Matthew GibbonsData & Tech Writer
- September 17, 2021
- 9 minute read
- Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.
Definition: A SERP feature is an element on Google search results pages that includes more than a blue link, title tag, and meta description. Featured snippets, news box, and image packs are all examples of SERP features.
If you’re like most people, you’ve used Google more times than you can count. In all likelihood, you’ve been using it for years, and you’ve viewed countless search engine results pages (SERPs) in response to your queries.
If so, you know that Google SERPs are more than just a list of links. Depending on what you search for, Google offers a wide variety of SERP features to provide a solution. These SERP features are useful to know, as they can be excellent marketing tools.
But what is a SERP feature, and how might SERP features benefit you? We’ll answer both of those questions in this overview to SERP features, so read on to learn more. Then subscribe to Revenue Weekly — our email newsletter — for more digital marketing tips from the agency with over 25 years of experience!
What is a SERP feature?
A SERP feature is any element on a Google search results page that isn’t a traditional organic result, which is a single blue link with a title tag and meta description. Examples of Google SERP features include featured snippets, knowledge panel, and news box.
Where do Google SERP features appear?
When Google started running in 1998, its search results pages were simple. You would search for a term in the search bar, and then Google would return a list of 10 blue links per page, each with a short description beneath.
Today, however, Google SERPs look significantly different. If you search for something in Google, you’ll still see those 10 blue links, but you’ll also see a few other elements on the page, like paid ads and “People Also Ask” boxes. Those elements are known as Google SERP features.
Over the years, Google has developed a long list of SERP features. Some appear amid the regular search results, while others appear as boxes in the margins. But all of them are there to enhance the search experience.
9 Google SERP features to optimize for
With Google displaying as many SERP features as it does — and developing more all the time — it would be nearly impossible to list them all in one blog post, at least in any detail.
However, some SERP features stand out from the crowd as being especially common and significant. Here are nine of the most notable search results features in Google!
1. Featured snippet
Featured snippets are organic search results that get elevated above the rest to a spot often called “position zero.” Featured snippets appear in a box at the top of the search results and show an excerpt of text from the page that provides an answer to the query. Featured snippets are ideal because of how high on the page they appear.
How to appear in a featured snippet: To get a page ranking in position zero, try including a heading that asks a direct question, followed by a short paragraph answering it.
2. Local 3-pack
Local 3-packs are a type of SERP feature that appears in response to local searches. They include a Google Maps embed showing businesses in the area, along with three Google Business Profile profiles for businesses that match the query.
How to appear in a local pack: To earn a spot in Local Packs, the best thing to do is create a 25 and fill out as much of your business information as possible.
Be sure to choose relevant categories for your business, so you show up in the right 3-packs.
3. People Also Ask
People search for questions in Google all the time, but sometimes they may not be asking quite the right questions — which is why Google often includes a “People Also Ask” box near the top of search results. This box includes other questions related to the user’s query. Whenever you hit the drop-down button on one of the options, you get what is essentially a featured snippet.
How to appear in “People Also Ask”: To earn a place in this feature, you can simply do what you’d do for a featured snippet — use direct headings and short paragraph answers in your content, and target the right keywords!
4. Paid search ads
Not all the results on Google SERPs are organic. You can also run pay-per-click (PPC) ads, which typically appear at the very top or very bottom of the page. They look like organic results, but with an “Ad” label in the top corner.
These ads operate on a bidding system, where you set the maximum amount you’re willing to pay for a click. You only pay for your ads when people click on them, making PPC very cost-effective when done well.
Be sure to keep your ads highly relevant to the keywords you target, with custom landing pages for each one.
5. Shopping results
If you search for a specific, physical product in Google, you’ll often see a carousel of image ads at the top of the screen displaying the product in question. These shopping results are a preview of what you’ll see if you visit the “Shopping” tab, and like PPC ads, they’re paid ads. These ads originate with product pages from your online store if you have one.
They feature information like:
- Product name
How to appear in Shopping results: To show up in Shopping results, you can pay to promote your product listings through Google Ads, much like regular paid search ads. The difference is that Google displays ads based on the product information you provide, not via you targeting keywords.
6. Knowledge Panel
The Knowledge Panel is a search result feature that functions as something of an encyclopedia. When you make an informational search for a particular person or place (real or fictional), you’ll often see a Knowledge Panel appear on the right-hand side of the screen with basic information about that query. This information is compiled together from multiple sources to provide users with answers to fact-based search queries.
How to appear in a Knowledge Panel: Since Google pulls the information from multiple sources and doesn’t attribute to the sources, this isn’t a marketable Google search feature.
However, it’s worth knowing about if your business ever targets an informational keyword, since it might draw traffic away from you even if you’re in the top rankings.
7. Image pack
An Image pack in Google SERPs is exactly what it sounds like — a group of images intended as a preview of what users would find for that search in Google Images. These images will typically appear in search results for very simple keywords that have tons of related images online, like “dog” or “American flag.”
How to appear in an image pack: You can harness a Google Image pack by including relevant images on your website and using alt tags to label them. That will tell Google which searches to rank them for, possibly earning them a spot in an Image pack.
8. News box
A Google News box gives users a preview of what they might find in the “News” tab of their Google search, displaying various articles from around the web. This SERP feature will appear whenever someone searches for a query that has appeared in the news recently.
How to appear in a News box: Depending on how your site is set up, this feature may give you an additional ranking opportunity. If you use your company blog to write about news in your industry, for example, Google could end up qualifying some of your posts as news articles, letting them appear in the News box.
9. Video results
A final SERP feature to be aware of is video results. This feature highlights some different videos — usually from YouTube — that might be relevant to a user’s query. If your company has a YouTube channel, this is a fantastic way to get your videos into Google search results.
How to appear in video results: You can appear in these search results by optimizing the videos on your YouTube channel.
By including valuable keywords in your video titles and descriptions, you have a shot at reaching users with your videos when they search for those terms.
Learn how we increased traffic by over 40%, and conversions by over 100% for an ecommerce client.
Read the Case Study
WebFX can help you optimize for Google SERPs
Ready to boost your search engine optimization (SEO) by harnessing Google SERP features? WebFX can help! With over 1020 client testimonials, we’re the agency businesses trust to drive superior results for their online marketing.
With our SEO services, you’ll get a hand optimizing for each of the features listed above and more. You’ll also receive a dedicated account representative to keep you informed about everything we do for you. To get started with us, just give us a call at 888-601-5359 or contact us online today!
Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.
WebFX is a full-service marketing agency with 1000+ client reviews and a 4.9-star rating on Clutch! Find out how our expert team and revenue-accelerating tech can drive results for you! Learn more
- What is a SERP Feature?
- Where Do Google SERP Features Appear?
- 9 Google SERP Features to Optimize for
- 1. Featured Snippet
- 2. Local 3-pack
- 3. People Also Ask
- 4. Paid Search Ads
- 5. Shopping Results
- 6. Knowledge Panel
- 7. Image Pack
- 8. News Box
- 9. Video Results
- WebFX Can Help You Optimize for Google SERPs
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