What Is a SERP Feature?

The search engine results page (SERP) is what you see after entering a query into Google or another search engine. For example, here’s the SERP for the query “how to make coffee”:

Example of SERP features.

The look of the SERP will change based on the search query and any SERP features that are relevant in the results.

What Is a SERP Feature?

A SERP feature is anything on the results page that isn’t an organic result. Here’s an example of an organic result:

Example of an organic result.

Here are examples of SERP features — these are recipe rich snippets:

Example of the rich snippet SERP feature.

Next, let’s discuss the most popular types of SERP features.

The 3 Most Common SERP Features

There are three main kinds of SERP features. We’ll go over each one.

Knowledge Graph

The weather knowledge graph SERP feature.

The knowledge graph feature shows up as a box or panel. Searching for weather information often brings up a knowledge graph.

Stock information will also show up in a knowledge graph:

Amazon stock knowledge graph.

The paid results SERP feature.

The paid results feature returns sponsored results. This means that the website owner has bid on keywords and pays to have results show up at the top of Google.

Rich Snippets

Sangria recipes to show how rich snippets can improve organic CTR.

The rich snippets feature adds helpful details like reviews or ratings to a result. Recipes are among the most popular types of rich snippets.

Even More Google SERP Features

Now let’s get into several other SERP features you’ll likely come across — and can maybe even optimize your website for.

Ads

Example of the ad SERP feature.

Google Ads come in several different forms, but the example above is the most basic type. Ads appear above organic results, which pushes the organic results down. The ad will have something next to it to clarify it’s a paid result, like the word “Sponsored” in the example.

Featured Snippet

When Google wants to answer a question but doesn’t have a knowledge graph SERP feature, it’ll display a featured snippet instead. These organic results are taken from the original target page and displayed toward the top of the results.

Example of the featured snippet SERP feature.

For the best chance of scoring a featured snippet, answer the query in the most specific way possible.

Image Pack

Example of the image pack SERP feature.

If you enter a search query that pulls a lot of image results, you’ll see an image pack at the top of the SERP. By clicking on the image icon on the bottom-right (circled in the example above), a Google Images page will open with more search results.

To put your images in the best position for being featured, use descriptive file names and alt text.

Local Pack

Example of the local pack SERP feature.

For keywords that have a geographical-based intent, like “hiking trails near me” or “pizza delivery in nyc,” the local pack feature will likely show up. Underneath a map of the area, the top three physical locations will populate. By clicking More Places, you can see additional location-based results.

News Box

Example of the news box SERP feature.

If you Google something that’s considered newsworthy or time-sensitive, you may see the news box SERP feature in the results.

The example above shows results just from the Nasa website. Some searches will show top stories from multiple sources:

Another example of the news box.

Related Questions

Just about every Google search will have a related questions field partway down the SERP. These are questions that Google’s algorithm thinks may relate to the original search query. They can be expanded to see the answer, and more related questions will populate underneath.

Example of the related questions SERP feature.

While your content may land itself in the related questions section, it’s particularly good for helping with SEO research. You can get keyword ideas in this section that will help you make your content more thorough.

Reviews

Reviews and ratings in search results.

Some content, like products, recipes and travel information, will have ratings and reviews displayed with the result. Often, this SERP feature can increase CTR, especially if the rating is high.

Shopping Results

Shopping results for workout gear.

When you see shopping results, that means that someone has paid for those results to show up at the top of the SERP, just like with other types of ads. These results have a visual element, too, which makes them more enticing to click.

Paid advertising is popular when creating bottom-of-the-funnel content because this is the stage when people are most ready to buy.

Site Links

Example of the site links SERP feature.

Sometimes, when a user searches for a specific URL or website, Google may display a pack of site links along with the homepage link. This helps users find the exact page they’re looking for, and it can increase CTR.

Video

Video results on the SERP.

Some search results are delivered best as videos, and Google will include video results in the SERP if users are likely to click on them. This doesn’t mean that only video results will show, but the will be high up on the SERP, among other more traditional results.

Which SERP Features Does My Site Have?

The best way to figure out which SERP feature or features your site has is to use an SEO tool.

Each tool will have its own way of finding SERP feature information. Here’s information about using Ahrefs to find if your domain is ranking for any SERP features, and here’s information about researching SERP features using Semrush.

We also looked at the Moz keyword tool, but we weren’t able to see SERP features the way the walk-through video explained.

Wrapping Up

Understanding different SERP feature types is helpful when creating content because you can design your pages and posts to best serve the needs of the user.

For example, if you’re writing an article about how to train for a marathon, you may do some preliminary research by Googling the topic.

At the top of the page, you’ll see questions related to the search, which can guide your blog post’s FAQ section. Then, a little farther down, you’ll notice a block of videos. This means that users like video content for this query, so you may decide to repurpose your blog post for YouTube.

Also, the more thorough you make your content and the more types of media you add to it, the better your chances of ranking with SERP features. Plus, you can always run ads on bottom-of-the-funnel content to increase sales.

You’ll also want to check out our article that explores whether or not you can pay Google to rank higher.

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