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New Research Shows SERP Rich Media Features Vary by Industry

Dec 27, 2021   |   SEO
New Research Shows SERP Rich Media Features Vary by Industry

Rich media and rich results in the SERPs are significant entities and points of entry for discovery in the customer journey. Rich media usually take more effort to create, but sites that do create it and mark it up effectively with structured data face less competition in those media categories and are able to increase visibility and traffic.

Rich results findings overview

  1. Rich results proportions vary dramatically by industry
  2. Rich results visibility generally follows E-A-T guidelines:
    • Reviews growing in most industries (Trust)
    • FAQs and People Also Ask also growing (Authority)
    • Significant gains were seen in the Knowledge Panel and Site Links visibility (Expertise)
  3. Industries that are likely to be more knowledge-seeking saw larger gains in FAQs and People Also Ask.

Methodology and Data Collection

The dataset covers a cross-section of industries: Healthcare, Hotels, Insurance, Restaurants, Food, Security, Retail, and FinServ, covering 420 companies, typically the largest in the industry, and billions of visits over 12 months from October 2020 to September 2021. The data was sourced from SEMrush.

These charts represent the proportional frequency of inclusion of these major elements in the SERPs and are not exclusive, meaning that SERPs can contain multiple elements and therefore contribute more than one element to the mix and count from one SERP observation.

Cross-industry findings:

Rich media across top industries

Three SERP categories are driven by question content with 38.4% representation:

1) FAQs, 2) People Also Ask, and 3) Rich Snippets. Milestone finds that question content is very aligned with the fundamental purpose of search engines providing answers to search queries. Reviews had significant visibility, showing up in 32% of SERPs in September 2021. Image Pack shows a declining trend throughout the year, dropping from 20% to 12% in September. Other elements are relatively stable throughout the observation period.

Read the full report, download now.

Rich media in the SERPs in the hotel industry

The question content elements have very high representation in the hotel industry with 38.3% of SERPs. FAQs at 19.9% are more visible than People Also Ask at 18.4%, which is unique among industries studied. This underscores the tremendous opportunity for hotels to identify and answer the specific questions people are asking about their properties and more generally about the sites and attractions surrounding their properties.

It also shows a growing trend for Site Links, which allow for deep links below the main SERP listing show significant growth 14.5% to 23.3% or 60% growth during the observation period. SERPs in this industry favor Image Pack over individual images.

Rich media in the SERPs in the financial industry

The question content elements have very high representation in the finserv industry with 48.2% of SERPs. FAQs at 10.9% are less visible than People Also Ask at 23.7% and Rich Snippets at 3.9%, which suggests the search engine is working to answer more information-seeking and generic knowledge questions. Finserv providers should address both generic and specific branded questions.

It also shows strong visibility for the Local Pack, so finserv companies should optimize and complete Google My Business for each location.

Rich media in the SERPs in the restaurant industry

Restaurants show a fairly balanced distribution of elements with Images highest at 29.5% and Image Pack at 19.9%, which suggests that people want to see the food and potential experience to make a reservation booking decision. Knowledge Panel shows some growth from 15.5% to 17.8% over the observation period.

Strategic Takeaways

  1. Understand the dominant rich media types in your industry.
  2. Plan to create more rich media content.
  3. Use structured data, schema markup, to propel your rich media into top positions in the SERPs.
  4. Invest in the platforms and reporting necessary to track rich media appearance and performance.
  5. Consult with a provider with deep understanding and proven experience saturating the SERPs with rich media.

If you would like assistance assessing your rich media opportunities, contact us at [email protected].

Read the full report, download now.

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