What Are Google SERP Features?
Rich Snippets, Product Comparisons and Knowledge Panels are just 3 examples of current SERP features.They can boost your brand’s visibility and direct more organic traffic to your website. Do you know which of the traffic-generating SERP Features your brand needs to be featured in?
Table of contents:
- What Are Google SERP Features?
- SERP Features Benefits
- What’s in SERPs? 25 Current SERP Features
- Featured Snippets
- Instant Answers
- Knowledge Panels
- Top Stories
- Local Packs
- Rich Snippets
- People Also Ask
- Related Searches
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Google Ads
- Shopping Ads
- Product Comparisons
- Top Products
- Google Flights Block
- Hotel Pack
- Events Schedule
- Check if Your Site Has SERP Features
- SERP Features – The Takeaway
What Are Google SERP Features?
Google SERP features are all the additional elements you can find in the search results after you type in a query. They look different than traditional organic results and they’re designed to make searching a more easy and enjoyable process.
The most common examples of SERP features include featured snippets, knowledge panels, local packs, and sitelinks. But there’s much more! Actually, there are over 25 current SERP features! Believe us, Google isn’t going to slow down with inventing more anytime soon.
Why should you bother about it?
SERP Features Benefits
Because if you play it right and your content gets transformed into a SERP feature you can enjoy real benefits:
- your website will get bigger exposure, thus winning more traffic,
- it may benefit your website ranking,
- the chance of engaging more potential customers gets higher.
But before analyzing every SERP feature in detail, let’s think for a while about what makes Google offer those extra search results, instead of sticking just to the evergreen blue listings we’re familiar with since 1998 (Fun fact: 1998 was the year the very first search in Google was made).
With almost 5.6 billion searches processed every day (just a reminder, billion has nine zeros!), Google does its best to make the result page deliver the exact information a user seeks as fast as possible, mostly in less than a second.
One of the ways to do so – and to increase user experience as well – this American technology company creates separate sections or blocks of content aiming to present the exact and most relevant pieces of information a user desires to find.
You can see these particulars in the form of images, videos, tables, short chunks of text, pins on maps, and many, many more. All of them are displayed on Google Search Engine Result Page, or just SERP for short, and are known as the very SERP features.
What’s in SERPs? 25 Current SERP Features
Once you type a query into the Google search bar and hit the enter button, you will see a list of so-called blue links surrounded by at least a few SERP features. As you already know, there are almost 30 types of those extra search results.
Naturally, Google doesn’t throw all of them at the user at once. Let’s be honest, that would be a bit too much, wouldn’t it?
Instead, all Google SERP features are conveniently categorized into three main groups and are shown to the user depending on the query type they introduce, and these can be:
- informational queries: when looking for some details or facts on any subject, e.g. “recipe for Chicago style pizza” or “how to fix a smashed phone screen”. In this case, SERP features may be Featured Snippets and Videos
- navigational queries: when intending to visit a certain website without typing the full URL, e.g. “Walmart” or “YouTube”. Here, the most common SERP features are Frequently Asked Questions and Knowledge Panel
- transactional queries: when looking for vendors who sell a particular product or service, e.g. “buy Mitsubishi tires” or “dogwood price”. Shopping Ads and Product Comparisons are what you will see
Now, since you know what Google SERP features, let’s go through the most common ones. This way you will understand their importance for your online business.
Introduced officially in 2006, sitelinks are those additional links that take viewers to particular pages on a website. Instead of displaying only the home page, a prospect can click on a sitelink, e.g. Backpacks (example below), and see the content they are interested in most, which in this case would be bags.
BENEFITS OF SITELINKS FOR YOU
First of all, you present a prospect exactly what they come for. Second of all, thanks to sitelinks, the result of a search (in this case The North Face store) occupies more space in SERP, helping you stand out.
2. Featured Snippets
Found in position 0, featured snippets are short pieces of text – usually 3-5 sentences – that Google pulls out from one of the organic results to answer a user’s query precisely and accurately.
