What Are SERP Features? Know These 16 Types

SERP features enhance searchers' experience. From People Also Ask to Featured Snippets, here are 16 SERP features worth knowing in 2024.

May 14, 2024
Written by
Lizzie Davey
Reviewed by
Nate Matherson

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SERP features are the listings or sections on a search engine results page (SERP) that don’t conform to the traditional organic result format. They enhance the search experience by providing additional information in the format Google deems most relevant. For example, if you search for “barbers near me,” you’re probably looking for information like addresses and opening times.

And if you search for “Tom Hardy,” you probably want to see some basic facts about him, some photos of him, or a list of his recent movie roles.

The most common SERP features include featured snippets, People Also Ask (PAA) sections, knowledge panels, and related searches. The term can also refer to rich snippets, which are organic listings with added information, such as star ratings and product prices.

16 Types of SERP Features to Know — with Examples

There are more than 20 different SERP features, and some are more niche than others — like features related to searches for flights, jobs, and hotels. In this article, we’ve compiled the most common SERP features, complete with real examples and information on how often they appear in the search results.

1. Featured Snippets

Featured snippets appear at the top of SERPs and aim to provide a comprehensive answer to a search query. It’s a highly coveted spot because it takes up more SERP real estate and usually attracts more clicks than other results (35.1% of the total click share on average, according to one study).

At the time of this writing, featured snippets appeared in 5.84% of Google searches. It’s not completely clear how Google chooses featured snippets, but they seem most common for queries that include a question or start with the word “how.” According to Google itself, the search engine uses “automated systems” to determine whether a page will make a good featured snippet for a specific search request.

This example pulls an article’s headers into a featured snippet that takes the form of a numbered list.

2. People Also Ask Sections

A PAA section lists a series of commonly asked questions related to the original search query. Users can click on the arrows to see the answers to each question, and they can expand the section to learn more about the topic. Site owners can increase their chances of getting a PAA slot by using questions as page headers (H3s) and answering questions related to the main keyword or topic.

For example, the search query “How Google chooses People Also Asked” returns several questions about the selection process and how site owners can get featured.

At the time of this writing, a PAA section was appearing on 50.62% of SERPs, according to Semrush.  

3. Discussions and Forums

Google’s Helpful Content update has shaken up SERPs to deliver more authentic, genuine content that hasn’t been written to rank. As a result, we’re seeing far more discussion and forum posts from sites like Reddit and Quora popping up at the top of SERPs.

4. Sitelinks

Sitelinks are site-specific links that help searchers navigate quickly to certain pages on a website. They show up underneath the page title in a menu format and vary depending on the search query a user entered. For example, if you search for “Capital One,” Google shows quick links to the sign-in page, the contact page, and the support page.  

Aside from creating an easier journey for searchers, sitelinks take up more real estate on SERPs, which can have the knock-on effect of more clicks. The easiest way to secure a sitelinks feature is to have a logical site structure.

Here’s what Google says: “Create a logical site structure that is easy for users to navigate, and make sure you link to your important pages from other relevant pages.” At the time of this writing, sitelinks appeared for 63.4% of searches, according to Semrush.

5. Reviews

Review snippets are a type of rich snippet. They show a star rating and the number of reviews your product, site, or service has received — information that is pulled from the structured data on your website. Reviews tend to attract attention on SERPs and establish trust and credibility.

At the time of this writing, reviews appeared on 56.02% of SERPs, according to Semrush.

6. Images and Image Packs

If Google thinks a visual response is more appropriate for a search query, it’ll serve a block or “pack” of relevant images among the organic search results. Users are taken to the Images search tab when they click on an image result and can only get to the associated URL from there.

There’s no way to increase your chances of an image displaying on SERPs. Google’s John Mueller explains, “Our algorithms decide that showing some images or the snippet images would help users decide which result to click on. It’s not based on anything specific that you can control.”

At the time of this writing, image packs showed up for 55.62% of searches, according to Semrush.

7. Videos and Video Carousels

Video and video carousel snippets often link to YouTube, Vimeo, or a webpage with an embedded video. Google tends to feature video snippets if searchers commonly click on video links for a specific search query. This tells Google that people prefer to watch a video about this than to read a blog post or an article.

At the time of this writing, video snippets showed up on 34.93% of SERPss, according to Semrush.

8. Local Packs

Local packs are reserved for local services. For example, if you search for a service or shop near you, like a bakery or a barber, Google will serve results in the vicinity, along with their opening times, addresses, and often their star ratings. This is nearly a certainty if you include a locator, like a city or area, in your search.

A local pack usually includes a map with locations and pins, a star rating for each listed location, and as many as three search results depending on how many of that type of service or shop is in that area.

Companies can pay to get listed in a local pack, but Google says you can increase your chances of showing up by filling out a Google Business Profile and collecting positive customer reviews.

At the time of this writing, local packs showed up on 19.51% of SERPs, according to Semrush.

9. Related Searches

Scroll to the bottom of a SERP, and you’ll likely see a section titled “Related searches.” These are searches similar to yours. The section prompts other search queries and aims to provide more, relevant results.

Related searches are the most common type of snippet and show up on 92.4% of SERPs, according to Semrush.

10. Knowledge Panels

Knowledge panels give searchers an at-a-glance overview of people, places, businesses, or events. You’ll often see this panel in the top right corner of a SERP, where it will spotlight key relevant information about a search query. It’s particularly common with searches for people, places, and organizations, providing a quick insight into a person’s age and marital status, a country’s population and official languages, or the location of a company’s headquarters.

