Being the focus of a coveted featured snippet is the Holy Grail of SEO. Searchers instantly get an answer at the top of the search – in a convenient little box complete with a link to your site.
Because of its location, a featured snippet outranks number one site on Google’s organic search results. The site in a featured snippet block is instantly deemed on authority on the topic. As a result, it becomes more recognized and trustworthy.
Is there a method of scoring these featured snippets, or is it luck? Many SEO experts discuss a bit of both. With a thoughtful approach, your site can score one or more Google featured snippets and all the organic traffic they attract.
Defining a Featured Snippet
Sometimes a featured snippet is called a rich answer. A block of information appears on the first page of Google results. Everyone sees the box before the list of organic search results, making it a highly desirable position. Who imagined going beyond number one on Google?!
Typically, the statement in the box responds to a question. Think of the usual SEO inquiries such as how, where, why, when, what, or who. A summary of the web content is provided. Searchers also see the title, an image, and a link to the site.
People don’t have to leave Google results to get a quick answer. And if they want additional details, the site is instantly accessible. A searcher clicks the link, and the result is satisfactory, making it an ideal search experience. Better searches are the reasons for continually evolving Google algorithms.
It’s easy to see why featured snippets are an SEO goal. Imagine all the visitors a site can get with just one or two of these – as well as the respect of searchers. A continued area of expertise can establish great authority for a site.
Why Do Featured Snippets Matter?
You’ve done intent-based keyword research to optimize your site content. Then writers crafted content to inform and entertain searchers. Plus, you share these posts on your regularly updated social media accounts. And you know doing this consistently helps a site crawl up the ranks of Google.
But is that enough? What happens when a competitor swoops in with a featured snippet, appearing above your number one spot? Many eyes are looking at the block of info rather than the list of Google results. The company with the featured snippet gets the traffic.
And the people visiting a link in the featured snippet are skipping over yours. According to Ahrefs, 8.6 percent of all clicks go to the featured snippet for SERPs that have one. The power of getting featured snippets is sure to continue growing in the months to come.
How Does a Snippet Work?
Featured snippets appear solely on Google search results. The snippet is intended to help people find what they want without digging. And they also appear for people searching by voice or on mobile devices. Having a snippet draws all this organic traffic.
Google featured snippets are captured from web search listings that already rank well. Automated systems review the web listings to see if any of them would be valuable to showcase as a snippet.
A little-known fact is more than one listing can appear in a featured snippet. While it is unlikely, the possibility exists to gain attention by double-dipping with a competitor. And this means going deeper into the subject to provide something different yet equally useful to earn this spot of honor.
The Different Faces of the Snippet
Snippets are generated to summarize key data. The goal is for Google to provide a superior search experience. As a result, the information is presented in four basic ways:
a paragraph with an excerpt from the result page providing a brief and concise answer to a specific question, such as “how do I plant tulips?”
a table that shows comparisons, statistics, pricing, or other data that can be presented in columns for easy reading;
a list that is numbered or bulleted, often in response to a question such as how to cook a specific recipe; and
a video player, a result that may come up when looking for a movie, song, or other types of entertainment.
It’s A Lot About Intent
Much like any other type of SEO, the intent is a significant factor when trying to score an elusive featured snippet. Knowing the target audience and what they want is a smart start. What are they asking and looking for online? How can you help?
Consider the demographics, keyword analysis, and basic objectives. Are there ways you can fulfill their needs better than anyone else? What can you provide that new, fresh, and meaningful? Then develop content around those concepts.
Review the “People Always Ask” questions appearing in related Google searches. Use these questions to develop unique answers based on straightforward facts. Let the content speak for itself, resonating with readers and giving them precisely what they want.
Do It Better – Then Do It Again
It’s not easy to get on top and stay there. To reach the pinnacle of Google results, it’s crucial to create better content than anyone else. And that means doing research, writing original ideas, and sharing them as often as possible.
Content with tables, lists, images, and video does better than articles that are strictly content. Keep in mind, extraordinarily excellent articles will always perform well. And so do posts about niche subjects few other people have covered.
Whether you focus on a saturated topic or a cutting-edge one, put everything into each piece of content posted. Every page or article is another opportunity to score a feature snippet. And if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Savvy SEO and outstanding writing go hand-in-hand.
Refreshing articles is an excellent way to keep them crawling up the ranks. Use Google Site Analytics to determine what content is working best and where there’s room for improvement. Then look for keywords to help boost the content up the ranks and possible score a featured snippet.
