Google Search Engine Results Explained

When speaking with our clients about search engine optimization and local search optimization, we often have to explain the various parts of the Google search engine results page so that they understand what part of the page we are targeting and why. So I thought I would put it in a blog post so that others can benefit from this as well.

I’ve taken a screenshot of a typical Google search engine results page to show you what it might look like when entering a local search term such as “Tampa Air Conditioning.”

  1. Paid Advertising or Pay Per Click Ads (PPC): These ads show on the top and right side of the Google search engine results page. They are Google’s main source of revenue. With pay per click ads, you can buy your way to the first page of Google. You pick the keywords you want to bid on, write your ad, give them your credit card information, and you’re there. Every time someone clicks on your ad, you pay Google.
  2. Local Search Results: When you have a local business, this is the prime real estate on the search results page. This is the area we target with our Local Search Optimization service. When someone gets to a search results page looking for a local business, most of the time, they will do business with someone in that section. You’ll notice that the reviews are the biggest eye-catching aspect of these results. Online reviews are extremely important. The more you have here, the better advantage you have over your competition in this space.
  3. Local Maps: If someone doesn’t find what they are looking for in the Local Search Results, they might turn to this local map to find it. Or they might be looking for the business that’s closest to them. You’ll notice that the businesses that show up in the Local Search Results section, have lettered pins, instead of dots on the map.
  4. Filters: These help users narrow down their search. For instance, if someone is looking for videos on “Tampa Air Conditioning” they could click the Videos link and Google will only show video results, the majority of which will be Youtube of course, since Google owns Youtube and they are the most popular video platform.
  5. Organic Search Results: If you look at the second screenshot, which is the bottom of the search results page, you will find the Organic Search Results. These are the “traditional” results that Google has been displaying since the beginning of their existence. Notice how they are pushed to the bottom for this particular search. This isn’t the case with all search terms, but many local search terms will look like this. With the rise of Local Search and Social Media, Google is constantly trying to show you the most relevant results based on the type of search you entered. So the organic results are not always the most prominent any longer.
  6. Related Searches: These are there to help people find what they are looking for by using other popular search terms related to the one they used to get here. We often use this to find related searches that we should be trying to rank for. It gives us very valuable insight on what terms people use in each industry.

I hope this little breakdown of the Google search engine results page will help you understand what each area is and which areas you should be targeting for your business.

Feel free to ask questions in the comment area below.

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