What is a SERP feature? [And Which Ones You Need for Your TMS Clinic]

Oct 09th 2020

What is a SERP feature? [And Which Ones You Need for Your TMS Clinic]

To enhance the user experience and deliver maximum value, Google displays some of its search results in special formats. These formats are known as “SERP features” (full for “search engine results page features”).

If you’re curious about Google SERP features and how they can benefit your TMS therapy clinic’s website, you’ll find your answers in this article.

Let’s get started.

What are SERP Features?

SERP feature are entries and/or elements in the Google search results – aside from the traditional organic results (the top ten blue links) – that display information in special ways. 

Here are the four main types of SERP features and how they differ from the typical search results:

  • Knowledge Graph – it is a database that collects data for most frequently searched keywords and the search intent behind them. Using this data set, Google displays information (people, places, facts, etc.) in a way that it interconnects with a searcher’s search query. Depending upon the semantic search, knowledge graph results are displayed in two different ways – knowledge card and knowledge panel. The following image is the perfect example of a knowledge card: 
TMS - people also ask FAQ questions
  • Universal Results – this feature displays data in the form of links, image packs, google maps, videos, google shopping results, google news, and more (depending on the user intent). Universal results (also referred to as “boxes”) appear on top of the SERP (or alongside the search results) with a separate frame that discriminates them from the top ten organic search results. 
Universal Results for SERP
  • Rich Snippets – also known as “rich results,” this feature displays a layer of additional information along with the standard google search results. This data is usually extracted from the source web page’s structured data (schema markup), making it more eye-catching than the regular search results. Rich snippets appear in the form of page reviews, location, address, event, etc. Here’s an example of a book’s rating:
Rich Snippets SERP
  • Paid Results – website owners pay Google Ads (formerly known as Google Adwords) to create pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-click (CPC) ads for specific keywords. Whenever a searcher types the target keyword in the search box, the (paid) results appear in the SERP with the “Ad” icon at the beginning of the URL. Have a look at the image below to see the example of a paid result.
paid ads for SERP

These SERP features add relevance to the search query, thereby providing richer results in the SERPs, providing higher click-through rates (CTR), and attracting more traffic.

Most Suitable SERP Features for a TMS Clinic

Using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and paid ads, you can bag different SERP features for your websites.

Here are some SERP features that every TMS website should aim for (and the methods you can apply to achieve them): 

  1. Google Ads

Google’s advertising platform enables website owners/advertisers to bid for specific keywords and display clickable ads in the Google search, non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos.

How to Obtain this Feature

You can obtain this feature by bidding the appropriate “estimated” amount on keywords relevant to “TMS therapy.” 

Keep in mind that the cost you pay per ad click will be based on your “Quality Score” – a metric that takes the overall quality of your ad, landing page, and keyword into consideration.

Learn more about Google Ads and how to create your ad campaigns from scratch. 

  1. Local Pack

Google displays this feature for keywords with “local intent” (i.e., users searching for local businesses). For example, when someone searches for “TMS therapy clinics near me,” Google displays the list of three physical locations most relevant to the search term. 

local pack for SERP

How to Obtain this Feature

Local businesses employ local SEO tactics to obtain this feature in the SERPs. Here’s how you can get started:

  • Create and optimize a Google My Business (GMB) listing for your website.
  • Add location pages to your website. 
  • Share consistent contact information across the internet (especially your Name, Address, and Phone Number – or “NAP” for short).

Finally, make sure to optimize your website for mobile devices. 

  1. Featured Snippet

When a user asks Google a question, it often traverses its index, extracts the most relevant answer (from the target page), and features it on top of the organic search results – as opposed to simply displaying 10 results. 

Known as “position zero,” Google encloses this answer in a box. That way, the users don’t have to spend much time looking for a short answer.

How to Obtain this Feature

Here’s what you should do to bag the featured snippet for a search term of your choice:

  • Add targeted questions and their direct answers in your content. A best-practice is to format the question in H2 or H3, and provide the answer in 40-50 words. You can also get a featured list snippet by adding bullet/number lists.
  • Create high-quality content (aim for positions 1-5 on the first page of Google SERPs).
  • Use an FAQ page to separately provide specific answers to the questions containing the target keyword. 

More importantly, know what the searchers are looking for in their search queries. 

  1. Site Links

Google displays subpages of a website to help the user efficiently navigate through different webpages. These hyperlinked subpages are known as site links. 

site links for website TMS

How to Obtain this Feature

Site links could be achieved if:

  • The search term is a branded term. For example, in this case, the name of the clinic.
  • The website has high traffic and is a large branded site.

Additionally, you can optimize the SearchAction schema markup on your website to obtain this feature.

  1. Image Packs

An image pack entails a horizontal carousel of Google images related to the search query. It contains thumbnails of images that click through to a Google Images search. Here’s how it looks in the SERPs.

image pack for SERP

How to Obtain this Feature

Below are a few ways Google may consider an image to be part of the image pack:

  • The image size is optimized.
  • The file name is descriptive.
  • The image has a descriptive alt text.

More importantly, it helps if you optimize the title of the image for the target keyphrase.

  1. Related Questions

Ever seen a “people also ask” section in your SERPs?

That’s Google’s algorithmically generated questions that are most relevant to your search query. Below is the “Related Questions” card for the search query “How does TMS therapy help?”.

related questions for SERP

Each question expands into specific answers shown by Google in the form of “Featured Snippets.”

How to Obtain this Feature

Aiming for a featured snippet can help you reference your site in the SERPs if it is related to the searcher’s query.

However, as an additional effort, you can track the questions (in the “people also ask” section) containing the keyword and try adding their answers in your content. 

Final Thoughts

Considering the special positions they take in the SERPs, it’s safe to say that appearing for different SERP features can go a long way in improving the flux of traffic to your website.

The catch? To improve your website’s quality with SEO best practices.

This entails is to create high quality content, deliver a positive user-experience to your end-users, and promoting your TMS clinic online.

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