There’s only so much room on Google’s SERP pages, and a lot of that space is reserved for featured snippets, related questions, videos, and more. To capture your audience’s attention, it’s now critical for brands to get listed on Google SERP features.
If you’re unhappy with your Google SERP rank, you’re probably searching, “how to get my business on Google?”
Keep reading as we explain what SERP features are, which ones are most common, and how you can improve your Google SERP rank.
What Are Google SERP Features?
Any result that is not a traditional organic result on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is considered a SERP feature.
Before the SERPs we know now, there wasn’t much variation among SERPs—it was just a list of links. Sites would compete to rank for keywords without Google’s new elements distinguishing them in the results. Nothing but information between links would set them apart.
Now, websites can optimize their websites for over a dozen SERP features in ways that can increase their visibility in the SERPs. Google calls attention to these features with larger font, eye-catching images, outlines, and more.
Let’s introduce you to the most common SERP features. These features have a significant impact on how consumers interact with Google’s search engine results.
There are various AdWords ads, but the most common appear within the SERPs. Typically, they will appear at the top or bottom of the left-hand column—sometimes, they appear at both.
Ads can push organic results way down on a user’s page—especially on mobile devices—which can significantly impact the click-through rate.
Google Ads are ranked by relevancy and usability to a user’s search intent. Google will also consider bids and other factors to determine placement.
Featured snippets show concise information from a target page. They have much higher click-through rates than Google’s typical organic results.
Usually, the target page will be the one that answers the user’s search question in the most specific way. In most cases, Google only shows one featured snippet, although some results will reveal more.
If you rank in the top five for the given target keyword, becoming a featured snipped is a huge opportunity. If your page is selected as a snippet, it will no longer appear again in the organic results.
Do you know that horizontal row of images that shows at the top of some SERPs? Those are links that lead to a Google image search. Google presents these images in any organic position.
Google uses more than the core organic algorithm to rank image results. It’s recommended to optimize the following factors with image content:
- Descriptive alt text
- Descriptive file name
- Optimized image size
- SEO-friendly URL
- Title attribute
If you’ve ever searched “how to get my business on Google maps?” you’ve likely run into one of Google’s local packs.
When Google deems a keyword to have local intent (i.e., “pizza near me” or “primary care near me”), the SERP often contains a local pack that shows three physical locations. These are locations that Google deems relevant to the user’s keyword.
Like featured snippets, local packs tend to dominate the SERPs. Local SEO features are continually evolving. It’s essential to stay up to speed on Google’s local space, especially if you own a brick-and-mortar business.
If there are other questions Google deems relevant to your search, it will show an algorithmically-generated list in the search results. These look similar to featured snippets and are often related.
For example, most related questions are also keywords contained in featured snippets. The highest-ranking page in the related questions feature is also the highest one in the featured snippet feature.
Related questions present an opportunity to find featured snippet keyword opportunities you can then use in your content. If a SERP contains related questions, track the question as a keyword. Most of the time, you will find a featured snippet you can win.
To optimize your website for this feature, create an FAQ for the most frequently ask questions you get from potential customers. Be sure to inter-link between this FAQ and your top-performing content.
Product Listing Ads (PLAs) or Paid Shopping results link directly to products with rich product content. Rich product content includes high-resolution images, pricing, descriptions, and other attributes.
Shopping is a paid placement similar to AdWords. Without entering the paid search business, it’s impossible to compete for keywords with paid results.
If someone searches with clear brand intent (i.e., searching for an exact business name), Google will sometimes display a list of up to 10 site links. This feature occupies the spaces of five organic positions, dominating half of the SERP.
Obtaining the site links feature will generate higher click-through rates and get your consumer to your website faster.
Site links are more likely to appear on sites with higher traffic and when the user searches branded terms. To increase your chances of occupying a site link feature, you can implement SearchAction on your website.
While videos only appear for specific keywords, they take up significant space on the SERPs when they do. For most videos, especially YouTube, Google will display a thumbnail.
To obtain a video feature spot, make sure video schema markup exists on your webpage. Google’s algorithm is pretty good at automatically understanding video details.
With video schema, you can provide more information, such as a thumbnail URL, duration, and description.
How to Optimize Your Content for SERP Features
Now that you understand featured snippets, how should you change your current content marketing plan to get listed on Google? Here are a few tips for how to optimize your content to appear in a featured snippet.
Use Question Keywords
Since most relevant questions are listed in featured snippets, your content must answer questions that most of your target audience asks.
Many keyword research tools help you with this by allowing you to filter keyword results to only questions.
Write Inverse Pyramid Style
When writing content, structure it so that the most newsworthy information is at the top, the essential details are in the middle, and general information is at the end.
Writing in this style puts your data front and center, which increases authority in Google’s eyes. This is a legitimate technique used to obtain Google snippets.
Experiment With Formatting
Featured snippets come in different formats, so the easiest way to land one is to structure your content depending on the feature you want to show up for.
For example, if you want Google to feature a table, post your content as a table. If you’re targeting a featured snippet in list form, organize your content in a list using headings.
Tighten Your Word Count
To show that you’re an expert on a subject, you may want to include more information. However, more isn’t always better in this case. Most features have text that is at least 40-50 words long.
To play it safe, keep your answers in that range.
Improve Your Overall Content Strategy
Understanding user search intent has never been more critical. You can’t create relevant content for your audience if you don’t know what they’re interested in.
Answering questions is essential to getting into a SERP feature. Google’s algorithm crawls pages to find the information that best answers a user’s query.
For this reason, you must strategize to develop content that Google will find valuable to users. This involves finding the right questions to answer through keyword research.
Let Us Help You Get Listed on Google SERP Features
To increase your business’s visibility in the SERPs, you should optimize your website for Google SERP features.
Sometimes developing a new strategy is the best way to overhaul your website’s SEO potential.
At Marketing Insider Group, we will create a customized content marketing strategy for your business. We will also deliver an annual editorial plan that lays out all of the content you need to get in front of new customers.
There’s a reason we’re a world-renowned digital marketing firm. To develop your new content strategy, our team of experts will reach your business, target audience, and any competitors. We’ll use our findings to create high-quality content based on your needs.
To schedule a free consultation and learn more about how to get listed on Google SERP features.