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SEO 24 min read

A Complete Visual Guide to Google SERPs: What Keywords to Use And How to Get Featured

Serpstat Research, 2020
Google SERPs

Kirill Levenets
Mathematical Analyst at Serpstat
It's been awhile since Google SERP was a common list with 10 most relevant pages. Trying to provide the user with the required info as fast as possible and in the fewest number of clicks, Google adds more and more SERP features of different shapes and sizes.
Site owners should track and analyze the updates and adapt their marketing strategies according to these changes. We gathered almost all SERP elements now available into a clickable infographic. In the post we will tell you about:

  • detailed description of the SERP feature;
  • examples of keywords for which this feature is displayed;
  • how to be featured there.
    In the article you can see examples of Google search results snippets and our research on snippets of the Answer box group. We took random 58,848,619 keywords from our US Google and chose phrases that are found with a quick Google answer, then divided them into categories.

    Note: there are icons next to the names of the snippets showing how they are displayed at the Serpstat service.

    Answer Box

    Answer box — is a SERP feature, usually displayed in a light-gray box, that occurs above the organic results and tries to directly answer a question.
    For example, if you enter "author of war and peace" into Google, we get a quick answer ↓
    answer box
    Most of the blocks contain not only text, but also images, videos, graphics. They provide a relatively short answer that comes from the Google Knowledge Graph, and may also include a link to more information from the source site. In this article, we focused our attention on quick answers without links, because they are more diverse.

    As mentioned above, we took random 58,848,619 keywords from our Google USA database and chose phrases that are found with a quick Google answer, then divided them into categories.
    It turned out such a distribution by percentage ↓
    google answer box table
    Google launched Answer box feature to provide the searchers with brief and accurate answers to their questions immediately without leaving the SERP. This feature has a bunch of versions: from one sentence answer on the gray background to the detailed and colorful block with pictures and other bright visual elements. You'll see the answer box while searching for quick-answer questions like what's time now, how to say something in another language, how many calories are in apple and etc.

    Don't confuse the Answer box with Featured snippet. The info for Answer box is parsed from Google's knowledge database so there will be no link there.
    While Featured snippet is formed by the best answer from SERP with a link to the winner-website.

    If the searcher disagrees with the info Google provides, the special Feedback button is placed under the Answer box.

    Examples of keywords:

    • University of California acceptance rate;
    • How old is Сlinton;
    • Time it in Tokyo;
    • Earthquake California;
    • USD to GBP;
    • Color picker;
    • London Berlin flights;
    • Archaic;
    • Phantom;
    • Lbs to kg calculator;
    • Calories in watermelon;
    • Lakers scores schedule;
    • Euro 2018;
    • Microsoft stock price

      Examples of answers:

      Direct Answer Луна расстояние до луны
      Knowledge Graph Гаспар ноэ экстаз Вход в пустоту
      Featured Snippet Негрони рецепт
      Route map
      Unit converter
      Date and time
      Energy value of products
      Exchange quotes
      Event date
      Featured snippet
      Color codes
      Online calculator
      Currency conversion
      We investigated 58,848,619 keywords and found out which domains are leading in the issue of answer blocks.

      Percentage statistics:

      How can I get there?

      Google uses its own knowledge base to form the answers at the Answer box block and no link is added. That's why there are no chances to get there. However, you still can profit from this block. Create a list of keywords within your niche for which the Answer box is displayed and never use them as Answer box highly decreases the CTR of organic results.
      Carousel Results
      carousel results
      Google shows carousel results when it believes a person is searching for a selection of options. Before February 2017, Google used to show this element only in response to informational queries like "best comedies 2017" or "places to visit in London."

      But now it's shown for commercial ones as well — usually for those search queries starting with "best" or "top." After clicking on any of the carousel options, Google takes you to a new SERP, where both carousel and results for the option you chose are displayed.

      Examples of keywords:

      • Star wars actors;
      • Real Madrid team;
      • New York list of tallest buildings;
      • Dogs breeds;
      • Best backup software;
      • IOS best games.

        How can I get there?

        When the carousel is also shown for commercial queries, it's quite profitable for businesses to be displayed as one of the best something. We assume that carousel is formed based on the HV brand keywords, so to get there you need to boost your branded search traffic.
        Large carousel
        large carousel
        The table carousel is also shown to people looking for multiple options, but unlike the previous carousel type, this one is shown in response to informational queries only. Table carousel displays more options for one slide and is bigger than the listing one.

