Do you know your SERP? That stands for Search Engine Results Page. In the case of Google, it can be pretty hard to keep up. Google has multiple SERPs, with some elements that may only appear if your search is deemed especially local, or shopping-oriented or perhaps if Google thinks it has a direct answer.
The folks at Moz have done a fantastic job creating a “Mega-SERP” for Google, a single results page that includes many different types of elements that might appear. Here’s the image, which they’ve kindly allowed us to share:
Did you recognize all these elements? Be sure to visit the original Moz post, Mega-SERP: A Visual Guide to Google, for annotations that include the percentage of time each element is deemed likely to appear, on average.
Below, our own guide to the page, with articles from Search Engine Land and elsewhere that are related to particular elements:
Looking for something local? Then you won’t likely miss Google’s “Local Carousel,” which brings back matches drawn from its Google+ Local information. Jumping out of those matches and over to the actual web sites of some places listed might be the challenge. The carousel, along with direct answers with hours, locations and other business information, may mean searchers never leave Google. More background:
Google has long offered music results in various ways, with these most commonly appearing in the Knowledge Graph box along the right-side of the page. But Moz illustrates a new presentation. Search for any artist followed by the word “songs,” such as “U2 songs” or “Green Day songs,” and you’ll get a list of related songs that, if you click on them, jumps you to official videos of them on YouTube.
Those self-driving cars? Google’s plan to solve death? That’s all primarily funded by these — ads that appear when people search for things. Also called Google AdWords, for the program that allows advertisers to buy them. To learn more, see:
When you search for things that are deemed shopping-related, you’ll get back ads that are specifically from shopping merchants. All “shopping results” from Google have been sold since last year. No shopping listings appear in these areas unless an advertiser has purchased what are called “Product Listing Ads” or PLAs. More:
Google has long offered direct answers to questions such as temperatures or package tracking, and the number of questions it tries to answer has only increased. Moz lists 101 Google answers, and our Google’s Impressive “Conversational Search” Goes Live On Chrome story offers other examples of this.
For years, Google Universal Search has blended results from Google’s vertical search engines, such as Google Images or Google News, when deemed appropriate. These are examples of such blending for Google Images. See our Google Images category for more about the service.
Originally, Google Sitelinks were small listings to other pages within a site that appeared below the main listing. Over the years, they have expanded to have descriptions of those pages, information about a business listed and much more.
Similar to Google Images, Google also blends in video results from video sites across the web. Why does it seem like it’s only YouTube results that show up here? Google swears that YouTube isn’t given a preference but rather there’s just so much video on YouTube. For more, see our Google YouTube & Video category.
As with image and video results, Google also blends in maps and local results. These can be so large as to seemingly take up the entire page. Because seven large listings often appear, these are sometimes called the 7-pack. There has also been a 10-pack variation, and the exact number may change. For more, see:
Those pictures of people you see next to some results? Those often are of the person who wrote the article or web page, the authors. More about how Google Authorship works:
With some listings, Google tries to extract and blend additional information about the listing, such as the number of reviews an item might have received. Known as “rich snippets,” Google often depends on publishers themselves to provide this information. More:
Another example of “vertical” search blending, Google shows matching headlines from Google News, when deemed relevant.
There’s no such thing as “normal” search results. That’s because Google will personalize results based on where you are. What’s shown to someone in one city will likely be different to someone in the next city over. Beyond that, Google will personalize results based on your search history and more dramatically, give a boost to content shared by those you are connected to socially — as well as your own personal content, such as matching emails or calendar appointments. More:
A recent addition, Google tries to surface content it considers to be in-depth, in response to some searches:
Long a classic on Google’s results, these links suggest searches that are closely related to the one you originally performed. More:
The Google Knowledge Graph seeks to provide factual information about people, places and things, right within Google. This information is shown in what’s commonly called the Knowledge Graph Box. What’s within the box can dramatically vary. Basic facts are often shown. Sometimes, information from Google+ is also displayed here. Occasionally, Google will show related topics to help a searcher narrow down the type of Knowledge Graph information that will be displayed. More background: