banner image for serp feature

Understanding SERP Features: An exhaustive list of ALL SERP features!

How do you imagine a Search Engine results page?

Does a chronologically ordered list of results come to your mind?
I hope not.

Although that was how a SERP or Search Engine Results Page (SERP) looked like years ago. But a lot has changed!

A drastic makeover. a lot fewer white spaces, a lot more ads (I mean, a lot!) and some interesting ‘SERP Features’. SERP Features, that is exactly what we’re going to talk about in this post.

What are these SERP Features, anyway?

As per definition, SERP features include every TYPE of the result displayed on the SERP. This includes Organic Search Results as well as Paid Ads.

However, for the generic usage of SERP Feature, we’ll modify this definition as,

“SERP Features are special results displayed on the results page to aid users by providing information on the SERP itself. This reduces the effort made by the users to click and provides them with information there itself. “

Am I making sense here?

Let’s try to understand the types of SERP Features to get more insights on this concept that is central to search!

  1. Rich Answers / Answer Box / Instant Answer:

Rich answers are snippets of information which Google answers on the search results page itself. It aims at helping reduce the time a user spends on the SERPs and caters to the reducing attention span of the searcher.

These usually get triggered for queries that can be answered in one word or a sentence.

Public domain knowledge, or licensed data, which is readily available for Google to fetch and display on SERP where the user query gets answered there itself, is a rich answer.

For example, when you type in “Age of Manmohan Singh”, Google displays 89 years right at the top without you having to click anywhere.

Other examples can be, when you try to ask ‘how much is one dollar’, Google ends up showing you a convertor itself. Sometimes, you won’t even have to type in details, and Voila!

inr_to_usd_rich_answer_example

Where to find Rich Answers?

Rich answers are usually displayed at the top of the SERP!

The Rich Answers can take any of the following forms:

  • Carousal
  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Sliders
  • Maps
  • Forms

Of late, Google has also started showing calculators and convertors as part of these! Talk about helping users and killing publishers. An example of this includes a mortgage calculator or a Currency Converter.

  1. Featured Snippet:

Featured snippets are the most important SERP Feature. These act as Rank 0 results on SERP and command a higher CTR than even the Rank 1 (I mean, of course!)

image_of_a_featured_snippet

These appear at the start of the SERP, usually in the form of a paragraph answering as a result. These are summarized results for the query which the user is looking for.

Type of Featured Snippets:

  • Paragraph: These usually get trigged for ‘How to get’, ‘Why is’, ‘Who is’ and ‘What is’, ‘How does’, etc.
  • List Snippets: Step-by-step processes, DIY Tasks, How to’s (which can be put up as lists), how to make a ppt, etc.
  • Bulleted List Snippet: best-rated cars, iPhone prices, etc
  • Table Snippets: Examples include: Credit Card interest rates, Quarter-wise sales for a car brand, etc and other similar data which can be listed as part of a table.
  • Youtube Featured Snippet: If a video is available on Youtube to match the searcher’s query, then there’s a good chance for it to get featured. The examples include: how to repair a watch, Samsung commercial, etc
  • Maps: If you search for, ‘Where is the black sea’ a map appears to tell you exactly that!
  • Two-for-one featured snippet: a paragraph snippet accompanied by a youtube video or a table with an image, all can be part of one.

Where to find Featured Snippets:

  • At the top of SERP
  1. Knowledge Graph:

A knowledge graph is an entity and fact-based information model that aims to provide users with detailed and structured information as part of a knowledge panel.

The search engine does this by understanding the semantics between different search queries that users look for and displays the same. For example, if you search for Elon Musk, you’re most likely to know, his age, companies he manages, his net worth, his personal life, etc. A search engine predicts that you might be interested in all this information and hence clubs them together as part of the knowledge panel.

Screenshot_knowledge_panel_elon_musk

Where to find the Knowledge Graphs:

  • Top of search results
  • The top-right corner of the search results
  • In between SERPs
  • Bottom of the SERP

Knowledge Graphs can get triggered for the following type of informational queries:

  • Famous / Influential person
  • Companies/Non-Profit Organizations
  • Local Businesses
  • Media
  • Nutritional information
  • Products
  1. Related searches:

Search engines are always trying to help users in providing suggestions. These include a list of queries which they are related to the search query which a user has typed in.

image_related_searches_elon_musk

Where to find ‘Related Searches’ on SERP?

  • Always at the bottom
  • Part of Knowledge Graph Result
  • As part of carousal
  • Images on SERP as well as Image Section
  • Expansion Buttons
  • GMB listing

Even though you cannot optimize for these, you can make use of these in a lot of interesting ways. These include:

  • Keyword Research
  • Understanding user intent
  • What questions are users asking and what questions need to be answered

 

  1. Local Pack:

This feature comprises of location-based listings of search queries along with their address and contact information. This is crucial for small businesses, restaurants and anyone who wants people to find them from search.

Visibility in the local pack is a sign of how good your local SEO is performing!

local_pack_barber_near_meWhere to find Local Pack on SERP?

