Learn what SERP features tell us about a query.
Level up your keyword research game by nailing the targeting and content to meet the full intent of the query.
The Search Intent and the SERP intent relate to what type of content is needed to target a term.
Table of Contents
- What are SERP Features
- What is Search Intent
- What is SERP Intent
- What can we learn about a Query from the SERP Features
- How to integrate SERP Features and Intent into your Keyword Research
- References & Resources
What are SERP Features
What are SERP Features? SERP = Search Engine Results Page and the SERP Features are the additional elements that are shown in the search results in addition to the standard blue links that have historically comprised the entirety of the search results.
A list of the Different Types of SERP Features
- Featured Snippet
- Site Links
- People Also Ask
- Knowledge Panel
- Featured Video
- Image Pack
- Video Carosuel
- Featured Video
- Local Pack
- Top Stories
- Instant Answer
- Hotel Pack
- Top Ads
- Bottom Ads
- Shopping Ads
Lets Breakdown the SERP for SEO
Let’s look at the SERP for the search term SEO (see image below)
So, first of all, let’s just think about the term SEO – it’s a very broad, top-level generic search term. It is highly likely that a search for SEO will be refined and or that someone will choose one of the SERP features rather than the traditional blue link search result. In fact, here we see that in the full view there is really only “standard” 1 organic result shown.
In this SERP for SEO (search made in Chrome Desktop with the personalized search on conducted on 2/21/2022) we can see that there are the following features all above the fold;
- Top Ads (several of these with expeanded site links)
- 1 organic result
- People Also Ask
- Knowledge Graph
The point I am emphasizing here is that in the organic search results there are very few traditional search results being displayed.
What is Search Intent
Search Intent is what the user’s goal is when they conduct the search. The motivation for conducting a search can be quite varied and making sure you understand the intent of the keyword you are targeting is very important.
The different types of Search Intent
What is SERP Intent
The SERP Intent is similar to the search intent but has a distinct difference. The SERP intent is what the search engine thinks you want and why, whereas the Search Intent is the reason you conducted the search. Hopefully, these two intents align well.
Trying to rank an eCommerce product page where the SERP is full of how to blog posts is a futile task, even with the best SEOTrevor Stolber
Misaligning your keyword targeting, content, search and SERP intent can have severe implications to your organic search performance. With the best SEO in the world, trying to target a keyword with content that a search engine doesn’t think meets the user’s expectations is an uphill battle.Trying to rank an eCommerce product page where the SERP is full of how to blog posts is a futile task, even with the best SEO via @tstolber @trevor-stolber Click To Tweet
What can we learn about a Query from the SERP Features
What can we learn a lot about a query from the SERP features? Generally, the presence of Ads both top and bottom and shopping ads tells us that there is strong commercial and transactional intent. If you have informational content it may not be best to target terms that have a lot of ad competition. That being said though, the power of SEO for ranking organically where there is strong ad competition can’t be understated.
Generally speaking, the more SERP features there are the more likely it is that the search intent is not being met and that the search term will be refined via @tstolber #seo Click To Tweet
Generally speaking, the more SERP features there are the more likely it is that the search intent is not being met and that the search term will be refined.@trevor-stolber
With queries where there is a knowledge graph displayed you should take this as a very strong indication that you need to align your content to the themes and subtopics.
The knowledge graph is up there next to Google Search Console as a window into Google’s soul.@trevor-stolber
Where there is a local pack and review stars this is likely a navigational and local-based search. Many queries with a city of geographical location in turn up review stars and the local map pack. It is important to understand how localization, Google Business Profile and other SERP features play into your local SEO strategy.
When there are lots of images and video features in the search results this is an indication that Google feels that the regular web page links won’t meet the search intent and therefore they offer a different SERP intent to better match the user’s likely requirements. If you are targeting results that have lots of images and video in them, make sure you optimize for and leverage this.
One of my personal favorites is where a Twitter feed or #hashtag shows up in the organic results. The half-life if a tweet is extremely short – but if you are aware of the keywords that generate it and combine it with audience research (knowing when your audience is most active) and a social media strategy you can make sure you get your content and message out in front of your target audience.
Getting a twitter #hashtag result in organic search is an opportunity to hack the SERP in your favor@trevor-stolber
How to integrate SERP Features and Intent into your Keyword Research
By looking at the SERPs and the search intent for your target keywords and taking into account all of the different features and opportunities in your keyword research you are automatically doing better keyword research. Make sure you have well clustered and grouped keywords that align to both the Search and SERP intent and most importantly make sure your content reflects that and fits in with the appropriate funnel stage.
For example, an eCommerce product page is likely targeted at the Consideration and Conversion Funnel stage which should align with commercial and transactional type search intents which would likely have SERPs that have lots of ad features.
A How-to Blog Post is likely targeted at the Awareness and Interest Funnel stage and should align with an informational-based search intent. The SERP for this will likely show a knowledge graph and people also asked type SERP features as well as possible a featured snippet, FAQs and site links.
Doing this constructively requires a detailed process and the right tools and templates to accomplish the task efficiently and effectively.
In this article we have discussed the different types of SERP features, what they are, how they relate to both search and SERP intent and how you can factor this into your keyword research.
Paying attention to SERP features is a powerful tool to have in your SEO and Keyword Research Toolbox@trevor-stolber
References & Resources
- What Are SERPs? Search Engine Results Pages and SERP Features Explained – 2022 –Nikolai Boroda – Semrush.com
- Optimum Page Style – 2022 – Trevor Stolber – Youtube.com
- Search Intent, Keyword Intent, SERP Intent…Oh My! – 2019 – Ryan Stewart – Webris.org
- Search Intent – Brian Dean – Backlinko.com
- Semrush Sensor – Semrush.com