There are many SERP features you can use on your website to organically rank in Google. We will go through the 15 most influential factors to position your page. By the end of this guide, you will know which feature is better for you, what their functions are, and how you can apply them.
So what are SERP features? They are special elements that enrich basic organic search results in Google. We sometimes forget that Google’s primary goal is to provide is focused, quick, and relevant answers – and they use these advanced SERP features to help provide additional value for their primary product, their search results page. You can increase your visibility, authority, and sales by taking advantage of these add-on features within Google.
Below you will find a list of SERP features that are used to better segment and organize the search results for users.
Direct Answer Box
(“how many feet in a yard” or “who was the 33rd president of the united states”)
The direct answer box is appearing in more and more search terms. As a visitor, this box stands for the most reliable and relevant source for information, where they will probably find the solution to their questions.
Since Google puts it at the very top of the first page, many websites compete to become eligible for the Direct Answer Box. When a search term has a high search volume, Google selects a fragment of an article or a video from a page.
You get the highest chance to appear in this box if your page ranks in the first three positions, in general cases.
(FAQs, how tos, “Who is,” “What is”)
A common way to answer a search term is by selecting a paragraph from the best-rated website. Google can select a relevant website on the first page and use your text in the direct box answer, giving you the Position Zero, or double visibility.
Your website link will appear for both the Position Zero and your organic position, creating a huge visibility boost.
Google Local Listings
(restaurants, hospitals, community establishments, etc. Also known as Local Pack)
The best SEO practices that physical business can do is appearing in the Google Local Pack. Depending on the search term relevance and Google Reviews rating, you can make your business location appear in the SERPs.
Visitors will see a Google Maps complement in front of the organic results. Some search terms respond depending on the visitor’s location, such as ‘Restaurants near me’. The Local Pack is a perfect occasion to make your business visible, show people your reviews, and star rating.
(Careers or About Us pages below the core domain)
Apart from increasing the authority of your business, Google Sitelinks is a useful extension to navigate through your website categories directly from the search page. For visitors, these search results look more important, save them time, and give them an idea of the content of the website.
Those websites enjoying this status can also display descriptions for their categories, giving more information to the reader for the Position Zero.
When using paid advertising, this feature also works, which is a good way to increase ad campaign performance.
(queries best answered in video format)
Videos bring the highest rate of clicks and conversions as a content format. Videos can appear in the Position Zero of a search term, and included in a video carousel.
When combined with Direct Answer Boxes, Videos cover a large area of the search page along with the video carousel, which makes it the best visibility tool for Google.
(top stories related to the query)
Top stories work as an extension of the Google News tab, displaying the most relevant page news in a group of thumbnails at the top of the page.
To get in the positions that are set aside for Top Stories, it is required to generate a lot of website attention in a short period, explaining a recent event. Again, this feature makes your website appear twice on the first search page.
(queries best answered in photo format)
Image positioning is an indirect way to link visitors to your website. Depending on the image quality and keyword relevance, you may generate more traffic by having this SERP advantage.
If you want to appear in an image pack, your photo has to include keywords and links related to the search term, which will position as you start receiving traffic.
(a brand’s most recent Twitter posts)
When trying to increase your brand awareness, your following can benefit more by displaying your Twitter profile in the search results. Whenever your profile updates a popular tweet, Google visitors will see it by searching your related keyword.
Typically, Twitter snippets appear as a text carousel, giving the highest priority to recent tweets.
(queries for brands)
Google knowledge Panels are a great complement to increase the authority of your website. Knowledge panels appear at the right side of the first page and offer an in-depth description of the searched word.
Google uses it mostly for big brands, local businesses, media, and famous people’s biographies. Another way to benefit from this feature is appearing in the section called People Also Search For, receiving another visibility boost.
Moreover, the Knowledge Panel can redirect visitors to any of your social media profiles, which is highly relevant for brand awareness. Other optional features are video carousels and books written by the person.
(searches for people or organizations)
Knowledge graphs are quite similar to the Google Knowledge Base. As the main difference, knowledge graphs select paragraphs and photos from organically ranked search pages, building the panel at the right margin.
Unless your visitors are SEO experts, most people will never notice the difference between them. There is barely any variation in terms of visibility.
(when a query includes a need for a concise answer)
Instant Answer follows the same process as Direct Answer Boxes, selecting other pages’ information to provide a solution using a few sentences.
Now, Instant Answer Boxes cannot outrank sponsored search results, which limits its usage for highly competitive keywords. Depending on the sector, you may also see a list of products appearing in the box, becoming a free advertising strategy for e-commerce websites.
People Also Ask
(related questions that are presented about the search query)
People Also Ask appears for almost every search term, becoming a useful format to receive quick questions to solve multiple questions at the same time. The position of this section varies from the top to the middle of the search page.
People Also Ask is a list of frequently asked questions that include a drop-down paragraph responding to the question. Google answers these questions using information from popular websites, just as the Instant Answer does.
(stock movements or time-sensitive topics)
The Google News Box uses similar functions to the Google Top Stories feature. The News Box uses three thumbnails to show the three most relevant news of a given topic. Below the list, the feature includes an option to redirect to the Google News tabs, so visitors can learn more about other search results. News Boxes are known to receive a lot more traffic than conventional search results.
(Product Listing Ads)
When using purchase-related vocabulary, you may see product listings appearing in the Position Zero. As mentioned before, these carousels can sometimes appear in the Direct Answer Box, giving even more visibility.
Since the visitor’s intend is buying a product, many transactional keywords are ultra-competitive using paid advertising. When someone clicks your listing, the visitor appears in the listing page of your storefront. As a major advantage, shopping ads have ranking priority over sponsored webpages.
In the SERPs, you can click Search On Google to redirect to the Shopping Tab, so you can look for more shopping options.
(recipes, how tos, DIY tasks) or Bulleted Lists (rankings, “best of” lists)
Did you know that How To blogs have more demand than any other type of information? What Numbered and Bulleted Lists do is showing the first fragment of your step-by-step list.
You may be thinking: If people solve their problems in the search page, why would they click on my website link? Features snippets actually improve your ranking because they offer incomplete information to the reader. People decide whether they are interested before entering your page.
As a result, interested people click and keep reading your post. Those who don’t find value in your content won’t click on your result, which is quite positive for the bounce-back rate of your page.
(ratings, prices, availability)
SEO Rich Snippets increase the content value of your organic search reference. Possibilities range from including prices to star ratings, and rich snippets can encourage visitors to enter your web page.
There are many terms to complement your search results, such as rating, location, small images, a phone number, among others.
Google Featured Tables
(prices, rates, data)
The combination of all the mentioned features can give visitors a lot of information about your website. If you want to add some graphical information, you can include tables on your page to rank with them for the Position Zero.
Tables are perfect for content websites where people expect finding technical data about the keyword and can display as horizontal, vertical, or mixed tables.
Based on experimental observations, SEOs have found an accurate way to qualify for this snippet by putting your keywords in specific positions of the table.
If you have started generating traffic for your website, consider these SERP features like a simple way to improve your visibility. As a beginner, you should rank for keywords with moderate-low volume to avoid competition, and scale from there to the main keywords.
Thanks for reading "The Guide to Google Organic SERP Features and Results", by the Linchpin Team in Chicago, Raleigh, and Wake Forest.