The way that Google displays information is constantly evolving, they are forever creating new features to display information, many of which you will have seen while surfing the web.

Although these SERP features are part of SEO, many people don’t even know what all of these features are or how to optimise your site to appear in them… which is why we have explained 31 of these features for you!

These features are split into 4 categories

  1. Knowledge Graphs
  2. PPC Advertising Results
  3. Organic Search Results
  4. Local Search Results

Knowledge Graphs

Knowledge Panels

Also referred to as Knowledge Graph cards – They include images, high-level details, and category-specific information. If you search for a company like Amazon, for example, you’ll find stock prices, subsidiaries, customer service, and other key information.

When they appear: Knowledge Panels appear when you search for specific people, places, organizations, events, movies, shows, books, albums, and things.

How to get featured: There’s no guaranteed way but they heavily rely on existing databases like Wikipedia and Wikidata.



A series of images with captions related to your search. These images are clickable, and selecting one sends you to a new SERP for that specific person, place, or thing. Carousels may take slightly different forms depending on the number of items.

When they appear: Carousels appear when you search for a list or collection of related items instead of one specific thing

How to get featured: According to Google developers, if you have content on courses, movies, recipes, or restaurants, you can create structured data (schema markup) based on that content:

    <title>Best cookie recipes</title>
    <script type="application/ld+json">
      Here are the best cookie recipes of all time.
      Peanut Butter Cookies
      This <a href="">Peanut Butter Cookie recipe</a> is the tastiest one you'll find.

Answer Boxes

Also known as direct answers, rich answers, and quick answers, these are uncited results (meaning they won’t ever link to your page) that directly answer basic questions using public domain knowledge.

Answer boxes take many forms, including:
  • Reformatted Knowledge Panel (answer plus expandable links)
  • Simple answer box (no expand option)
  • Unit converter
  • Calculator
  • Dictionary
  • Google Translate

When they appear: Answer boxes take different forms depending on the questions people ask. Some questions result in what is basically a reformatted Knowledge Panel,

Note: According to Rank Ranger, direct answers show up in less than 1% of all searches.

See Results About

Moz calls these “disambiguation boxes.” Originally, this primarily relied on user feedback, and certain search terms would prompt Google to basically say, “Wait, what did you mean?” when you got to the SERP. Today, the disambiguation process largely happens while you’re still typing your search.

When they appear: These are typically tucked away below the Knowledge Panel (on the right on the desktop)

eg. search ‘seal’


Google Posts

Post from a company’s Google My Business page – images, videos, events. Intended to share recent updates about a brand.

When they appear: Google Posts are connected to your brand’s Knowledge Panel, so they only appear in branded search



Text Ads

The most basic ads you can create in Adwords. You’ll see them at the top and bottom of SERPs with a little tag that says “Ad.”



Call-Only Ads

Ads that prominently display your business’s phone number with a special link that starts a phone call. You’re most likely to see these ads on a mobile search.


Product Shopping Ads

For when someone knows what they want to buy, but they’re not sure where to buy it from. These ads are image-focused but include some text. Google uses your inventory in the Merchant Center to create more visually appealing ads for individual products.

When they appear: Product shopping ads appear when someone searches for a specific product.

Showcase shopping ads

Image-focused, and present your ad in a carousel with competitors. Google creates these ads using your Merchant Center inventory. Showcase shopping ads are more likely to appear when Google determines someone hasn’t decided what they want to buy or where they want to buy it from.

When they appear: Showcase shopping ads appear in SERPs when someone searches for a category of products, as opposed to a specific product.



Featured Snippets (Position 0)

Also known as ‘position zero’ results. They’re designed to provide only the information someone is looking for. They appear as tables, google for jobs, people also ask, and rich cards.

When they appear: All featured snippets are designed to answer a question, whether it’s explicit or implied by the search.

How to get featured: 

  1. keyword research
  2. consistency across website content
  3. structure content for the read eg. questions and answer

Top Stories

Show you recent articles about your topic from (mostly) trusted news sources.

When they appear: The top stories section only appears when you search for things people are actually talking about.


Google Reviews

Some organic results include a rating out of five stars and the number of ratings. These ratings only come from Google Reviews.

