How do Search Engines Display Search Results?

Did you ever notice the layout of the search engine results pages? Are you not curious in knowing why there are particularly only some results on the page; where are the rest?

To get an answer to the questions above, you need to understand a few basic terms and processes.

What do you mean by search engine results pages?

When you type a query into the search bar, the first page that displays is termed as the search engine results pages. The appearance of SERPs changes due to constant adjustments by the search engines for better user experience.

How does the search engine manage to display certain results?

Usually, when people add a new webpage, it takes some time for the search engines to find and interact with those pages and display them when needed. This is a three-stage process:

  1. Crawling – A process, where search engines like Google send out a troop of spiders or bots to find the new website, and how many pages it displays. This continues like a chain where the bots discover new pages using sitemaps and follow the page links.
  2. Indexing – The second step, where all the details of the newly discovered pages or websites are stored analyzed and reviewed.
  3. Ranking – During the process of indexing, certain logical decisions are made according to the keywords and the type of content.

That is the main reason when you try to search for something in the search engine; the page displays various URLs, which have an individual rank.

Crawling, indexing and ranking are the three main building blocks upon which the search engines interpret search queries.

How does the search engine work?

 Step 1- User query

The user types his/her query in the search space with specific keywords.

Step-2 – SERP displays the info

The search engine reads, interprets, and displays a unique SERP for the same query of the user.

Let us understand this process through a small example:

When you appear your exams, and you wish to know your results on a certain day, what do you do?

You simply give your roll number and then the teacher gives you your answer sheet.

The roll number of yours acts as the keyword, based on which you receive your results.

The same thing works for the search engines as well.

There two types of results displayed for the users:

  • Organic results

These general results appear in response to your query.

Organic results appear as per two different searches:

Informational – the user wants to find an answer to a certain topic.

Navigational – the user wishes to locate a particular venue, for instance, restaurants or malls.

  • Paid results

These are commercial results displayed on the search engine page. When you type a transactional query or a query with a commercial intent where you include keywords like “buy or sell,” you can find strings of sponsored ads.

You may notice certain image-based ads displayed on the right side of the search engine that gives you an idea about many eCommerce stores and retailers.

SERP has many layouts that display the answers. Some of them are as follows:

  • Generic SERP layout

The most common form of the layout is one that contains a snippet box, knowledge panel, a common section of questions, organic, images or video-related section, and a row of common queries.

  • Local SERP layout

When you type a location related query, the SERP displays the map and the destination. Below it, you can find a section where the SERP gives you options that you may like to try.

You may find local ads on the right side and related queries at the bottom of the search engine page.

Other features displayed by the search engines

  • In-depth articles

You find these options when the search query is quite broad. They have different a different set of ranking rules.

  • Knowledge graph and knowledge cards

These are a bunch of semantic data displayed over the SERP page. They usually appear in the form of graphs.

  • Reviews

The rating data usually appears in all SERPs for different companies. Results and reviews are very profitable for companies because it helps them appearing in top search results.

  • Tweets

Search engines display tweets combined with results directly. This allows the user access to using the social platform through search engines.

  • Events

You can find this section when you type some general queries related to occurrences or episodes happening next to you. For instance, when you type “events next to you,” a bunch of event details shall appear on the top of the SERP page.

The mobile SERPs differ and have a different order of arrangement of SERPs depending on the user query.


The most important fact to know how search engine displays its results is quite helpful in finding exactly what you are looking for. An additional benefit of knowing this fact would provide better assistance in designing good content for displaying and ranking easily.   

About rajdimpi

Me (Raj Dimpi) a digital marketing executive provides services like SEO, SMO, PPC from the last 5+ years. I am a guest blogger also and providing guest posting sites including, Tech, business, health, home improvement, casino, Finance and all niche.

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