What you will learn in this post:
- What components make up a search engine results page (SERP)
- What determines how a SERP will appear and what information it will provide
- How your brand can leverage these SERP features to boost its local search optimization
Not too long ago, a search engine’s sole purpose was to help users find a website or web page based on their inquiries. While this objective remains, search engines have become more advanced, more helpful, and more nuanced, to such a degree that search engine results pages (SERPs) themselves can offer plenty of information on their own via a number of features. Google’s SERP features make it so the user might not have to click into a website at all. Instead, all the information they need is right there on Google.
Depending on the inquiry, one SERP may look a bit different from another. This is because SERPs are made up of multiple components or features that aim to give the user exactly what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Here we will break down the anatomy of the Google Local SERP, going over 21 different SERP features, their functions, and how they might be used to increase your brand’s overall and local visibility, read more on headless cms.
1. Paid Search Engine Result
Anyone who has conducted a Google search is likely familiar with paid search engine results. This SERP feature allows businesses to advertise their website, local landing page, or other information at the top or bottom of the sponsored ad section. This can be done either via Google Ads or Google Shopping. Paid search engine results can be a powerful way to raise brand awareness. However, some users may actually ignore these links and instead seek organic results, as Google, in order to maintain consumer trust, makes it clear when a result is paid for.
2. Rich Results
Rich snippets appear underneath a link, giving a brief burst of detailed information about what can be found on the web page. This SERP feature is a form of structured data, or formatted code that Google can easily read and include in search results. While normal snippets merely deliver text, rich snippets may include an image, ratings, and other eye-catching info.
3. Knowledge Graphs
In 2012, Google introduced Knowledge Graphs to its platform. This feature attempts to connect simple user searches to a larger pool of information. When users conduct a search of a historical figure, large company, or location on desktop, they will often find a Knowledge Panel (see #11 in this list) on the right-hand side of the SERP that gives more detailed information about the subject, object, location, or event. The Knowledge Graph is the underlying algorithm that generates these Knowledge Panels and related results.
4. Universal Search (Blended Search, Enhanced Search)
The early days of Google SERPs only offered its users a handful of links per page to navigate. Universal Search, on the other hand, makes for more dynamic and informative SERPs. SERPs may now include images, videos, maps, and news pieces all in one location. The various tabs for these other types of results still exist, but Universal Search makes it easier for users to find different forms of content.