Write updated content around the fresh keywords. Do in-depth research to find updated statistics, studies, and news articles that provide new information the original article did not contain. Then rewrite the title tag, alt tags, and metadata to be re-optimized.
Updating content makes it appear new to the search engines, increases traffic to the post, and adds facts that could be picked up by Google. If the concepts are effective enough, a chunk of the text could be added as a featured snippet in response to a common inquiry about the topic.
Better Your Brand
Branding is another part of gaining recognition and attracting more traffic. Establishing a brand people remember makes businesses the source for a particular product or service. Working to get featured snippets is an affordable way to brand a company.
Hone in on a niche then explore all the possible questions that arise. How can you provide exactly what they are looking for and why is your company the best choice? Be prepared to answer these questions succinctly in your content and calls to action.
When people see the same company coming up on a specific topic, they remember the name. As a result, the business becomes known as an expert on certain subjects. And this type of branding is what attracts customers and makes them want to return.
The Power of Simplicity
Convoluted content could be the problem when it comes to getting a featured snippet. Clean up your content to get noticed by Google. Clear and quick answers do the best. Include powerful keywords to get an edge.
Summaries are also helpful to scoring featured snippets. Add a summary to the top or bottom of a page – and try adding one to both sections to increase the odds. Provide basic language directly pertaining to the topic, so the content is worth quoting as a resource.
Provide straight facts with resources rather than embellishing. Eliminate unnecessary jargon and get to the point of the content. Readers will walk away remember the key points rather than feeling overloaded or confused.
Professionalism is another element to infuse into optimized content. A post with errors or confusing statements will instantly be rejected. A sleek presentation is the only way to outrank the competitors.
Make sure to eliminate glaring spelling and grammar errors. The content will be passed over due to the mistakes. And even if it passes by a rare chance, seeing the mistake would be embarrassing and a cause for people to oppose it. Use an app such as Grammarly to get rid of the mistakes.
Another factor that impacts ranking is broken links. People expect to visit another resource when they click a link. A broken one is a disappointment that sends them surfing away. Look for broken links to replace them with live an meaningful ones.
Take a Q&A Approach
Questions and answers are cornerstones to scoring featured snippets. It makes sense to follow that format to get more of them. The format of a Q&A section naturally fits into the type of posts chosen as snippets. Plus, sites offering answers to questions are instantly viewed as authoritative and trustworthy.
Add questions and answers to the main page of a site or create a separate page or section for them. Include relevant and targeted keywords to help the page rank better. When people ask a question, the search engine results will bring them to the site.
And increased credibility is another way to get featured snippets. Consider interacting on social media to learn more questions asked by the target audience. Use these responses to conduct keyword research and add content to an existing Q&A page to boost optimization.
Be on the Scene
Being on the scene is how companies become successful and stay profitable. Knowing where to find the current target audience is the best way to make connections. And using the right medium for communication helps companies reach out and make an impact on the audience.
Voice searches, such as Siri and Google Assistant, also pick up on featured snippets. As more people use voice inquiries, this area of optimization becomes increasingly important for companies focused on reaching this demographic.
The majority of people use mobile devices to search for everything from businesses to toiletries. Featured snippets also come up on mobile searches, creating another tier of lead possibilities for companies on the scene. People instantly view the informational block and get quick info on-the-spot.
Keep An Eye On the Competition
What are your competitors doing to get featured snippets? And why aren’t you doing it, too? Analyze the keywords, topics, and features used by the competition. Then use this data to rejuvenate your site content to be more meaningful.
For example, infuse the content with targeted keywords that naturally pepper the post. Add these key terms to the metadata and title tag. Also, take note of whether the competitors are using tables, lists, and other types of optimized content to boost rankings.
Then emulate what the competition is doing by adopting a few action-inspiring keywords. Use their success to get inspired, broaden the scope of blog topics, and improve your own. From adding lists to rewriting sections, do what it takes to get featured.
With all of these tips about featured snippets in mind, there is one more factor to consider. When someone is passionate about a topic, they always dig deeper and seek the latest knowledge. Site owners need to take this approach to soar beyond the top of the first page results of Google.
Does all of this sound like more than you can digest? It’s a challenging and unpredictable process, so why not enlist the assistance of a team of experts? Find sources to complete large or small optimization projects to broaden your scope and increase your client base.
Have questions about scoring featured snippets? Contact us now to find out more!