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opSERPation: Breaking Down A SERP

Mike Isaac
opSERPation: Breaking Down A SERP

If you are a new user of SEMrush, or just new to SEO in general, you may still need help understanding some basic SEO ideas and terms.

One term users are unaware of when they get into the field of SEO is SERP. This stands for Search Engine Results Page. Below, we will operate on this SERP, and break down the different parts that make it up.


Let's start with what a SERP is. Like I mentioned above, this is the Search Engine Result Page. The ironic part is you already know what this is! This refers to the page you see when you enter a keyword into the search engine.

Breaking Down a SERP

If you were to go into Google and type in “Nike Shoes,” you will see the following results. Let's break down this SERP from top to bottom.

nike shoes - Google Search (3)

nike shoes - Google Search (3)


This number displays how many results show up for this keyword. In this case, "Nike Shoes" has 140 million results. In SEMrush, you will see this number listed under the Results column when analyzing keywords.


This refers to paid results for a keyword. In Google, people use Google AdWords to bid on keywords so they can show up in the top positions. The placement of these paid results vary depending on the keyword being searched. Sometimes they will show up in the top positions — as shown in the screenshot — but they can also show up in different positions, such as the sidebar and the bottom of the page.


These are the rankings that people try to rank high for using SEO. Also called natural results, these are the positions domains are ranked for through their SEO. By determining different strategies and tactics, domains try to move up to the highest position possible for the keyword they are targeting in their SEO efforts.


Depending on the keyword being searched, you will see news and image results show up within the search results. Sometimes Google will show local results as well. (You have most likely seen this for a local business near you.)

In this case, we see images and news listings shown, as this is a bigger keyword that is branded. The way Google determines what type of results show up is based on their algorithm. Google used to have a very robotic way of determining what kind of data was displayed in the SERPs. Now, Google has a way of determining this information to provide you with relevant content through the various algorithms they have implemented over the years.


This is the SEO term for the information portion of a SERP that gives you the main gist of your query. This is Google Now’s way of providing you with information on what you are searching for quickly, so you do not need to go through multiple listings to find the information you are looking for.


You have most likely seen this: Google gives you suggestions of searches to make so you can find the information you are looking for.

How is Information Ranked?

Now that you understand the different pieces that make up a SERP, it is important to note how positions are determined.

Who shows up in what position is dependent on how well each listing conducts their SEO. The goal of SEO is to rank #1 for each keyword you are targeting. In order to do so, you need to conduct various methods to increase your ranking. This is done in a number of ways:

  • Promotion through social media
  • Creating content
  • Improving the health of your website, and other methods

You can then apply this to what you see when you look at the SERP.

SERP and SEMrush

It is important to understand these various parts of the SERP in order to understand the information SEMrush provides.

For example, take the Ads Copies report. In this report, SEMrush will show you a copy of the ad that is run by a domain for a particular keyword. This ad will be displayed in the Google AdWords result section of the SERP, displayed in the screenshot. These are listed in various places, such as the sidebar and bottom of the page. SEMrush allows you to see the ad itself, where the ad "lives" on the SERP and analytical data on the keyword associated with the ad.

Another report that makes the SERP crucial to understand is the Organic Positions report. This report tells you what keywords a given domain is ranking for organically or naturally. By going through this report you can see the “SERP Source,” or a screenshot of the SERP that displays the domain in the given position. You can also see analytical keyword data in this report, including CPC, Search Volume, Results, Trend and more.

It is important to understand a SERP and its different parts so you can properly analyze the data. This information will put you on the right path to understanding SEO and Internet marketing

If you still have questions about any of this information, please feel free to reach out to our Customer Success Team at: (855) 814-4510 or by email at [email protected].

Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Mike Isaac is the Customer Success Content Manager at SEMrush. He has been working at SEMrush for over 3 years and is constantly pushing out new content to keep users engaged. Feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.
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