What is Google’s mission? Google aims at arranging the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful.
This search engine giant has become intelligent in terms of understanding what users search for and delivers information that gives accurate solutions to their queries. Also, it presents the information in several ways that are very helpful by including the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features that enhance the access to the information users require.
Since Google’s SERPs are advanced, they sort and group information in a highly effective way possible. In case, you want your website to show up in the search results, it is better to know about the different kinds of features that can appear on a Google SERP comprising of local results, organic results, and search results from paid ads.
In this article, you will learn about the three SERP features including their appearance, location and reason to appear.
There are lots of valuable assets on a Google SERP that will help to show up your site, and you get your mark into those sections!
Let’s get started!
How Does Google Search Work?
Have you ever faced a question about how Google is so good at answering your questions?
The best answer is because we have asked a big stack of them. Also, we keep on adding to this massive database of search information and due to this Google does two things:
1. It keeps on improving its ability to know what users are searching for.
2. It displays results that best satisfy user searches.
It’s not now but from its start, Google has continued to collect and process users’ search queries for improving the effectiveness of its search engine. Google can refine its algorithm for accurately aligning users’ search queries with their purpose.
Basically, the searcher’s purpose is what matters.
What users search for isn’t tracked by Google but it collects information about your actions taken on the search results.
Imagine that it’s 1998 and month of September when Google was first launched. At that time if users searched for “gir national park”, along with the results for the place in Gujarat, you might have gotten results related to other hot springs. But as time passed, millions of users searched for “gir national park” and majority of them visited the link for the Gujarat landmark. This is what helped Google’s algorithm to “learn” what several people actually want when they type in “gir national park”.
Google has developed the ability to offer accurate results for practically any search that users can think of by just sorting search data and including it into the search engine’s logic.
Breaking Google’s SERP
The different categories of results on a SERP are arranged as per a strict order. The sequence is, first position: ad results appear first, second position: local results, third position: organic results.
But if it is a small business with a tight budget then the order should be followed in reverse form. They should focus on ways that will increase their company’s visibility in organic and local search results prior to investing in paid results.
There is one thing that will take you near the top of a SERP without paying for it. Want to know what is it? It’s explained below.
Even the savvy web users many times ignore the ads at the top of a SERP. They instantly scroll down to view the top-ranked local and organic results. They understand that companies have to opt their high placement in organic results, while anyone can purchase an ad.
Therefore, organic and local search results are covered first by this section and then ad search results are addressed.
Until now this seems to be quite straightforward, and it is, but it is also important to discuss the Knowledge Graph.
For specific types of searches, Google can return a collection of basic facts that reveal the information at the highest overview level. These are called as the Knowledge Graph results.
Basically, the Knowledge Graph is the knowledge base that is used by Google to provide the most accurate search results about general topics. With the use of keywords that you enter, the search engine finds what you’re looking for, collects everything in the knowledge base related to that topic, and then displays the information in an infobox located next to or above the other search results.
The first appearance of infoboxes in Google search results was seen in 2012 and the company calls them knowledge panels. The sources of information include high-authority websites like Wikipedia, CIA World Factbook, and others.
For business owners who try hard on making it to the top of their SERP, it’s important to manage expectations. Even though you have published a much in-depth content for some queries, Google will check for a more helpful public domain information and return it in the knowledge panel.
That’s all can be said about Google’s Knowledge Graph. Let’s dive into the highly well-trafficked section of a SERP, the organic search results section!
Organic Search Results
When you search for a given query, Google offers organic search results based on which are the most relevant depending the search. Then Google displays some results at the top in the SERP as compared to others by using its advanced search engine algorithm. In this ranking, there are several factors.
The best content earns a prominent spot in organic results and based on the way users ask the question, Google has found some effective ways to highlight the best answer.
This section will divide, some of the most eye-catching features in the organic results part of a SERP.
When you see search results highlighted in Google’s organic results, those are the featured snippets. They don’t appear above the ads but surely appear before the other SERP features, so if your site gets listed in a featured snippet, you will gain lot of views.
A featured snippet basically offers only the information the user searches for. They many times appear when the search query is in the form of a moderately specific question as below:
Google will include a featured snippet linking to a particular site, if the site has high authority and has directly asked the question in its content.
Image and Video Results
You will find several ways for images and videos to appear in a SERP. For instance, if you search for “brand colors for technology”, the results are rich in images.
You can see that one company’s website has the authority and gained the ranking power to completely take the place of top half of the SERP. Their image is seen on a featured snippet and also they have the first organic link in the list and also the Images section contains 4-5 images of their website only.
So, take a note of this that the media in the Images section of the SERP links to Google Images and not the page where the images are published.
Similar to image results, video results will also show up in SERPS for many types of searches. For example, if you search for “how to design a logo,” Google offers a helpful collection of videos that answer your question.
It’s a common sense that the hardware retailers and paint companies know how use SEO effectively for their brand and so, they get displayed in featured snippet. But, you can see that Google also returns three videos from sources that have proven to have a great answer the posed question.
What would be the result after adding the word “video” to the query?
If it’s a featured video, it can get a large and famous place at the top of the SERP. You see thumbnail images too but they are the part of the other listings. The videos that you see in a SERP are available on YouTube as Google owns
YouTube and reaps the benefits of it while offering you with an ideal search result.
