You know that your business should strive for the #1 spot on Google. Being first in line is a surefire way to get noticed and attract users to your website. Of course, getting in the first several positions on the first page of the SERPs will bring you some traffic. There’s nothing better than being #1, or is there? If you’ve spent any time trying to improve your business’s digital marketing efforts, you know the importance of investing in SEO and getting your business’s web pages in the highest position, where you’ll be seen above all your competitors. However, if you knew there is something even better than being in the first position, wouldn’t you want it? This is exactly what SERP features are.
You might think you don’t know what a SERP feature is, but you likely see them every day, and you have probably clicked on your fair share of them. So, what exactly are SERP features and why should earning them be a goal for your digital marketing efforts? I’m here to break down everything you need to know.
What is a SERP Feature?
SERP features are the results you see in your Google search that aren’t the typical organic links. Rather than the ten blue links you get with each Google search, SERP features are results shown in addition to these organic results. You might also see these referred to as rich snippets. These stand out from the other results and provide easy-to-find information that you don’t get from regular organic results. With a regular result, you’ll see the title tag, meta description, and link to the website. A SERP feature provides much more information and, in some cases, answers your question for you right away.
There are many different types of SERP features available in Google today, but not all of them will apply to every type of search. What type of SERP feature you’ll want will vary, but these are some of the most common that you should know about.
The first position isn’t always all the way at the very top of a SERP. In some searches, users will see a featured snippet above the highest-ranking typical organic result. A featured snippet is a box that appears at the top of some search results and provides a few sentences from the featured page right in the SERP. If this information is enough to answer a user’s question, they may not even have to click on any results to get more.
A FAQ SERP feature is when your website is presented to a user after they make a search and Google provides a short question and answer section underneath. For example, a user may search for a discrimination lawyer, and your site is given a FAQ SERP feature. A question that may appear under it is “when do I need a discrimination lawyer?” A user can click on this question, and a short answer will appear underneath it without making them leave Google. FAQs typically include a list of several questions so that users can quickly get answers.
You may have noticed that when you make certain searches, Google provides other similar questions, along with a short answer and a link to the most relevant web page. If you earn a related question SERP feature, users can find your website, even if it wasn’t exactly what they initially searched for.
Knowledge panels are boxes that appear on the right side of a SERP and look similar to a Google My Business profile. You might see these when you search for something popular and well-known, like celebrities, big cities, and major companies. The information included in a knowledge panel is taken from various sources, but if you see something incorrect, you can provide feedback for it to be corrected by Google.
Site links provide users with additional links to various pages on your website in addition to the page that shows up in the SERP. This can include links to specific service pages, an ‘About’ page, or a ‘Contact’ page. Through site links, users might find a page that appeals to them more, making it more likely that they visit your site.
Any business owner with a brick-and-mortar business should know about local packs. When a user searches for a certain type of business in their area, Google will often show a local pack, which includes three businesses that are likely to fit their needs. This appears at the top of the SERP and provides basic information on a business, such as their hours and contact information. While a local pack initially shows these three businesses, it also provides users with the option to see more businesses like these in the area.
You likely already know that getting good reviews for your business is important. What other consumers say about a business is often more important than anything a business can say about itself. In some cases, Google may display reviews in the form of SERP features. This can appear as a written review, numerical rankings, or both. Review snippets show users immediately what others think of a business or product.
Why Do You Want a SERP Feature?
SEO is all about helping your website stand out from the crowd and be the first to grab a user’s attention. In many cases, this is exactly what a SERP feature does. A SERP feature separates you from every other result, which could help bring users to your site instead of a competitor’s. SERP features are visibly different from other results, which helps make them more eye-catching than any other organic or paid results. Even those who know nothing about SEO recognize results in the first position as being more reliable than the others, and the same goes for websites given a SERP feature. It’s noticeable that these websites have achieved something that others haven’t, which is a good sign for users.
However, SERP features can be both good and bad. Some SERP features end up in what’s called a no-click search – when a user doesn’t click on any of the results presented from their search. SERP features are great for users because they make getting the information they need much easier, but can be bad for businesses by eliminating the need to visit their website. While some SERP features can help you bring in more traffic, others can do the opposite, so you need to know what the best choice for your website is and when to go after a SERP feature.
How Do You Get a SERP Feature?
You can’t just request that Google give you a SERP feature. Just like with regular organic results, you’ll have to optimize your website accordingly to get a SERP feature. If you want to earn a SERP feature, you’ll need to add structured data to your website. Structured data is used to provide search engines with more information about each page so that they can scan it more easily and understand the context better.
This is created using Schema markup, which gives you the opportunity to actually tell search engines what a page is about, and is inserted into your website’s code. Running Google’s Rich Results Test can tell you whether or not your website may be able to receive a SERP feature.
Hire an SEO Agency That Can Handle All of This and More
Of course, knowing how and when to go after SERP features, creating structured data, and putting it in your website’s code might be out of your wheelhouse. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with this yourself. An SEO agency can help with everything you need to improve your performance in the SERPs.
Contact ENX2 Marketing today to learn more about how our SEO agencies can help your business bring more traffic to your website.