From the user’s perspective, the best thing about them is that this feature spares them from reading a full article to quench their thirst for knowledge. This is the perfect example of a SERP feature triggered by informational queries.
BENEFITS OF FEATURED SNIPPETS FOR YOU
This one is really powerful because it increases your brand visibility and recognition. The result presented in the form of a featured snippet is bigger than other results, thus more eye-catching. Besides, it gives the users the answer so they don’t need to scroll down, but click on the trusted source – you.
Additionally, the website which Google takes the Featured Snippets from wins extra points, resulting in being ranked higher. On top of that, according to the databox, among all SERP features, Featured Snippets is the one you should consider fighting for. Just take a look at this graph:
3. Instant Answers
The name is self-explanatory.
This feature gives you quick answers to general questions like current weather conditions, different time zones, or sunset time. Moreover, it calls out all types of calculators, also those that convert currencies, measurements (eg. inches to cm), and degrees (eg. F to C).
4. Knowledge Panels
Contrary to the SERP features mentioned above, knowledge panels are always displayed on the right-hand side of the screen. When viewed on a mobile device, it appears between the searches, yet it’s as dominant as on the desktop.
Depending on the query, the data collected from Google’s Knowledge Graph shown in those boxes vary: when googling for an actor, you get their full name, height, partner, moves they starred in, and even links to their social media accounts; when googling for some food items, you get all nutrition facts, average cost, and use.
BENEFITS OF KNOWLEDGE PANELS FOR YOU
If someone is searching for your brand, having your own Knowledge Panel will give them all the essential info they need in a snap. Again, this box occupies a lot of space on the screen, which you can use to your advantage.
Since this panel looks legit and is packed with nicely-arranged information, it gives your brand credibility and clicks. A lot of clicks.
5. Top Stories
Like most Google SERP features, Top Stories is granted position 0. It’s triggered by the keywords revolving around all types of current affairs – eg. political, social, or entertainment – that is being discussed on the news at the time of the search.
The called-out articles are taken only from quality sources and trusted news websites.
BENEFITS OF TOP STORIES FOR YOU
Being featured in Top Stories gives you more organic traffic and adds credibility to your site. The tricky part is that this SERP feature is purely driven by organic results. This means that you need to be high enough in the ranks to get a piece of this “land”, yet it’s really worth it.
6. Local Packs
This SERP feature looks for shops, bars, and other places that are located in close proximity to a user. These localized search results are powered by Google Maps and are accompanied by physical addresses, operating hours, and reviews of the businesses matching the query.
BENEFITS OF LOCAL PACKS FOR YOU
The pluses of being featured in Local Packs are literally numerous, and so are the pros of local SEO in general. But just to give you a quick gist, take a look at three stats provided by HubSpot in their State of Marketing Trends Report 2022:
- there is a 900% increase in “near me” or “close by” searches
- 28% of all local searches end in a purchase
- 72% of consumers who do local search visit a store that is located near them
7. Rich Snippets
These can be described as regular search results but pimped up with more tiny details. In most cases, these are star ratings and pictures that give a user a broader idea of what they are going to see after clicking on the link.
In the example shown below, you can see that when it comes to a food product like green tea, a rich snippet includes extra details on the country of origin, rating, product style, stock level, and price.
If you look for a cake recipe, a rich snippet may include calories and the time required for baking. And if you type the name of a movie into the search bar, a rich snippet will tell you the budget, release date, and names of the creators.
Basically, information displayed in Rich Snippets varies depending on the query.
BENEFITS OF RICH SNIPPETS FOR YOU
Even though Rich Snippets aren’t officially recognized as a Google ranking factor, there is more to this SERP Feature than it may appear.
Just think for a while, which result would you click: the one with richer results (especially with a star rating), or the one being just pure title and meta description? Besides, Rich Snippets provide more quick data for users, thus revealing more of your precious web content.