        Examples of keywords:

        • Beatles all songs;
        • Wagner compositions;
        • Paris interesting places;
        • Events at Foxwoods.

          How can I get there?

          You can't. If you're a popular musician, your songs may get there :D
          Top Paid block
          paid block
          Bottom paid block
          bottom paid block
          Right paid block
          right paid block
          Google Ads are shown in response to the search queries PPC experts launch contextual advertisements for. Ad blocks are currently displayed either above and below the organic search results. Google shows from 1 to 4 ads for one block thus the maximum number of ads for top-10 is 8 (4 for upper and 4 for lower blocks).

          Google has recently redesigned AdWords ads to look more like organic search results, so it's just a matter of time before it's impossible to separate organic results from paid ones.

          Examples of keywords

          • Buy a bicycle
          • Tickets for Barcelona vs Juventus
          • Car rental
          • Flowers;
          • Rent a flat in London.

            How can I get there?

            Hire a PPC expert and ask him to launch AdWords campaign :) The main difference between the upper and lower ad blocks is CTR. The higher your ad is the more clicks you get.

            The top-3 ad results get the most clicks. Google sorts the ads based on quality score (1-10) — an estimate of the quality of your ads, keywords, and landing pages. Higher quality ads can lead to lower prices and better ad positions.
            Top shopping block
            top shopping block
            Side shopping block
            side shopping block
            Bottom shopping block
            Google Shopping is a Google service which allows users to search for products on online shopping websites and compare prices between different online shops. Google shopping SERP element is shown in response to the keywords with strong commercial intent.

            Here Google displays just the most crucial product info: its name, price, photo and the online shop you can buy this good at. All this data is updated constantly thereby avoiding unnecessary expense.

            Examples of keywords:

            • Netbook;
            • Adidas shoes;
            • Bt speakers;
            • Polaroid camera;
            • Inversions table.

                How can I get there?

                Google Shopping is a paid placement. Google shopping has quite complicated guidelines and policies, so make sure to follow the Google's guide step-by-step. If you aren't registered, start with setting up both Merchant Center and AdWords accounts.
                Featured Snippet
                featured snippet
                If you enter simple question into the search box, Google most likely shows you a Featured snippet — short summary of information related to your query (it's not always text content, it could be some video from YouTube).

                Unlike answer box, the info shown in Featured snippet is taken from one of Google top-10 search results. Google determines which site presents the most relevant content. Moreover, it's not always the first one, it could be any of top-10. Besides the brief answer to the question query, the Title, image and link to the URL this answer in parsed from are also displayed.

                This is the only SERP feature mentioned in this post that is not an addition to common organic search results, but is a part of it — one of Google's top-10.

                Examples of keywords:

                • How to tie a tie;
                • How to dye hair;
                • Energy centers of the world;
                • Energy foods for exercise;
                • New York events this month;
                • Grand Opera.

                  How can I get there?

                  Getting your page to Featured snippet may lead to a massive traffic boost. Even if your site is top-5 for the query but is added to featured snippet it'll receive twice as many clicks as the top-1 URL.

                  According to Google Help article "You can't mark your page as a featured snippet as Google programmatically determines that a page contains a likely answer to the user's question, and displays the result as a featured snippet.".

                  Let's be real, there's no sure-fire way to be featured there, but here are some steps that may highly increase your chances to see your page at Featured snippet block:

                  1. Make a list of common questions within your niche. You can do that via brainstorming or use Serpstat's Search questions to save your time.

                  2. Write content to answer these question using the question as a Title (add images and other visual content if necessary). Note that the quality and structure of the answer is more crucial than the authority of your website. Don't go into the details, if the question is quite extensive, split it into several sub questions and write content for each of them.

                  3. Use schema markup. – is a set of extensible schemas that enables webmasters to embed structured data on their web pages for use by search engines. In other words, it helps the search engines return more informative results for users. By adding a special schema to your webpage, you help Google to identify the important content on your page and thus you increase your chances to get to Featured snippet.
                  Route map
                  route map
                  Map SERP feature is shown in response to geo search queries. By clicking on map, Google gets you to Google Maps tab with more detailed info as to your query.

                  Here's just a small part of all data Google Maps provides: Quick facts, photos, weather, places nearby (hotels, bars, restaurants), directions.

                  Examples of keywords:

                  • Rome map;
                  • Belgium e19;
                  • Atlantic ocean on map;
                  • London park road;
                  • Andes mountain maps.

                    How can I get there?

