You’re in process of buying a product online, or researching for a particular service… Where do you start? Well, there’s really only one place – Google!
According to Statista, as of July 2018, Google holds about 85% market share of all search engine results. So you know where to begin… the problem lies when you land on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Why? Because it’s everchanging!
Google constantly looks to improve the user experience, which means introducing (or deleting) features based on what will provide the most accurate and relevant information in the quickest time.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? In theory absolutely, but it also means that you need to be constantly on the lookout for latest features so you know which one will provide you with the best answer to your needs.
From your business’ point of view, it’s also about ensuring that you show up on the SERP as many times as possible. That might include an organic result, a paid Google Ad, a local listing, and if your content is on the money – a featured snippet.
Not sure what all the results mean? That’s why we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive outline of the all the features currently shown in the Google SERP.
The stock standard result, which shows a website URL, title and a brief description of what you’re likely to see on that page. To land in one of Google’s 10 organic results, your business needs to master the art of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and to successfully hold the coveted position 1 is as sought-after as ever before. The top organic position comes with a huge 30% click-through rate (CTR), as of July 2018, with position 2 bringing around 16% and position 3 around 10%. If you’re beyond page 1, meaning positions 11+, well as they say, “The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google”.
Formerly known as AdWords (or alternatively known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC), the Google Ads are the four paid positions at the top and bottom of the SERP. They are identified as paid results by having a small green “Ad” box next to the URL. They work on a cost-per-click basis, charging the business for every user that clicks on the link. Although they can often result in the quick generation of leads, they typically have a lower CTR than the organic positions.
Wondering if you should invest in PPC or SEO? Check out our article outlining the benefits of each.
As part of Google Ads, there are paid shopping listings that display products relevant to the search term at the top of the page. Shopping results often only show for queries of transactional nature, or terms that involve direct brand or product names, and will display the company name, images and pricing information. As they are more visual and show for users that often are further into the buying cycle, they convert very well.
If the top organic positions were merely coveted, then a Featured Snippet is the holy grail. Showing up as position 0, on top of the organic results, these snippets are deemed to be the most contextually relevant result. They can come in the format of a short paragraph, a numbered or bulleted list or a table. The pages that typically land these positions are FAQs, How To’s, comparison articles (A vs. B), lists and data-based content.
Google My Business Listings:
Found in the Google Maps section of the results page, these listings (usually only 3 shown) will show the information for relevant businesses, including the website URL, phone number, opening times, any location/s, a description and reviews from customers. These positions are also sought-after and require a localised campaign in order to show up for specific terms in targeted areas.
Any queries where an image or video result could provide as much context and is as relevant as a web listing will show an image card at the top of the page. For example, when you search for a name or location, you often see an image or video of the person or landmark. When you click on the link, it will take you to the full-size version and from there you can visit the website it’s housed on.
If your search term is a question, or could be framed in a question format, Google will show a Related Questions card with a list of similar questions that could help your search for an answer. They can show in varying places in the SERP and are linked to an article that provides information for that related question.
Social profiles (brand or individual) with many followers or posts with high user engagement can show up in organic results for relevant terms. This includes profiles across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. In regards to showing up as a unique SERP feature, Twitter is currently the only one that, if deemed relevant by Google, will show in real time and immediately. These featured results usually include the best performing tweets, or most recent tweets by high performing/high activity profiles.
This breakdown should give you a better understanding of each SERP feature and allow you to better navigate Google the next time you’re in search mode. Not only that, but it also shows you the abundance of opportunities that exist on the search engine to drive more traffic to your website and increase your leads.
Need help with your digital marketing strategy? Get in touch with us anytime to find out how we can increase your market share on Google.