It’s not all about the snippets. When digging through the piles of data for our research, we came across some surprising SEO tidbits that we thought you might like.

Over the past few weeks we’ve shared a ton of data and insights about featured snippets. But what about the 90 percent of high-CPC keywords that didn’t generate snippets? What can we learn about SEO by deconstructing those SERPs?

So we rolled up our lab coat sleeves and got to work dissecting roughly 900,000 SERPs to see which universal result types are most prominent on high-CPC SERPs and which domains are making the most appearances.

Data set overview

Before we get started, it’s important to emphasize that our data set is more than just a random bunch of keywords. We focused solely on high-CPC keywords in order to hone in on the most competitive SERPs.

As a reminder, here’s a small sampling of our data set:
  • Keywords analyzed: 999,868 (132 were perfect duplicates or returned invalid results.)
  • CPC range: US$9.55–$1,006.56
  • Search volume range: 10–2,740,000 average searches per month
  • Search results: 99,988,800 (up to 100 for each keyword)
  • Device: desktop
  • Market: United States, English (Google.com)

(And there’s plenty more where that came from over on our Featured snippet research methodology blog post. We get into greater detail and open-sourced over ten million rows of data. Just for you!)

For this particular analysis, we took 999,868 keywords, pulled the top 20 Google results from each SERP, and identified how many times we saw universal and regular results.

Here’s how our 19,997,360 results broke down:

seo insights: We looked at close to twenty million SERPs and here's what we discovered.
seo insights: We looked at close to twenty million SERPs and here's what we discovered.

Where do universal results land?

We looked at close to twenty million SERPs and here’s what we discovered.

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Drilling down into result type

Now let’s take a closer look at the top six result types and how they play out on a top 20 SERP.

First up on the roster is places, videos, and images:

Most places results are located in position 1-4, video results love position 6, and images favour the top spot.
Most places results are located in position 1-4, video results love position 6, and images favour the top spot.

We looked deep into the high-CPC SERPs

Here are the most common ranking positions for places, video, and images results.

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Places

The local three-pack places results (tracked as PlacesV3 in STAT) were by far the most common universal result type. With 390,617 occurrences on 131,714 SERPs (that’s counting each result individually within the three-pack), 13 percent of the keywords we analyzed came back with local results on a desktop search.

A quick glance at ranking position in the chart above and it’s clear that the majority of local results in our data set are the typical three-pack, sitting almost exclusively in the top four spots.

Want to dive deeper into local search SERPs? Download our STAT Guide: Strategies for local SERP tracking.

Videos

While it’s not entirely unexpected that video results are less common in position one, it is interesting to see how high they frequently do sit on the SERP — snug as a bug in position six. And unlike local results, which drop off the SERP almost entirely the further down you go, video continues to be a common result type across pages one and two of the SERP.

Images

Image results strongly favour position one, and can occasionally be spotted hanging out in ranks two through five, but after that, it’s a steady decline down the page.

Here are the most common ranking positions for answers, news, and knowledge graph results.
Here are the most common ranking positions for answers, news, and knowledge graph results.

We looked deep into the high-CPC SERPs

Here are the most common ranking positions for answers, news, and knowledge graph results.

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Answers

Answers, which you’ve now come to know as featured snippets, almost always show up in the first organic result. The snippets you see hanging out in position two in the chart above have actually been pushed down by shopping results, like the example below.

When a shopping result is on the SERP, it can push an answer box down to position two.
When a shopping result is on the SERP, it can push an answer box down to position two.

Why do some answers results show up in position two?

When a shopping result is on the SERP, it can push an answer box down to position two.

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The biggest takeaway here is that high-value keyword topics are likely to display these informational answer boxes. With 9.1 percent of our high-CPC SERPs returning a featured snippet — and many of those earning millions of dollars in annual traffic — it’s plain to see that featured snippets are hugely valuable to the sites that know how to get them.

If you want to learn how to get more featured snippets for your website, download our full whitepaper.

News

It’s not unusual to spot news results in these high-CPC SERPs, and they seemed to be most at home in positions five through eight on page one.

Knowledge graph

Answer boxes or knowledge cards without a cited URL (the primary differentiator from featured snippets) are referred to as knowledge graphs in STAT, and are almost always located in position one.

“People also ask” is also referred to as a knowledge graph in STAT. These PAA results make up the majority of position two through 20 in the chart above.

The winning high-CPC domains

In a previous post, we revealed which domains are earning the most featured snippets. Now we’re sharing the 100 domains that we encountered most often when analysing each of our million SERPs, not just the ones with featured snippets.

Out of the one million high-CPC queries in our data set, we observed a grand total of 423,230 unique domains. Among the top 100 most frequently occurring domains, each showed up at least 11,370 times on the 20-result SERPs.

Like the rest of our data set, these domains skew towards known high-CPC niches like finance, education and careers, B2B, healthcare, and tech.

So without any further ado, drum roll, please…

These are the top 100 most frequently seen domains for our one million high-CPC keyword set.
These are the top 100 most frequently seen domains for our one million high-CPC keyword set.

Top 100 domains for high-CPC keywords

These are the top 100 most frequently seen domains for our one million high-CPC keyword set.

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Ready to dig even deeper?

Download our full featured snippet whitepaper to learn which query types generate featured snippets most often, which on-page and off-site factors appear to affect featured snippets, and how you can earn more snippets for your website.

Whitepaper(PDF)

Search is complex. So your SERP tracking should be comprehensive. That’s why we do featured snippet and knowledge graph tracking on SERPs, whether you’re looking internationally or locally, at desktop or mobile, or for even more. Curious? Say hello and request a demo.