, the ranking algorithm is getting more complicated every year. The number of ranking factors is growing, and Google does not name all the aspects according to which the site is evaluated. Various options for SERP features were created by the developers of the search engine in order to provide users with the fastest access to information.
How to Get and Keep User’s Attention?
According to Backlinko, links with keywords in their URLs get 45% more CTR than links without keywords in their URLs. It is a strong argument in favor of paying attention to the selection of a relevant URL.
Many users prefer title tags that include a question. Their CTR is 14.1% higher. At the same time, sites with titles of 14-50 characters have the highest CTR rates, since the title is fully visible on the SERP with this length. This makes a more pleasant impression on users. Read the related article – How to Create Search Engine Friendly Title Tags.
Headlines that carry a certain emotional coloring work well. They are able to engage more users, which can increase the CTR by 7%. An emotional message can have both positive and negative connotations. This equally affects the interest of users. For information on how to create headers, see the article H1 Tag: How To Create a Great Header.
Another effective way to grab attention is by using local SEO tactics. According to a study by Backlinko, 42% of users click on the results shown by the Google Maps Pack. People are interested in information that is relevant to the area where they live, work, or where they travel. You can read about the features of local SEO and related professional tips in the material Local SEO Checklist 2020.
How to Get High on SERP?
In order to gradually move to high positions on the first page of the SERP, try adhering to these rules when developing a website and creating content:
- Mobile-Friendly: This criterion has been a factor in Google’s indexing and ranking for a while, so it is important to ensure that the mobile version of the site is of high quality, relevant, and user friendly. Read more in Mobile Search: How to Do it and Why it is Important, Mobile-First Indexing, and Accelerated Mobile Pages.
- High speed of loading pages in desktop and mobile versions: Most users value their time and want to have quick access to the information they need. The high speed of the site is what will keep the user and also increase the likelihood of repeat views.
- Create high-quality and unique content that uses keywords and phrases. When choosing keywords, you should use professional SEO-tools to monitor and analyze search queries. Find out more in Top SEO Tools for Businesses in 2020.
- Create a clear and user-friendly site structure. Take into account the recommendations of the search engine developers and user experience.
- Using HTTPS to ensure the security of your site. Read more in the article – HTTPS vs. HTTP.
Let’s take a look at what steps you can take to improve your SERP rankings.
- You should know that Google ranks individual pages, not the site as a whole. Optimizing in order to increase your positions in the SERP. You can create a special page based on popular searches. After analyzing your searches and keywords, create custom content. This can be material on a professional topic relevant to your niche, or it can be evergreen content in How To, guide, or research format. Read the current related article – How to Do Keyword Research.
- Speaking of the content format, it could be a blog post or an article on a e-commerce page. It would be appropriate to create a product page describing a specific product or product group. Content with a review of a popular product, recipe, or post-comparison can become in demand. When creating content, optimizing, or creating a page that targets popular searches, you need to keep relevance in mind, which is one of the most important factors in Google ranking. This is one of the cornerstones of SEO.
- Use mentions of popular brands in your niche. When creating content based on the request, consider how you can use the mention of well-known brands. For example, if you are planning to write a product review, you can also mention top brands when describing a Meizu brand phone, while clearly describing the benefits of your product:
If you plan to write a post on a culinary topic, choose a highly requested dish. You can refer to a famous chef and tell them about his professional chips and tips. You can also provide a vivid quote from influencers in your niche. When creating your story, use subheadings H2, H3. With these meta tags, you can structure your content and make it easy to read, which contributes to a positive UX.
- Consider how many backlinks you need. To do this, you can analyze the number of backlinks on the sites of your most successful competitors. You can also analyze the number of backlinks among middle-level players. Being at the very beginning of the path, you should be realistic and understand how many links you can potentially get in the foreseeable future.
For example, a site that specializes in car rentals and ranks second in the SERP might have 565 backlinks. The site takes its high position thanks to advertising. The resource that is in fifth place after all advertising links and is the first in organic search results has more than 30 thousand links:
When starting off with backlinks, it’s worth remembering that you need high-quality links to rank on Google, while low-quality links can have the opposite effect. You can read about high-quality backlinks in this article – Build High-Quality Backlinks in a Scalable Way in 2020.
- Provide internal links on your site. This will also have a positive effect on ranking. You should take care to establish linking to materials that were previously published on the site and became successful in terms of traffic.
- Please be patient. The speed of promotion in the SERP is highly individual. A lot depends on how popular the niche is along with your competence and expertise in it. On average, it can take from 9 months to 1.5 years of systematic work to get to the first page of the SERP.
Going big in the field of content and starting your struggle for the first place on the SERP, it is important to understand that this work requires a systematic approach, daily attention, and diligence. The quality of the content, the technical side of the site’s work, its appearance, and convenience will play an important role in moving through the SERP.
It will be useful to develop a detailed plan and strategy for your activity and then stick to it. Make adjustments if necessary. In any case, hard work will bring results sooner or later.