If you’ve ever added “near me” to your Google search, then you’ve likely seen the local pack feature. Local SEO is an important tool for targeting users in your area. A local pack displays relevant local businesses and services.
For example, if a user types “Italian restaurant near me”, Google displays the local pack feature at the top of the results which provides a list of Italian restaurants near the user’s location. The list will include relevant details, such as an address, phone number, ratings, and website links. This helps users quickly find a restaurant near them without having to scroll through searches related to the initial query which aren't locally relevant.
The top stories SERP feature displays a carousel of articles and news stories from various sources in the search results. This feature showcases the headline, thumbnail image, and source. The top stories feature is designed to give users the latest news and updates on any given topic.
News media organizations can focus on publishing timely, accurate, and high-quality news content in order to appear in the top stories SERP feature.
For any search query related to video content, video thumbnail SERP features will appear. This feature shows a thumbnail image from the video in addition to the title, length, and source.
For example, if a user searches “how to make a website”, the video thumbnail SERP feature might display a thumbnail image of a video tutorial. Video thumbnails can also appear in a featured list if there are several relevant videos.
The image pack SERP feature is designed for users searching for visual or image-driven topics. Typically, Google displays the image pack above the organic search results and showcases a range of related thumbnails from Google images.
To appear in SERP image packs, it’s important to optimize your images for search engines. Make sure to use descriptive alt tags, image file names, and relevant captions.
Site links help you navigate through the search results to find the page you wish to visit. Site links can appear underneath a search result, featuring a list of links to subpages and small snippets to better locate the most helpful page. Typically, site links appear for branded search queries.
Benefits of SERP features
As the online landscape continues to evolve, search engine results pages (SERPs) have become increasingly complex, with a range of features appearing alongside the traditional list of search results.
In this section, we will explore some of the benefits of SERP features and how businesses can take advantage of them to enhance their online presence.
Increases visibility and traffic
One of the main challenges related to Google SEO is ranking high in organic search results. This is why targeting SERP features is a great opportunity for brand building and increasing visibility. SERP features are displayed prominently in the search results and can lead to higher user engagement and traffic to your site.
Elements such as featured snippets appear at the top of the SERP, giving it more visibility than other organic listings. Google search results are vast, so visibility is key for standing apart from the competition.
Improves click-through rate
Google SERP features are elements including additional information beyond the standard meta description and title tag. These extra details can help users determine whether your website is relevant to the given search query.
Basically, a SERP feature gives your website an extra boost for helping improve click-through rates to your site. When users are more likely to click through to your web page, the likelihood of conversions increases.
Enhanced user experience
The goal of a search engine is to provide users with answers to their questions – the goal of Google SERP features is to enhance this experience. Featured snippets, local packs, top stories, and more are all designed to provide relevant information quickly and efficiently.
This improves the user experience and increases the likelihood of users returning to your site in the future. Users are more inclined to trust your brand when they get the information they are looking for simply and clearly.
Increases brand awareness
Brand awareness and trust are key to winning and maintaining customers. SERP features often include elements that can increase brand recognition, such as logos and images.
If your brand consistently shows up in featured snippets or other common SERP features, users may be more likely to remember your brand and continually return to your web pages. If your goal is to increase brand recognition, then optimizing for SERP features is a great way to appear in a useful and trusted section of Google SERPs.
Best practices for optimizing SERP features
Optimizing for SERP features has become essential for businesses looking to improve their online visibility and drive more traffic to their websites. However, optimizing for SERP features requires a different approach than traditional SEO tactics.
By following these best practices, businesses can increase their chances of appearing in SERP features and attracting more clicks from users.
Understand your audience
Different users have different search intents and behaviors. Understanding your audience can help you tailor content and optimization efforts to meet specific needs. If you understand your audience’s Google searches and related search queries, you can increase your chances of appearing in relevant SERP features.
If you run an e-commerce business, understanding your customers’ search intent can help you optimize your product listings for shopping results and increase your chances of appearing in the shopping carousel SERP feature.
Your audience may tend to have the same certain search queries, meaning you can leverage this to optimize for specific SERP features in the search results.
Use structured data markup
Now that you understand the various types of Google SERP features, you can focus on how to optimize your site to appear in featured snippets and more in the search results. Using structured data markup is one of the best ways to increase your chances of appearing in different types of SERP features.
Structured data markup is a type of code you add to your website to help search engines understand the content on your site. Google provides a list of structured data types from which you can choose, depending on the type of content on your site.