What is API in SEO?

If you’ve ever wanted to analyze what is going on with the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) or just want to retrieve ranking data in an easy to consume JSON format, then our SERPs API is the thing for you! It breaks down the search results and covers pretty much every blended search feature Google has introduced over the past few years.

Here is the SERPs API documentation which explains it in more detail. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, should you need any other information or a test key.

SERPs API result types

Authoritas SERPs API

Blended Search Support

Here’s a complete list of SERPs features that our API supports for Google on desktop and mobile devices:

  • Ads (PPC – Top & Bottom)
  • AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
  • Answer Boxes
  • Carousels
  • Flight Finder
  • Images
  • HTML capturing
  • Hotel Finder
  • Knowledge Graph
  • Location
  • Organic results
  • People Also Ask
  • People Also Search For
  • Places (Local Pack)
  • Positioning (X and Y co-ordinates of elements)
  • Refine By
  • Related Searches
  • Research Guides
  • Shopping
  • Sitelinks
  • Super Universal
  • Top Stories (News)
  • Travel Finder
  • Tweets (Social Media)
  • Videos

Above & Below the Fold

As we support horizontal and vertical positioning, the API will also automatically tell you whether a particular type of result is not only visible but also above or below the fold. This is crucially important for assessing why a top organic result may not be getting the CTR (click through rates) you expect it to achieve, because you may have some organic rankings that have been pushed ‘beyond the fold’ (i.e. they require the user to scroll down to see them) by other types of results above them. In order to work this out, we work from a standard browser size, as follows:

User Agent Browser Dimensions
pc 1920×1080
mac 1920×1080
tablet 768×1024
ipad 768×1024
iphone 375×667
mobile 375×667

The above the fold value is then calculated by checking if the element’s top left coordinates’ vertical position is less than the size of the browser window. Simple! 🙂

Ads (Top & Bottom)

It will surprise anyone to see PPC ads cropping up in the SERPs when the phrase has any sort of commercial intent, as PPC is still Google’s main source of revenue. For those of you who want to track all PPC ads appearing in the SERPS, then you’ll be pleased to hear that we also show you the details for the ads that Google puts towards the bottom of the page, the API will let you know when and where we see ads, e.g. whether they appear at the top of page 1 or the bottom of page 3. You’ll notice that we simply differentiate between the two through the use of an “on_top” property:

If you’re developing a PPC campaign management platform or just building an SEM dashboard and need both PPC and SEO data, then hopefully you should find this update useful.

AMP detection

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) have become a slightly controversial topic within the SEO community over the past year, but regardless of what you think about the benefits or drawbacks of implementing support for AMP, they are a reflection of Google catering for the fact that most searches online are now carried out using mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc). Usually, you will only see these types of results for mobile searches. Therefore you would need to specify a mobile user agent in your API request. To read more about AMP pages, read this article on searchengineland.com.

Answer Boxes (list)

Google has been providing ‘direct answers’ to queries in various forms for some time now and often in such an informative way that the answer presented initially at the top of the SERPs is sufficient to answer the initial question, so a user doesn’t always have to then navigate to a particular website. These types of result come in several forms, but amongst the most common is the ‘list’ type, which will either show as an ordered (numbered) or unordered (bulleted) list. Here’s an example of the former:

And here’s an example of the bulleted type:

Answer Boxes (paragraph)

For some queries, however, Google will return a direct answer that looks awfully like a paragraph and this is sometimes the case even if the linked content is actually displayed as a list. This will show as “type” => “paragraph” in the JSON response.

Answer Boxes (table)

For some direct answer results, you’ll see what is obviously a table at the top of the SERPS. These can vary slightly from query to query, as you can see from the following examples:

Featured Video

The API has been picking up on normal video results for a while now, but Google will occasionally highlight the most relevant video result as a featured video at the top of the results page. You typically only see this type of result on page 1 of the SERPS. Here’s an example:

And here are the JSON response you’ll get from our API (not the “featured” property set to “true”):

Flight Finder

Hotel Finder

Knowledge Graph

For some queries, Google will return a ‘knowledge panel’ or a ‘knowledge graph’ based result. This typically appears on the right hand side of the SERPS. Here’s a good example of that when just searching for ‘barack obama’:

People also ask

For some queries, Google will also display “related questions” other users made for similar queries:

This section of the SERPs is often shown above the fold (on a desktop search anyway) and, just like “related searches” (below), gathering this information can be useful as part of your keyword research tasks when conducting an digital marketing campaign. You’ll see this broken in the JSON response under “people_also_ask: {}”.

Places (Local Pack)

People Also Search For

Refine By

Research Guides

Related Searches

Similar to the above “related questions” or “people also ask” results you see in Google, you will normally always see a “related searches” section towards the bottom of the SERPs, just above the pagination section. You can also use this data as a useful addition to any Keyword Research you are carrying out during a campaign. The relevant part of the JSON response will look like this:


Sitelinks can be an indication that Google considers a website to be owned by a recognised brand. They help to expand the size of a website’s organic listing, so can be useful to have, but you will need to implement Schema.org markup in order to make use of these.

Social (Tweets)

Google will sometimes return tweets as part of the SERPS results, although this is more likely when a user is searching for something quite topical. A good way to see this in action is to use a Twitter hashtag when googling. Here is a recent example:

Super Universal

One of the effects of universal search results appearing in the SERPS was the effect it would have on a site’s overall ranking position. We reflected this concern in the platform by introducing a Universal Rank for each keyword, to go alongside an Organic Rank. The universal rank in the platform would take into account organic, video, image and news results in calculating an overall universal ranking position. However, now if you consider that paids ads (PPC) should also be included in this overall calculation, then you can specify this in your API request by simply using ‘include_all_in_universal’ => true’ in your request object:

You should then notice that in the Universal section of the response you get back from the API, ads are considered part of the universal ranking calculations. You should be able to see this from the following example where the top ad in the SERPS has a universal rank of #1 and the first “places” result has a universal rank of #3:

Travel Finder

This is a relatively recent addition to the SERPS by Google and is a good example of how Google is trying to provide its users with quick and detailed answers. Obviously, this data originates from and links to Google Maps.


OK, the term “visibility” can have several meanings in this industry and when we use it, we often refer to organic visibility (i.e. what organic visibility a particular domain has in the SERPs, taking into account its ranking keywords, their current ranking positions, the average Google Search Volume for each and the likely CTR (click through rate) for a keyword at those positions – not a particularly straightforward thing to calculate, but very useful to know). However, in this particular case, by “visibility”, we simply mean whether the result is visible to a user when they first reach that page, i.e. it doesn’t require any interaction to see it (other than scrolling up or down). So usually this will apply to news, tweets, images, shopping or any other type of result for which Google generates a left-right carousel. Here are some examples:

In the above example, we know (and report) X news results, but only some of them are initially visible to a user unless that user clicks on the chevron on the right-hand side of the screen to get the carousel to scroll right and show more results.


Excited by all the possible ways in which you could use all this data? Well, if you work for a digital marketing agency, a corporation, enterprise or a single e-commerce site and want to try this out, simply get in touch with us and we’ll send you a free API key for a limited period.