Towards the end of my last blog on Google’s Page Rank and its November update, you may remember I mentioned the phrase ‘SERP’. Once again I was astounded by the amount of website owners who have no idea what this means, or why they need to consider the impact SERPs have on their online business. With this in mind I thought it only right that I create a second blog to give you a brief overview of this subject.
So, what does ‘SERP’ stand for?
SERP stands for a “Search Engine Results Page”, which has different implications when compared with Google’s Page Rank system. Whereas the Google Page Rank system assigns your actual website a quality score (based on all the points mentioned in my previous piece), a SERP ranks your website for its relevant search queries. For example, if you are trying to rank your website for the keyword “blue jumpers”, the SERP will use numerous factors to determine how highly a particular page should rank compared to other sites that are targeting the same word.
How Does It Work?
It is thought that Google’s algorithm takes over 200 factors into account to determine the ranking order of websites that are associated with any given keyword. If SEOs (and average webmasters) were to know exactly what these 200+ factors were, we would all be very wealthy people, as we’d be able to manipulate the SERPs in no time at all. Even if we did have a greater understanding of Google’s exact requirements, chances are we’d only be optimising websites correctly for a short time, as the search engine is constantly tweaking and amending the value of each factor to keep its algorithm fresh and results as accurate as possible.
What we do know for sure is that the following factors will have an impact on the SERPs:
- Quality and relevancy of the content
- Addition of regular fresh content
- Website structuring
- Page Rank value
- Social media activity (Google+ 1s, Facebook ‘Likes’ etc)
- Your website’s link profile
- Spread of anchor text
- Site loading times
The fact is a lot of people will say that Page Rank is not important and only focus on their site’s SERPs as a metric for success. But if you want your company’s website to generate enquiries or revenue and carry on doing so for a long period of time, you really need to be incorporating all of the points mentioned in my list above into your online marketing approach.
Google is an information resource and only wants to promote websites that it deems to be relevant and informative in relation to the search query in question. If you are clearly trying to manipulate the SERPs by aggressively optimising your site or building an awful lot of links to your domain, Google will eventually pick this up. You could see your website penalized and, if this happens, it could quickly lose all of the positions and traffic. The key is to carry out gradual, natural-looking optimisation work to ensure that everything you do adheres to Google’s guidelines and doesn’t take advantage of them!