In their race to rank in the number one position, most marketers overlook the availability of a valuable SERP opportunity that lies even before the numero uno position: featured snippet.
If you haven’t noticed, Google results are now more than just plain links. The little bits of text that appear in informational searches are powerful weapons that can drive a lot of attention to your site – maybe even more than ranking on the first position.
This is because the featured snippet gives the viewers information in a way that is convenient, quick, and easy to read. It enables them to scan the information they need without clicking on anything quickly.
On the other hand, marketers can benefit from the new trend as it helps boost conversion rates, surpasses competitors, and even drive more traffic to their site. In fact, a study on featured snippets by Engine Scout reveals featured snippets to receive 35.1% of the total click share.
But what exactly is the featured snippet? And how do you get your website to rank in one?
What is a Featured Snippet?
Also called the ‘answer box,’ a featured snippet is a brief answer to a user’s search query and is displayed on top of Google’s search results. The content that appears inside a featured snippet is automatically pulled from one of the top-ranking pages and includes the page’s title and URL.
Besides small definitions, the featured snippets can contain lists, tables, and steps.
Just look at the amount of space the featured snippet occupies on the SERPs. Landing in one can give you more exposure and credibility than any other method.
Types of Featured Snippets
When it comes to featured snippets, there are three main types that Google ranks.
The paragraph-style snippets, like the example shown above, are the most popular type of featured snippets on Google.
When it comes to paragraph style or description-based featured snippets, Google focuses on answering questions that include why, how, what, when, and who. You may also see an image accompanying the text.
There are specific keywords and phrases you can enter in the search bar that would give you results in the form of paragraph-style snippets. Some of these include:
- How to
- Who is
- How to do
- What is
- How to get
- Why is
- How is
Then there is the list style snippet that shows the search results in the form of bullets or numbered lists. However, they are usually reserved for how-to articles, step-by-step guides, and review articles that contain a list of specific goods or services.
Then lastly, there are the featured snippets that appear in the form of tables. They usually look something like this:
Sometimes you would also see videos from YouTube appear on the featured snippets. However, these are usually limited to recipes and how-to tutorials like these:
Why are Featured Snippets Important for SEO?
While it may not seem like it, featured snippets are important for SEO.
Firstly, they give marketers an opportunity to get more clicks from the organic search results – without higher Google rankings. In fact, internet experts refer to the featured snippets as ‘position zero’ for their ability to appear above the traditional #1 spot.
Secondly, featured snippets increase the number of ‘no click searches’ and enhance your credibility in the internet world. This is because a featured snippet immediately gives someone the answer they are looking for without the need to click anywhere.
How to Optimize for Featured Snippets?
Now that you know the importance of featured snippets, you may wonder how to rank for one. Unfortunately, there is no formula set in stone to earn a featured snippet. But yes, there are a number of tips you can follow to increase your chances of earning a number zero position. What are they? Let’s find out below!
1. Familiarize Yourself With Potential Answers
Think of questions that are relevant to the content on your website and search for it on Google. Most likely, there will already be a featured snippet for it. This is your competitor, and you need to make your content better to surpass their featured snippet and make yours appear on the position zero.
You can also take a look at the user’s intent by checking the ‘what people ask’ column located right below the snippet in Google search results. This area contains many similar questions with a drop-down feature, and clicking on them will show you how your competitors are answering the specific question the audience has. Aim for these as well in your content to improve your chances of appearing in the featured snippet area.
2. Analyze the Keywords
Using focus keywords is another important tactic to use when trying to rank your content for featured snippets. This is because it not only improves your chances of ranking in one, it also helps the overall SEO tactics of your marketing gimmick.
Use the keywords subtly in your content. Use third-party services like Ahrefs and SemRush to find out how popular specific keywords are and if there are any featured snippets linked to them. That way, you can see what keywords your competitors are using and take advantage of the same to up your SEO strategy.
3. Find Content Ideas on Answer the Public
Answer the Public is another forum where you can find potential topic ideas for your keywords. For example, you want to learn more about the term ‘chocolate.’ The tool will automatically give you tons of answers related to the word that you can use within your content.
