SERP features are one of the fastest, most effective ways of getting to the top of Google Search Engine Results pages. These special elements offer greater real-estate for your content to occupy when people search your keywords.
In this guide, we’re going to explore the value of SERP features for SEO, as well as how you can utilise them to climb to the top of SERPs.
Here’s a quick overview of the article; feel free to jump to each section by clicking on the link.
Let’s delve deeper and understand everything you need to know about SERP features to climb the ranks and dominate position 0.
What are SERP features?
SERP (search engine results page) features are elements that appear on Google’s SERPs and augment the traditional blue link architecture. SERP features are not traditional organic results and typically appear at the very top (position 0) of the results pages.
SERP features offer a quick answer to a query. They’re generally no longer than 1-2 sentences, have fewer than 60 words and include a variation of the keyword serving the snippet.
How SERP features benefit SEO
Users are looking for the fastest, most precise way of getting answers to their queries. SERP features offer website owners the ability to do just that through the augmentation of the traditional ’10 blue link’ setup users are used to.
Here’s how SERP features can benefit SEO:
➔ Improve brand awareness and visibility
One of the most obvious benefits of SERP features are their ability to improve your website’s visibility and brand awareness. This is as a result of your website being featured prominently on Google’s SERPS, which gain a lot of traffic
➔ Improve CTR
SERP features have been known to improve CTR due to how eye-catching they are in comparison to regular organic search results.
A study by Search Engine Journal revealed that rich results have an above average CTR of 58% whereas non-rich results fall below average at 41%.
➔ Grow website authority
SERP features are a serious factor in building domain and page authority as they result in better and more qualified traffic to your website.
There are multiple search features beyond organic search results. Let’s take a look at some of the most common SERP features.
The different types of SERP features
Here are the some of the most common types SERP features as seen on Google.
The Featured Snippet is a prominent box displayed at the top of a Google search engine results page (SERP) that showcases a snippet of information from one of the top-ranked organic results. This feature is triggered when the search query has informational intent.
PAA (People Also Ask)
The “People Also Ask” (PAA) box on SERPs presents an ever-expanding list of questions generated by an algorithm that are relevant to the search query. It dynamically provides answers to questions closely related to the user’s intent and quickly offers additional information related to the original search query.
Local map pack
A local map pack is shown when Google recognises that a search query has local intent. A local pack appears when a searcher enters a query that is appended with a location or when Google’s algorithm finds that a searched item is available nearby.
Knowledge panels can include images, facts, social media and other important information related to the search query. They generally show up on the righthand side of organic results for queries with informational intent about a business, brand, or organisation.
A rich snippet, or review snippet, is a SERP feature for a specific result in SERPs that adds extra visuals to a result – such as stars for reviews or photos in news results.
Sitelinks are a list of different links to different pages on a specific website. These items are picked out by Google and aim to provide users with a quick way of navigating to important pages on a website.
How to win SERP features
As we’ve seen, SERP features can have a significant impact on your website. So now that we know what they are, and their benefits, lets take a look at how you can start winning SERP features today.
#1: Google target keywords and analyse current snippets
The first step to winning SERP features is to gain a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the current SERP features and the keyword triggering these results. Pay specific attention to things like:
- Position of text
- The number of words and characters
- Terms and words highlighted in bold
#2: Write your own snippet utilising the above checklist
Now that you’ve got some insight into the innerworkings of the existing features, it’s time to start iterating and improve on the existing ones. Write your own using the learnings from step 1, for example:
- It has 50 words
- Positioned below the H2
- The answer was written in italics
- Contains a specific keyword or keywords
- Answer was structured in a single paragraph
And there you go – follow the above formula and you should start winning those featured snippets. It’s important to note that your page needs to be one page one for the given query.
Last but not least, here are some popular questions around SERP features.
What are some common mistakes marketers make when it comes to SERP features?
Some common mistakes marketers make when it comes to SERP features are:
- Not using schema markup
- Not doing sufficient research
- Not satisfying search intent
- Not using the correct structure
What are the biggest challenges facing marketers when it comes to SERP features?
The biggest challenge marketers are facing when it comes to SERP features is the constantly changing landscape. Frequent changes on SERPs make it challenging for marketers to keep up to date with the latest best practices.
What are some best practices for optimising websites for SERP features?
Here are some best practices for optimising websites for SERP features:
- Answer related questions
- Study competitor’s snippets
- Optimise your content based on its purpose
- Answer frequently asked questions in short paragraphs