And again, results enriched with Rich Snippets attract more attention and provoke more clicks.
8. People Also Ask (PAA)
You can find this SERP feature somewhere among the search results, but most of the time it’s located near the top of the page. In this section, Google shows more questions that are closely related to the initial query.
They are also dynamic, meaning they change over time.
The suggestions appearing in People Also Ask cover the topic of the main query. Thanks to this, Google helps its users dig deeper into what they are craving to learn, at the same time keeping them a bit longer on the result page. In most cases, each question is linked to a different webpage.
BENEFITS OF PEOPLE ALSO ASK FOR YOU
The questions included in PAA are the most common queries typed into the Google search bar. If you work with long tail keywords well and create informative content, it’s likely for you to get your website featured in People Also Ask.
Result? More clicks, more visibility, more credibility.
9. Related Searches
This SERP feature is located at the bottom of a search result page, localized right above the page numbers. The best thing about Related Searches is that it helps users find exactly what they are looking for, especially when they don’t know which keywords to use.
On the basis of the current search trends, Google displays eight phrases, all closely related to the initial query.
BENEFITS OF RELATED SEARCHES FOR YOU
By playing with this feature, you may find new keywords and long-tail phrases that your prospects use, or have started using recently. Later you just need to add those phrases to your web content and wait for the crawlers to index it.
Just treat Related Searches as another way of marking your presence on the Internet and increasing organic traffic.
10. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Located right below a search result, FAQ answers questions that revolve around a searched topic. If you noticed a striking similarity between PAA and FAQ, then congrats!
Indeed, both seem to be almost identical, yet there are two big differences between those SERP features: #1 contrary to PAA, all questions listed in the FAQ backlink to your website, and #2 you have more control over the FAQ. How is that?
BENEFITS OF FAQ FOR YOU
To get your content displayed in the FAQ section, you need to, well… write it first and later mark it up with a FAQ schema. There is no other way for Google robots to recognize this piece of content as FAQ. And once you have it done properly, it will bring more quality traffic to your website, even decreasing the bounce rate.
Find out How to Mark FAQ in Schema!
It also helps with the growing voice search trend. When saying out loud a query, users are more likely to use whole sentences than when typing them. And all of these combined gets you more points from Google, ranking your page higher and satisfying your prospects better.
11. Google Ads
Although Google Ads look like organic search results, you can tell whether you’re looking at an ad whenever you see this tiny “Ad” sign located at the beginning of a URL. Also called Pay Per Click Ads, or PPC for short, Google Ads are displayed when the keywords the ads are linked with are typed into the search box.
This way the sellers’ websites are pushed all the way up in SERP, leaving all the organic traffic below. You need to have an account in Google Ads to manage the adverts you want to get displayed.
BENEFITS OF GOOGLE ADS FOR YOU
This type of advertisement isn’t as irritating as the banners that users rush to close the moment they appear on the screen. Additionally, this SERP feature targets people with stated intentions, who search for particular products with the willingness to buy, not just look up some information about them.
The traffic is generated pretty fast, and the results are easily measurable.
12. Shopping Ads
This is another type of Google Ads, but a more obvious one. You can find it either in position 0 or on the right-hand side of the screen. No matter where they are, Shopping Ads always include pictures of the products in search and their prices. Additional features include a star rating, shipping details, and a vendor.
BENEFITS OF SHOPPING ADS FOR YOU
To enjoy all the benefits of this SERP feature, you need to have a Google Merchant Account set up. Once you specify what of the above-mentioned information you want Google to show to the users, wait for the clicks and conversions to begin. It can’t be denied, that with the right strategy, Shopping Ads work wonders.
This box is similar to Top Stories, but the content displayed in the carousel belongs to just one brand’s Twitter account. This SERP feature, also known as Tweet Box, provides an Internet user with the three latest tweets from a searched brand’s tweet feed.
