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The Top SERP Features in 2024 — Whiteboard Friday


So, some of these stories become more interesting when, instead of presence, we look at share of voice. So, share of voice is a metric we have in STAT that, rather than just looking at how many SERPs a feature appears on, looks at how prominently it appears.

So you might have looked at something like this yourself if you’ve ever tried to estimate traffic by looking at click-through rates and volumes and this kind of thing. So basically, if more searchers see something in position one as opposed to position 10, then a feature will be rewarded for that in share of voice, and it’s getting a lot more visibility.

So, when we look at the top five by share of voice, we get a very different ranking.

Places

Notably, we have places which didn’t even make it into the top five for presence. Places is now in position one for share of voice.

What that reflects is that although a lot of SERPs obviously don’t have a local pack, place is another word for local pack; when it does appear, it’s big, and it’s at the top.

So, this is actually down a little bit in share of voice year-on-year, even though that’s not true for presence for this feature. So, what that reflects is that Google may be more willing to put something above a local pack than it was a year ago.

Carousel

Now carousel, we’ve talked about a little bit already, and I think the increase in share of voice for carousel reflects that a lot of different kinds of a feature are sort of gradually moving up in prominence as opposed to organic.

Knowledge Graph

The Knowledge Graph change is mainly driven by smartphone SERPs. STAT is a rank tracker, obviously, so we’re interested in the main column of search results, not the sidebar. So, if I say Knowledge Graph, you might think of the sidebar that you often get, which is sort of Wikipedia-focused. This is not about that.

This is about the things you get in the main column of rankings, for example, dictionary results, currency conversion, and weather. If you ever search for like the cast of a film or something like that and you get these big Knowledge Graph results at the top of the SERP, these have gone up significantly year-on-year, and that’s especially true, hugely true on smartphone.

Again, there are a lot of things crowding out organic basically on smartphone at this point.

People also ask

Then people also ask, so this is a little bit down, so appearing further down the SERP year-on-year, but I think because we talked about how it was roughly even on presence and yet it’s gone down in share of voice. So that indicates it’s probably just moved down the SERP even when it’s still appearing.

So this is based on current sort of public SERPs. But if you do look at opt-in SGE sort of test SERPs, in a lot of cases, PAA is replaced by a feature called or what we are calling ask a follow-up question, which takes you through to a chat interface.

So, this drop may be a sign of things to come; that Google could be looking at different ways of solving this problem in the future.

News

Then news, again, this looks like a small drop because it’s 1.3% to 0.9%, but that’s actually quite large. That’s in the region of a third less share of voice because news results don’t appear on that many SERPs, so this ends up being quite a significant change.

This is actually driven by just fewer SERPs having a news result on them even than last year. In a lot of cases, we think this might be driven by an increase in features like discussions and forums, which is kind of interesting because there’s certainly much more disinformation risk with a feature like discussions and forums than there would be with news, where Google has in the past been quite rigorous with what they’ll accept as a news result. We’ve also seen Google removing the News tab in some tests from search results.

So this is, again, maybe a sign of things to come, but not that rosy a sign of things to come, I’m afraid.

Organic

Similarly, with organic, you see 40% to 34%. It’s getting increasingly rare to see organic links as the top items on a SERP, and that is particularly true on smartphone.

It’s actually down to 28%. I’ve written that quite poorly, but it’s down to 28% now on smartphone, which, again, that’s a very small number, really. That’s getting close to only a quarter of share of voice going to organic results on smartphone SERPs.

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