How to Find Lucrative SERP Feature Opportunities to Dominate Page 1 in 2024

It‘s official: SERP features are the new must-win SEO battleground.

Your organic traffic and revenue depend on them. According to studies, owning just 1-2 key SERP features can increase your CTR by over 150%!

Featured snippets alone steal ~50% of all clicks, on average. So if you‘re still optimizing just for the classic 10 blue links, you‘re missing out big time.

In this expert guide, I share my proven step-by-step framework for finding, prioritizing, and winning the most valuable SERP features in any industry. Plus, get my top free tools, real examples, and advanced tips.

You‘ll learn:

  • The 10 most clickable SERP features to target
  • How to uncover untapped SERP opportunities in your niche
  • Best practices for winning featured snippets, PAA, and more
  • 5 free tools for uncovering SERP feature gaps
  • Common SERP challenges & how to beat them
  • New Google trends redefining SERP features in 2024

Let‘s dive in!

The 10 Top SERP Features to Target in 2024

Google‘s SERPs now feature over 20 prominent non-traditional organic results, each playing a key role in driving traffic for specific keywords. But some have bigger potential than others.

Based on my own client data and case studies, here are the top 10 most impactful SERP features worth optimizing for:

SERP Feature SEO Impact Tips to Win
Featured snippets +20-30% CTR on average Use Q&A content, <40-50 words, target long-tail keywords
People Also Ask Shows for 60% of queries, opens more FS opportunities Optimize FAQs, use accordion formatting, question-based headers
Video results 90% of consumers want more video content Create high-quality, keyword-focused video embeds
Image packs Visuals above-the-fold attract attention Include unique, keyword-rich images in posts
Review stars Increases trust & CTR Implement review schema, show aggregated rating
Site links Occupy more SERP real estate Use a clear site hierarchy, internal linking, unique page titles
Top stories Ideal for trending topics Use fresh content, proper news markup (if eligible)
Local pack Vital for local businesses Optimize Google Business Profile, build local citations
Knowledge panel Boosts branded searches Use consistent NAP, Wikipedia page, schema
Shopping results Key for ecommerce Competitive pricing, keyword-rich titles, descriptive schema

Of course, not all SERP features will apply to every site or industry. In the next section, I‘ll show you how to determine which specific opportunities you should focus on.

Step-by-Step: How to Find Untapped SERP Feature Opportunities

Ready to uncover the most lucrative SERP opportunities in your niche? Follow these 5 steps:

1. Carry Out Comprehensive Keyword Research

Every good SEO strategy starts with keyword research – and finding SERP features is no different. You need to know what searches your audience actually uses to find your content.

My favorite keyword research tools include:

  • Ahrefs Keywords Explorer: Provides keyword ideas, volume, difficulty, and SERP feature data
  • AlsoAsked: Finds related questions searchers ask, great for PAA and Featured Snippet opportunities
  • Answer The Public: Visualizes questions, prepositions, and phrases related to your seed keyword

I recommend building a master spreadsheet of 50-100 target keywords, categorized by topic and mapped to your key landing pages. Include metrics like monthly search volume, organic difficulty scores, and current ranking position (if any).

Focus on question-based keywords and long-tail phrases for the best chance at earning SERP features like Featured Snippets and PAA. Keywords like:

  • "how to train for a marathon"
  • "best CRM software for small business"
  • "signs of brake wear"
  • "vegan keto breakfast recipes"

2. Analyze Current SERP Feature Gaps

Next, it‘s time to analyze your prime keyword SERPs to see which features show up now and which competitors own them.

You can certainly do this manually – just Google each keyword (one by one) and note any SERP features on Page 1. But this gets tedious fast, especially with long keyword lists.

That‘s where SERP feature research tools come in handy:

For each target keyword, note:

  • Which SERP features appear on Page 1
  • Who currently ranks in each feature
  • Your domain‘s current position (if ranking)
  • Unique content/format of ranking pages

3. Prioritize the Most Valuable Opportunities

At this point, you should have a spreadsheet populated with dozens of potential SERP feature opportunities. But not all will be viable to go after.

I like to use conditional formatting to highlight keywords that meet certain criteria like:

  • Search volume above 100
  • Keyword difficulty below 50
  • Our domain ranks in Top 20
  • Competitors with weaker/older content currently own the SERP feature

Then, I sort the sheet by search volume to hone in on the lowest hanging fruit. Generally, I recommended starting with opportunities where:

  • You already have a relevant, ranking landing page to optimize (vs. creating something new)
  • There are non-SERP feature results ranking you could overtake
  • The content format (paragraph, list, table, etc.) is a fit for your site
  • Winning would attract qualified traffic likely to convert

4. Optimize Existing Content to Improve SERP Visibility

With your SERP feature hit list prioritized, I recommend starting with your existing content first. Pages already indexed and ranking are the quickest wins.

For each page:

  1. Confirm the primary keyword you‘re targeting
  2. Review the content format and completeness vs. competing pages owning the SERP feature now
  3. Edit the page title, meta description, subheaders, and body content to better match the searcher‘s intent and the desired SERP feature format
  4. Ensure your page directly answers the query quickly and clearly in the first paragraph
  5. Implement relevant structured data, like FAQ Page or HowTo schema
  6. Refresh the post‘s published date to send positive freshness signals
  7. Build internal links from related pages with optimized anchor text
  8. Fetch and request indexing of the updated URL in Google Search Console

5. Create New, Laser-Targeted Content to Fill SERP Gaps

To go after net new SERP features, you‘ll need corresponding content on your site. When creating SEO content specifically to win SERP features, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose one primary keyword to focus on per page
  • Analyze the user intent behind the query and the type of content that will satisfy it (text, video, list, tool, etc.)
  • Create the most comprehensive, visually engaging piece of content on that topic
  • Structure your content logically with keyword-focused titles, subheaders, and lists
  • Include Q&A content, complete with the questions as H2s/H3s
  • Incorporate eye-catching images, videos, and callouts (great for image/video packs)
  • Add jump links to key sections and/or a sticky table of contents to keep readers engaged
  • Build topic authority with internal and external links

Once live, be sure to link to your new pages from relevant existing content. Update any older posts on that topic to link to this new definitive resource.

