Breaking Down the Google SERP
The Google SERP (search engine results page) has seen changes over the last few years. Ads appear differently and knowledge panels give instant answers. A website’s ranking within the SERP could impact CTR and organic traffic. However, will organic ranking alone be enough to generate traffic? Today’s Google SERP reveals the answer.
“Above the Fold”
“Above the fold” is a newspaper term for anything visible on top of the newspaper while it is folded. Think of newspapers in a stack. Since the digital, this term appropriately defines content visible on a page without scrolling. In Google’s case, the Google SERP shows mostly paid ads above the fold. In the example below, only four results appear above the fold, three of which are paid search ads. The upper half of a knowledge panel (also called a knowledge graph) appears above the fold. The knowledge panel sometimes fulfills a query without a user needing to click on a link. This results in a zero click search result. Not clicking a link might satisfy a user, but dissatisfy the author that receives no credit or click through traffic from the result.
Only one organic search result appears above the fold, which means ranking number one is crucial when it comes to earning traffic through SEO.
“Below the Fold”
After scrolling, you see content below the fold. In the Google SERP, this includes the remainder of the knowledge graph, a “people who ask” section, organic search results and YouTube videos. The “people who ask” section is like the knowledge panel in that it provides answers without needing to click out of the Google SERP. This section shows related queries and drop-down options to see answers to those questions. This, like knowledge graphs, gives no credit to authors.
While YouTube videos are helpful, they also keep users within Google’s territory. Since YouTube is owned by Google, clicks to YouTube content are also clicks to Google’s content.
Organic Search Results
As seen in the example above, only two organic search results appear in the Google SERP at this point. This means that unless you pay for an ad, your content needs to rank first or second in order to appear among the knowledge panels and drop-down menus.
This analysis of the Google SERP begs the question, will organic search make a difference, or is it all about paid search? This breakdown is from the webinar “What’s Up With Google?” For a full recording and tactics on boosting your organic search results, visit our YouTube channel.