SEO Process

12 Most Popular SERP Features to Win Right Now

Nick Eubanks
Last Updated: Jun. 28, 2024
SERP Features

Google’s search engine result pages (SERPs) have come a long way from where they were 10 years ago.

What was once a simple list of 10 blue links — the standard for all search queries — is today a dynamic SERP page packed with various features to answer users’ questions and search intent immediately. 

These SERP features have significantly enhanced user experience on Google. However, their presence has also challenged website owners to find alternative ways of growing organic traffic. 

In this article, I’ll introduce you to the most commonly used SERP features. I’ll also explain how you can boost your organic traffic by optimizing for Google search engine result features. 

What Are the Different Types of SERP Features? 

Although there are currently 35 different types of SERP features on Google, I recommend optimizing for the most common ones.

You’ll likely come across any of these features while using Google search:

  1. Featured Snippets
  2. Image Packs
  3. Local Packs
  4. People Also Ask
  5. Knowledge Panel
  6. Sitelinks
  7. Top Stories
  8. Rich Snippets
  9. Shopping Results
  10. Video Carousels 
  11. Related Searches 
  12. Top and Bottom Ads
  13. Bonus: Other Types

Featured snippets are concise summaries that appear directly above the organic search results on Google. They are often drawn from the content of top-ranking web pages and referred to as “position zero” results. An SEO question about featured snippets might come up during a job interview.

You’ve probably seen definition boxes, tables, and ordered lists on top of Google organic search results. These are a few featured snippets that provide users with quick and direct answers to their questions. They’re different from AI Overviews.

serp featured snippet

Studies suggest that featured snippets steal up to 8.6% of clicks from the top-ranking pages.

If your web page appears in featured snippets, you’ll likely notice a boost in organic click-through rate. However, most top-ranking websites see a drop in organic traffic for search queries containing featured snippets.

2. Image Packs

Image packs showcase a bunch of images related to your search query.

Google uses a variety of factors to determine which images to display in image packs. Some include the image’s relevance to your search query, the quality of images, and the authority of a website where a particular image is hosted. That’s why image SEO is essential! 

I recommend optimizing your website visuals if you want them to get featured in the image packs. It includes using descriptive filenames, alt tags, and image descriptions to help search engines understand the content of your images.

Have you noticed YouTube videos in the image pack section below? That’s Google experimenting with the image pack. As I said, we will likely see altered search results and new SERP features in the future. 

serp image packs

3. Local Packs

Whenever you search for shops or restaurants nearby, Google displays local packs with businesses relevant to your query. 

These packs include a map, business names, ratings, and quick links for directions or websites.

Featuring your business in the local pack is an excellent way to increase your brand awareness among potential customers.

Besides organic traffic, local packs can lead to more foot traffic to your business, as users may visit your business after seeing it online.

There are a few things you can do to improve your SEO and get featured in local packs:

  • Claim and verify your Google My Business profile
  • Encourage your customers to leave positive reviews
  • Use relevant local keywords in your website’s content and meta tags
  • Create location-specific landing pages
  • Submit your business to local business directories that are relevant to your industry 
serp local packs

4. People Also Ask

The People Also Ask (PAA) feature displays related questions and answers when you search for a particular term. 

If you expand an answer, Google will reveal additional information on the same topic and trigger new related questions. I assume Google does it intentionally to keep you engaged and answer all your questions immediately.

These questions and answers are usually pulled from Google’s knowledge graph and top-ranking web pages. If your website ranks on the first Google search result page but doesn’t show up in the “People Also Ask” section, here’s what you can do:

  • Use headings, subheadings, and bullet points to make your content easy to scan
  • Optimize relevant keywords on a web page
  • Answer the most popular users’ questions related to your target keyword 
serp people also ask

Semrush’s study on PAA boxes discovered that search queries starting with “why,” “what,” “where,” “who,” and “when” trigger PAA boxes 86% of the time. That’s a very high probability. Therefore, ensure your top-ranking pages are structured accordingly and answer users’ popular questions. 

If you’re interested in how to research popular questions and keywords, check out this TTT course on “Finding Untapped Keyword Opportunities.” 

Words tirggering PPA and FS results

5. Knowledge Panels

The knowledge panel appears to the right of search results on the desktop and at the top of mobile SERPs. 

It summarizes critical information about people, places, and companies, often sourced from trusted databases like Wikipedia.

While Google actively generates and updates knowledge panels, you can also contribute to the accuracy and completeness of the knowledge panels. 