Its location differs: sometimes you can find it on the top of the screen, other times Tweets are placed between the search results.
BENEFITS OF TWEETS FOR YOU
This SERP feature is another way for your brand to get more trustworthy and credible in the eyes of your prospects. Twitter Box also aids you in highlighting your brand’s online presence.
To win this feature, you need to post fresh tweets regularly for some time – don’t get discouraged if the effects aren’t immediate.
This one displays a sliding row of images of products or topics with short captions that match the search parameters. When you click on the result of your choice, Google will take you to the original website.
Carousel’s main aim is to present a user with rich content and show the best options to choose from. This proves to be especially useful when a user has only a vague idea of what product they really want or need.
BENEFITS OF CAROUSELS FOR YOU
Being featured in a carousel increases the chance of your brand/product appearing more intriguing than the others by just being presented as one of the options – especially if the image tickles the user’s fancy. This is also a chance to get noticed by those who don’t know you have the exact products they’re looking for.
Here’s another great SERP feature that focuses only on mobile applications. When the keywords used in the search suggest to Google that a user is looking for an app, it presents to them the results taken either from App Store or Google Play – this depends on the mobile device the app is being searched for.
Interestingly, Google uses a completely different set of ranking algorithms for this SERP feature than it does for the others.
BENEFITS OF APPS FOR YOU
A user is just one click away from installing an app (presumably yours) when displayed in the App Pack SERP feature. They don’t need to open any website but just click on the Install button. Super quick, super convenient.
In this box, Google displays thumbnails of the most relevant images a user is looking for. The below image mega-block is shown when the query includes words like “pictures of” or “images of”.
Images SERP feature is also activated when Google is able to show photos of the searched query without the phrase “pictures of”, but the number of images shown is usually smaller in that case.
BENEFITS OF IMAGES FOR YOU
If the image Google shows in this section is taken from your store, it’s tagged as “Product”. When clicked on the very image, Google displays a separate card with the selected item. This SERP feature may be a huge opportunity for you to attract more customers simply by getting the photos of your products in Images.
As you can probably tell by now, the SERP feature called Videos deals with well… videos and clips. In most cases, Google favors YouTube videos, but not always.
If you wish your clip to be displayed in Video snippets, you simply need to embody a video on your webpage and let the crawlers know it exists.
BENEFITS OF VIDEOS FOR YOU
With the growing video trend, using this type of content increases your chances of attracting more people to your website.
Hands down, this is one of the favorite SERP features of Google users. It shows what customers think about local businesses, and displays all kinds of products/goods, courses, movies, events, and even recipes. The review snippet adopts the idea of a star rating (1-5).
Apart from that, users may leave comments and add photos that later get likes from other users. This SERP feature allows the owner to respond to the review, which may clarify some issues for other prospects in the case of negative reviews.
BENEFITS OF REVIEW SNIPPETS FOR YOU
Massive credibility – this is what Reviews give you. Starred reviews are what clients look for nowadays because they treat them like a quality indicator.
Additionally, those who had a chance to use your product or service may see some extra advantages and qualities that you may have not included in the product/service description.
19. Product Comparisons
This feature of Google allows its users to compare two or more products, having their qualities displayed side by side for easy analysis. The basic view Product Comparison box presents the most important features like star review and price.
For more details, a user needs to click on the Detailed comparison button.
BENEFITS OF PRODUCT COMPARISONS FOR YOU
If you decide to get your products featured in Product Comparisons, your item will be displayed for purchase or comparison with similar products offered by other vendors. This increases your chances of a customer clicking on your ad, especially if it has top rates.
20. Top Products
Top Products shows the goods that are currently top-ranked and recommended by others. Apart from the pictures and names of the products, this section collects more data (e.g. technical information) from various sources for their users to compare.
BENEFITS OF TOP PRODUCTS FOR YOU
If your budget is too tight so that you can’t afford to spend extra dollars on paid ads, this SERP feature may help you attract more shoppers.
