What Are SERP Features?

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

SERP Features

SERP Features are anything other than organic results on a Google Search Results Page (SERP), for example a Featured Snippet, Video Link or Map (Local Pack). While traditionally this valuable real estate might have only been populated with paid placements or regular organic results, these Special Features are rapidly growing in significance.  

Understandably the rise of the SERP Features has led to some new points of focus for businesses when it comes to optimising for SERP’s. Top ranking positions, although still great, have a somewhat diminished effect if your competitor is sitting above you in a Local Pack or Featured Snippet.

Common SERP Features In Google Search Results Pages

Featured Snippets. Displayed in a box, Featured Snippets (sometimes called Answer Boxes) provide a quick summary in response to a specific question. Their intention is to provide answers quickly and potentially without the searcher having to click through to the website.

Local Pack. A Local Pack shows geographically location based results usually in map format. Food and accommodation style business results are commonly displayed in this way, allowing searchers to find suitable businesses near their location.

Ratings And Reviews. An aspect associated with Rich Snippets; ratings depicted by gold ‘Stars’ commonly appear in organic results if the website has received valid Google reviews.

Sitelinks. Appearing as an enlarged snippet, Sitelinks have extra links listed below the main description to help the searcher navigate more quickly to the information they seek. These will include related areas of the website for example location specific pages, or online ordering etc. These usually occur for well-known businesses with large volumes of traffic.

Video Links. Video snippets include a title, URL link and description just like other results but will also include a thumbnail sized video link. A common example of this is results associated with popular video sharing website – YouTube.

Featured Video. This is similar to the regular video link but it will appear at the top of the results page and include a much larger video display image, brief facts about the topic and sometimes alternative search phrases and images.

Top Stories. These results usually appear at the top of the results page and contain popular results related to the search query, along with a picture and indication of how old the content is. These are commonly current event/news style results.

People Also Ask. Provided in a boxed, drop-down format, ‘People Also Ask’ results include other relevant search questions related to the search or similar topics. People Also Ask boxes appear in a variety of positions within the SERP’s.

Image Pack. Image Pack results will appear where it is deemed relevant to the search query. Image Packs are depicted with small images and some related text, usually in a row of three or more.

Twitter. Results via Twitter cards will generally appear further down the page, appearing in packs they display the most recent or trending tweets related to the search query.

Instant Answer. Sourced from Google’s Knowledge Graph, these results serve as the ultimate ‘quick answer’. They can include things like the answer to scientific query, measurement conversion question or population query. While great for the searcher, these offer no value to businesses.

Knowledge Panel. Appearing mostly on the right side of the SERP on desktop searches, Knowledge Panel’s provide a comprehensive display box about a topic. They will commonly include pictures, facts, and a brief description about famous places, or people. Wikipedia links are commonly seen here.

AMP. Accelerated Mobile Pages are a way to increase page load speeds on mobile devices (Depicted by a lightning bolt and the letters AMP). While not technically a SERP Feature, Google does indicate AMPs on the SERPs and they are seen as important.

Shopping Ads. Displaying specific product ads based on the search query or previous search history, Ads are sometimes referred to as Product Listing Ads (PLAs). While technically advertisements, they still impact on search results pages.

AdWords (Top And Bottom). While technically paid advertising, these ads have a large impact on SERP’s as they can populate prime real estate – taking the most prominent positions on results pages. While AdWords ads usually take up the top of a SERP, they can also appear at the bottom.  

Useful Tools For SERP Feature Research

Keeping SERP Features in mind while optimising your website will be beneficial as Google moves more towards offering new ways to get quick answers to searchers. Want to know more? Contact Avatar for advice on SEO for SERP’s Features.


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Mark started working in the Internet industry in 1994. He went on to startup New Zealand Tourism Online, Avatar and other companies. Mark enjoys meeting with clients and strategising online marketing solutions.

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