For example, you can claim and verify your Google My Business profile. It will ensure accurate information is displayed in knowledge panels.

Furthermore, you can use Google Search Console to submit structured data markup to Google. It will enhance the information displayed in knowledge panels.

serp knowledge panels

Sitelinks are additional links that appear below a website’s organic search result. 

These links provide direct navigation to specific pages on your website. In addition, they also help users quickly find the information they need. 

Sitelinks can make an organic search result more visually appealing and informative, leading to an increased CTR (which is nice to note on your SEO report). It can be particularly beneficial for websites that compete for clicks in highly competitive organic search results.

Google can display two types of sitelinks for your website:

The first type appears below the main web page in organic search results and usually displays menu links. 

search site links

You may have also stumbled upon the following sitelinks, which usually take you to popular website categories or pages. 

search site links

Google does not disclose the algorithm for determining which websites get sitelinks. However, I know several factors that can increase the likelihood of your website getting sitelinks. 

As you’ll read in any SEO book, Google bots must understand your website’s structure and identify important pages easily. That’s why a clear and well-structured site architecture with a logical hierarchy of pages is essential for sitelinks.

Internal links can help Google identify essential pages that should be considered for sitelinks. I also recommend using relevant and descriptive anchor text for internal links. It’ll help Google better understand the context of linking pages. 

In addition, using structured data markup on your website can also provide extra context to Google bots.

7. Top Stories

Top stories feature trending news articles from various publishers related to users’ search queries. This section is dynamic and includes headlines, source information, and images.

As a website owner, you can’t control what Google will display in the top stories section. Based on my experience, Google’s algorithms consider various factors when selecting news articles for top stories. Some include relevance, trendiness, user engagement, and a website’s authority.

search top stories

8. Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the most popular SERP features, which you’ve probably seen many times in organic search results. 

Rich snippets are usually displayed as star ratings, price comparisons, recipe ingredients, or FAQs. 

As an SEO expert, I’ve optimized multiple search results for product reviews and star ratings. I believe search results with rich snippets are more visually appealing and informative and can help you improve your organic CTR.

Unlike other SERP features, you can optimize your content to display rich snippets in organic search results. 

First, decide on a type of rich snippet, depending on your content. For example, consider adding star ratings or price comparisons if you write software reviews. Google will display rich snippets for the top-ranking pages on your website in a few days after adding structured data markup. 

search rich snippets

9. Shopping Results 

If Google thinks you want to buy a particular product, it will display shopping results related to your search query in a carousel or grid format. These results feature images, prices, and reviews with links to e-commerce websites.

Shopping results let you browse and compare products from different online stores directly on the organic search results page without navigating to multiple websites. 

This SERP feature has higher conversion rates than traditional organic search results. That’s because users are more likely to buy when they can see and compare products side by side.

Shopping results are primarily driven by Google Ads and require merchants to bid on relevant keywords and product categories.

If you run an e-commerce store, I recommend implementing structured data markup to provide Google with additional information about your products. 

search shopping results

10. Video Carousels

Video carousels display horizontal or vertical video results related to a user’s search query. These videos are typically embedded from YouTube or other video hosting platforms. 

According to Semrush Sensor, Google only shows video carousels 9.59% of the time. That’s less often than regular videos, which show up in more than 23% of cases for top-ranking web pages. 

These days, Google frequently displays a vertical set of videos related to your search query. 

video carousels

Videos with high engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, and shares, are more likely to be featured among the top 10 search results. (YouTube keyword research can help ensure you’re making the right type of videos for your viewers). 

For example, I took this screenshot below, where the video snippet takes up the entire screen. If you want to learn how to draw roses, you’ll probably click on this search result.

video carousels

A list of related searches appears at the bottom of almost every search result page. Google analyzes your search behavior and online activity to determine what’s relevant for you at that particular moment. 

It’s the most commonly used SERP feature, according to Semrush Sensor, that Google displays for more than 93.49% of all search results. 

related searches

12. Top and Bottom Ads

Google historically has had two spots for featuring ads — the top and the bottom of the search engine result page. Unlike the organic SERP, this hasn’t changed for years. 

These paid placements are targeted and must be relevant to users’ search queries. 

You might have noticed that ads look very similar to organic search results. Google does it on purpose to encourage you to click on paid ads. However, it is obliged to reveal what search results are paid. Therefore, Google marks paid ads with a “Sponsored” label. 

WordStream suggests the top and bottom ads together steal roughly 3.17% of clicks. That’s not much compared to other SERP features, like featured snippets. 

top and bottom ads

13. Bonus: Other Types

Since Google continuously experiments with SERP elements, new features are occasionally added to organic search results. 

