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What is a SERP Feature?

In the most basic terms, a SERP feature is any result on a Google Search Engine Results Page, which differs from a traditional organic result.

Every SERP is completely unique and tailored to the users specific search query. Google is constantly evolving to meet the ever demanding needs of users and customising their search results to not just one single result, but to a bountiful SERP which offer answers, images, reviews and information way beyond that search term.

As we already know, digital moves quickly and every single day we are met with new technologies and new research which interrupts our existing knowledge. That’s why SERPs are constantly in a state of flux and Google and other search engines are constantly testing the best ways to humanise the online experience.

 

The Evolution of SERP Features

In the early days of 2009, every result on Google’s SERP looked the same; blue title link, introductory text, followed by the URL in green. It does the job, but isn’t exactly the most exciting of results and it can be difficult to differentiate the best answer to your query at a quick glance.

Fast forward to 2017 and there are sixteen (and growing) different SERP features which can appear for any given search term. Not only do you have the opportunity to rank in the traditional organic search results, you also have the additional opportunity to appear in one of Google’s SERP features which have transformed the search marketing landscape.

 

My Favourite SERP Feature

There are lots of SERP features and each and every one of them is important in satisfying user intent, but I do have a favourite. I have fangirled over the featured snippet before, however I do think it deserves another mention.

Imagine you are out shopping for a new memory foam mattress and you want to find out how long they should last, after all it is a big investment. You tap Steve the salesman on the shoulder and he starts harping on about the benefits of a memory foam mattress and why they are so beneficial for your overall health and wellbeing. Great, but that’s not what you asked. You feel frustrated that he hasn’t listened properly to your question and you walk out of the shop empty handed.

People are not always in buying mode and do not always want to be sold to so it’s important that you don’t make the same mistake online. Users are often on a quest for as much information as possible about the product or service they could potentially invest in. So as content marketers, we should be tailoring our content to satisfy specific user intent. If Steve offered you a straightforward answer to your question, you would have felt reassured that he knew his stuff and you would have found out memory foam mattresses are actually a great investment – potentially leading to that all important sale.

The featured snippet offers the most relevant answer to your query as Google trawls through its index to extract the best slice of content from blog posts, guides or website pages. This extra special class of organic result is put into a pretty little frame so your eye is immediately drawn to the result. Getting your content into a featured snippet is tough, there’s a lot of competing content out there online and your page already needs to rank on the first page organically. However, featured snippets have higher CTRs than other organic results and bring in a much larger stream of relevant traffic into your website or blog so it is definitely worth the effort.

Tracking and utilising SERP features are just one of the many ways we step up to the content plate, delivering innovative and personalised content which speaks to the right people and provides the right answer to their queries. Find out more about our content marketing expertise and see your pages rise up the ranks.

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