This SERP feature is a godsend for all job-seekers. After typing the name of the job and following it with “near me”, Google displays a list of businesses looking for new employees.
Jobs Feature seeks and collects job postings from various sources (eg. Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn), combining and displaying them in one place for their users’ convenience.
BENEFITS OF JOBS FOR YOU
If you’re hiring now, having your job offer listed in Google Jobs may increase the number of applications.
22. Google Flights Block
This SERP feature collects data from all flight companies present on Google to later display them in clear-to-read tables. Google Flights Pack allows users to set numerous filters such as duration, stops, and even emission.
This way users can choose the flight that lives up to their expectations.
BENEFITS OF GOOGLE FLIGHTS PACK FOR YOU
This SERP feature is a great opportunity for all airlines to get their flights fully booked. The good news is that Google Flights Pack takes into account both organic and paid listings.
23. Hotel Pack
Hotel Pack works in a similar way as the above-mentioned Flights. Users provide Google with basic information such as location and date to get a list of the places to stay.
Hotel Pack offers several options to choose from, which narrows down the number of hotels and apartments, showing only the most relevant places to the searchers.
BENEFITS OF HOTEL PACK FOR YOU
Without the need to look for travel agencies, users can now look for a place to stay on Google. Less hustle, right? The thing is that Google takes into account only those hotels and apartments that are already in the Google Hotel Ads.
This SERP feature compiles event information from various sources (eg. Meetup or Eventbrite) and presents them in nice-looking little boxes. Each of them has a date, place, and starting time.
The list can be filtered to make finding the right event quicker and simpler.
BENEFITS OF EVENTS FOR YOU
If you organize an event and count on attracting a large turnout, using Google Events may help you with that.
25. Events Schedule
This one is a bit more precise than the feature described above. Events Schedule shows a more detailed plan, listing the individual stages that an event is divided into.
Some of the events that can be used in the Events Schedule are visual arts events, business events, social events, education events, and hackathons.
BENEFITS OF EVENTS SCHEDULE FOR YOU
This SERP feature is proven to increase Click Through Rate. It also pushes the blue links down, making your event not only stand out but also provide users with a rich result.
Check if Your Site Has SERP Features
With all the Google SERP features explained, you’re probably now wondering how your brand or products can appear in at least a few of them.
The thing is that some SERP Features are paid (eg. Google Ads or Hotel Pack), but luckily most of them are entirely organic.
To win a place in the latter, you need to create valuable content and add the right schema to your HTML code.
This way you help Google robots read your website correctly, improving your chances of being featured in People Also Ask, Rich Snippets, Tweets, or wherever you want.
What if your brand already shows in some of the SERP features?
That would be amazing, right? To discover that, use the Semrush tool and go through four simple steps. Here is how you can do this:
STEP 1 Click on the SEO tab and later on Position Tracking – you can find both in the left sidebar.
STEP 2 Move your cursor up and click on the Overview tab.
STEP 3 Ignore the graph that is displayed, just go down until you see a table with blue keywords. That’s the place!
STEP 4 As you have probably already guessed, the SERP Features is where you can find your answers. Click on the icons to see which SERP Features make use of your content.
EXTRA STEP If you want to see your content featured in SERP in action, just click on the View SERP icon. Enjoy the view!
SERP Features – The Takeaway
Winning these top positions in SERP is getting harder and harder every year. The competition’s websites pop up like mushrooms, fighting against you for visibility, credibility, and advertising reach.
Luckily, Google gives you possibilities to outshine your rivals. With the wide variety of SERP Features at your disposal, you may be the brand whose content appears in FAQ, People Also Ask, and Images – and gets the clicks, sales, and recognition!
All that Google asks for in return is to feed it with valuable or informative content that the Internet users want to be exposed to. And if you happen to be running short of ideas on how to do so, let us know. Delante team will show you how to win those top places in SERP!