We all know how important Google is for everyone in the globe. Every second Google processes search queries from all over the world and it owns more than 75% of all the search engine market share. Now as a website owner if you haven’t thought about getting your site to be indexed on the top results of Google then it’s high time to get started.
Okay, let’s say you fix your site to have a good organic rank but now we will take you through a very important element to consider: the Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) features.
What are SERP features? A SERP feature is any result which shows on Google which is not a traditional organic result and in this article we will take you through the most common SERP feature functions, characteristics and opportunities.
Before we start let’s take a look in the past. This is how Google looked in 2007. As you see here, to be featured on the top result page it all worked depending on the organic rankings of the websites.
As you can see from above, we know a lot has changed since then and it’s ever changing. Google SERPs are implementing new ways that provides users with the content their searching for upfront. This means that searchers won’t have to click on a link to get the information they are searching for.
The list of SERP Features
- Site links
- YouTube video snippet
- Rich Snippet
- Image pack
- People also ask
- Knowledge panel
- Twitter SERP
- Featured Snippet
- Local Pack
- Google Ads Top
- Google Ads Bottom
1. Site Links
This is an expanded pack of links which are related to a specific domain. Usually this happens when someone is searching for a brand/organization wishing to make a purchase or gathering information.
How to get it: Site links are auto-generated by Google based on the websites optimization and how relevant the search query is to the additional links. The site has to be implemented with the SearchAction anchor markup.
2. Video SERP
The video SERP comes in 2 different forms. These are the most common ways a video will be showed. The videos can also be shown with a thumbnail and more of an organic result.
How to get it: The video results will appear for certain keywords. Also video schema markup must exist on the page in order to make it to the SERP.
3. Rich Snippets
A much cleaner condensed snippet in a card format. Additional lines of context which is different from the traditional SERP displays like adding a picture or providing ratings for example.
How to get it: Rich snippets require the use of schema markup language which is used by Google to check web pages and serve the best results.
4. Image pack
This occurs when the search queries refer to photos which are displayed as a pack of images on the horizontal slider.
How to get it: Usage of descriptive file names, alt tags and image captions. Also the pages your images are should have relevant page titles, URLs and metadata.
5. People also ask box
Additional question which are displayed in results that are closely related to the original search query.
How to get it: Adding search terms and similarly related keywords to your content will provide a depth and context to your web pages which will be used for the questions. What are the follow-up questions people can ask about the target keyword? Include them in your content and the chances of being featured will definitely go higher.
6. Knowledge Panel
This shows up on the top right hand side of organic results which displays factual information, images and much more. Google gets the information from Google data and other external sources (like Wikipedia).
How to get it: By updating Google My Business account, Google Maps, websites and online directories. Google may use the data from the brands About Us page, Wikipedia or various business listings or review pages.
7. Twitter SERP
A group of three Twitter posts on a slider with clickable links which leads to the Twitter post.
How to get it: A regularly updated Twitter feed allows Google to go through the trending tweets from your brand and feature them in the search results. You don’t have to have a huge social following or a verified account, as long as you post often and encourage engagement, you will be featured in the SERPs.
8. Featured SERPs
- Numbered List
- Bulleted list
Snippets of added context that typically credit a source and is the most relevant result for the search query. Featured snippets are displayed in different formats as shown above.
How to get it: Google has the ability to take information from your web pages and format it to be displayed on the SERPs. However if you format your content before, the chances of getting featured in the snippets are much higher. For example to be featured in a numbered list, you should format the content as a numbered list and include the target keywords in a sub-heading.
9. Local Packs
This is a list of three local businesses below a Google Map with location points.
How to get it: Local packs are based on locations so you are only be eligible for this SERP if your business is geographically relevant to the query. Filling out Google + profile, Social Media and generating positive user reviews on Google My Business will help you to be featured.
10. Google Ads (top)
Through Google ads and based on quality scored, several paid advertisements show up before the organic results. These are showed with the “Ad” label on the shown result.
How to get it: Ad position depends on several factors like the click-through rate, relevance to the search query, quality of the landing page of the ad, bid amount within Google ads are a few.
11. Google Ads (Bottom)
Paid Ads featured after the organic results are often cheaper. They serve the same purpose as the Ads posted on top but doesn’t contribute to SERP crowding.
How to get it: These type of Ads are not ideal. But ranking above other bottom-SERP ads is good and for that you should follow the steps mentioned above in point 10.
On a final note
Even if a number of keywords see fewer clicks due to the SERP features doesn’t mean you should let go of SEO completely. Many of your visitors will find you from Google and if you want to show up in the organic results, SEO is a must. Understanding the value of some keywords based on the SERPs will help you to get better results for the time and resources you put into creating your content and SEO strategy.