Google uses the Knowledge Graph to populate a knowledge panel with information. It collects data from various sources, including the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia.

At the time of this writing, knowledge panels appeared for 17.4% of searches, according to Semrush.

11. Top Stories

Top Stories sections often feature the latest news headlines about a topic. They’re displayed in a carousel format and include the date published, headline, and the publisher.

According to Google, “technology analyzes news across the web to determine the top stories that will show up for everyone with the same language settings in a given country, based primarily on what publishers are writing about.”

Top Stories sections aren’t particularly common on SERPs. At the time of this writing, they appeared only for 2.26% of searches, according to Semrush.

12. Popular Products

If Google thinks a searcher is looking for a product, it’ll serve them a Popular Products snippet. This is a carousel of relevant products, including product prices, star ratings, delivery information, and images. When a searcher clicks on a listing, they’re taken to a product panel that shares more details about the product. They can then click through to the website or product page from there.

You can increase your chances of showing up in a popular product feature by adding structured data to your website. Include a Schema markup that highlights the name of the product, its price, delivery information, size details, and star rating.

At the time of this writing, popular product snippets appeared on 15.26% of SERPs, according to Semrush.

13. Recipes

When a searcher’s query suggests that they’re looking for a recipe, Google will compile a carousel of relevant recipes. These feature spots include cooking times, star ratings, and short ingredient lists. When a searcher clicks on a recipe, they’re taken to the relevant webpage.

Google says you can help users find your recipe with structured data. Adding details like cooking times, ingredients, and reviews helps Google understand your recipe and serve it to relevant users.

Recipes are a particularly niche search feature. At the time of this writing, they appeared for only 1.9% of searches, according to Semrush

14. Author

Author features display information about an author, including their name, website, images, social media channels, and top articles. Since the Helpful Content update, Google has placed more importance on authorship. It wants to deliver search results that are relevant and that have also been written by seasoned pros and industry experts (hence the new focus on E-E-A-T content—that is, content that demonstrates experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness).

Even if an author doesn’t have a Wikipedia page or other data that the Knowledge Graph can pick up, they can still get an author feature. Google uses machine learning to recognize entities from unstructured content, so it can pull together a library of content written by the same person.

Nate Matherson’s Author feature includes three images, his website, his LinkedIn profile, and a LinkedIn post.

15. X (Twitter) and X Carousels

X (formerly Twitter) partnered with Google in 2015. As a result, the search engine began indexing tweets on SERPs. This was particularly common for queries about pop culture, news, and media like films and books. Twitter carousels tend to favor the most recent or top trending tweets about a search term and can show up anywhere on the results page. They often don’t appear at the top of the page. Instead, they’ll show up after a handful of organic listings.

At the time of this writing, X features appeared for 0.37% of searches and X carousels (like the one above) appeared for 3.37% of searches.

16. Search Generative Experience (SGE)

This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to Google’s latest SERP experiment. SGE isn’t available to everyone yet, but it’s coming soon. It’s less of a SERP feature and more of a new way to search. Google aims to provide all the information users need on one page, combining FAQs, snippet features, links, videos, and other media in the results. The idea is that users won’t have to click through to multiple results to find answers to their queries.

In addition to serving the most relevant information, Google’s SGE will offer an interactive search experience. Users can ask qualifying questions or conversational follow-ups to understand a topic faster. Research suggests that about 84% of Google searches will be impacted by SGE.


How to Track SERP Features

Unfortunately, Google Search Console (GSC) doesn’t provide a lot of data for tracking SERP features. However, there are some roundabout ways of tracking specific features, like PAA.

This is what Mueller says about tracking PAA in GSC:

“Whenever there’s a URL shown in the search results, we do try to show that in Search Console. So with the People Also Ask sections, I think if you expand it, then it shows a link to your site. That means whenever someone expands that People Also Ask section and sees the URL for your site, then that is counted as an impression. It doesn’t matter if you’re the first one in the People Also Ask, or if people click 15 different ones, and then suddenly yours shows up. That would be counted as an impression.”

Alternatively, you can use a dedicated tool like Semrush or Ahrefs to track SERP features for your website and your competitors. For example, Semrush’s Position Tracking Tool gives you an overview of whether or not pages on your website display as SERP features.

Final Thoughts

SERP features are Google’s way of delivering the most relevant information to searchers. But they can also be hugely beneficial to website owners. Landing a SERP feature, whether it’s an answer in a PAA section, a listing in a local pack, or a highly coveted featured snippet, can help you stand out on SERPs and attract more clicks.

The most important thing to remember is that the SERP feature has to match the search intent. If a searcher shows that they’re looking to make a purchase, Google will serve popular products. If someone is clearly searching for a recipe, Google will give them a bunch of recipes. Aside from creating the best content possible, there are no hard and fast rules for securing a SERP feature.

Google uses machine learning to predict what type of content users expect to see on SERPs, and it’ll use interactions over time to assess whether it’s still delivering the right content for each query.

We might see this change as SGE comes into play, but this is just another way for Google to create targeted search experiences for each user. Increase your chances of showing up by incorporating structured data, keeping a clean site navigation, and answering common questions as clearly and concisely as possible.

Lizzie Davey

Lizzie is a freelance writer for B2B e-commerce and SaaS brands. Over the past ten years, she's written millions of words that have turned readers into customers and loyal fans. When she's not typing away at her desk in Brighton, she's creating resources for freelancers, practicing aerial silks, or hopping on a plane. Lizzie has worked with several fantastic content marketing teams, including those at Zapier, Shopify, and Klaviyo.

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