The search engines can be described as answer machines

They are able to scour millions if not billions of content pieces along with evaluating countless factors in order to determine what content is more likely to provide an answer to a query. The search engines conduct all these tasks in the way of discovering and cataloging all content that is available on the Internet. This includes web pages, images, videos, PDFs, etc. Through the process called “crawling and indexing”, followed by ordering this information in association to how accurately it matches a query, it uses a process that is referred to as “ranking”. We have covered crawling, ranking, and indexing more in-depth detail in Chapter 2.

What Search Results Are Regarded As “Organic”?

As mentioned above, the “organic” search results are the type which is earned through SEO that is effective, and it is never paid for (for example, not advertising). This was once clearly visible, as the ads were labeled clearly, and remaining results would usually take on the form of “10 blue links”, which were listed under them. Yet the way in which searches have changed, you may be wondering how you are able to spot the organic results of today?

Today, the SERPs, which stands for Search Engine Results Pages now feature even more advertising along with an increase in dynamic formats of organic results known as SERP features. A few examples of the SERP features include answer boxes or featured snippets, image carousels, People Also Ask boxes, and more. The latest SERP features carry on emerging, which is largely driven by what users are seeking.

For instance, if you had to search for “Denver Weather”, you may see the weather forecast dedicated to the Denver area directly in a SERP in place of using a link to sites that may have the forecast. If you have to conduct a search for “pizza Denver”, you will see a “local pack” results which include a variety of pizza places in Denver. This is a pretty convenient feature for many people.

It is important to keep in mind that different search engines are making money from ads. They have a goal to solve the queries of the searchers as best they can (within SERPs), in order to ensure the searchers keep coming back, along with keeping them on the SERPs for longer. Some fo the SERP features that you see on Google are organic and are often influenced by SEO. These will include the featured snippets (a promoted organic results which come with a displayed answer box inside) along with related questions (ie. People Also Ask boxes).

It is also worth mentioning that there are various other types of search features, that do not fall underpaid advertising, that is not usually influenced by SEO. These are the features that in most cases have acquired data from the proprietary sources, which include IMDb, Wikipedia, and WebMD.