The State of SERP Features in 2024 [Study]

Google is increasingly displaying SERP features year after year, aiming to provide searchers with the best possible experience. However, these features aren’t always beneficial for content creators.

Essentially, SERP features are elements on the search engine results pages (SERPs) that aren’t traditional organic results.

Some, like Featured Snippets or Knowledge Panels, offer answers to the users’ questions directly on the SERP, effectively “stealing” clicks from websites since people don’t need to click through to find their answers.

And now, with Google rolling out the Search Generative Experience (SGE) that displays AI-generated answers on SERPs, SEO specialists are growing increasingly concerned, facing uncertainty about the future of SEO.

I decided to find out how frequently Google shows various SERP features in 2024. Fortunately, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer offers a feature accessible to all paid users, enabling me to conduct this study without the need for scraping, integrations, or database analysis.

Methodology

Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer allows you to perform a blank search, essentially listing all the keywords in Ahrefs’ database in a selected country, which you can then filter in any way you like.

The US database, with its 1.1 billion keywords, is the largest among all countries in Ahrefs, so I’ll be using it for my research.

However, Ahrefs doesn’t store SERP data for all of these keywords because the majority have a very low search volume.

Only 27.1 million keywords, or 2.5%, have a search volume of at least 100 searches per month.

To ensure that Ahrefs has the SERP data for the keyword, I applied the following filter: “Keyword Difficulty from 0 to 100.”

Keyword Difficulty in Ahrefs is determined by the backlink profiles of the search results. This guarantees that there’s SERP data for these keywords, which means data on SERP features is also included.

That gave me 135.5 million keywords to work with.

Next, I applied filters for various SERP features available in Ahrefs one by one to see how frequently they appear:

Results

Here are the results:

SERP FeatureFrequency
Featured Snippet19.4%
Local Pack7.2%
Sitelinks15.5%
Top Stories4.7%
Image Pack51.6%
Videos4.8%
Discussions and Forums16.5%
Tweets1.2%
Ads0.7%
Top Ads0.3%
Bottom Ads0.5%
Paid Sietlinks0.6%
Shopping Results11.6%
Knowledge Card1.3%
Knowledge Panel14.1%
People Also Ask64.4%
Thumbnail53.9%
No SERP Features7.2%

Featured Snippets 19.4%

A featured snippet is a specific organic search result that includes a summary of an answer to a user’s query, extracted from one of the web pages.

In 2024, a featured snippet appears in every fifth search on Google.

Local Pack 7.2%

The Local Pack, also known as the Map Pack, Snack Pack, or Google 3-Pack, is a local search result that displays a map and three local business listings relevant to the search query.

Sitelinks 15.5%

Sitelinks are links to other pages or sections within a page that appear beneath some of Google’s search results.

This is particularly interesting. When I conducted similar research last year, the frequency of Sitelinks was 90%. This indicates that Google has drastically reduced the display of Sitelinks recently.

Top Stories 4.7%

Top stories is a SERP feature that appears for news-oriented queries.

Image Pack 51.6%

Image packs contain a series of images from various websites, relevant to the search query.

Videos 4.8%

Discussions and Forums 16.5%

“Discussions and Forums” is the most recent SERP feature added by Google, and it already appears in 16.5% of searches, sending traffic to Reddit, Quora, TripAdvisor, and other similar websites with user-generated content and discussions.

Tweets 1.2%

Ads 0.7%

This might be the most counterintuitive statistic: Google ads appear in less than 1% of searches.

Nowadays, search ads on Google are labeled as “Sponsored.”

Top Ads 0.28%

Bottom Ads 0.48%

Surprisingly, ads at the bottom of the SERP appear twice as frequently as the Top Ads.

Paid Sitelinks 0.61%

Paid sitelinks appear under both Top and Bottom Ads. It appears that 87% of ads on Google search have sitelinks.

Shopping Results 11.6%

Knowledge Card 1.25%

A Knowledge Card is a quick answer to the user’s question or even a handy tool, like a calculator or converter, provided by Google. Unlike Featured Snippets, the data for Knowledge Cards is taken from Google’s own databases and services, such as dictionaries, weather forecasts, translators, stock data, etc.

Knowledge panel 14.1%

A Knowledge Panel is an information box displayed on the right side of Google’s SERPs about entities—objects or concepts that can be distinctly identified, such as people, places, and things.

The information is sourced from Google’s Knowledge Graph and now also from individual websites.

Interestingly, the frequency of Knowledge Panels (14%) is approximately similar to that of Featured Snippets (19%).

People Also Ask 64%

“People Also Ask” (sometimes shown as “Also Asked”) is a block that features additional questions related to the search query, along with quick answers to them.

Appearing in 64% of searches, it is the most prominent SERP feature in 2024.

Thumbnail 53.9%

A thumbnail SERP feature is an image from a webpage shown next to the organic search result.

No SERP Features 7.2%

Only 7.2% of searches trigger zero featured snippets. These SERPs contain only organic search results.

That’s an unusual look, right? 🙂

Final Thoughts

As you can see, SERP features appear for 92.% of searches on Google. So they are the reality of today’s search SEOs need to live with.

Advanced keyword research tools, like Ahrefs, offer invaluable insights into the SERP landscape, presenting opportunities for websites to boost their visibility and engagement through SERP features. It also helps identify keywords that, despite their high search volume, are unlikely to drive traffic to a website.

Nick is a product marketer and a seasoned SEO specialist at Ahrefs. He is also a regular contributor to the Ahrefs Blog, dedicating his remaining time to enhancing the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar.