Need more customers on your website? You need to optimize for SERP features in 2020.
A SERP (search engine results page) is created by Google, and it’s a user’s query that triggers the page. A SERP feature is a unique set of results shown to answer a query. For example, Google will provide features such as featured snippets, podcasts, videos, and of course images. There’s also more SERP features, which we will cover in this post.
SERP features are used to enrich the results for a user. It was not too long ago when you had to click on a URL to discover what you were looking for. However, now, finding what you’re searching for has never been easier. This opens the door for you to gain more users to your site.
Within this post, you will have everything you need to know to get Google’s featured snippet and get more traffic.
The image features are compelling to draw the eyes of a searcher. This interest is a great way to get more traffic to your website (use images that are eye-catching). However, images don’t just randomly appear. An image must be optimized for any chance of getting displayed in the SERPS.
So, what is the best way to optimize an image?
Let’s take a look at some of the top tips to get your images in front of the eyes of a searcher:
- File name – this is a good way to optimize an image – and one that’s usually left out.. Use a hyphen to separate words, and avoid in stop words such as ‘etc’ and ‘of.’ An example, serps-feature-graph.jpg.
- Alt tag – Very important! Alt tags are used to describe an image (alt tags are played out loud by accessibility software). Never keyword stuff an alt tag – this is known as ‘black-hat’ SEO.
- Image size – Image sizes can either make-or-break a page. Big image sizes equal slow page load, which is terrible for SEO. If you can, use a JPEG image, they compress better than PNG. There’s plenty of free image minimizing tools on the web.
Video search feature simply offers a searcher a quick link to a video. The video will most likely be from YouTube. However, if a relevant video is used within your page (not a YouTube video), then you will also have a chance to feature in the SERPs. A unique feature, a searcher can watch the video without having to click through to a page, which is why you want your videos showing up in the SERPs!
By 2020, it’s predicted that around 1 billion videos per second will cross the internet. So there’s never been a better time to start a YouTube channel – and to optimize your videos for more traffic.
Here is a list of ways to optimize videos;
- Video transcript – This allows an audience and a bot to find your video easier. Not to be ignored!
- Title and description – Just like a blog post, a title and description act as anchors for search engines. Enrich them with keywords, but do not stuff them. Engaging content should be used with a mixture of your targeted keywords.
- Page content – Yes, excellent content must be used on-page. Using a video within a page of high-quality content will inevitably give it more chance of ranking in the SERPs.
Also known as the “maps pack”, the local pack is the best position a local business can rank for. Being shown in this 3-pack can sky-rocket a business’s web traffic. Furthermore, it’s local businesses that get displayed within the pack, such as; plumbers, joiners, hairdressers, restaurants, and other lots of other businesses.
Many searchers tend to ignore the rest of the results – as everything a searcher needs is displayed in the local pack;
- Customer reviews
- Opening times
- Phone numbers
A searcher can usually make up their mind of these credentials, which is why every local business should strive to get included within the pack. A local business must first register with Google My Business (GMB). Then, you can begin optimizing to be found in the top-3 local pack.
If you own a local business, let’s look at how to optimize for the map pack;
- Local citations – Having a consistent name, address and phone number (NAPs) on local directories will help with rankings. And, they will increase your website’s domain authority.
- Service area and hours – You should list every area you can serve. Also, include your business hours (these should match your citations).
- Reviews – Having reviews will massively help your map pack rankings. You should actively encourage your clients to leave feedback (if the review is a worthy 5-star).
The featured snippet (position 0) is one of the hottest properties right now. Which is why many SEO experts optimize for this.
The snippet is content pulled from a webpage and displayed in the SERPs – to accurately answer a searcher’s query. Furthermore, this can be in the form of a paragraph, table, video, or a list.
If your content is in the featured snippet, you will get traffic to your website. No Doubt.
There is no guarantee to land a featured snippet. However, there are a few things to optimize;
- Also ask questions – Check out what question searchers are asking, and the answers with them. This will give you an idea of what content is needed.
- Keyword research – Look at question style keywords, such as “how-to”. Then, you can create useful content in the answer to follow.
People also ask
The “people also ask” snippet is another interesting way to attract clicks to your website. These featured snippets are displayed to show similar questions to a searcher’s query. The “people also ask” queries are dynamic, which means when you click one, more will appear. Therefore, you can go into depth on the query.
Bonus tip – If you’re creating content around a keyword, use these questions as a latent semantic index (LSIs). This will help you cover your topic more in-depth!
Let’s look at how you can optimize your content for these click magnets;
- Do your keyword research and try to answer the question with a descriptive paragraph.
- Look at what’s already there, and try to improve on the answer.
Google has teamed up with Twitter – so what does this mean? Google has full access to Twitter’s content. As a result, Google displays twitter cards within the results. These are displayed as 6 card carousel – which is shown to match a user’s query, and trending tweets are usually shown here. Having a trending tweet matched with a query, should lead to your tweet being displayed.
Here is how to get your tweet displayed in the SERPs;
- Your brand needs to be active on Twitter. This is the way to ‘tap-into’ Twitter’s algorithm.
