Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are crucial if you’re looking to optimize your website’s visibility and performance.

Essentially, these are the pages you see after entering a query into a search engine, displaying a mix of organic results, paid ads, and various SERP features.

These special features go beyond the standard list of search results and are designed to improve the user’s search experience by providing more relevant, direct, and visually engaging information.

In this guide, we look into each SERP feature, explaining what they are and how you can better optimize your webpages to rank for them.

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

What’s a SERP feature?

SERP features

SERP features are special elements on Google’s search engine results pages that go beyond the traditional organic listings.

These include things like Featured Snippets, Knowledge Panels, video carousels, and image packs.

These features enhance the user’s search experience by providing direct answers, displaying rich media, and offering quick access to detailed information.

Here’s a breakdown of the most common SERP features (more about each of them below):

  • Featured snippets: These provide concise answers extracted from websites and are displayed above the main organic results, often referred to as “position zero.”
  • People also ask: A series of related questions and answers expanding directly below the main search result, offering deeper insights into similar topics.
  • Knowledge panels: Informative boxes providing data about entities like people, places, organizations, and more.
  • Top and bottom ads: Paid advertisements that appear either at the top or the bottom of the search results.
  • Local pack: Displays a map and local business listings most relevant to the search query.
  • Shopping results: Triggered by searches showing buying intent.
  • Image packs: These are collections of images displayed in a grid, relevant to the search query.
  • Videos: These display rotating or swipeable collections of video results relevant to the search query.
  • Top stories: A dynamic carousel of news articles related to the search query, often seen for trending topics.

Are SERP Features Important for SEO?

With the constant growth of SERP features, their presence in Google search results is almost guaranteed; it’s extremely rare to see a SERP without any such features.

Current data highlights that nearly 99% of search queries trigger at least one SERP feature.

This widespread use makes it crucial to optimize for SERP features as a key part of your SEO strategy.

These features not only push traditional results further down the page but also grab a significant share of user attention and clicks, making them vital for improving your site’s visibility and engagement.

SERP features and SEO tips

Here’s a look at each SERP feature mentioned so far, with SEO tips on how to get your web pages to rank for them:

Featured snippets

Featured snippets are designed to answer the user’s query right away and are taken from web pages that Google sees as providing the best answer.

Featured snippet

SEO tips

To capture a Featured Snippet, focus on providing clear and concise answers to commonly asked questions in your content.

Format your content using bullet points, numbered lists, or tables as these structures are often easier for search engines to interpret as potential snippet content.

Keep your answers close to the beginning of the content and ensure they are directly relevant to the questions you’re targeting.

People also ask

This box shows additional questions related to the user’s search query.

People also ask

SEO tips

To rank in the “People Also Ask” box, structure your content to directly answer questions related to your main topics.

Use clear, concise headings and format your answers in easy-to-understand language.

Incorporate question-based keywords throughout your content and consider adding a FAQ section on your pages that addresses common queries in your field.

Knowledge panel

Knowledge panels and/or cards often show up for searches about well-known entities like celebrities, locations, or organizations.

Knowledge panel

SEO tips

To appear in a Knowledge Panel, it’s essential to establish your presence across authoritative external sites and platforms such as Google Business Profile, Wikipedia, and prominent social media profiles.

Ensure that your information is consistent and up-to-date across these platforms.

Engage in activities that boost your entity’s public recognition and credibility, such as public speaking, publishing research, and getting cited by reputable sources.

AdWords Top and AdWords Bottom

These are paid spots that you can manage through Google Ads.

Adwords

SEO tips

For better visibility through AdWords, conduct thorough keyword research to identify the terms with high search volumes and intent that matches your offerings.

Optimize your ad campaigns by refining your target demographics, increasing bid amounts for high-performing keywords, and crafting compelling ad copy that encourages clicks.

Regularly review the performance of your ads, make adjustments to improve ROI, and adjust your bidding strategies for better ad placement.

Local pack

Displays local businesses that match the search query.

Local pack

SEO tips

For local pack optimization, claim and verify your Google Business Profile listing, and fill out every section comprehensively.

Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and respond promptly to all reviews.

Ensure your NAP (name, address, phone number) information is consistent across all online platforms and integrate local keywords into your website’s content.

Shopping results

Triggered by searches showing buying intent.

Shopping results

SEO tips

To appear in Google Shopping results, use high-quality images and detailed product descriptions that include key specifications and pricing information.

Regularly update your product feed to reflect any changes, such as price adjustments or availability, and use promotions to attract more clicks.

Structured data markup can also help Google better understand the product information on your website.

Image Pack

Shows up when images are highly relevant to the search query.

Image pack

SEO tips

To optimize for image packs, ensure all images on your site are high-quality and relevant to the accompanying text.

Use descriptive file names and alt text for each image, incorporating relevant keywords that accurately describe the image content.

Optimize image file sizes for quick loading while maintaining quality, as speed is a factor in user experience and SEO.

Videos

Video features often appear in response to queries that can be answered through visual content.

Google may display these videos in a carousel format, allowing users to scroll through several options.

Videos

SEO tips

To enhance your chances of appearing in the video results on SERPs, focus on the following strategies:

  • Video SEO: Just like with text-based content, your videos need to be optimized for search engines. Make sure your video titles, descriptions, and tags include relevant keywords. This helps search engines understand the content of your video and index it accordingly.
  • High-quality content: Create videos that provide value, whether they’re informational, educational, or entertaining. High-quality content is more likely to engage viewers and result in longer watch times, which is a factor Google may consider when ranking video content.
  • Engagement metrics: Encourage viewers to interact with your videos through likes, comments, and shares. High engagement rates can signal to search engines that viewers find your video content useful, potentially boosting your visibility in video results.
  • Thumbnails: Use eye-catching thumbnails that accurately represent the content of your videos. A compelling thumbnail can significantly increase your click-through rate.
  • Accessibility: Include closed captions and transcripts for your videos. Not only does this make your content accessible to a broader audience, including those with hearing impairments, but it also gives search engines more text to index, improving the likelihood that your videos will be included in relevant searches.

Top stories

Appears for timely and relevant news-related searches.

Top stories

SEO tips

To rank in Top Stories, focus on creating timely, relevant, and newsworthy content.

Ensure your website is recognized as a news source by Google News by adhering to journalistic standards and maintaining a clear publication history.

Use eye-catching headlines and high-quality images, and keep your content updated to reflect the latest developments.

Engage with your readers through comments and social media to boost visibility and relevance.