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When you enter a search query into Google, the answers can be delivered to you in a wide array of formats from related questions, pictures and video, to reviews and even advertisements (that look strikingly similar to search results). The search results page was not always so robust and as Google continued to roll out new features, the advertising world took notice.

These new features were  cause for concern among marketers for two reasons. First being that many of these features caused organic results to be pushed further down on the search results page. Second, since more queries are being answered on the results page itself, fewer searchers are clicking on the organic results resulting in decreasing click-through-rates, even for pages that had historically ranked highly.

According to Google, more than 50% of searches are zero-click searches, meaning that more than 100 billion searches per month end without any click. This is because with such a wide selection of results within the results page users can get the answers that they need without clicking on a result.

What is a SERP Feature?

A SERP feature is any result on a Google Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that is not a traditional organic result. In other words, SERP features are all the “extras” that can be found among the web page listings. The most common SERP Features are:

  • Rich Snippets: additional information added to an existing result
  • Paid Results that are bought by bidding on keywords
  • Universal Results that appear in addition to organic results
  • Knowledge Graph data which appears as panels or boxes

Take a look below for a breakdown of each feature.

Rich Snippets

Rich Snippets are normal Google search results with additional data displayed. This extra data is usually pulled from Structured Data found in a page’s HTML. Common Rich Snippet types include reviews, recipes and events.

Featured Snippets impact SEO in two ways:

1.) Featured Snippets are an opportunity to get more clicks from the organic search results without higher Google rankings.

2.) The Featured Snippet box is commonly referred to as “Position #0” because it appears above the traditional #1 spot.

Paid Results

Included among the top organic results, Paid results look similar to organic listings, however ads will include a label at the top to specify that the result is a paid placement.

Universal Results

Universal Search is group of results that contain images, videos, local businesses, or rich snippets. Essentially, Universal Search is the culmination of results from every segment that Google offers including images, shopping, news, videos, and more.

Knowledge Graph

According to Google, The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. The Knowledge graph is particularly useful because they provide connections and additional information that the searcher may not have considered initially.

What Does This Mean for You?

The evolution of the search engine results page has led to the majority of search queries being answered without a user clicking on a link. This evolution caused the marketing world to begin considering how to better utilize the tools offered by Google.

If you are not optimizing your webpages to answer questions that your users might have, you will be behind your competition. Understanding how to leverage your website content to be useful to your target audience will be essential as the SERP continues to evolve. Need help optimizing your web content? Contact Maximum Design to begin your consultation!