Advanced Tips: How to Steal SERP Features from Competitors

Sometimes, overtaking a competitor that owns a SERP feature can be even more impactful than grabbing an empty spot.

In addition to making the optimization improvements above, try these techniques to unseat stubborn SERP rivals:

  1. One-up their content format. If they have a text-only featured snippet, add a video or custom graphic to your page.

  2. Use more current data and examples. Google loves fresh content. Update your statistics, sprinkle in hot topics, and highlight your last modified date.

  3. Create longer, more in-depth content. The average content length of a top-ranking page is 1,400+ words. Shoot for 2,000+ words for competitive topics.

  4. Build more authoritative backlinks. Links remain one of Google‘s top ranking factors. Use broken link building, guest posts, and digital PR to earn high-quality links to your page.

  5. Improve your page speed and UX. Core Web Vitals are now ranking factors. Compress images, minify code, and remove intrusive pop-ups.

  6. Localize your content. If a query has local intent (e.g. "best chiropractor"), include your city/state in your title, subheaders, and meta tags. Embed a Google Map.

5 Free Tools for Finding SERP Feature Opportunities

While enterprise tools are great for competitive analysis and bulk keyword research, there are plenty of free options to find SERP features to get started:

  1. Google Search: Manually review Page 1-2 results for your target keywords. Look for recurring features and note formats and content types.

  2. MozBar SERP Overlay: View key on-page metrics as you browse SERPs and competitor content. Highlights SERP features.

  3. Keywords Everywhere: Browser extension that adds keyword search volume, CPC, and competitive data to SERPs. Helpful for prioritizing opportunities.

  4. Keyword Surfer: Another handy extension that shows estimated global and monthly search volumes for any query. Also displays a similarity score.

  5. SEOquake: Comprehensive SEO toolbar that integrates with SERPs to show key metrics like indexed pages, links, age, and more. Handy competitive analysis tool.

Using a combination of these free research tools, it‘s easy to compile an initial list of SERP feature opportunities without spending a dime.

3 Common SERP Feature Challenges & How to Beat Them

While the potential payoff is huge, winning SERP features is rarely easy – especially in competitive niches. Expect to face obstacles like:

  1. Lack of topic relevance. You can‘t win SERP features for topics not directly relevant to your site. Focus on searches that best fit your brand, audience, and areas of expertise.

  2. Entrenched competitors. Large, authoritative domains can be incredibly hard to unseat from SERP features. Pick your battles carefully and be willing to play the long game.

  3. Aggressive paid ads. Paid SERP real estate has expanded significantly and can push organic results below the fold. Target longer, specific keywords less likely to generate ads.

To overcome these challenges, focus on creating 10X better content than what currently ranks. Make yours more comprehensive, current, and well-formatted. Build links and promote it strategically.

Also, prioritize less competitive keywords in your vertical. Long-tail keywords with smaller search volumes tend to have more featured snippets available.

New SERP Features in 2024 & Beyond

Google never stops experimenting with new SERP layouts, features, and visuals. Expect them to keep adapting to better satisfy evolving searcher needs and expectations.

Some key SERP feature trends and predictions I‘m watching in 2024:

  • Snippet answers: Google now often displays a single answer to the query right at the top of the SERP, even before the first organic result. Expect them to expand this to more keywords.
  • Multimedia SERPs: More engaging SERP features like embedded videos, podcasts, VR content, and image carousels will capture attention and drive clicks on mobile.
  • Enhanced shopping: Product visuals, filters, and comparison tables will help shoppers complete their purchase journeys without leaving the SERP.
  • AI-powered instant answers: Google‘s AI language model can now interpret the meaning and context behind queries to generate its own answers. More searches will display these AI-generated responses.

To future-proof your SERP feature strategy, be sure to incorporate multimedia elements, structured markup, and Q&A content into your key landing pages.

Key Takeaways for Winning SERP Features in 2024

Obtaining SERP features is one of the most effective SEO tactics to supercharge your organic CTR, brand visibility, and bottom line.

But it requires a focused strategy, starting with identifying the right feature opportunities for your site.

To recap, here‘s how to find and win the SERP features that matter most:

  1. Target question-based keywords with research tools
  2. Analyze current rankings and content gaps
  3. Prioritize opportunities you can win quickly
  4. Optimize existing content for relevance and UX
  5. Create new top-of-funnel content to expand your footprint
  6. Implement Q&A formats, structured schema, and multimedia
  7. Build topic authority with internal links and external backlinks
  8. Promote content strategically to earn engagement signals
  9. Track SERP feature rankings and adjust course as needed
  10. Plan for emerging SERP trends to stay ahead of the curve

By following this proven framework and investing in quality content and strategic promotion, you can start earning more SERP features and reaping the rewards of significantly higher organic traffic.

It‘s your turn – put this process into practice and let me know how it goes. Here‘s to your future SERP feature wins! 🙌