When they appear: Google says Reviews show up under your business listing once you have at least one. They’ll appear in searches related to your business



Occasionally, you’ll see a special SERP feature that includes recent tweets from a brand or person. This shows that a brand is highly active on social and provides a more informal source of information in the SERP. And since tweets are 280 characters or less, they can appear in full in a SERP without taking up too much real estate.

When they appear: According to a Twitter indexing study from Stone Temple, only about 5% of tweets get indexed and popular tweets are more likely.


Video Results

There are two video features that may show up in regular search results: featured videos and video thumbnails.

When they appear: Featured videos only appear when someone searches for a specific video. Strangely, as in the Bud Light example above, third parties can outrank brands in searches for their own videos by writing more relevant titles. Video thumbnails appear when the video’s title, tags, and description indicate that it can satisfy the search, even when someone isn’t explicitly searching for a video.

  1. Featured videos
    A huge, prominent screenshot right at the top of the SERP with a link to the video on YouTube, the title of the video, and the name of the YouTube channel it comes from.
  2. Video thumbnails
    Significantly smaller (they’re thumbnails after all), but they include a more detailed description. These videos don’t have to come from YouTube.

Image Results

There are several ways images may show up in SERPs.

When they appear: Image thumbnails almost always appear in recipe-related searches. Image results appear in searches for specific products and product categories, as well as other queries looking for visual information. Image mega-blocks generally only appear in a specific situation: when the search includes a phrase like “pictures of” or “photos of.”

  1. Thumbnail images
    Appear beside the description of a page. The image links to the page it comes from.
  2. Image results
    Include a series of top results from Google Images, with a link to the Google Images SERP for your search.
  3. Image “mega block” 
    (coined by MOZ) is the block of images that appear in some results


Breadcrumbs help people understand a page’s relationship to the categories on your website. URLs sometimes provide this information, but it’s clunky and can be hard to understand sometimes.

When they appear: Breadcrumbs appear if you have the correct breadcrumb markup on your site.


Sitelinks Searchbox

A Sitelinks Searchbox lets you search all of a website’s pages right on the SERP. This search happens within Google, not the website itself (unless the site has the necessary structured data), which means using this search box will create a new SERP. This SERP will only display results from the website that had the Sitelinks Searchbox.

When they appear: Sitelinks Searchboxes only appear in branded searches. They’re designed for people who are definitely trying to get to your website

How to get featured: 

  1. Set up a search engine on your website.
  2. Add the necessary structured data to tell Google what to do with it.
  3. Verify that everything is correct.


Similar to a Sitelinks Searchbox, sitelinks help people navigate to a specific page of your website. These additional links appear below your URL and description, and they link directly to your pages.

When they appear: These are most likely to show up in branded searches. But they may show up in other SERPs as well. If someone is searching for businesses in your category, sitelinks can help them find exactly what they’re looking for without leaving the SERP.



Local Packs

Local packs show Google Maps results, Google Reviews, hours of operation, and phone numbers for local businesses, with links to their websites. These results completely depend on where the searcher is located.

When they appear: Local packs appear when the search intent appears to indicate that someone is looking for a physical location.


Local Carousels

It’s a hybrid of the Knowledge Graph and Local Results functionality. It was a brief experiment that’s now almost extinct from SERPs.

When they appear: The remainder of this category are the results for museums, monuments, local celebrities, and a handful of other categories.


Local Knowledge Panel

Local Knowledge Panels are a special feature of the Knowledge Graph. They’re automatically generated, like regular Knowledge Panels, but they display information like location, business hours, contact information, and Google Maps.

When they appear: Local Knowledge Panels appear when someone nearby is looking for information about your company


What Do We Learn From This?

You can’t target your content to specific SERP features. But you can optimise your website and the content you create to make it more likely to appear in these features.

Explore what your audience is searching for and design the content that best satisfies that. That doesn’t always mean writing thousands of words about a topic. It might be a how-to video with an optimized title tag, and description. Or maybe it’s short, concise answers to complicated questions.

Want to learn more about SEO? Contact our SEO Experts!

Alice Baker
Digital Marketing Executive