Understanding SERP

What is SERP?

SERP is an acronym for Search Engine Results Page

There are 3 prominent search engines - Google, Bing and Yandex. We will keep the discussion centered around Google because around 85% of internet users use Google to resolve their queries.

To put it in very simple words, everything that you can see when you do a Google Search is a feature of Search Engine Results Page

If anyone of you has been an athlete or have played any sport recollect, how the first thing that your coach will instruct you about is the physical infrastructure on which the sport is being played

Whether it is the sidelines of a football ground or the service line of a tennis court, it's practically the first thing that we see and try to understand.

Google Search Result Page is no different. It is the playground or stadium of our online world. SEO is the game and our websites and blogs are the equipment.

So, let us look at some of the most popular features of a SERP and understand a little bit about each one of them.

SERP Features

Though there are a lot of SERP features that Google has and they keep testing and introducing new features on a regular basis, let us look at some of them and understand how to get your website featured in these

1. Adwords (Top & Bottom)

Whenever you perform a Google search you can see Ads related to the search you have performed. The most common type of ads appears on Top/Bottom of the search page. The ads on the Top push down the organic results and are easily distinguishable with a mention of "AD" tag

How To Appear On These Results

You will need to set an Adwords Campaign for this. Depending upon how relevant and useful your ads are to resolve the related query, the bid amount and a few other factors the positioning of your Ads will be decided.

2. Featured Snippet

Featured Snippet extracts answers from the Page which answers the query in the most specific way. They usually have a very high Click Through Rate (CTR). In order to appear on them, your page should be ranking in the top position and should answer the query in the best way in comparison to others

A recent update regarding Featured Snippet suggested that the page that is featuring in the Snippet will not show in the organic results below.

3. Image Pack

These are special results that appear when Google thinks that a visual representation of the query will be more helpful for the user. In order to appear on these results follow these best practices for Image Optimization ( We will be covering Image Optimization in Technical SEO part of the course) 

  • Descriptive File Name
  • Descriptive Alt Text
  • Human-readable URL
  • Optimized Image Size
  • Title Attribute Included
Make sure you add these to all the images that you upload on your website and blog.

4. In-Depth Articles

These articles usually appear within or on the right-hand side of the SERP. These are different from the organic results and have their own ranking mechanism. 

Some of the parameters that are required to feature in these results are -
  • Long-form content (More than 2000 words)
  • Schema Article Markup
  • Authorship Markup
  • Unique, high-quality writing 
These are generally won by large authoritative publishers.

5. Knowledge Cards

Google gathers semantic data from human-edited sources, Google index, and private data partnerships to get access to this data. This feature is out of reach for almost all websites and blogs i.e. it is impossible to get a spot on this feature.

But nonetheless, you can study which keywords affect these knowledge cards and accordingly target those keywords for getting a spot on organic results that appear below this card. You can also get good insights into how Google stores data from around the world by studying these.

6. Knowledge Panel

Knowledge Panels appear on the right side of the SERP. These too are out of reach for almost all websites as this data is derived from partner websites.

You can study which Keywords are affected by Knowledge Panels as knowing this can help you prioritize some of your keywords

7. Local Pack

These are derived based on the location of the device and related keywords of research. One of the ways to get your business to appear here is to list it in Google My Business Listing. But, there is a lot more about how to achieve these positions. It is a whole new subject in itself called Local SEO (Will be launching a course on Digital Marketing For Small Business very soon and will be covering Local SEO in it)

8. News Box

Time-sensitive and newsworthy topics may generate a block of results from Google News. These are further divided according to national and local news boxes. 

In case you want to feature on these websites, you can check the process here - Setup Publication On Google News. It is a very transparent process and if you host a news blog then there are high chances to get featured in these

9. Related Questions

I'm sure you might have come across these a lot. In order to get a spot on these, you have to rank organically on the first page of results. Secondly, you need to have content that effectively targets the question.

These usually expand into Featured Snippets, usually the pages which win the Featured Snippets spot rank here.

But, in case you are not able to achieve a spot, you can use these questions as effective long term keywords and build your content around it.

10. Shopping Results & Reviews

Shopping results like Adwords are paid placements. When you set up Shoppings ads on Google Ads, this is how your ad will feature. For those who are not running an advertisement, this feature will help you identify what products are being sold for your target keywords.

Google’s rules on which results are eligible for review stars are not published and differ by industry and vertical. At the very least, schema markup for reviews must exist on the page. You can refer to this Google Developer Guide in case you want to learn more

11. Site Links

When someone searches for an exact domain or brand, Google may show up to 10 site links related to that page. These help to increase the CTR and also helps users to directly go on the desired page quickly.

In order to make your website feature like this, you need to take care of the following -

  • Your website should be getting a good amount of Traffic
  • Schema Markup should be implemented on your website
  • URL attribute of your website should be correct ( Some examples include http:// instead of https:// or missing WWW before a domain name) - Use Google's Structured Data Testing Tool To check your URL
  • Disabled Site Links Search Box ( Check if you  don't have this in your HTML - <meta name="google" content="nositelinkssearchbox" /> . Kindly remove it, in case you have it)

12. Videos & Tweets

These are not Organic results as such but Google has started including these in search results to enhance the brand relevancy. 

Google also populates video snippets from Youtube for certain keywords where it feels that it will be more relevant to the users.

Remember, each feature introduced has a primary objective to enhance user experience and help them in the best way possible. Make this your primary Goal too and you will scale on Organic results much faster.

Hope you got a basic understanding of many SERP features. 

Kindly share and let me know your views in the comments section.

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