Everyone wants to be on the first page of Google’s search engine results page (SERP) but what that means is more confusing today than ever. Do you want to be number one in the organic section of the first page? Do you want to be number one in the ads section of the first page? Do you want to be number one for the local results that show up on the first page? Do you want to show up in a position zero widget box?

Google’s SERP is no longer just organic and paid positions. There are a lot of components to the SERP and we’re going to cover some of the more popular ones in this post.

Position Zero

This is the featured snippet block at the very top of the SERP. Google tells us that a featured snippet block may show up at the top of the SERP when someone asks a question in Google. The featured snippet block will then include the answer to the question. The answer will be content that is on a website that Google has determined to be the best resource to answer the question that the user asked. In addition to the answer, there will also be a link back to the website page that the answer came from.

Should you work to get your content listed in a featured snippet? Yes! There are a couple of reasons that you will want to target this SERP feature.

  • Authority: Being selected, by Google, as “the answer” to the question gives your business the position of the authority on the subject as far as the searcher is concerned.
  • Clicks: The featured snippet box does steal clicks from the #1 organic listing. According to Ahrefs, the #1 position, when there isn’t a featured snippet will get (on average) 26% of all clicks. When there is a featured snippet on the page the #1 position will only get 19.6% of all clicks. That’s a 28% decline in clicks for the #1 position!

Local Knowledge Panel

The knowledge panel shows up on the SERP when someone searches for a business. The knowledge panel is really useful for local businesses when people do a search for your brand or business name. The knowledge panel can contain a lot of information, but it’s up to you to optimize your business for the knowledge panels to get that information. Some of the most used features of the knowledge panel are:

  • Photos & Videos: Use pictures to get attention for your business. More photos are a known motivator for a user to click on and get more information, and videos will always have a major impact on searchers.
  • Map: The map in the knowledge panel is a link to Google maps that will take the user to a map showing your business location. If you’ve not optimized your business for this, there is a chance that where Google thinks your business is (and shows that location on the map) may not be accurate, sending people to the wrong place.
  • Exterior Photo: When you’ve optimized your business properly, the exterior picture of your business will become a link to the street view of your business location, within Google maps.
  • Website Button: This is a link directly to your company website. What a great way to drive people right to your website. The trick here is to make sure that the link you optimize for the knowledge panel takes the visitor to a page that makes sense (maybe a page with your store hours). Don’t just send them to the home page of your site.
  • Directions Button: This is a great feature to offer the people that are looking for your business. When someone clicks on this button it takes them to Google maps, same as when they click on the Map, but this time the directions panel opens up with your address pre-populated. All they have to do is put in the location that they are starting at and they’ll get turn-by-turn directions right to your location.
  • Reviews: Reviews matter! Don’t get trapped into thinking that you can get away without using reviews as a marketing tool. Your future customers will look for them and as you can see here, Google is promoting reviews.

There are a lot more areas that you can optimize your business for the knowledge panel but these will be the most important.

Site links is basically an extended snippet that you can optimize for that includes direct links to certain pages within your website. All of the links in this snippet have to be under one domain and it typically shows up when someone searches for your company or brand. The beauty to the Site Links snippet is that you are able to drive the searcher directly to the area of your site that they’re going to be most interested in.

There are a couple of benefits that you’ll get from optimizing for site links.

  • Real Estate: First, as you can see in the screenshot, by showing up in a site link snippet you’re commanding a bunch of real estate at the top of the SERP page that’s above the fold. Always a good thing.
  • Trust: When you searchers see site links for your site, it’s a sign that Google trusts your website enough to give it site links and if Google trusts your site, chances are great that the searcher will, too.
  • Brand Awareness: Because the site links lead to the most important pages on your site like the About Us, Product, and Service pages, people are going to get a better understanding of what you do.

Local Pack

The local 3-Pack is a widget that returns the results of places and businesses that are close to the searcher’s geographic location. Even though there are more than 3 listings in the local snippet, there are only 3 that show up by default. This means that these 3 listings represent highly important listing spots for local businesses and optimizing your business to show up in these spots could have a large impact on your business.

Any time that Google determines a search has ‘local intent’, it will show a Local 3-Pack at the top of the results page. That means if your business focuses primarily on a local geography (i.e. retail stores) then, if you’ve optimized for it, when someone searches on your product or service and they are in your area, or if they use your area in the search, then you have an opportunity to show up in this local search snippet.