What’s In The SERPs, How Do Google Search Results And Features Work?

Wakas Javed

Learn what a SERP is and the various search features that can impact how your business appears; to your target audience.

Google search is constantly evolving to provide searchers with more precise results.

One of the most recent figures we told was that Google ran 4,887 launches, 17,523 live traffic experiments, 383,605 search quality tests, and 62,937 parallel experiments to improve the results received by search engine users over a year.

Stringent test results allow Google to determine the best search features to provide search results in the most accurate format for your query.

It pushes a change in the way search results are displayed.

In this article, you’ll learn what a SERP is and the various search features that can impact how your business appears to your target audience.

What Are SERPs?

SERP stands for Search Engine Result Page. These are the pages that give search engine users the best results for their search queries.

Search engine results pages can vary from one search engine user to another based on a variety of factors, including whether you’re signed in to a Google Account, location preferences, language preferences, and your browsing history.

At the top of the search results, Google displays the estimated number of search results for the query and the time it will take to submit the SERP.

In this case, about 828,000,000 websites were indexed for SEO keywords and results were returned in 0.59 seconds.

The first four results that start with the ad tag are pay-per-click Google ads targeting SEO keywords.

After four Google ads, you will see the first organic listing to appear in this SERP for a beginner’s guide to Google search engine optimization.

After this organic listing, Google added a “People Also Asking” section.

When a search user clicks on a question, other related questions are displayed. Responses usually link to a web page with additional information.

To the right of the Google Ads, Organic Listing, and People Also Ask sections is the Google Search Engine Optimization Knowledge Panel. Knowledge panels may vary depending on the item described.

In this case, the knowledge panel pulls the definition of SEO from Wikipedia, followed by related terms, SEO podcasts, and related terms that people are also searching for.

The next section of the SERP for SEO contains two more organic listings, followed by a local pack containing SEO companies.

On the right you will also see a continuation of the Knowledge Panel, which searches the dictionary for definitions of SEO.

After the local package, Google displays the most important SEO news from the last 24 hours.

After another organic listing, Google placed three YouTube SEO videos in the SERP, followed by four more organic listings.

Lastly, Google has more organic results and related searches.

If you’re on a mobile device, Google doesn’t require you to click on the second page of results.

Instead, after a list of related searches, the next search results page will appear automatically as you scroll down.

In this case, the second SERP starts with Google Ads.

SERP Features

In the first example of Google.com’s SERP for SEO, there are several search features beyond organic search results, including Google Ads, Knowledge Panels, People Also Ask, Featured Stories, and Videos.

Most SERPs have at least one feature, according to SemRush Sensor.

In the United States, only 2.34% of the desktop SERPs are without a feature. In other words, 2.34% SERP only lists the top 10 organic search results on pages without ads, knowledge panels, local plans, etc.

Let’s take a look at the most frequently seen SERP features on Google.

One of the top search features (found in over 66% of the US SERPs) is Sitelinks

Sitelinks are the links that allow users to browse specific content outside of the home page.

In the following SERPs for Apple, you can see that Apple rank first in organic search.

Below your listing, Google will display a sitelinks search box, followed by four links to popular pages on apple’s site i.e Mac, IPad, IPhone,Support.

Learn more about optimizing your website for sitelinks.

People Also Ask

Another highlight of the search feature is the People Also Ask section. This feature can appear anywhere in the SERP.

It usually starts by displaying the four or five most frequently asked questions about a search query.

In the following SERPs for [Pay per Click], Google added a “People Also Ask” section after the first organic search results.

When someone clicks on a question in the People Also Asking section, the answer to that question will be displayed along with a link to the source of the answer. It will also automatically generate additional questions for the questions the user just clicked on.

Reviews

In addition to the stars you see in local business review packages and the stars you see in Shopping ads, Google may also show review stars and review counts in organic search results.

In the following SERPs for the novel “the name of the wind”, you can see the reviews feature in action on organic result list.

 

Learn more about using review snippets to optimize relevant pages on your website for reviews.

Images

When Google expects a search query to be answered best visually, it uses the image feature. This feature can appear anywhere in the SERP.

A subsequent search for [black rose flower] Google turned up a dozen images of black roses.

When you click on any of those images, the link will take you to Google image search results for the query, plus additional details about the image clicked.

To optimize your images for Google image searches and the potential to appear in the related SERP image section, we’ll discuss it in details in a separate post.

Videos

Like image features, SERP video features can appear anywhere on the page.

In the following search for [how to work] Google will show the YouTube video section after, People Also Asking, and one organic search results.

To appear in the video section of the SERP, learn how to optimize your YouTube videos.

