SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages and SEO is the art and science of improving a site’s positioning within SERPs. SERPs are results that a user sees when they type in a query in a search engine like Google or Bing. The resulting page with results are called SERPs. An illustration of a Google SERP is provided below for illustrative purposes.
By looking at a sample SERP, one can see that it has two parts. The top part (parts of which sometimes appear on the sides as well) are the paid results, while the bottom part holds the organic search results. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is about improving the organic search part and to have ones website rank higher in SERPs to enable a website to get more online traffic (organic or free traffic).
Although SEO is about ensuring a site’s higher placement in organic search results within the SERP, some of the guidelines help in a better placement in the paid results as well. With a lot of competition from advertisers to be shown on top of the paid results at the least possible cost, some of the SEO techniques (e.g. improving page quality, page speed, and so on) are used by Google to rank the paid results’ pages’ quality and uses that information accordingly to rank a site within the paid results.
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