what does serp stand for

What does SERP stand for? A SERP is an acronym that means Search Engine Results Pages. They are the pages of clickable search results that are displayed in search engines following your search.

SERPs include:

  • Paid ads for keywords
  • Featured snippets – excerpts grabbed from website pages that directly answer the search query, particularly where it’s a question
  • Approximately 10 ‘organic’ (not paid) search results for keywords entered into the search box per SERP
  • People also ask (on Google) – a series of similar queries, usually in the form of results
  • Related searches – a series of similar queries, usually in the form of phrases and images

If you’ve ever wondered “What does SERP stand for?”, you’ll find answers in this blog post. We explain on-page SEO what copywriters and other content writers can do to ensure their blog post content is advancing higher up in the SERPs (search engine results pages), without paying for ads.

what does serp stand for
featured snippet

What Does SERP Stand For?

Do you venture beyond page one of the SERPs when searching for something?

Now, imagine your potential clients, partners or employees searching to find information about your products, services, events or companies similar to yours. What terms would lay people choose? Not the same as you, no doubt. They’ll not search for ‘waterproof jogger’s vest’, but ‘wet weather running gear’. They’ll probably not know to search for the ‘XR5600’, but instead will type in ‘large garden shears’. They won’t search for the name of your fancy programme, but ‘developer mentoring Cardiff’. And, they’ll most likely click into the first few search results they see.

75% of people never scroll past the first page of search engines.

Pat Ahern, Inter

We’ll first talk about two things not to do.

SERPs Rankings Are Not Improved By These Two Things

Let’s have a look at two cheap and nasty tactics that are no longer in vogue.

Don’t Do Keyword Stuffing

This is an antiquated technique in web years. The keyword for this blog post is ‘What Does SERP stand for?’. And, it can be incorporated in a few places, quite naturally.

But, here are a few things you should not do:

  1. Don’t duplicate words or phrases unnecessarily and awkwardly. Our strapline is ‘communicate better’. If we just shoved our keyword ‘what does serp stand for’ into this blog post at any given opportunity, it would start to grate on the nerves. Just don’t – otherwise you run the risk of agitating and alienating readers who’ll feel cynically manipulated.
  2. Don’t shove in words and phrases that are completely unrelated to the topic of the page or post. This is just silly, which should be obvious.
  3. Don’t insert (invisible) block text containing your keyword. This sounds as naff as could be, but apparently it used to help.

Aside from anything else, this unimaginative tactic involves zero creativity and research time. It is also unethical in light of your relationship with potential clients, partners, and employees.

Don’t Use the Keyword Meta Tag

The meta-keywords tag was last used by Google over a decade ago, but since it was open to abuse (people simply shoved in as many keywords as possible without necessarily creating useful or relevant content), its use was discontinued. You’ll probably not even find it in any plugins or SEO tools such as YOAST, as it’s simply no longer used by search engines to positively impact the SERPs. Worse yet, some research suggests that search engines may penalise those websites that use it.

Now, let’s look at what you should do.

Do Your Keyword Research First

Before you begin writing any of your content, use Google or another keyword research and planner such as Ahrefs to find out what keyword best fits the topic you have in mind. This research will probably alter the angle you take on the topic.

For example, you might be planning to write an article about the ’12 best coffee makers’. However, after your keyword research, you may realise that people are also searching more for reviews on individual brands of coffee machines. Some of those keywords may be easier to rank for and some will have less competition. Taking lots of factors into account may change your topic, so that it’s more a side by side brands comparison blog post or a series of shorter ones on individual brands.

what does serp stand for
keyword research tool results


Keyword research tools also usually suggest some questions that people are using to search on this topic. In the case of this blog post, I started by seeing who was typing SERP or SERPs into search engines, but I soon found that the question ‘What Does SERP Stand For?’ was one of the most popular. So, I used that instead of the more generic ‘SERP’, which had much steeper competition from much larger websites. Questions your target audience are already asking make great long-tail (meaning more than a few words) keywords, blog post topics, and titles.

Keyword Difficulty & Volume

Another item of on page SEO jargon to pay attention includes the KD (keyword difficulty), a combined score measuring how difficult it is to rank in the top 10 SERPs (search engine results pages) for the selected keyword, including how many referring domains you’d need to achieve that. While it’s tempting to go for the one with the largest Volume (number of searches), remember that this might be accompanied by a high KD. A high KD might be to do with how many others are targeting that keyword in paid or organic search, how much they’re paying for it, how many backlinks or what domain authority score competitors have.

Lots of things can make competing on high volume keywords a ton of extra work. Remember: no-one will click on your page or post if it’s buried far down in the SERPs.

