Insights

10th November 2021

What’s SERP?! An updated summary of the latest SERP features (Part 1)

If you have any desire to rank well in Google and other search engines then having a good understanding of the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is essential. Knowing the ins and outs of how to get different snippets of the results pages will help you appear outside of the standard 10 blue links, gaining traction through the form of featured snippets, frequently asked questions and many more.

Back by popular demand, the What’s SERP?! Blog series returns with a summary of the top features in the search engine results pages update for 2021 so you know exactly how to get the most out of your Google real estate! 

Part 1: 

  • Featured Snippets
  • Related Questions 
  • Images
  • Videos
  • Rich Snippets 

Featured Snippets 

Featured snippets are still a massive part of SEO and should be included in any search marketing strategy and plan. 

Our previous thoughts: 

“Featured snippets (also known as answer boxes) are one of the most coveted SERP features, predominantly because they usually appear at the top of the results page above all other rankings, in what is often called Position 0! Google shows featured snippets to provide short, immediate answers to a searcher’s question, therefore improving their search engine experience. In fact, according to a study conducted at the end of 2017, 41% of all questions show featured snippets. However, featured snippets are not only shown when a searcher asks a question, but are also shown for prepositions, comparisons and other general keywords.”

What’s changed: 

Since our original coverage in 2019, the basic principles for optimising for featured snippets has remained stable. One interesting change was that a featured snippet now means you just take ‘position 0’ as opposed to position 1 and 0 in Google. This caused quite a bit of debate amongst the Varn SEO team! Nonetheless, 2 years on we now know that the increased traffic you get from featured snippets makes them well worth getting in 2021 and onwards. 

2019 Featured Snippet: 

2019 featured snippet

2021 Featured Snippet: 

2021 featured snippet

Related Questions

The related questions SERP feature also known as the ‘people also asked’ box shows related questions to your search query. They can be a good way to get extra coverage in Google and if you are looking for questions to answer in a targeted piece of content, they can be a great place to start. 

In terms of optimisation, the basic rules apply. Answer the target question with mention of the keyword and well laid out content. This will help you appear in both the featured snippet search results and the related questions box. 

2019 Related Questions Snippet: 

2019 related questions

2021 Related Questions Snippet: 

2021 related questions

Images

Images are another important part of optimisation on Google, and the image pack displays images in Google search results for relevant keywords. To optimise for these, ensure the images have relevant and target file names and alt tags with URLs that are readable, relevant and user friendly. You can also compress the images to improve their optimisation.

2019 Image Pack Snippet: 

2019 image pack

2021 Image Pack Snippet: 

2021 image pack

Videos

Videos that display in Google Search results are a great way to get additional exposure for your content without having to write reams and reams of copy. 

Typically these results will show as video snippets at the top of the results that try to answer the searcher’s query. In the case below the query is about how to do a push-up, where Google has rather intelligently pulled through the section in the video that answers the query. 

In terms of optimisation for these videos, we recommend hosting them on YouTube (a Google-owned network) and following the relevant optimisation tips for the platform. One new addition that has come in since 2019 is the use of chapter markers in the video which can be added by including timestamps in the description, this helps Google understand the sections of the video better and increases the chances of it pulling through to the Google search results. 

2019 Video Snippet: 

2019 video feature

2021 video snippet: 

2021 video feature

Rich Snippets

Rich snippets are the last area we will cover in this part of the blog and they still add valuable data to the search results that can be acquired with some well thought through optimisation steps. The results below illustrate how additional features like star ratings can be pulled through to Google. These can be acquired through adding the necessary schema to the pages and are a good optimisation tactic to follow in 2021 and into 2022.

2019 Rich Snippet: 

2019 rich snippet

2021 Rich Snippet: 

2021 featured snippet

Make sure you optimise for the right SERP features for you

The different SERP snippets listed above all have different benefits and should be used in a strategic combination to try and get the best coverage across the different Google Search channels. If you would like any consultancy on how to optimise your content for the relevant featured snippets in the results pages, then feel free to get in touch with a member of the Varn team.

Our expert Bristol-based SEO agency will show you the technical changes that can be made to your site to ensure it gets the best possible coverage across Google. 

Make sure you keep an eye out on the Varn Newsletter and Blog for part 2, where we will be covering changes to Google Ads, Shopping, News and much much more! 

Article by: David, Digital Marketing and Video Executive More articles by David

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