The Anatomy of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS)
How to Tailor Your Digital Marketing Efforts Based On Your Customer Journey
By Rebecca Lima
As a business owner, it can be complicated knowing where to start with your digital marketing. There are numerous acronyms, tools, learning resources, and marketing agencies. The best place to start is by understanding your customer’s digital journey. For most of our partners, their customers begin their journey on the search engine results pages (SERPS). SERPS pages can be broken out into two main categories: paid and organic. Understanding the anatomy of a SERPS page and the breakdown of paid vs. organic will help you better understand digital marketing as a whole and curate your search engine marketing strategy (SEM) based on your customer’s journey and your business goals.
Your Customer’s Digital Journey
When customers start their digital journey, they usually begin by opening a search engine on their phone or desktop. For example, when a potential customer navigates to Google, they type in a keyword or phrase and hit enter. This keyword or phrase and their search location prompt the resulting page(s), known as the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Typically, “paid” results will appear the highest on the results pages and “organic” typically appears below them. These are the two main modes of acquiring digital visibility to your website, which can convert into new customers.
At ChoiceLocal, we can assist our partners with appearing in the paid and organic section of the SERPS pages. Our organic marketing efforts are generally bundled up into SEO, whereas the paid results are often driven from our Pay-Per-Click marketing programs. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the act of maximizing opportunities for a website to be found in the free results section of search engines (like Google or Bing) for words and phrases most relevant to the products or services the website is offering.
Organic Results and Pay-Per-Click Marketing
SEO is making changes to your website, which align with algorithm changes so that you can appear in the organic sections and subsections of the SERPS page, also known as SERPS features. The most common SERPS features are driven from Search Engine Optimization and include the organic results, the knowledge panel, and the local pack.
When looking at the paid sections of the SERPS, these marketing efforts are grouped into our Pay-Per-Click marketing programs. Pay-per-click (PPC) is an advertising model used to drive traffic to a dedicated landing page. This dedicated landing page is tracked separately from your website and is created to convert paid visitors. These campaigns are created by selecting keywords, phrases, geographic territories and paired with an advertising budget. With PPC marketing efforts, your business can appear in the Pay-Per-Click or Local Search Ads sections of the SERPS.
Local Service Ads (LSAs)
In addition to PPC, there is another paid advertising program called Local Service Ads (LSAs). LSAs are another advertising model used to drive new customers. However, these customers are typically kept on Google and not sent to a landing page or your website. For LSAs, we select a combination of designated market areas, business categories, and budget, which help us target your customers. Similar to the local pack, there are typically only three positions available in the SERPS for LSAs. However, if there are not enough competitors in your area running the additional listing areas, the additional listings may be pulled organically.
Understanding the anatomy of a SERPS page and how it is broken out (by paid and organic marketing efforts) can help you determine which marketing mix makes sense for your business, customers, and business goals. At ChoiceLocal, we have an incredible team of Account Executives, SEO specialists, and paid specialists who can help you curate the perfect combination.