For those of you who are new to the word SERP, it stands for Search Engine Result Pages. A SERP feature refers to how the content has presented by the search engines to the user.
As search engines have evolved, the way that the information is presented to the user has taken on new forms or formats and in this article, our team of SEO experts will discuss all the different types of SERP features you will encounter on the search engine.
- Traditional Organic Result
- Sponsored Results
- Featured Snippet
- People Also Ask or Related Questions
- Top Stories
- Knowledge Panels
- Map Listings
- Rich Results (Schema-enabled)
- Image and Video Packs
- Shop Results
Traditional Organic Result
The most common type of search result as it takes up most of the screen space on a typical search engine result page. A typical organic search result will contain the meta title, meta description, and a link.
Sponsored Results or Ads
This relates to the top and bottom part of the search engine result page and includes Paid ads that can be bought through the Google Ads service. Given that there are a number of spots on a search result page that have dedicated to sponsored ads. Google Ads algorithms determine the spot given to an advertiser based on what has called the Ad rank. Ad rank takes into account a number of factors including the bid, the relevance of the ad, the landing page, and the user’s search query.
Also called position 0, this is a type of SERP result that is displayed on top of organic search results. How this is different from other results is that Google tries to display the user’s search query by extracting information from a particular webpage and displaying in a text-rich format along with images.
A typically featured snippet can include the following information as mentioned by Google:
- Information quoted from a third-party website
- A link to the page
- The page title
- The URL of the page
People Also Ask or Related Questions
A section that contains a collection of featured snippets. Typically displayed as a set of questions that are related to a user’s query, each question if expanded will reveal a featured snippet. This type of SERP feature is more prevalent for informational search queries, that is when the user is trying to find information on a particular topic.
Reserved for news, top stories are articles that appear in a carousel format on top of all the search results. A top story contains the news publisher’s logo, article image headline, and a timestamp.
Also known as knowledge graphs, knowledge panels are entities that appear when a user searches for information that exists within Google’s knowledge graph. Google might display information from a variety of trustworthy sources within the knowledge panel.
The entities who have their information displayed on a knowledge panel also have the option to edit this information once they have verified their identity with Google.
Map listings also known as a 3-pack listing is a section on the search results page that has been dedicated to local businesses within a specified area. In order to appear on the map listing section, a business should create a business profile using google my business, a service provided by Google.
A map listing typically contains the business name, their contact details including their website, customer reviews, and a link to provide directions to the user.
By default, map listings will show businesses within a particular radius of where the user has undertaken their research.
Businesses need to optimize their listings to be able to come up in the top 3 results by utilizing Local SEO strategies.
Rich Results (Schema-enabled)
In order to provide more meaningful results to users, Google has allowed webmasters to utilize structured data on web pages. Rich results provide extra information to users, making search results more meaningful.
There are a number of schemas available including reviews, recipes, pricing, products, local business, person, and events.
These can either add manually or utilizing plugins or extensions. And Google does provide a structured data testing tool to test your pages.
Image and Video Packs
Similar to top stories video and image results appear on top of the organic search results page in a boxed format.
Image results appear where search engines believe that visual content can add value to the user. Images can generally take from a variety of sources.
Videos on the other hand display from YouTube only and can take the form of a list. It may be a carousel (boxed-layout) depending on the user’s search.
Shop results appear in a boxed-layout on top of the search result and are triggered by search with commercial intent, especially when a product-based search is undertaken by a user.
To appear on shop results, publishers need to sign-up for Google shopping, a paid service from Google.
This article has produced by Websites ‘N’ More, a Sydney based digital agency focusing on custom web development and SEO.