get in touch
get in touch
Digital Strategy, Pay-Per-Click Advertising, SEO

An introduction to Google SERP features and how to obtain feature status

An introduction to Google SERP features and how to obtain feature status

When it comes to SEO, the number one priority is always to rank on the first page of Google search engine results pages (SERPs). Even better, would be in the top 3 organic search results. This opens your site up to high click-throughs and a large volume of traffic, with 75% of all clicks taking place on the first 3 results.

Over the years Google has introduced what are known as SERP features. These are search results which are more than the standard organic listing. They are accompanied by something extra, making them more visible and more appealing to click.

Most Common SERP Features

The table below outlines some of the SERP features that appear most frequently on Google. They are the ones which we will be looking at in this blog and identifying how your website can obtain the feature status for its Google ranking.

AdWords
featured snippet
Image Pack
Knowledge Panel
Local Pack
Reviews
Shopping

AdWords

AdWords is Google’s advertising platform that enables businesses to pay for their website rank at the top of Google SERPs. These ads are placed higher than the organic results with the purpose to obtain high click-through-rates and drive more traffic to your website. The ads are distinguished from organic results as the word ‘Ad’ appears on the listing as an ad label.

You’ll need to have a Google AdWords account and build a campaign focused around keywords, cost-per-click, your advertising budget and targeting parameters. Once the campaign is created and launched, your ads will begin to be placed in Google AdWords features. From within your AdWords account you’ll be able to see performance statistics and amend your campaign accordingly.

Google also states: “Ads are ranked primarily based on how relevant and useful they are to what the person searched for, your bid, and a few other factors.”

Featured Snippet

Featured Snippets are short sections of text which are taken from existing web pages and displayed directly on the SERP. They appear at the top of the page and are designed to provide a quick and simple answer to the users search query. The benefit of obtaining a Featured Snippet is that it shows your website as having the answer to the users’ question and they are more likely to click through to your website to find out more. It also improves your ranking position as you’ll be placed as the top organic result.

How to obtain?

Featured Snippets display content that provides the most relevant answer to the search query, and in the most specific a concise way. You should review the top keywords for which you’re trying to rank highly, and then identify the questions people are asking in relation to those keywords. Once you know the questions being asked, you can add content to your web pages that answers them in the optimal way for a Featured Snippet.

Image Pack

As with most SERP features, image packs are positioned at the top of the search engine results pages and are displayed either as a horizontal selection or a grid. This feature is most valuable to companies selling a product, and one where seeing it improves the chances it would want to be purchased.

How to obtain?

Image packs are displayed when Google believes visual content will add value to answering the users’ search query. The images are taken from existing web pages, so it’s important to have the visual content on your site if you want to obtain this feature. Google also recommends the following actions to optimise your images and improve your chances of gaining and image pack feature listing:

  1. Descriptive file name (Describe the photo, leading with a keyword)
  2. Descriptive alt text (Concisely describe the photo, leading with a keyword)
  3. Human readable URL (Ensure the image URL contains words only where possible)
  4. Optimised image size (Optimised image resolution allows for a better user experience)
  5. Include title attribute (Another title that gives Google more information about the image)

Knowledge Panel

A knowledge panel, also known as knowledge cards, extracts data from a range of sources on the web and combines them into a single panel, displayed on the right-hand side of the Google SERP, and provides users with relevant information in one place. This feature can be very difficult to rank for unless you’re a well-known company, person or other. If you’re a local business, don’t sweat. A great substitute for you is a Google My Business panel (you’ll just need to set yourself up on Google My Business and add as much information as possible).

How to obtain?

Knowledge panels, as mentioned, pull data and information from a range of external sources and are combined within the panel. Therefore, the information available on the web, and the information selected, is out of your control. Only when your business is well known and has a range of information and data added to the web on behalf of other sources will you be able to obtain this feature.

For the great replacement – Google My Business – you can get started by setting your company up with an account here.

Want to obtain SERP Feature status?

Get in touch

Local Pack

For search queries that contain a local search intent element, such a place name, Google offers a Local Pack. The pack usually contains a set of 3 listings of physical locations, relevant to the search query. The 3 locations will also be displayed on a map. The Local Pack helps show the user how close the business is they’re looking for and is therefore meant to encourage them to interact, either by clicking through to the website, calling the business number or visiting the location.

How to obtain?

Having a detailed and well implemented local SEO strategy is the key to obtaining this feature. As it is based on location, it’s vital that Google can interpret your site as being a located somewhere. Google My Business comes in to play again here. Make sure both your website and Google My Business account are optimised based on your location. Especially important is verifying your business address within Google My Business, using the verification code. Click here to learn how localized landing pages can support you local SEO strategy.

Reviews

Product and service reviews are just one of the ways that Google can interpret the quality of your offering and/or website. They’re star based and are displayed underneath the website URL in the listing. Results with a high star rating obtain higher click-through-rates as they show the product or service to be of high quality and trustworthy.

How to obtain? For reviews placed directly on Google, the search engine can easily interpret these and use them to decide whether to place them on your search listing. However, it’s common that your reviews will come from your website too; and to give your website a better chance to obtain this feature, Google recommends the following:

  1. Have Schema markup on your site (Learn More)
  2. Build a clear and logical sitemap structure so Google can easily find reviews
  3. Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console

Shopping Results

The Shopping Results feature is one that is more suitable if you’re selling a product. They are displayed either across the top of search engine results pages, or as a panel on the right-hand side, and have been created to give users quick, rich information on products they’re looking for (such as images and prices). Whilst they can help generate higher click-throughs, they also place you in immediate competition with other sellers. This makes it more important to have a competitive price, high quality imagery and strong reviews.

How to obtain?

Similar to the first feature we described, Shopping Results is a paid feature. You will need to set up Product Listing Ads (PLAs) and share product information and imagery to give your site the opportunity to rank within the Shopping Results feature.

Summary

There are a wide range Google SERP Features available, more than the set we’ve looked at in this blog, and each will either be very relevant to you or not relevant at all depending on your business. The benefit of SERP features is that you can obtain a listing in Google that outperforms the holy grail ‘top 3 organic listings’ which are difficult to reach. To begin your quest of obtaining SERP Feature status, we recommend you review the features available and identify which are most relevant to your business and would add the most value to your SEO strategy. If you need help with that, simply get in touch.


Want to obtain SERP Feature status?

Contact us and a team member will get back to you shortly! 


Jack Kennedy

Jack is the founder of Invanity marketing and has worked in digital marketing since the age of 17. Having been involved in both the client-side and the agency side of the process he is building Invanity with a vision of creating a marketing agency that truly delivers on the results it has promised.

Looking for more great digital marketing content? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter below!
Privacy Settings
We use cookies to enhance your experience while using our website. If you are using our Services via a browser you can restrict, block or remove cookies through your web browser settings. We also use content and scripts from third parties that may use tracking technologies. You can selectively provide your consent below to allow such third party embeds. For complete information about the cookies we use, data we collect and how we process them, please check our Privacy Policy
Youtube
Consent to display content from Youtube
Vimeo
Consent to display content from Vimeo
Google Maps
Consent to display content from Google
Spotify
Consent to display content from Spotify
Sound Cloud
Consent to display content from Sound