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10 Jan 2010

What Is A SERP And Why Should You Care?

If you own a business and have a website you should know what they are and care about SERPs, the acronym for Search Engine Results Page. The result of  a word or phrase query in a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing is a SERP.

When a person searches the web they type key words in a search box in hopes of getting the results they are looking for. The search engine will sift through thousands, tens of thousands, if not millions of websites to give the most relevant, and up to date information through it’s algorithms.

In the past few months the SERPs have been quite erratic for some sites. Pages have been up, down and all over the board. Speculation has it that the Google caffeine update is the culprit. Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO discusses the update on his blog in a video interview with Mike McDonald from WebProNews. The update has been taking place for several months now but the dust still hasn’t settled.

This is a major update for Google and should be watched very closely by the SEO industry. One of the factors I have noticed is how the structure of websites has a direct effect on SERP. Pages that ranked well in 2007 – 2008 and early 2009 that were built with what now is old school technology, are falling behind in the search results.

In my opinion, the algorithm changes that are in the caffeine update directly reflect site structure and load time of sites. The more sites search engines have to query, the faster they need to access the data within those sites. If the code is heavy and disorganized it slows down the indexing process. This is having a direct affect on the SERP.

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