A Crash Course on Google SERP Features

A Crash Course on Google SERP Features

What is SERP?

SERP is an easy acronym; Search Engine Response Page.  As Google has unofficially claimed the title of Most Popular Search Engine, we will be focusing on the implements that it uses in its SERP.  

The first page, the first few entries in particular, is prime, digital real estate that businesses covet when their customers Google certain keywords or phrases, for example,  “dog groomer Londonderry.”

But Googling has changed considerably in the past semi-decade.  We can browse the Web with mobile phones and even voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Home.  We have done away with meaningless right sidebar ads, and have ushered in the phase of “answer boxes.” 

What are answer boxes? 

These answer boxes have increased the amount of  “no-click” searches; (i.e. searches answered right on the Google results page).  The top box has been coined as “position zero” (for “zero-click”) ever since 2014, and it is the term for the collection of snippets provided by Google.  Position zero, for example, is where one might find details concerning an actor’s age, height, marriage information, as well as filmography.  

Featured snippets normally appear in response to queries including inquisitive words such as ‘who, what, where, when, why, how, etc.’  Ergo, position zero is formatted in three ways:

  1. Paragraph featured snippets: An answer in the form of a paragraph.
  2. List featured snippets: A bulleted or numbered list.
  3. Table featured snippets: Answer delivered in the form of a table.

Position Zero pulls from the top ten organic search results. Displayed in the box is a summary of the answer as a webpage extraction, as well as a link to the page, the page title, and the URL.

Google cherrypicks the content for position zero in accordance to its relevance to the search phrase/question and other search engine optimization (SEO) ranking factors of the host domain.

Search engines do not exist in a business-less vacuum.  Their consumer efficiency is key to staying afloat in a worldwide web of search engines.  

Mobile searches are increasing (even by 2016, nearly 60% of searches came from mobile devices and these numbers are not likely to falter any time soon.  A number which as risen considerably is the percentage of voice-assisted search queries, from implements such as Siri and Alexa. 

In the past 12 months, 58% of U.S. consumers used voice search to find local business. 20% of mobile searches on Google area made via voice.  When people use their voice assistants, they tend to prefer AI units which respond in a conversational tone. (ex: “Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, in Hodgenville Kentucky”), versus an AI which simply regurgitates the SERP (ex: “Where’s what I found for Abraham Lincoln birthdate”).  

If voice assistants continue to improve, marketers may be seeing a decrease in organic Internet traffic, so we have to step our game up to stay in the game.  Either your consumers will be finding the answers to their questions right within the search engines or the content appearing in position zero is from a website other than yours.  In both situations, you are not getting those visits to your website.  

Therefore, we have to optimize content FOR position zero.  It is not an obstacle, but a tool we can use to our advantage. 

How to Optimize For Position Zero: 

  1. Produce content of a high enough caliber to rank on page one of Google (generally organic positions one through ten). Remember to narrow down to a single consumer focus (ex: dog groomer Londonderry NH). 
  2. Provide simple, consistent HTML code, thereby making it simple for users to add content optimized for featured snippets to any blog post or website.
  3. Cap your paragraph snippets to 50 words or less, keep the sentences in list snippets short.
  4. Clean up the formatting on any and all headers (specifically H2s and H3s) used in posts (and especially list posts).
  5. If an option, use <li> formatting for the items in a list post instead of  headers.
  6. Always include the keyword for which you are optimizing within the answer part of the featured snippet code.
  7. Bonus: Add a call to action which encourages the user to visit your site for more helpful information.

The Internet is in a constant state of evolution, a consensus which can be intimidating as well as frustrating.  As long as you focus your content in the right areas, you will be successful in the Google SERP battle royale for position zero.  

Contact Pearl Marketing today to learn how our marketing services can help your business improve performance. Contact us at (603) 732-9070 or [email protected] You can also visit us online at

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