- Create content that offers value, or is controversial. Then, reply to every comment, to build the momentum of your tweet. As a result, your tweet will become viral.
Top stories (most likely news results)
Trending stories or breaking news get displayed in the SERPs as top story cards – that matches a searcher’s query. And, these cards soak up a lot of clicks. You will see dominant brands here such as the BBC news. However, you can still get your content displayed as a featured SERP.
Here are a few things to focus on;
- Your SEO needs to be well-optimized. Google needs to understand and trust your brand’s content. There’s a lot of fake news on the web. Therefore, you need to make sure you’re a trusted brand.
- Use accelerated mobile pages (AMP). The speed of the pages will only give you more chance of appearing in the news cards.
- You must submit your content to Google as an RSS feed.
The local teaser is not too different from to the local pack, sometimes you may not even notice the difference!
The local teaser display SERP feature gives a searcher juicy information on local businesses prices, addresses, and reviews (this also displayed on the map). However, there’s an added feature for a searcher. On the local teaser is dropdown options – for example, hours and type of cuisine you prefer.
This is useful for brick and mortar businesses such as “restaurants in New York”.
As we mentioned above, the local pack includes the top three local results for a search query. The local pack shows all three results to you on a map, with further details about each business.
So why has Google developed the local teaser and local map pack?
Google (as clever as they’re) realized that a searcher needs extra information about local businesses – that the local pack doesn’t offer. Which welcomed the local teaser. Now, a searcher can get all the relevant information needed, without having to leave the SERPs. Job completed by Google!
Here’s how to get featured in the local teaser;
- Content must be structured and easily crawlable by Google’s bots.
- Content should be submitted to Google (business name, address, and phone number).
- Reviews are going to play a big part in your local ranking strategy. Also, more reviews equal to more clicks. Deliver a quality service, and you will be rewarded.
The knowledge graph usually gets displayed on the right side of the SERPs, and they provide useful information for queries such as;
- A thing
- Famous person
- A place
Being featured in the knowledge graph is not easy, and it’s not uncommon for human editors to hand-pick the results. Moreover, a searcher can gather data they need – without having to click through to the page. However, there’s usually an option to ‘discover more’ on the website.
Google created EAT updates which means you will have to do more than the basics of SEO, to get your content featured in the knowledge graph. Here’s how to do it;
- Your website needs authority, which means more relevant niche links pointing to your website. Wikipedia is a prime example of an authoritative website, and Google trusts them. So, you need to become authoritative in your niche.
- Use schema markup, this allows the search engines to understand your content easily. And, you will have more chance of getting your content in the SERP feature.
- Make content easy to read, like this blog post. Use headers and lists, that is easily scannable by a reader. Bonus tip – if you’re using Yoast (WordPress plugin), it has a knowledge graph feature.
Similar to the knowledge graph, the knowledge graph is a SERP feature that displays data within the SERP. These are usually queries that require a simple answer, for example, “what is the age of the sun?”.
The knowledge card ties in well with the EAT update. Which is why Google focuses heavily on providing the correct result.
Let’s look at how to get you featured in the knowledge card;
- Use schema markup for important data and your website must have authority. If Google doesn’t trust your website, your information won’t get featured.
There are now over 29 million episodes of podcasts, so how do you market your podcast in such as noisy crowd? Three words – podcast featured SERPs.
Having your podcast matched with a searcher’s query will no doubt bring listeners to your podcast.
Similar to the video snippets, podcasts display ready to be played. Also, Google understands which part of the podcast is most relevant, allowing a searcher to jump straight into the answer.
If you’re a podcast star and want some tips on how to get your content featured on Google, then read these tips;
- Migrate podcasts to Google – This is not a difficult process. You simply have to submit your RSS URL to Google and then verify the account. This can only help with your rankings in the podcast SERPs features!
- Transcribe every podcast – we mentioned this with the video SERPs. Well, the same goes for podcasts. Doing this help Google (and a user) better understand your content. Which will open the door for better rankings.
These are not organic results (paid features), however, they can take up the first four positions on the SERPs. Which is a position every marketer wants. This real-estate brings home a lot of clicks.
If you want to pay for these features, then here’s how to do it;
- Register with Google ads and create a campaign.
- An element of SEO is required to make sure the page loads fast, and there’s relevant content within the page (that matches the ad).
These are links displayed usually when a query is brand-related. The links appear under the home URL, which allows the searcher to directly click into important pages within the website. One of the key benefits of these is the amount of real-estate they take in the SERPs.
Here’s how to get your site links featured;
- Use a well-structured menu (home, about, contact).
- Using schema markup will help google understand your nav links.
The SERPs have come along from just displaying URLs, and there are many SERP features to optimize for.
Before you create content, you should decide which features you’re going to target, this will give you better direction with your content. This, at the end of the day, will bring more traffic to your content.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this list of Google SERP Features going into 2020!
This is a guest post by David Kovacs, an entrepreneur and a performance-driven digital marketing expert. David worked with businesses that range from Fortune 500 companies to start-up ventures. He is the founder of a digital agency Travel SEO that helps growing travel businesses profit from online marketing with #1 page rankings.