Add Your Keyword Into the URL

Arguably, the first place a search engine looks when trawling the web to serve up search engine results pages is the URL. If the keyword is written into your domain, you’re laughing.

what does serp stand for

For the rest of us mere mortals, our domain is likely already our business name (sensei.ie), so we have to ensure that the ‘slug’ (the end part of the URL that comes after the forward slash (sensei.ie/…) contains our keyword. In the example above, the slug is ‘how to write in plain english’.


If you’re using WordPress as your CMS (content management system), you can add an SEO plugin (we recommend YOAST) to help prompt you to improve the SEO on your pages and blog posts from the URL onwards.

Add Your Keyword Into the H1 Title

The H1 title is also sometimes referred to as the ‘Page Title’. It’s what appears at the top of the page or blog post once a reader has landed on the page. You should only write this once you’ve done your keyword research.

If you’ve also done some research on your reader personas (audience), then you’ll know their concerns, pain points and priorities.

Add Your Keyword Into the (SEO) Title

This is the SEO Title that appears in the SERPs as shown below. It can be slightly different to the H1 title, but should include the keyword – ideally as near the beginning as possible. In this example, the keyword is ‘on page seo jargon’.


If you’re using WordPress or some other content management system, your SEO plugin or fields may also prompt you to lengthen the title by adding an additional few words in at the end (here I’ve added ‘keywords’ and ‘metadata’) to further help explain the topic of the page or blog post.

Pay attention to the SEO Title’s template makeup, as it may append the ‘Page’ (as illustrated, the H1 Heading) or Site Title (usually your organisation’s name). It is usually something you can change manually and is worth the effort.

Remember that while you may spend time crafting a well written meta description (see below), many of those using search engines will only look at the title before clicking. So, make sure the title is relevant to, and includes, the keyword.

Write a Meta Description Including the Keyword

The meta description is that text that will be displayed neatly on the SERP underneath the (blue) clickable link to your page or blog post. It helps search engines and those conducting searches figure out how relevant your content is before they click.

If you neglect to do this, search engines will simply grab some text off your page and throw that in instead. It’ll usually be cut off mid-sentence, proving less useful for people scanning search results for something relevant to their query.

Google recommends a maximum length of 155 characters.

Add Your Keyword Into the First Few Words of the Blog Post

Remember, search engines are looking to serve up search results that are relevant. If they detect the keyword in the URL, title and the first line of text in the blog post, that immediately looks relevant. The same goes for humans thirsty for content that matches their search terms most closely, or that gives them an extra reason to click in preference over other pages served in the SERPs.

Go back up and look at the first few words of this blog post and you’ll see, ‘what does serp stand for’.

Add Secondary Keywords (Synonyms and Long-Tail Keyword Variations) in the Body Text

Remember, search engines are trawling your pages and blog posts for relevancy to the search term entered into the search engine by the user. They’ll surface the web pages that appear to be closely related to that term.

You may have to get out your thesaurus to help you find synonyms. We recommend Merriam Webster, especially if your readership is based in the US. And, your SEO tool of choice will also prompt you on these long-tail keyword variations.

Add Your Keyword Into Another H2 or H3 Heading

It’s insufficient to have the keyword written into your Title (H1 heading) alone. Your website plugin or SEO fields will generally prompt you to add it and synonyms at least one more heading further down the page.

SEO jargon – titles

Rename the Featured Image with Your Keyword

Most blog posts contain at least one image, including a featured image that appears along with the blog post title, in excerpts, in social media and other places around the web.

featured image
  • If you name the image using your keyword phrase (short is best) before you upload it to your website, it helps search engines assess your blog post for relevancy.
  • Though the usual advice is to ensure the alt text describes the image, it is recommend that you add your keyword into the alt text field of:
    • The main or cover image
    • 1-2 (and no more) further images contained in the post or page
  • And, you can add your keyword phrase in the image title field, but that doesn’t really help SEO.

Remember that adding at least one image into the body of the blog post or page is also good for SEO.

Write an Excerpt

While not strictly SEO, this can help with how your website pages and blog posts are referenced around your website. Some website theme templates display short page or post excerpts on the home page or blog category and archive pages. Don’t make it hard for yourself – use the meta description and modify it slightly.

There are also recommend lengths for excerpts: WordPress suggests 55 words.


On-page SEO Checklist

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What Does SERP Stand For?

Have You experimented and ranked higher in the SERPs? Let us know about your adventures in a comment. And, follow us on @SenseiHello on Instagram all month, as we look at the ingredients that go into the SERP Search Engine Results Page mix.

Further Help & Coaching on On-Page SEO

If you help with understanding the jargon surrounding SERPs, check out On Page SEO: A Glossary of Jargon.

Alternatively, if you help with SEO research and implementation for web pages or blog posts, Book a Coaching Session on On-page SEO.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Quote source: Inter