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What does SERP mean?

Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) are the results pages that show up in search engines after a user enters an online query. The architecture of a SERP can be varied based on the searchers choice of terminology, phrasing and intention. However, in basic terms, a SERP is list of results in response to a searchers enquiry, often sitting alongside a number of paid advertisements.  

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 diverse SERP which offers answers, images, reviews and information way beyond that initial 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. Nowadays, users have come to expect a lot more from search engines, they want the most relevant answers quickly in the least amount of clicks it takes to get there.

Fast forward ten years and there are sixteen 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.

A Closer Look at the Featured Snippet

There are lots of SERP features and each and every one of them is important in satisfying user intent, however there is one snippet that does have a huge impact on visibility and traffic. We have fangirled over the featured snippet before but we think it definitely deserves another mention.

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. 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.

As businesses, we should be offering solutions to peoples problems, instilling trust in the brand and guiding the customer seamlessly along the path to conversion.

Take this featured snippet for example:

Let’s attach a story to this search and apply some context as to why this snippet is such a great tool for converting potential customers:

A business owner may be feeling overwhelmed and increasingly frustrated by the minimal return on investment they are seeing from their Google Shopping campaigns. Not ready to speak to someone just yet and admit defeat, they take to Google to try and work out what’s going wrong.

After a basic ‘help me’ search consisting of “google shopping problems”, our featured snippet pops up listing the common problems many businesses face. Aha! They spot “disapproved products” at the top of that snippet list and think “yes… I have been getting a lot notifications lately on disapproved products”.

…We’ve got their attention.

As the snippet hints that the full article also shows readers how to improve their Google Shopping campaigns, they may also have the solution. So the business owner clicks through to the blog post.

After reading through the blog post and discovering actionable insights that will help them to improve their campaigns, they go away and make their changes.

Oh no we’ve lost them haven’t we? Well not quite…

Because we’ve made a good impression. When something else goes wrong in the future with their campaigns, they no longer have the resource to continue management of the campaigns in house or they are looking to switch agency, it’s us that they think of first.

And there’s the conversion.

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.

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 monitor and interrogate the content strategies we outline for our clients. Delivering informative and personalised content which speaks to the right people and provides the right answer to their queries is what will ultimately help to convert potential customers. Find out more about our content marketing expertise and see how your pages can rise up the ranks too.