The images and videos have a positive impact on users (instead of plain text), as the visual media related to your content appears in the SERP to attract visitors to your website.
Local Search Results
Local results appear between ads and the organic results and are unique accounting for the searcher’s location. The search engine aims at offering the most beneficial response to your query by using your location data in Google Maps and Google Reviews for giving highly relevant results.
Your Local Pack
Suppose you search for a query such as “anything near me,” you will get all the local search results. Just including the location that you are interested in also works. For instance if you search for “plumbing services near manhatten”, you will get a list of relevant services in that city.
The result that will get displayed is called as the local pack, a specialized SERP feature. You will get to see Google Maps results, local business’s phone numbers, Google Reviews and operation hours along with links to the business’ websites.
When you click on the map, you navigate to Google Maps where there are more relevant results displayed.
If there are Google reviews of any company, the local search results part of a SERP will also display their star rating. For example, if you search for “logo designers near ojhar nashik”, you’ll find that only some businesses in that niche have a Google review as part of their listing.
Since Google reviews are linked to your Google My Business profile, so you should stay on the top of it and take all the steps required to earn great reviews.
There are several users that get attracted to the companies with high rating. So, if your business is the only one with Google reviews it can help in gaining the attention and increase your website traffic.
When your Google My Business profile comes into the picture, it is one of the key parts of getting ranked high in local search results.
Google offers Google My Business (GMB) to business owners and so they can manage what is displayed in SERPs while users search for their business name. GMB comes free and helps businesses to control their online presence. Companies can identify a category for mentioned the product and service details.
Make sure your GMB information is correct as it will help Google to include your listing in search results when people are finding a business similar to yours.
Advertising Search Results
You will find advertising results appear above both local and organic results, so they help gain lot of attention to your business. Google Ads which allows advertising to target audiences in number of ways, controls them.
Along with displaying paid ad results at the top of a SERP, Google will include them at the bottom and on the right-hand side of the page too.
The simplest form of ads, text ads can be made in Google Ads. These ads commonly appear in SERPs, placed in very noticeable locations on the page, and mentioning a tiny “Ad” tag for keeping transparency.
There are several companies that take the benefit of text ads, even the bigger ones such as Dell.
For getting the desired position at the top of the page, text ads can be a great way without need to do all the SEO work required to earn a high organic ranking.
If users search with high commercial intent, like “buy JBL speakers,” for example, will offer a SERP containing an ad carousel at the top of the page.
When users know what they want to buy and are finding a place to buy it, these ads will require attention, based on their important position in the SERP.
These ads will offer a great overview for the searcher, and if a user clicks “View all,” he will be directed to the Google Shopping SERP with more choices.
Asserting Your Spot in High-Visibility SERP Features
If you want your link to appear in one of the striking SERP features that we discussed earlier, you will get to know here.
As per a recent study, the types of search queries that will get included into a featured snippet include health, DIY processes and financial topics. Yet, a site with any niche can earn a featured snippet with some efforts.
If sites are already ranking in the top ten results then they have a better chance of getting a featured snippet. When you get featured in SERP, your rankings improve too. Keeping a sharp focus on SEO is important when it comes to website performance.
Video and Image Results
You will find image thumbnails commonly in the results for queries related to item’s appearance. They are many times included in a commercial product listing along with other searches wherein the user is expecting visual information.
For helping Google to use your images in SERPs, ensure that you add those images into your content with correct, focused titles related to your keywords and with alt tags that use those keywords again for explaining the image.
In terms of video results, you’re going to get highlighted, if the user includes the word “video” in their search terms.
It is very easy for the video thumbnails to get included with your listing. They will get displayed when a video’s title, tags, and description satisfy the search, whether the searcher is clearly looking for videos or not.
It is possible for your business to appear in the local pack only if you’ve listed it with Google. It is important to keep your Google My Business information up to date because Google uses it to find if your website is relevant for a given search.
You don’t get the confirmation of getting listed in local packs, even with a great GMB listing. Three factors are used by Google to decide which sites should be included in a local pack: relevance, distance, and prominence.
Relevancy involves finding the businesses that satisfy the search best. When it comes to distance, how close is your business to the searched location, matters. While prominence is defined depending on things such as the number and quality of reviews and backlinks you get.
You will see Google Reviews in your local pack after you have earn at least one. It is important to have high rating, as people use those ratings to judge the quality of a company. This is possible only when your customers are happy and so they’ll have good things to say about your business.
It’s like a cherry on the top of the cake when you get included in the ad results section of a SERP but only when you’re willing to pay for the ad. Google just needs to find if your ad satisfied the search intent. Searches wherein people are actively trying to buy a product are expected to return ads on the SERP.
While buying ads, you will bid to set the price per click with your bid related to specific keywords. You will be in the race where other businesses are bidding the same keywords and so the cost could be high if you are targeting very high-value keywords.
Stand-Out in the SERP
Google always helps people to search information. Their algorithm has become so good that it can match the search terms with valid results. Millions of people daily use Google to search for their queries and Google never fails to nail it.
Google now concentrates on the way the search results are presented instead of what information is being provided.
So, take the benefit of Google’s SERP to have more eyes on your listing and improving traffic to your site. But don’t go for SERP features that are wrong for your business. Understand the way people typically search for you online and then use the SERP feature that is right for your niche and audience.
Believe me, if you take the advantage of Google SERP no one will stop you from shining bright.