Knowledge Panels

The Knowledge Panel is an automatically generated box of useful information that the Knowledge Graph collects from various sources on the web. This is usually shown on the right side of the search results.

In the following SERP for [Tennis], Google displays a knowledge panel with a summary of tennis and the most popular searches related to it.

Google provides specific guidance on how to update the information contained in the Knowledge Column.

Local Packs

If any local results match your search query, those results may appear in the local package.

According to Local Pack-O-Meter, as of March 2022, 35.7% of the approximately 60 million searches in the US contained local packets. Last year it was between 33% and 33.9%.

If you own a local business, learn more about local SEO and why it matters to your SME.

Listings in local packages are usually displayed with reviews, addresses, and hours of operation.

Featured snippets typically appear at the top of the SERP and provide content from one of the top organic search results for a given search query.

For example, a search for [how to speak in a British accent] might return a featured snippet with a YouTube video that matches the search query.

Featured snippets are usually marked as such in the bottom right under the snippet content.

Other featured snippet formats include numbered or bulleted lists, such as B. results [how to submit an appeal on Facebook].

In the example above, you can see that featured snippets describing in steps how to appeal.

When searching for [POS] the best results are presented as fragments in the form of paragraphs.

If you want your website to be the source of featured snippets, learn how to optimize your content for featured snippets.

Sponsored results from advertisers using Google Ads may appear at the top and bottom of the SERP.

In this search for health insurance, the SERP starts with three ads.

After the organic listing, the “People Also Asking” section, and the headline, Google shows three more ads, followed by related searches.

Shopping Ads

In addition to standard text ads, Google also offers merchants the option to create Shopping ads for their products.

Shopping ads typically include the product name, price, retailer, and product rating.

If you want to show your products in Shopping ads, be sure to read this beginner’s guide to Shopping ads.

Carousels

The carousel usually appears at the top of the SERPs and provides quick answers to search queries.

For example, if you search for [dog breeds], you’ll see a carousel of images of the most popular dog breeds that other Google users are searching for.

Instant Answers

Want quick answers to questions without having to click through to a website?

Instant Answers is a search feature that Google uses to display answers to a user’s search query at the top of the SERP.

For example, if you search for date and time, you might get the following for your location.

If you’re looking for shows for a specific movie, Google can show shows from theaters near you.

If you want to know the currency conversion or exchange rate, Google may be able to provide the answer in the SERP.

Planning a meeting in a different time zone? Google can calculate the difference between two places and display the current time in both.

Not sure what a word means? Google may provide you with definitions along with common origin and usage from time to time.

Need help solving math problems? Google can show you the answer along with a fully functional calculator.

Google can also provide instant answers at the top of the SERP for the following types of queries.

  • Translation of words or phrases.
  • Count the number of days until a certain date or upcoming holiday.
  • Find the latest sports results.
  • Determine a person’s age by date of birth.
  • Get dates for popular events like conventions and festivals.
  • View current stock prices and market overview for popular stocks.

Top Stories

If the search query contains related news, Google may show the Top Media Report section.

In this SERP for MacBook, Google shows the top news for Shopping Ads, Organic Results, People Also Asked, and other Shopping Results.

Learn how to optimize your content for Google News so that your articles appear in the top news for related searches.

Tweets

A small portion of the SERP contains tweets that are relevant to the search query.

The next time you search Apple Questions People Also Ask section.

Learn how you can utilize Twitter to improve your visibility in search results.

Applications

Users of Google search on mobile devices may see features that are only available on mobile devices.

The next time Google searches for a photo editing app, after three ads, it shows apps from the Apple Store and a list of apps from web sources.

Product Comparisons

Google has the ability to take product information and display it in search results for users who want to compare products.

In the following search for [iphone 12 vs iphone 12 pro], you can see a side-by-side list of product images, reviews, prices and additional details.

When a search engine user clicks on a detailed comparison link, Google will display additional details about the product being compared, along with the option to add more comparison products if necessary.

Top Product

Unlike Shopping ads, the Top Products feature shows unadvertised (products without PPC Marketing) products associated with a search query.

Next time you search for trendy watches for women, Google will show you the best trending watches after the organic search results and the “People Also Asked” section.

If you click on a product, additional product details will be displayed.

Google displays reviews from third-party sites, prices from multiple retailers, top media news, and reviews from multiple retailers.

Jobs

Google helps job seekers by aggregating jobs from various web sources and displaying them in the SERPs for searches such as [jobs near me].

Learn how to optimize your job postings to get noticed by Google.

Conclusion

Google is constantly updating its search algorithms and features to provide users with a better search experience.

Always be on the lookout for new features popping up in the SERPs for your targeted searches.

Then find ways to optimize your web pages to show up in search features giving your brand more exposure in the SERPs.

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