                    Google created this SERP feature to help the searchers quickly find the desired location. You can't get there. Don't try to get there unless you're going to open new road or build a new city ;) But you still can add your business to Google Maps: go to Google Maps, zoom in to the appropriate location and click on "Add New," then select "Add a Place."
                    Local Pack
                    local pack
                    For queries that imply the person is looking for local establishment like places to eat or to sell a car, Google shows the local pack SERP feature — a map with 3 listings. This feature looks quite similar to the Map one but their purpose is absolutely different.

                    If Map is displayed to help you indicate the location of the establishment, Local Pack is to help you find several local establishments that meet your search query (kind of place + its location).

                    This block is usually displayed at the top of Google SERP but may be found at the bottom as well. By clicking on "More places," the searcher gets to the Google Maps tab where more listings with additional info (reviews, open hours, images) are displayed.

                    Examples of keywords:

                    • Italian pizza Paris;
                    • Hotel London;
                    • Rome metro stations;
                    • Piza bus station;
                    • Mcdonald's Chicago.

                      How can I get there?

                      As well as local Knowledge graph, Local pack is definitely what you need if you're running a local business.

                      1. Add your business to Google Maps: go to Google Maps, zoom in to the appropriate location and click on "Add New," then select "Add a Place."

                      2. Set up Google My Business account: choose the appropriate category for your business, add profile and cover images, double check the contact info.

                      3. Ask your loyal clients to leave their reviews.
                      Related questions/ People also ask
                      related questions/people aslo ask
                      At the related questions card, Google lists questions it believes are relative to your search request. By clicking on any question from the list, the searcher sees the brief answer and the link to the webpage where this answer is located. This element is connected to another one — Featured snippet.

                      Thus all related questions are the ones that return Featured snippets and the URL that's a winner at the featured snippet is also the winner at the Related questions block. When the searcher clicks on any related question from the list, Google adds the new questions which are related to last-clicked one.

                      Examples of keywords:

                      • How to tie a tie;
                      • Cirrhosis;
                      • How big is the universe;
                      • Sea horses;
                      • Buy a horse.

                        How can I get there?

                        Win the Featured snippet and then you'll be displayed at People also ask card for the related questions.
                        Top stories for query
                        top stories for query
                        When searching for keywords related to current news, Google shows Top Stories SERP feature. This data is parsed from Google News — computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from news sources worldwide, groups similar stories together and displays them according to each reader's personalized interests.

                        It can be displayed as a listing without images (similar to mobile search) or as carousel with a title and image for every carousel card.

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Microsoft stock price;
                        • iOS best games;
                        • Nascar;
                        • Spinners;
                        • Bitcoins.

                        How can I get there?

                        If you're running a news website, make sure to get to Google news. Google has a detailed guide on how to submit your news website to Google news. Follow it.
                        Images for request
                        imagws for request
                        In response to queries which Google believes are related to images, Images block is displayed. The SERP feature looks like a horizontal list of different images. It isn't pinned and thus can shown anywhere between organic results.

                        The title above this images is clickable and leads to Google's Images tab. By clicking on any image result there, you'll see the link to its source. Google has a special algorithm for images ranking, which is totally different to common organic search.

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Keyboard;
                        • Apple;
                        • Tower;
                        • Tropical islands;
                        • Universe.

                        How can I get there?

                        1. Fill out the image's alt and title tags.

                        2. Name it properly, like "swimmingsuit.png" instead of "1265.png".

                        3. Use semantic URL and optimize the page where the image is located.

                        4. Optimize image size.

                        5. Avoid plagiarism, use only unique images.
                        Related queries
                        At the very bottom of search page Google almost always displays Related search block — it's a list of search queries related to the initial query. This block appears for all keywords Google shows suggestions for. By clicking on any option in Related search, you'll get to a new SERP.

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Buy laptop;
                        • How to make french toast;
                        • Rent car Miami;
                        • Rent apartment Сhicago;
                        • Buy baseball ticket stubs.

                        How can I get there?

                        The only point to mention here: high volume keywords are more likely to get to this block. Unfortunately, there are no recommendations for this block.
                        Knowledge Graph
                        knowledge graph
                        Knowledge graph provides a detailed and structured information about the objects, usually proper nouns. It could be a famous person, book, movie and many other types of things.

                        Knowledge graph uses Wikipedia as a primary source to parse the main information about the object. Apart from the block that briefly answers the question "what is this?" or "who is this?", Google knowledge graph could also include some additional info (like quotes, artworks for painters, books for writers, etc.) social media profiles, and "People also search" block.