With the graph given by Answer the Public, you can easily focus on the type of question you want to answer. However, make sure to do keyword research before heading over to the platform as you don’t want to be too vague or too broad when searching for content ideas on Answer the Public.
4. Optimize for the Top Ranking Position
The most important thing you would want to remember about featured snippets is that it does not overrule Google’s ranking policy. This means that your content has to rank on one of the top pages to land on the featured snippet. If it doesn’t rank well on Google, the chances of landing on a featured snippet will be minimal.
As you already know, quality and relevant content are important if you want to impress Google’s algorithms. Follow the same practice when aiming for featured snippets. Don’t cut corners and ensure informative and relevant content in order to target both – the search engine’s first page and featured snippets.
5. Use Headers
It’s no secret that Google loves content that is skimmable with a clear page structure. Organize your content by breaking up each section in necessary headers such as H1, H2, and H3. One quick way to do this is to use the ‘Paragraph Styles’ section in Google Docs or WordPress.
Make sure the subheadings are in chronological order and not scattered, regardless of their size. For example, the H3 heading should always follow H2 and not H1. Likewise, the H2 should only be under the H1 and not under H3 and H4.
You can also alert Google by highlighting the content you want to display on the featured snipped by adding a <p> tag directly below the header.
6. Be Concise
As you may already have noticed, featured snippets display a very small amount of information. This is very important as clear and concise information retains the reader’s attention and urges them to click on your site for details. The same tactic applies to featured snippets as well. This means that you should keep your features short so Google recognizes them and ranks them for snippets.
This also means that you should be straight to the point when answering questions, even if giving detailed answers seems appropriate.
7. Stick to the Word Limit
Although Google has no guidelines regarding the word limit for featured snippets, SEO experts recommend sticking to 40 – 50 words when aiming for featured snippets.
This means that instead of writing fluff content, keep your written material concise, so Google has an easier time ranking it on featured snippets.
8. Create FAQs
Another way to improve your chances of landing on the featured snippets is to answer multiple questions on your page. One of the best ways to do this is by creating an FAQ page. Provide short answers in short paragraphs to the questions frequently asked by the audience.
However, don’t go overboard and stick to the optimal word count limit suggested above. This will also help improve your credibility and authority of the content, besides enhancing your chances of landing a snippet.
9. Ensure Relevancy
While this should go without saying, we will say it anyway: Be informative and relevant in your content.
This is because the featured snippets may be the first thing that appears in a user’s search results page, and ensuring value-centric content is vital to attract both – the users and the Google algorithm.
10. Attract with Images and Videos
Google usually shows images and sometimes videos along with a featured snippet. And with 65% of people as visual learners, adding aesthetics and attractive elements is a must in any marketing material. So make sure to add relevant, and high-quality images along with the test to make it more enticing.
If you are unable to source customized pictures for your written material, you can also utilize affordable stock photos and avail high-resolution images in any category.
Similarly, videos are another way to teach an audience without using lengthy text pages. The viewers also prefer videos to text as it is easy to interpret in a short amount of time. If possible, add a video to your how-tos and tutorials to enhance the chances of landing a video-based featured snippet.
You can also add transcripts of the complete video in the description area of the video. Google will identify the text and may potentially choose it for a featured image.
Final Thoughts: How to Rank in Google’s Featured Snippet (Must-Know Tips)
There are more than 1.9 billion websites in the world and bringing traffic to your site is not easy. Ranking on the first page of the SERPs is not the only way to gain the audience’s attention.
You can attract the same (maybe even more) attention by aiming for featured snippets with the tips mentioned above. Good luck, and let us know if you have any tried-and-tested tips about featured snippets and SEO.
Now It’s Your Turn
I hope you found this guide to ‘Google’s Featured Snippet’ helpful.
If you follow all the above-mentioned tips, I’m pretty sure that you’ll rank on Google’s featured snippet.
Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
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If you have any questions feel free to contact me. I’m always available to help young hustlers like you.