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What are SERPs and featured snippets?

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SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page, i.e. the SERP is the results generated by a search on a search engine or, in other words, what appears when you search for a word on Google.

Although it does not only apply to Google, but to any other search engine such as Yahoo, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Bing... However, Google is the titan of search engines and it is, without a doubt, the place where we should be most concerned about our position within the SERP.

SERP google

It goes without saying that the best thing to do when it comes to SERPs is to appear as soon as possible, i.e. the higher the better. After all, when we carry out a search we always tend to stay with the first results, as they seem the most reliable and accurate for our search, and we rarely go to the second or other SERP pages .

When in doubt as to whether or not we can do anything to get to the top of the SERP, the answer is yes. We mainly rely on two strategies, called SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing), which are made up of different tactics and tricks to be able to raise our position in the SERP. After all, SERP positioning is the equivalent of getting a good location in a busy street, or in a hidden and difficult to access street.

Types of SERP

There are two types of SERP:

  • Organic: Those pages that have achieved their position in a natural and free way, using SEO, SEM, or the quality of their content.
  • Paid: Pages that are placed among the first results because they have paid an amount to the search engine for it. In these cases, you will always see the word ADVERTISING at the beginning of the search.

SERP elements:

  • Ad Sign: appears at the top left and is the first thing you read.
  • Link: If it is not a paid SERP, it will be the first thing you see
  • Title of the result: Each website and section within it has a title or name that will appear in case you type a related search. That name is extracted from the content slug and the domain of the website.
  • The featured snippet: these are short lines that appear below the title of the page. The length is around 150 characters and serves to briefly describe what is contained in the result.

The featured snippet

It is one of the most useful elements of the SERP becausethe title does not always assure us that the page in question is what we are looking for. Normally when you search on the internet, you do not always know exactly what you want to find and it usually contains only one result.

As this is a description of the website, search engines use this to determine the order of their results, assessing the relevance and usefulness of each result as a featured snippet.

Featured snippets are displayed when the search engine determines that this format will help users find what they are looking for more easily by being able to read the page description and click on the link to access it. They are especially useful for users on mobile devices or those doing voice searches.

The featured snippet is also a tricky element as a bad site description can lower a site's ranking, even removing it from the results no matter how good the match between search and result. A result can be removed from the SERP if it does not comply with Google's policy or if it has been reported by users.

Google's policy on featured snippets includes content that contains the following as content that is eligible for removal:

  • Dangerous content
  • Deceptive practices
  • Threatening content
  • Hateful content
  • Manipulative content
  • Medical content
  • Sexually explicit content
  • Terrorist content
  • Violent or gory content
  • Vulgar language and profanity

Users may report the result if:

  • The information provided is misleading or inaccurate
  • It provides an answer that the user does not like

However, in no case will the result be removed, only the featured snippet. It might seem that this would not affect the SERP ranking too much, but the reality is that a page without a featured snippet receives fewer visits than one with a featured snippet.

So far we have always referred to SERPs as web pages, but SERPs also include images and videos. In fact, a search such as a singer's name will return videos of their music and images of what they look like in the first place.

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