13th February 2019
What’s SERP?! An essential guide to SERP Features: Part 2
Following the introduction to SERP features in the last installment of our blog series where we focused on Featured Snippets and Related Questions, in Part 2 we will be looking at optimising visual content on your site – images and videos.
What are image packs?
Image Packs are sets of images related to the search query that Google shows on the SERPs of searches where visual content would be beneficial to the user. The block of images can appear in any position on the results page, amongst traditional organic results and other SERP features.
What do they look like?
Image packs are displayed as horizontal rows of images associated with the search query. Most often they show a singular row of images, but sometimes these are displayed in a block of several rows.
It is worth noting that images can also appear on results pages in other SERP features such as in Featured Snippets (as mentioned in the last blog), Knowledge Panels and alongside information such as recipes. Therefore, optimising images to be shown in the Image Pack can also help to get your image displayed in other SERP features.
What are their benefits?
Clicking on any content in the Image Pack takes users to that image in the Image Search Results page on Google. From there, users have to option to visit the webpage where that image is from. Therefore, having an image from your site included in the Image Pack can bring traffic to your site. However, as clicking on the image does not directly take searchers to your site, the click through rate (CTR) is fairly low. In addition, for certain search queries, ranking in image results can be very competitive.
How can I get my images into SERPs?
To be in with a chance of getting images from your site featuring in the Image Pack (or in any other SERP features), you need to ensure that your image is fully optimised for the keywords you are trying to target. Images should be given descriptive file names that are relevant, accurate, descriptive and naturally incorporates target keywords. Similarly, the alt attributes associated with the image should be detailed, unique to the image and optimised for keywords. Furthermore, the image URL should be readable, relevant and user-friendly. The image should also be quality, and have an optimised file size, often achieved by compressing the image.
What are video SERP features?
There are two main types of video SERP features that Google shows; Featured Videos and Thumbnail Videos.
Featured Videos are links to YouTube videos that are only shown in the results when the user specifically searches for a particular video (e.g. a specific music video) or searches for phrases such as ‘keyword + video’, ‘keyword + tutorial’ or ‘how to + keyword’. Featured Videos always show at the very top of the SERP, above all organic results.
Thumbnail videos are more commonly shown in the search results and are triggered when Google thinks video content will be helpful to a user based on their search query, even if the searcher hasn’t explicitly searched for a video or used the word video in their query. Thumbnail videos can link to the video on YouTube, Vimeo and sites where it is embedded.
What do they look like?
Featured Videos are very obvious and prominent on the search results page as they feature at the very top of the page and show a large thumbnail, often with additional information below.
Other video snippets are sometimes displayed as a single video, and sometimes in 3-packs of videos. These video snippets show a small thumbnail from the video, alongside a title, description, link, video duration and date of upload. Unlike featured videos, standard video snippets can appear anywhere throughout the organic results on the SERP.
What are their benefits?
Due to the fact that video snippets can appear in any position on the SERP, they have varying click-through-rates. The snippets tend to link to YouTube, Vimeo or another video hosting site, however, businesses can benefit most from video snippets if they link directly to a video embedded within their site.
How can I optimise my videos for SERPs?
Before optimising your videos for SERPs, it is important to research and identify keywords that generate video snippets. There are several ways to find potential keywords to target, such as looking at the search suggest options on Google search and on YouTube and considering what searches the content of your video would be beneficial for. Often videos appear when searchers look for tutorials or search for question phrases such as ‘how to…’.
In general, optimising for video snippets is similar to optimising to gain standard organic results and follows the normal SEO guidelines set by Google. However, you will also need to mark up your video content with structured data, to help Google to understand the content and details of your video. In the video schema markup, you should provide a title, video description, upload date, thumbnail image, duration, embed URL (if relevant) and the video transcript. The more information you provide in the schema markup, the better, and the structured data should be optimised for target keywords.
Furthermore, embedding the video on your site (and getting other sites to embed your video) can increase your chances of your video ranking in the SERPs.
We hope this second instalment of the What’s SERP?! series has helped you to understand how to optimise the images and videos on your site to target SERP features. Keep an eye out for the next part where we will be focusing on optimising content for two more SERP features – Rich Snippets and Reviews.
If you are interested in finding out more about your site’s SERP opportunities, contact the experts at Varn.