If you are active on X (formerly known as Twitter), Google will show Twitter cards for your branded searches. 

twitter cards

Have you tried googling books? Google will list relevant books, author names, and publication dates. 

book results

If you work in the hospitality and entertainment industry, I recommend optimizing your website for the hotel pack, events, or flight SERP features. Besides, use structured data markup on your website to help Google understand and display your content correctly.

Why Are SERP Features Important? 

According to Semrush Sensor, roughly one percent of search results don’t have SERP features. It means you’ll likely see different types of features whenever you search for anything on Google.

SERP features help users find answers to their questions fast and with less effort. Therefore, they support Google’s mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” 

However, I want to highlight a few more reasons why you should leverage search features. 

serp features

1. Improve Search Visibility

What do you notice first of all when using Google search? I assume you’ll see SERP features first because they often occupy much space on a search results page. 

Google intentionally designed SERP features to set them apart from ordinary search listings and draw users’ attention. It doesn’t help website owners since many users get answers immediately. 

However, remember that Google’s mission has never been to satisfy website owners. 

Google will likely continue altering search results to improve user experience. You’ll get less traffic if your website ranks in organic search results but doesn’t appear in SERP features. You can improve your website’s search visibility by winning Google SERP features.

Search visibility is an essential SEO metric that shows how well your website ranks for the target keywords. The higher the search visibility, the more visible your website is to potential customers.

Furthermore, improving search visibility can also help your website get a bigger share of search, which is your brand’s visibility in organic search results. 

2. Improve CTR

Most SERP features provide short answers to users’ search queries, which isn’t always enough to answer their questions. 

If users want more information, they’ll likely click on the link tied to the snippet – this click contributes to a higher click-through rate (CTR). 

I also found a study from 2023 that says that, on average, SERP features negatively impact CTR. 

However, the same research suggests that SERP features can benefit websites that rank lower in organic search results. Typically, users are less likely to click on 6–10 search results. But if these websites appear in a SERP feature, they’ll get more clicks. 

3. Boost Rankings 

While SERP features do not directly impact rankings, they can have an indirect positive effect on your website rankings. 

Here’s how it works:

A website frequently appearing in SERP features may experience a surge in user engagement and organic traffic. 

Google pays close attention to user experience signals, including CTR, session duration, scroll depth, and bounce rate, and uses this data to improve both search result rankings and user experience. 

If your website continuously sends positive signals to Google, it can boost your website rankings in organic search.

As you can see, many things are interconnected, and even minor changes can have a significant positive impact on your website performance. 

How to Find SERP Opportunities 

If your website has been indexed and ranked for a while, it likely shows up in SERP features for some keywords.

First, check what pages have SERP features and if you can improve their performance. 

I use the Semrush all-in-one SEO toolkit to track my website performance in organic search results. Check out my in-depth Semrush review if you want to learn more about the tool. Its position tracking report shows all the keywords your website ranks for in organic search, including the SERP features.

So, here’s what you can do. 

Review your money-making pages one by one to define what keywords they rank for, their positions in organic search results, and whether they appear in SERP features.

Semrush search features

If your top-ranking pages appear in SERP features, you are doing great. Keep it up!

However, if you still miss this opportunity, here’s what you can do to find SERP opportunities.

Navigate to the Keyword Magic Tool in Semrush and plug in your keyword. Semrush will show you the broad match variations of your keywords with the essential metrics, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, search intent, and SERP features. 

Semrush also shows what kind of SERP features your keyword can trigger. 

Imagine you want to target the “canvas art prints” keyword. Plug this keyword into the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool and hit “search.” Semrush will show you multiple variations of your long-tail keyword with SERP features you can optimize for. 

In our example, your web page can realistically appear in related searches, image packs, product reviews, and sitelinks. 

Semrush keyword magic tools serp features

Wondering How to Rank Higher On Google?

SERP features are just one way to get more website traffic from organic search results, and SEO is a complex topic, with multiple factors impacting your website performance.

If you want to improve your website rankings in organic search results but don’t know how, check out TTT Academy. It’s an extensive library of courses created by SEO pros who practice what they preach. 

TTT offers more than 200 hours of SEO content for beginners and experienced professionals looking to supercharge their skills. 

With 40 SEO experts on board, monthly Q&A sessions, and an exclusive Slack community, you’ll never go through SEO challenges alone. 

Learn more about joining TTT Academy today!