A search engine results page, or SERP is the listing of web pages returned by a search engine in response to a keyword query. The results normal include a list of web pages with titles, a link to the page, and a short description showing where the keywords have matched content within the page. SERPs may also contain advertisements, a way for search engines to earn income.
For frequently requested search terms, search engines do not build the SERP afresh each time. Instead, the search engines build the SERP once and save it for subsequent queries. Periodically the search engine crawls the web and rebuilds the SERP to account for new pages, and to re-rank the pages according to the search engine’s own algorithm.
As of 2006, SERPs are offering search engine users more features, including local matches, files on the user’s own computer, definitions, images, and suggestions for alternative keywords.
Search engine optimization is a sub-specialty within web development that seeks to position a web site more frequently and more prominently in the SERPs. Spamdexing is the use of deceptive practices to raise a web site’s visibility in the SERPs.
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