Google is constantly changing the way they feature their search results. Gone are the days that a search brings up a list of basic links. Users can now expect to see ads, shopping links and Featured Snippets. A featured Snippet generally appears at the top of the search results, designed to give people the information they are looking for, quickly and effortlessly.
Debuting in 2014, Featured Snippets have continued to gain in popularity. What makes them so popular? They give answers to the questions that people are searching for in a way that is fast, convenient and easy to digest. The user doesn’t have to click a link and scour the page for information, it is prominently displayed in the web browser.
Featured snippets aren’t just beneficial for users. They provide an opportunity for brands to get noticed! HubSpot research has shown that content with a featured snippet gets a 2X higher click-through rate. And those results can make a major difference, especially when it comes to your SEO ranking!
So, you may be asking yourself, “What is a featured snippet?” or “How can I get featured?”. Today, we are going to answer those questions for you!
Search Engine Watch defines a featured snippet as “A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a user’s query, which is displayed on top of Google search results. It’s extracted from a webpage and includes the page’s title and URL.”
And they generally look something like this:
As you can see, ranking for a featured snippet is more effective for driving traffic to your website than ranking number one! That is because the featured snippet takes up more space on the page while giving you a ton of exposure. Additionally, it gives users a taste of the content you produce while lending authority to your website.
Another great thing about featured snippets, you don’t have to pay for them! Any website (regardless of size) can earn a featured snippet.
Featured Snippets come in 3 distinct formats. Consider these formats when you are creating content you hope to rank for!
Paragraph (the paragraph format is the most common snippet style, account for 82% of total snippets.)
List (bullet or number)
So how exactly can you earn your company that coveted spot? That’s where the hard work comes in. There is no exact formula for earning a featured snippet and if you get one, there is no guarantee you won’t be bumped by another company.
The best way to earn a featured snippet is to produce relevant, well researched, high-quality content that is formatted in a way that Google can easily pull relevant information to feature.
When looking for content to optimize, begin with a link that is already showing on the front page of Google search results! This indicates that Google already favours your content, putting you one step closer to getting that coveted Featured Snippet.
If you’re not ranking on the first page with any of your existing content, consider creating content that is designed to be featured! Create an article that includes some of the most used words in Featured Snippets.
The list is topped with:
Including these words in your content will give you a better chance of getting featured.
Our first tip is to look for opportunities! Ask yourself “what questions are people trying to find answers to?”. In this phase, you have to think like the user. What questions do they have that you can answer?
Think back to the words that are most used in featured snippets. People are looking for definitions, recipes, costs and more! Try Googling some potential queries that you could rank for. See if they already have a Featured Snippet, if they do, consider how you can steal the top spot. If they don’t, you’re in luck! This is a perfect opportunity for you to get featured.
If you’re coming up short on ideas, try doing some keyword research. Google Keyword Planner can give you an idea of what people are looking for.
Now that you’re got some ideas, its time to start creating (or optimizing) your content! Google prefers to pull snippets from concise, structured content! That means you’ll want to structure your content in a way that Google can easily pull short excerpts from. Think back to the different types of Featured Snippets, there are paragraph, list or table format. You will want to ensure your content fits into one of these snippet styles. And remember, most featured snippets are only 40-50 words long. Because of this, you should keep each section between 40 and 50 words. And don’t forget to use headers! It makes it easier for Google to crawl your site.
When creating your content, focus on answering as many questions as you can related to the topic! This will not only be helpful to your reader, but it will offer you more opportunities to get featured (all while establishing your brand as an expert on the topic).
Get inspired by making random Google queries and seeing what featured snippets pop up! This will give you a good idea of the kind of content Google is looking for.
Staying on top of Google’s ever-changing algorithm can be daunting. But Featured Snippets are here to stay, in fact, they are continuing to grow in popularity. And Featured Snippets are a low-cost, high-reward way to get your business noticed!
If you’re looking to increase your website traffic, boost conversions and stand out from competitors, Featured Snippets are the way to go!
Don’t forget to look for opportunities, create high-quality content and structure it in a way that makes it easy to feature.