What's A SERP And Why Should A Small Business Care?

An SEO consultant works on a laptop.
| 06.09.22
Susan G.

Marketers sometimes get caught up in their terminology. When a small business owner suddenly needs to act as a marketer and more, it can quickly become confusing. Today we’ll make one common term simpler for you! SERP stands for search engine results page.

What is that? After someone visits a search engine like Google or Bing and types what they want to know, the resulting page is called a SERP. There are different parts of a search engine results page, and they are all important to small businesses. We’ll walk you through it, focusing on the most common search engine: Google.

How Each Part Of A Search Engine Results Page Matters To A Small Business

Result type categories. Someone using Google to search has several result types available to them across the top of the page:

  • All. The default search type and what most people use.
  • Shopping. All the related results that are found in Google Shopping.
  • Images. Returned results are actual images. This can be handy if you’re putting together a Pinterest page for an interior design client, for example. You can pin images directly from the results.
  • News. Any news article related to what was searched will appear here.
  • Books. Any book titles with content pertaining to what was searched will appear here.
  • More. This is actually a dropdown containing links to Google Maps, Videos, Flights, and Finance. Relevant search results would appear on each.

Being aware of the different search result categories can be handy for a small business owner. You can see how your business and competitors appear for each type, and you can use them to gain more knowledge on running a business in general!

Shopping Ads. More and more, ads are given increasing space on a Google SERP. You’ll commonly see a row of ads with an image for each high on the page. Google will label the section “Ads” and give it a heading like “Popular products” or “Shop lamps for living rooms,” depending on the search query. Google will often display these image ads in more than one place on the page!

As a small business owner, you may be wondering how to get an ad in that space. The ads across the top featuring an image for each item are called Shopping Ads by Google. We recommend you work with a paid ad professional to utilize shopping ads for your small business. Costs can vary depending on the popularity of the search terms you think would be most important for your business.

Text-Based Ads. ​​Like Shopping Ads, Google puts text ads on a SERP, commonly next under Shopping Ads. An advertiser pays to have the ad displayed. Paid ads or pay-per-click ads (PPC) are an option on the Google Ads platform. We again recommend working with a paid ad professional to start using text-based ads on Google.

Google My Business Listing. If you create a Google My Business Listing for your business, Google will show a map for your business, your hours, any Google reviews you have received, and a link to your website on the SERP in a prominent location. We highly recommend that you create your free Google My Business listing ASAP! It will help customers find your business and provide legitimacy when you are first starting out.

Organic results. Another free part of the SERP! Organic results appear on a search results page after Google has crawled and indexed a page. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure your pages are crawlable and indexable (that the pages don’t have a “no-index” on them)—that they have good search engine optimization (SEO).

Do some research on tips for search engine optimizing your pages to get the best results. The basic guidelines are to utilize keywords important to your business that reflect the page content and ensure that your page content is helpful to customers. Off-page SEO can also be beneficial. This involves getting other sites to link to your page and linking to your page from social media, for example.

People Also Ask. Google rolled out this helpful section over the years, putting together the questions people commonly ask related to what they searched, and giving “snippets” of answers from the web pages Google thinks best answers the question. 43% of search queries and counting now feature a People Also Ask (PAA) section. Unfortunately, Google is not forthcoming on whether people actually click the link to read more on a website or how people use PAA. 

You may be wondering how your web page may be featured as an answer. It helps to make some on-page optimizations on the web page you think might help answer a question potential customers may ask. You will generally need to show up in the top ten organic search results for the search query to begin. Then you’ll make sure the answer to the target question can be found on your page, and it is in the format Google expects.

We hope this information helps you understand a SERP and why having your business appear on the important search results can help transform your business. A SERP is essential to increase customers’ awareness of your business! Google often tweaks its SERPs and paid ad systems, but the basics remain the same. We wish you luck in getting your business listed!

About the Author

B2Z Insurance is a small business insurance company that provides coverage for on-the-go business owners: simple explanations, easy application, digital quotes, and mobile claims. A product that is easy-to-use and helps you assess the unique coverage needs of your business with confidence—freeing you up to grow your business.