Usually in between the top 3 results on desktop, but mostly found on top in mobile. For queries like, ‘cafes near me’, ‘libraries near me’ or keywords with geo added, a local pack is almost there at the top.

If someone is looking for contact info or wants to make a quick decision on going there, visibility on the local pack is extremely essential.

  1. Reviews

Webpages that have reviews due to them being a product or business pages display a star-rating below the URL.

While any page was able to get this on SERP earlier by just adding ‘rating’ markup on their pages. Google announced in September that it would no more support reviews on all schema types.

screenshot of reviews on serp

Here’s what Google had to say, “To make them more helpful and meaningful, we are now introducing algorithmic updates to reviews in rich results. This also addresses some of the invalid or misleading implementations webmasters have flagged to us.”

This was to stop self-serving reviews (where webmasters had control over the reviews) to show up on the search. However, for pages where users can submit reviews, there is still a chance for getting it up.

  1. Sitelinks:

Sitelinks are links from the same website offering related content. These are like ‘Related searches’ but instead, show up as related pages.

screenshot_google_discover_sitelinks

In the example above, when searching for ‘Google Discover’, you get to see sitelinks for ‘Google Feed’ and others.

These not only help in getting impressions for other URLs that aren’t ranking for the searched query but can give an additional CTR boost. This also helps in understanding the user intent behind broad/head terms for which the result might’ve been ranking for.

Where do you find sitelinks?

Below every search result (as links)

  1. Fraggles:

These are like what a sitelink is. However, there’s a tiny bit of a difference. When it comes to sitelinks, you get to see links from separate pages, other than the existing page. However, in case of fraggles, links from the same webpage (mostly sub-headings) appear as links to highlight specific sections you’d want to jump-to.

Fraggles are a result of Google shifting to mobile-first indexing (where the mobile version of the site gets indexed first).

screenshot_google_fraggles_example

Where to find fraggles?

Below every search result as either a sitelink or as a ‘jump-to’.

  1. Video listings/Video Pack:

A horizontal carousel of videos where queries might include “+video” or where users tend to also watch videos.

how_to_make_a_robot_video_pack

Where to find video Packs:

On top for video-related queries
In the middle or bottom for queries where people tend to watch videos

  1. Image Pack

Queries that can be better answered with images or where imagery can help a user, tend to show an Image pack either before the results or alongside the results.

Where to find Image packs:

On top for video-related queries
In the middle or bottom for queries where people tend to watch videos

  1. Top Stories

Breaking news or trending topics tend to show up as part of a carousel for ‘Top Stories’ where newspapers or publications show up with news items. Along with the publisher’s name and timestamp (very important), AMP results get highlighted as well. On mobile, these are given more preference as well.

top_stories

Where to find Top Stories:

  • In-between SERP
  • On Google Discover
  1. AMP:

AMP_Results_SERP

AMP, Accelerated Mobile Pages, load faster as they are a trimmed-down version of the mobile webpages. On SERP, they are seen with a ‘lightning bolt icon that helps them be differentiated. If your news article has an AMP version, it’ll appear along with it and might even be given preference on mobile.

Even on Google Discover, most results that show up are the ones with AMP!

  1. Twitter Card:

When it comes to News and trends, how far can twitter be? Twitter has always been the ‘first-to-break-it’ and if a query is either news-related, twitter cards also get added to the SERP.

twitter_card

Not only this, for brands who actively use twitter, a twitter card showing the latest tweets from the company shows up on SERP.

Where to find twitter cards on SERP

Usually in the bottom half of the SERP

  1. People Also Ask (PAA):

PAA’s are sets of questions related to the search queries entered on Search.

people also ask

Where to find them on SERP?

They are usually placed after the 1st organic search result, however, they can be in the middle or end of the page as well.

  1. FAQ

These became a ‘SERP feature’ after FAQ schema was introduced. With an addition of an FAQ Schema on any page, a list of questions that exist on the page starts appearing after the search result.

FAQ Schema on SERP

This is similar to the PAA, however, these can be triggered by using the schema and can be easily modified as well.

Where to find PAA on SERP?

Just below individual Search results!

  1. How-to Carousal/List-view

This is like the FAQ Schema. Implementation of this can help in appearing for A How-to list/carousal. A set of steps to complete a task, featuring video, images, and text can appear on SERP.

carousel-how-to-snippet-example

Where to find them on SERP?

Usually at the top replacing the featured snippet or in some cases below it.

That’s it! We come to an end to an exhaustive list of SERP Features! Not all the above will be relevant for your website or the website you’re trying to optimize. However, understanding and identifying each of these features will help you navigate the evolving SERP.

over the last couple of years, there has been tremendous growth in these SERP features. These have ensured that a user gets his answer right away. As per, Jumpshot data more than 50% of search queries have resulted in 0-click searches! Google’s push to become an answer engine than being just a search engine can be seen in measures like these.

While it is a boon for the users, it is a pain for the publishers, whose content value can only be monetized if a user lands on his page.

But, then, why should Google care?

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