                        The last one is formed based on the closely related objects, so if you're searching for Michelangelo, Google will include other famous painters of that time.

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Albert Einstein;
                        • Formula 1;
                        • Audrey Hepburn;
                        • Starbucks;
                        • Twitter.

                        How can I get there?

                        Unfortunately, there isn't no-failure way to get to knowledge graph, but by following the steps below you can highly increase your chances to be displayed there:

                        1. Get to Wiki

                        As Wiki is the main source Google parses data from, make sure to get on there. Start with Wikidata — a free and open knowledge base that can be read and edited by both humans and machines. Here's the guide to help you get there. Then create a Wikipedia page for your brand, you can try to do this on youк own following the Wikipedia guidelines or hire an experienced Wikipedia writer.

                        2. Verify your social media accounts

                        As you can see, social media accounts are also included to knowledge graph. To help Google identify your accounts correctly, have them verified. The verification badge on a page means that social network confirmed that this is the authentic page. Each social media has its own guidelines and request form, here they are: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.

                        3. Use structured data markup to enhance your site's attributes.

                        Data markup is code that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. The info you put there is visible for search engines only, not people. Follow this Google guide to enable your business and marketing details for search results.

                        Note, that if your brand is already displayed in the knowledge graph, but some info is incorrect, contact Google and request changes.
                        Knowledge graph with map
                        knowledge graph with a map
                        This feature is shown in response to local brand queries like restaurants, cinemas, theaters and so on when the searcher is looking not for the general information about the business (foundation date, CEO, income), but for more specific data like location, open hours, or reviews. Note that local knowledge graph is displayed only for single places, not chains.

                        This knowledge graph usually includes the following blocks:

                        • photos and a piece of google map with a pin;
                        • contact and address data;
                        • open hours;
                        • popular times;
                        • Google reviews (score and examples).

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Empire State Building;
                        • Village East Cinema;
                        • Les Deux Magots;
                        • Tokyo Tower;
                        • Great Wall of China.

                        How can I get there?

                        If you're running a local business, this SERP feature is definitely what you need. Follow these steps to get there:

                        1. Fill out Google My Business account

                        Filling out Google My Business account is a crucial step for every local business. Double check everything to make sure that contact info, address, open hours are correct. Pick an attractive picture that represents your business (mouthwatering photo of your best dish if you're running a restaurant i.e.).

                        2. Pay attention to Google reviews

                        At the knowledge graph, Google displays the review score (the average value of all reviews) and all reviews ever left. Ask your loyal clients to leave reviews to increase the Google rating and in turn, more people will trust your business.

                        3. Build citations

                        The main rule here: the more, the better. Create your business accounts on as many sites as possible. Provide them with all info about your business. The most popular are Yahoo, Yelp, Trip Advisor, Yellow Pages. Double check all crucial info just like for Google My Business.
                        This SERP feature shown in response to medicine related queries is to provide the searcher with the most crucial info about the disease such as symptoms, treatments, transmission, etc.

                        Google parse this info from high-quality websites like government agencies and partnerships. According to Google Help article, they analyze the info from quality sites across the web and then a special team of doctors reviews and refine the info.

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Asthma treat;
                        • Cirrhosis;
                        • Diabetes;
                        • Mono symptoms;
                        • Hodgkin lymphoma.

                        How can I get there?

                        Well, it's possible only for medical agencies' websites. We assume that to get there, the health care facility you're promoting should become a Google's partner or/and the disease description you provide on your website should be approved by Google's teams of doctors.

                        Getting to these block may lead to awareness and trust growth of the medical agency. By the way, here're the utm parameters added to URL if clicking on Learn more: utm_source=Google&utm_medium=abstract&utm_content=Asthma&utm_campaign=Knowledge-panel

                        See results about

                        see results about
                        This SERP element occurs when to Google's understanding, the query you're searching for may have several meanings. If this block is included to the SERPs, it usually goes after the Local knowledge graph feature.

                        In the freak SERP example, we searched for "orange" and Google displayed french telecommunications company named "Orange" in the local knowledge graph, but as "orange" query is quite ambiguous, at "See results about" block Google offers two other companies with the same name and an Australian city. Clicking on any of these variants triggers a new search.

                        Examples of keywords:

                        • Grand opera;
                        • CSI;
                        • World war;
                        • Key;
                        • King Kong.

                          How can I get there?

                          Hmm, I don't think you can somehow profit from this feature.
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