Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) have gotten more complex. They don’t just display ads at the top and about 10 organic/free results. There are now a variety of SERP features that are included on the first page of results for many searches.
SERP features are heavily used, so they are a worthwhile target for your organic search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
What Are SERP Features?
SERP features are unpaid, organic content shared in a format other than a traditional search result. Features provide answers or other helpful information to users.
In the main centered column of content, common SERP features include:
- Featured snippet
- People Also Ask
- Top Stories
- Packs: image, video, and local
In the sidebar, SERP features can be Google Business listings or Knowledge Panels.
What SERP Features Mean for Your Business
Most web content is found via search, mostly using Google. To be visible, your content must be attractive for more than traditional organic search rankings. You must also pay attention to SERP features and how you might leverage them.
Featured snippets are excerpts of site content that summarize an answer to a query. Most searchers these days search in the form of questions, so featured snippets are often included in search results.
Featured snippets are presented in a card and may consist of a paragraph, list, table or a video. If your content succinctly answers a common question, you have a chance of being the source of a featured snippet.
People Also Ask
People also ask a list of questions related to the query, presented in accordions. Each question unveils a featured snippet along with additional questions. Essentially, these are collections of featured snippets for related queries. Again, having content that clearly answers common questions can get your content included.
The knowledge panel appears in the right sidebar on some SERPs. It shows attributes of entities (people, places, organizations, things), using information gathered from the web, structured databases, and other sources.
For organizations, knowledge panels usually have high-level information about a company such as leadership names, address and phone number. Most knowledge panels contain important and relevant details — such as the dates of events at a concert venue or the stock price of the company. Google will scrape this information from your website and other sites.
Images and videos related to a search can be presented in a pack. Tagging non-text content with common keywords and search terms leads to images being included in packs for those terms.
The Impact of SERP Features
Research shows that SERP features are highly used by searchers. They help them get information with fewer clicks, guide them to refine their searches, and more.
User research shows that SERP features grab attention more than traditional search results. SERP features receive special visual emphasis and visual weight on the page. They stand out and attract attention.
Paying attention to the SERP features related to the keywords associated to your business is an important part of your SEO strategy.