Google's Search Engine Results Page: What Does it All Mean and How Can It Help My Business?

Google is the world’s top search engine, with over 5.6 billion searches per day. We can find out nearly anything, from the nearest top-rated dentist to the time dinosaurs went extinct. The internet, and more specifically Google, organizes the world’s information and uses a special algorithm to help you easily find exactly what you’re searching for. And when you enter a query on Google, you’re met with a search engine results page or SERP. 

Google’s SERP is laid out in a specific, strategic way in the eyes of the company. But, how can we (an organization yearning to be found) use it to our benefit? Let’s break down exactly what Google’s search engine results page consists of and how it can help generate more traffic, and in turn, more business.

Say you’re on a beach vacation and would like to find a grocery store. Maybe your priority is that it’s nearby or top-rated, or both. So, you open your laptop and type in the phrase “grocery store.” What you’ll see after you hit the search button is your search engine results page. You might not have even noticed before, but your SERP is organized into a few distinct sections.

Pay-Per-Click Ads

The first section you’ll see is the paid ads or sponsored results. You can identify this section because they are boldly labeled “Ad.” Although you might think that we as consumers aren’t the most trusting of ads, data shows that 63% of users will click on a PPC advertisement.

In terms of our grocery store example, say a local grocer wants to increase traffic to their location. They begin running PPC ads for a few terms: local grocery store, health food store, and local grocer. In theory, when a user searches for any of these terms, or related terms, the local grocer’s ad will appear at the top of the SERP. However, the space is competitive, and Google doesn’t always do exactly what we want when we want it. 

Pro tip: make your PPC search terms as specific as possible while considering how many people are searching for that term per month. If the number is too low, you won’t get much traffic. If the number is too high, the space can get extremely competitive, and you might not get much traffic either. The key is to find the balance! 

Not sure if your business can afford PPC ads? Get a breakdown of the cost of online advertising here

Google My Business

The next section, and arguably the most important and conversion-driving, is the Google My Business - or GMB - listing. This section will yield different results depending on where you are geographically. You’ll see a map with red pins, indicating different results for what you searched. Referring back to our grocery store example, the red pins represent each grocery store in a certain radius of your location. 

However, you should keep in mind that not every business will automatically show up in the GMB. You must create and maintain a GMB profile for your business. Google loves activity, and if you’re inactive on GMB, there’s no way you’ll be able to compete and show up on the top of the list, let alone the first page of results. Get your business to the top of the list by posting weekly, adding pictures and videos, making sure your hours and info are correct, and gaining and responding to positive reviews. Have more questions about GMB? Let’s talk.

Organic Search Results

The third and final section of Google’s SERP is the organic search results. There is only one way to work your way up to the top of this section: SEO! SEO or search engine optimization is all of the contributing factors that allow your website to improve its ranking and move up to or stay at the top of the organic search results. 

Google generates results for users on its SERP by showing the most relevant (in the eyes of Google) results. If you’re not sure exactly how to do this, leave it to The DofM. We hope this guide to Google’s search engine results page helped you understand how it works, but the truth is, Google is ever-changing and is a bit of a mystery. If your business is lacking in SEO, we’re here to help.

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