What are SERPs and Why are they Important?

Learning SEO can be very overwhelming as there is so much you need to know. If you’re an SEO beginner, you might not know what SERPs yet. This simple guide walks you through SERPs and why they’re important for SEO.

What are SERPs?

SERP stands for Search Engine Results Page. Meaning they are the pages that search engines show as a result of a query.

Often made up of both paid and organic results. Google also presents their search results with ads, featured reels (this includes recipes, shoppings, videos and images), featured snippets and “people also asked” sections. 

Each SERP is different according to the user query, the types of results the query generates, and many other factors. Including location and browsing history as search engines often customise experiences for every user.

SERPs have developed into complicated but very valuable content for user queries. Search engines are also learning more about how people use search engines and roll out updates regularly. 

Some updates may be small changes of the algorithm, for example, Google’s May core update. Whereas others may be more significant updates that completely alter the results of SERPs, such as the BERT Update.

As you implement SEO in your website and content, you want to stay informed about all updates to the algorithm. This is to ensure you are using current SEO practices and your content has the best chance of ranking.

Do you need help increasing SERP ranking? Outreach Lab can help, find out more or contact us today.

Break Down of SERPs

SERPs are typically made up of 2 core results – Organic Results and Paid results.

Google SERP of "how to get started with SEO'. Highlighting sections of paid results, featured snippet and organic results

Organic Results

These are listings of various content types that appear as a result of the search engine’s algorithm. Usually, the most relevant content is shown according to the search engine’s evaluation of the content in relation to the query. 

Google, for example, has thousands of ranking factors that determine the top organic results. Making competition especially high in just the organic results. This is why search engine optimisation is important in order to optimise content to rank highly in organic results.

Paid Ads

Paid ads are also a massive part of SERPs. This is because they appear as the first results. Even after all the work to get your content to the number 1 position of organic search results, paid ads usually will be on top.

However, depending on the type of search, paid ads may not be present at all. Informational queries such as a search for ‘What are SERPs’ have low commercial intent. Therefore, it would not be useful to pay for ads here when these users are unlikely to convert to sales.

Instead, paid ads are more likely to be placed on navigational (for example searching for a brand) and transactional queries. A transactional query could be ‘What are the best cameras for vlogging?’. This has much higher commercial intent and therefore, are likely to purchase.

So, there is still a chance of ranking on the top spot for informational queries.

Featured Snippets

This third element of SERPs contains both paid results, organic results or results directly from Google’s Knowledge Graph

Often if a query has a simple answer or list, this can result in a featured snippet. The aim is to provide the answer to the query without having to click a result. This result is usually used in voice search also.

Why are SERPs important?

When you search a query in a search engine, how often do you click to page two, or even page three? 

Studies have proven that there is a sharp drop of click throughs from the first page to the second page. As well as, revealing that clicks significantly lower after page 10 of SERPs.

Backlinko graph showing drop of clicks from 1st page SERPs to 10th page SERPs


In total, the top 3 results receive 75.1% of clicks!

Backlinko graphic showing 75.1% of clicks are in the top 3 SERP results


This is what makes SERPs so important.

Ranking highly can increase traffic significantly.

It is clear that ranking in the top three results is extremely important to see significant benefit from search engine traffic. Additionally, the concentration of clicks in the first three results makes competition for the top spot extremely high.

Knowing the makeup of SERPs and why they are important can also help improve your SEO strategy. 

What keywords and queries are you targeting?

What type of queries may you place an ad?

Where can you optimise your content for featured snippets?

You can use SERPs effectively for competitor analysis also. By analysing and evaluating the existing high ranking content, you can optimise your content further. Making it better and more valuable than the existing top-ranking pages. 

Final Takeaways on the importance of SERPs

This guide on SERPs clearly shows the value that an SEO strategy has for your business/website. You have the potential to rank at the top of SERPs and obtain up to 75% of the traffic available. This can be through both paid and organic results. 

Obtaining more traffic can contribute to more sales, higher profit, higher conversions and warm leads. Solidifying how important SEO is for your content and ranking in SERPs.

However, putting in the work for long term SEO can be difficult and time-consuming. If you’re only just getting started or need help with link building and outreach, Outreach Lab can help you improve SERPs today.