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What are Search Engine Results?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 23 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Search engine results are those websites that come up when a person looks for a keyword or words on a search engine. The page that comes up when a search in initiated is called the SERP or search engine results page. There can actually be numerous SERPs for a single search.

For large search engines like Yahoo!® and Google®, among the many, results may include pages that most match the keywords (KWs). These can define the keyword searched, discuss some aspect of the KWs, or be advertisements related to KWs. Amount of results can vary significantly depending on how many websites focus on the search term or KW. Sometimes a KW search returns few search engine results, and other times there are so many results it could take days or months to read them all.

It may help, when there are many search engine results, to make a search more specific. If a person is looking up how to trim a dog’s nails, it wouldn’t make sense to search for trimming nails, nails, dogs or dog’s nails. Instead the most accurate term might be “Trim a dog’s nails” or “trim dog nails.” This could help people find those pages best suited to the thing they really want to know. Other topics are so huge, like anything focusing on celebrities, that it can be harder not to find numerous results, no matter how the search is limited.

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There are some things to bear in mind about search engine results. Some companies pay search engines to list their pages among the top results. Advertisements may be integrated into results or they may be in a separate section so people can tell them apart. Other results occur in what is called an “organic” fashion. This means these pages may be listed near the top of the SERP because the search engine has ranked them as higher quality and most related to the KW search. Sites selling a product can still show up in an organic way, but may be marked as commercial or advertisements.

Search engine results can sometimes be limited to certain sources of information. For instance, if a person is looking for news about a subject, they can use Google® to search KWs in the “News” section. Alternately, people can look for pictures through the Google “Images” section.

Since results to a search can often be overwhelming, some people prefer to search for terms on reputable websites. For instance, if a person wants a wiseGEEK article on a particular subject, they can simply go to the wiseGEEK front page and search for that topic. Other people look at Wikipedia, reputable medical sites like the Mayo Clinic, or many other sites.

In this case, searches stay local to the particular site, though some sites do give people the option to take the search elsewhere. For example, results to a search might come back with “There are no matches for that term.” Near or around the KW box in which the term was submitted, it might read, “Search for this term in Google®?” or some other similarly worded option.

For website owners, having a page show up at the top of search engine results is desirable. This can increase website traffic. There are a number of methods for improving page ranking or possibility that web pages will show up near the top of an SERP. All search engines have variable ways of determining page ranking, and it can helpful to understand these to improve chances of higher rank.

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