Definitions

search-engine results page

Search engine results page

A search engine results page, or SERP, is the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normally include a list of web pages with titles, a link to the page, and a short description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page. A SERP may refer to a single page of links returned, or to the set of all links returned for a search query.

Query caching

Some search engines cache SERPs for frequent searches and display the cached SERP instead of a live SERP to increase the performance of the search engine. The search engine updates the SERPs periodically to account for new pages, and possibly to modify the rankings of pages in the SERP.

SERP refreshing can take several days or weeks which can occasionally cause results to be inaccurate or out of date, and new sites and pages to be completely absent.

Different types of results

SERPs of major search engines like Google and Yahoo! may include different types of listings: contextual, algorithmic or organic search listings, as well as sponsored listings, images, maps, definitions, or suggested search refinements. The major search engines also offer different types of search, such as image, news, and blog search. The SERPs for these specialized searches offer specific types of results.

An example of the variation of the results from different search engines for the same search term can be found at my_serp

Advertising (Sponsored Listings)

SERPs usually contain advertisements. This is how commercial search engines fund their operations. Common examples of these advertisements are displayed on the right hand side of the page (e.g. Google Adwords) as small classified style ads or directly above the main organic search results on the left (e.g., Yahoo! Sponsored Search).

See also

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