Quick Reference Guide to Common Google SERP Features

A library catalog organizes categories much like a Google search engine results page.

The Google search engine results page (SERP) is ever-evolving. Not only does Google aim to improve the SERP with new features each year, but every search query presents a new SERP with varying features to rank for.

So getting to know the most common SERP features is a good starting point on your journey for optimizing for them.

In this article, let’s discuss:

What Are SERP Features?

A SERP feature is a type of result shown on a search engine results page (SERP) that falls outside of the traditional organic search results (i.e., the blue links).

A Google search engine results page displays features outside traditional results.

Why Are SERP Features Important?

SERP features offer different ways for search engine users to discover information and for website publishers and brands to show up on the SERP.

Optimizing for the different SERP features should be a part of any SEO strategy. It starts with understanding what SERP features show up for your target keywords, then creating content or structuring information in a way that allows you to compete for a spot in those SERP features.

Of course, not all SERP features are going to give you the opportunity to rank. Some SERP features provide answers to queries without the user ever having to leave the SERP. A direct answer is a good example of this — more on that later.

While SERP features vary based on the query, it’s also interesting to see the big picture, like what search features are most prominent on average.

Google SERP features per Searchmetrics for April 2021.
Image credit: Searchmetrics

Learn more:

Types of SERP Features in Alphabetical Order

As you read through this list of common SERP features, remember that you can optimize for some things, and others Google automatically generates.


Ads are paid placements on the search results page that can show up when you have a Google Ads account. Ads can show up above or below the other search results on a SERP, or on the side. Ads show up in different forms: text ads or Google Shopping ads. Read more about advertising here.

Ads Example

A Google SERP displaying cat food ads.


A carousel is a type of result appearing on the SERP that displays a visual list or gallery of results. Clicking on an individual item in the gallery starts a new search for that item. Carousels can show up for any number of search queries. Common search queries are on films, recipes, music albums, etc.

Carousel Example

A Google SERP displaying carousel of Jennifer Aniston films.

Featured Snippet

Also referred to as “position zero,” a featured snippet is a snippet of information pulled from a third-party webpage (like yours) that appears at the top of the search results above all organic results but often below paid ads. Sometimes, more than one featured snippet appears for a query.

Featured Snippet Example

A Google SERP displaying featured snippet of information pulled from a third-party website.

Images Carousel

An image carousel is a row or gallery of images related to the search query. Clicking on an image brings you to the Google Images search vertical to explore more images related to the search.

Images Example

Google SERP displaying images for cute kittens.

Knowledge Card

A knowledge card is another way Google answers queries — and these answers are typically considered common knowledge. As such, Google relies on multiple sources to pull this information (like data agreements with third parties) but not third-party websites (like yours).

Knowledge cards can be displayed in many different forms. For example, a direct answer is a form of a knowledge card, and a direct answer comes in many different forms, whether it’s showing the weather, offering up a conversion calculator, showing the nutritional value of a food, offering a dictionary definition, or something else.

Knowledge Card Example 1

Google SERP shows a knowledge card for the query "what is 2+2."

Knowledge Card Example 2

A Google knowledge card example of the query "how many calories in a bottle of red wine."

Knowledge Panel

The Knowledge Panel extracts semantic data from many sources to offer information about a search query, including Wikipedia information, images, business information, and more. The Knowledge Panel is a Google Knowledge Graph feature and typically displays at the top or the side of the SERP, depending on the device you use.

Knowledge Panel Example

A Google SERP knowledge panel of Bruce Clay Inc.

Local Pack

The local pack shows up as a map with local business results (including basic information about the businesses) listed below. The local pack appears when a search query has a local intent and at the top of the SERP. For more, see: Checklist for Local SEO.

Local Pack Example

Google local pack example displaying local results for Italian restaurants in Simi Valley, California.

Local Teaser

A local teaser is focused on local business, just like the local pack but for hotels and restaurants predominantly. It differs from the local pack in that it doesn’t include a direct link to the company website.

Local Teaser Example

Local teaser example showing results for hotels in Simi Valley, California.


Google features relevant and timely news articles from news publishers in the SERP as related to a query. News articles are featured often in a “top stories” carousel pulled from the search vertical Google News and other sources. To learn more, see: Your Guide to Google News SEO

News Example

News snippet example showing results for spring break.

Related Questions / People Also Ask

The “people also ask” section presents a list of common queries related to the original search query. Search engine users can expand the questions featured in the box to see a snippet of information that is pulled from a third-party webpage to answer the query.

This section is dynamic in that toggling the answer to a specific question in the box prompts new questions and answer snippets to render.

Related Questions Example

Related questions section presents list of common queries related to the query "how to make homemade fettuccini."

