Thanks to direct query answering by Google, we now have featured snippets. Now, just like it sounds, featured snippets are quick answers that appear above all other search results on a web page. Containing several crucial points on the topic, the snippet is known for being precise and highly likely to provide an answer to a search query. And it’s not just that, Featured snippets are like the crowning glory of the SERPs that almost all webpages crave to reach. The reason? They come with huge incentives. Firstly and obviously, being featured means swarming traffic and increased click-through rates for your webpage.
The featured snippets are also known as ‘position zero’, that Google pulls out from the content stream that has the most relevant information related to your query and can come from a lower-ranking SERP result. For example: If you enter ‘How many calories in KFC Zinger Burger’, you are immediately shown the best result before any other results in a special box at the top of the page. See below:
Featured Snippets: Types
- Paragraph Type
Answering questions: how, who, why, when and what, these are one of the most popular snippet types.
- The List Type
With the answers presented in a numbered list or bullet list falling under the snippet type. It generally consists of step-by-step instructions and recipes.
- Table Type
The table contains several snippets that show up posts and contain comparison charts. Google only values well-structured content with the prices, rates, years and numerical data.
- Video Type
With more and more video content and Google’s latest Algorithm update, BERT, Google can now pull out relevant videos with suggested highlighted clips. If a video clip provides the best possible answer to a searcher’s question, it’ll be featured as a snippet.
Google gets quite crafty when it comes to featured snippets and therefore, if your search results don’t fit into the box then you would see the link ‘More items’ to the source page. This is supposed to act as a hint to the user that more information related to the search is available in the following URL. It’s actually a great way to lead users to a website and increase CTRs and traffic.
Perks of Featured Snippets:
From early 2014 Google started experimenting with quick answer generation, mostly from its own knowledge base. This move initially annoyed businesses who felt that such moves were aimed at reducing click-through rates to their pages in favor of users finding answers to their queries without leaving Google itself, all while using content from said businesses.
However, it wasn’t until late 2016’s that marketers even began to pay attention, let alone optimize their content for featured snippets and rank as position 0. Now, businesses and marketers are constantly keeping up with best SEO practices and any changes that Google releases.
Here are some of the most well-known benefits of featured snippets:
- The Traffic Thief
According to Ahrefs, a featured snippet doesn’t receive any more clicks than to the page ranking #1 in the search results. This observation was done studying more than 2 million featured snippets that showed that the featured snippet can, in fact, lead traffic away from the #1 search result from the page and therefore can be deemed as a lead magnet.
It is important to note that your result can be a featured snippet, even if you are not normally ranking first
- Voice Search Sells like Hot Cakes
With the growing number of voice-controlled personal assistants like Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, and Alexa, voice search is growing more and more common all around us — both at home and in the workplace. By 2020, more than 50% of people will be tuning to voice search via mobile devices and therefore it makes more sense that featured snippets need to be optimized for voice search.
- Becoming a Trusted Expert
These days, trying to position oneself as an authority in your niche is hard. Therefore many businesses are competing for the audience’s attention. From a potential customer’s perspective, your website becomes the go-to place for people to seek counsel. It is interesting to note that several giants like Wikipedia, Quora and Amazon are a common source of featured snippets.
Tips to Optimize Featured Snippets
- Sticking to Good Old Keyword Research
Keyword research is an indispensable tool for yielding a successful piece of content that is eligible to become a featured snippet. The content should be able to answer all kinds of queries that your customers might ask. Multiple studies that confirm that most of the featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords. The more words typed into a search box, the higher the probability it would be a featured snippet. Long-tail keywords are also better for voice search.
Serpstat can prove to be helpful for knowing keywords that can bring up featured snippets on the results page. All you need to do is to type in a domain, keyword, link and hover on each result to see if it covers snippets for all the keywords you’re trying to rank for. If you already have a higher ranking keyword, Google brings up featured snippets for those keywords.
Keyword intent is important to understand. Knowing the intent of a search means you can understand the ultimate goal of the searcher. Here are some examples:
Go somewhere: “How to travel to Goa?”
Know something: “How old is Michelle Obama?”
Do something: “Tickets for the Lord of the Rings movie”
Buy something: “Where to Buy Bamboo Furniture”
From the above queries, you can see that once you start putting relevant answers to the searcher’s intent, it becomes easier to optimize content.
- Using SEMrush for competitors’ snippets
SEMrush can be a great resource for analytics and also use the tool to find featured snippets, as well as keep an eye on your competitor’s snippets. By optimizing content with exact words and topics, you can make sure that your snippets rank high.
SEMrush can also help you to keep a track on your previously monitored featured snippets that you’re well-positioned to get. And once you figure out the snippets that have the potential to be well-positioned, you can optimize them for better results.
- Ask Google to discover more snippet opportunities
The best way to find snippets is to optimize content by thinking from your audience’s perspective. There could be a lot of alternative terms that might make people confused over the search query. It is advisable to use terms that are widely understood and used for getting the most relevant results. The ‘People also ask’ section can be a goldmine for new content ideas. Here are some of the words that reports show are a great choice for featured snippets:
Image Credits: Mangools
4.Paying attention to formatting
Different snippets can come in different formats and the structure of your content should depend on the snippet format you want to show up. If you’re looking to rank with a table, you can put your answers in a table. When you’re targeting a list snippet, here’s how you need to format your blog post for snippets:
- Writing descriptive headers and using header tags like h1, h2, h3
- The sentences need to be concise and short to provide to-the-point answers
- Bullets, numbers, graphs are often favored to be used
- The relevant image needs to be added with the snippet query
- The usefulness, immobility and overall experience of the readers are needed to be kept in mind
- Developing Content Using the Inverted Pyramid Style
The Inverse Pyramid is a concept in journalism that helps in understanding how information should be structured. Starting off with the answer sentences like “the most awaited part” can help in showing up the answer with all supporting details with the rest part of the content
What are your to-do’s for ranking in Google’s featured snippets?
It is pretty tricky to keep up with Google’s latest updates and algorithms, especially in when the attention of the audience is a business’s most prized asset online. But just like the old saying goes, ‘it’s the journey that matters, not the destination’, the voyage to fulfill the prerequisites for a featured snippet makes you have a boost in conversions, traffic, sales as well as chart out a fresh and personalized way into success every time.
For a quick revision on the goals set for this new decade in 2020, here are what you can start with:
– Discovering new content ideas (on Google, AskThePublic)
– Learning to research on each topic thoroughly
– Reorganizing and restructuring the articles in a better way
We hope this article gave you a headstart into optimizing Google’s featured snippets for 2020. If you’re looking to optimize your SEO and make sure no technical inhibitions are causing optimized content to go unnoticed, we would recommend going to the industry-experts at CodeClouds. Their custom web development solutions are trusted worldwide, and are known for providing cost-effective hiring plans.
Thank you for reading, we hope you found this article useful.