Related Searches

At the end of the SERP, there is a “related searches” section where Google presents searches related to the original query. Clicking on a related search option will start a new search.

Related Search Example

Related search results section for the query "how to make homemade fettuccine."


Google often displays tweets on the SERPs related to the search query, often for brands or people but also for trending topics. Selecting the tweet from the SERP opens up the featured tweet on Twitter; selecting the featured account name opens the account page on Twitter.

Twitter Results Example

Twitter results displayed for the query "Matthew McConaughey."


Video thumbnails show up for certain queries — some more than others. For example, “how to”-type searches often surface video content. For the most part, all videos are from YouTube (owned by Google). For more, check out our article on YouTube SEO.

Video Results Example

Video results for the query "how to change a car battery."

Can You Optimize for SERP Features?

Yes, there are a great many ways to optimize for these common SERP features (and other SERP features not listed in this article). As mentioned earlier, some you can optimize your webpages for, and others are automatically generated by Google.

In this help file, Google shares all the ways you can enable search result features for your website. That is a good place to start, but it only scratches the surface of how you can optimize the entire SERP using SEO.

Request a free consultation with us if you’d like to discuss how we can help optimize your website.

FAQ: How can I effectively optimize my content to leverage SERP features and enhance online visibility?

When it comes to maximizing your online visibility and standing out in the crowded digital landscape, leveraging Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features is paramount. These features, such as featured snippets, knowledge panels, and local packs, offer prime real estate on search results, boosting your chances of attracting user attention and driving organic traffic.

Understanding SERP Features and Their Significance

Search engines have evolved beyond displaying traditional blue links. SERP features are dynamic elements that directly provide quick answers and relevant information on the search results page. Appearing in these features can significantly improve your content’s visibility and credibility. To start, identify which SERP features are relevant to your industry and audience. For instance, e-commerce sites can focus on product carousels, while local businesses aim for the local pack.

Crafting Content Tailored to Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are concise answers displayed prominently on top of search results. Craft well-structured content that addresses common user queries to optimize for these. Use succinct paragraphs, bullet points, and tables to present information logically. Conduct thorough keyword research to understand the phrasing of user queries and incorporate them naturally within your content.

Securing Your Spot in Knowledge Panels

Knowledge panels provide comprehensive information about entities, making them a powerful branding tool. Claim and verify your Google Knowledge Panel if you’re eligible. Ensure your content is accurate, up-to-date, and structured so search engines can easily extract relevant information. This might involve using schema markup to provide structured data about your organization or offerings.

Local SEO and the Importance of the Local Pack

For businesses targeting local audiences, the local pack is a goldmine. Make sure your Google My Business profile is complete and accurate. Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews, influencing your local pack ranking. Include location-specific keywords in your content and metadata to enhance local search visibility.

Navigating Visual and Video SERP Features

SERP features aren’t limited to text. Visual elements like images, videos, and carousels can capture user attention. Optimize your images with descriptive filenames and alt text, ensuring they align with your content. Create engaging videos that cater to user intent, and optimize video titles and descriptions with relevant keywords.

Transitioning seamlessly between these strategies is key to a holistic content optimization approach. Understanding each SERP feature’s nuances and tailoring your content to meet their requirements can bolster your online visibility and establish authority in your niche.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Optimizing Content for SERP Features

  1. Identify relevant SERP features for your industry and audience.
  2. Conduct thorough keyword research to understand common user queries.
  3. Structure your content logically with succinct paragraphs and bullet points.
  4. Craft concise answers for potential featured snippets.
  5. Incorporate user query phrasing naturally into your content.
  6. Claim and verify your Google Knowledge Panel if eligible.
  7. Ensure accuracy and timeliness of information in your Knowledge Panel.
  8. Use schema markup to provide structured data when applicable.
  9. Optimize your Google My Business profile for local SEO.
  10. Encourage customers to leave reviews to improve local pack ranking.
  11. Include location-specific keywords in content and metadata.
  12. Optimize images with descriptive filenames and alt text.
  13. Create engaging and informative videos relevant to user intent.
  14. Optimize video titles and descriptions with targeted keywords.
  15. Monitor the performance of optimized content using analytics tools.
  16. Adjust strategies based on performance metrics and user engagement.
  17. Stay updated with search engine algorithm changes and SERP feature updates.
  18. Continuously refine content to match evolving user search behaviors.
  19. Experiment with various content formats to maximize SERP feature visibility.
  20. Seek professional assistance if needed for advanced optimization techniques.

By following these steps, you can systematically optimize your content to leverage SERP features, enhancing your online visibility and establishing a strong digital presence.

This article was updated on December 22, 2023.  

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

Comments (6)
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6 Replies to “Quick Reference Guide to Common Google SERP Features”

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