For years now, Google’s updates have made it clear that content is king. What does this mean for your business? Well, it means that if you want to rank high in Google, you need to produce high-quality content. One way to do this is by leveraging the benefits of featured snippets.
This guide will help you understand what featured snippets are and how they work. Keep reading below to learn more about the benefits of featured snippets and how they can help your company get found by potential customers.
When it comes to Google, one of the best ways to improve your SEO is to get featured snippets.
Featured snippets are snippets of text that are taken from your site’s content and presented in Google’s SERPs, usually in the form of a carousel. Getting one of these featured snippets can lead to a huge boost in your organic traffic and it’s easier than you think!
Many people don’t realize that featured snippets can be live on your site and you don’t need to wait for Google to find them. You can add them by using the right code, getting them from a third-party service, or through other means.
What is a Featured Snippet?
Featured snippets are fragments of webpage text that appear in the search engine results pages. They’re designed to give searchers quick answers right on the search engine results page without having to click through the website or open a new tab.
The featured snippet will display when someone searches for a question where Google has enough context to provide an answer box.
Around 19% of the SERPs (search engine results pages) have featured snippets.
To use these features effectively, you need to understand how they work. Let’s say someone searches for a good Chicago web design company on Google. They will either end up with a featured snippet from a business like that or might get a featured snippet list promoting several of those.
Or, let’s say you’re looking for a good Thai restaurant near you. You might get a featured snippet from Uber Eats, for example. This is because Uber Eats had content on their site that answered the question posed by Google’s algorithm.
If there was no answer box or table, then UberEats would have been listed as any other regular web result on the search engine results page with some type of link directing users to their site.
Types of Featured Snippets
Note that there are various types of featured snippets. However, we can roughly divide them into four types:
First, let’s begin with paragraphs. The purpose of these snippets is that you get a very quick and direct definition or explanation of a subject or topic. They are usually presented as boxes holding said definitions or answers.
Around 70% of all featured snippets come in this form. These are mostly centred on “is x” and “what is x” queries.
Lists present step-by-step processes, the contents of certain products, rankings, etc. They can be ordered or unordered, ranked or unranked.
Tables are similar, but they present a bit more information than lists in table form. Great for presenting comparison information.
Videos are common for “how-to” queries, like “how to cook an omelette”.
What makes featured snippets very interesting is their flexibility. For example, a list snippet can show you a list of ingredients for a dish. A paragraph snippet can give you the history of this dish, a video might show you the cooking process, while a table can show you the calories and macros of the dish’s ingredients.
The Benefits of Featured Snippets
- Source: Pexels
There are multiple benefits you gain from featured snippets, all of which make them worthwhile. If you implement them properly, you can expect:
- More Authority
- Increased traffic
- Improved SEO
Snippets significantly increase your visibility. If people constantly see your name (i.e., your blog’s name) prominently displayed on the first page of Google, you can expect them to slowly associate it with your niche. It sticks in their minds.
Featured snippets increase traffic because they help users find your content directly on the search page without having to navigate away from it.
For example, if someone types “calories in an avocado” into Google’s search bar and clicks on one of your featured snippets, they’ll land on your site and can read all about avocados.
If they don’t find what they were looking for after reading the article, you still have them on your website and can continue marketing to them there.
Featured snippets also improve SEO because they allow you to rank higher in the SERPs. When you get a featured snippet, it usually appears at the top of the SERP; this makes it more likely that people will see it and click through.
Not only does this send more traffic to your site, but it also helps boost its rankings. This may seem like a small thing at first, but over time these small things add up.
Examples of Featured Snippets in Action
Featured snippets are an effective way to provide answers and direct traffic to your website. For example, if someone searches for “best pizza in Seattle,” Google will display a featured snippet with an answer about the best pizza places in Seattle.
Here is another example: If someone searches for “How long do you cook a turkey?” Google will display a featured snippet with oven times and roasting times as well as cooking methods.
On the other hand, searching for “turkey dinner ingredients” might give you a table with the ingredients needed, as well as their prices, or perhaps their caloric content.
Another good example is if someone searches “What time does Target open today”. Google will display a featured snippet that includes the store hours for Target for this day.
How to Get My Content to Rank for Snippets
There is a lot of guesswork involved (as is in anything SEO-related). However, there are some principles you should stick to, which vary to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the snippet types.
So, if you want to optimize for paragraph/definition featured snippets, you want a piece of text that can work on its own.
In order words – does your content have a paragraph that serves as a stand-alone definition? It should have a logical beginning and ending. Also, try to aim somewhere between 40 and 50 words.
For the tables, it’s a bit more complicated. First, have a table in your content. Google will not make it for you.
Next, use the <tr> tag for your tables; keep that HTML code clean. Having more than one can also boost your odds.
Ordered lists are often taken by Google itself by using your heading tags. Allegedly, it doesn’t matter whether you are using H2s or H3s.
If your piece of content is a step-by-step guide, it should follow a format where you have a paragraph explaining the process under a heading that has been marked with an h-tag. These headings also shouldn’t be titled “Step 1, Step 2…” but rather have something more descriptive. You should also stay consistent.
As an example:
Writing your steps as in “Step 1, Step number 2, Point #3” will only confuse Google (and your readers). It’s also not particularly eye-catching if it does show up as a snippet anyway.
Also, keep in mind that Google will never show more than eight items in a single list. This means you can attract people to your page if you leave “cliffhangers” with your instructions.
You need some kind of “order signifier” (a, b, c or 1,2,3) if you want to keep the list in a specific order. If you don’t put these signifiers, there is a good chance it will end up being random in the snippet.
Keywords and Snippets
- Source: Unspalsh
As far as specific keywords are concerned, you can never go wrong with high-volume, low-competition keywords. However, the people from Ahrefs claim that you can expect the snippets to end up triggered by long-tail keywords as well.
Aiming for keywords between three to five words long and shooting for question keywords (when, what, who, why, how many, how-to) is a good idea.
General Notes on Getting a Featured Snippet
There are several things you should keep in mind when it comes to featured snippets. First, they always convey a relatively small amount of information. We already mentioned h-tags for steps, as well as the length of paragraph snippets.
Now, the rule you should keep in mind is related to writing. You want to keep things concise. Tell your writers (or adhere to this yourself if you write your own content) to shoot for clear and direct content, with minimal filler and fluff.
When it comes to questions, get straight to the point, don’t pad. Otherwise, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot, Google will go with one of your competitors, and you’re going to miss out.
Author: Harold Ader
Harold Ader is a digital marketing specialist and freelance blogger from Manchester. New trends in digital marketing and digital commerce are his main focus. In his spare time, he writes a lot for DigitalStrategyOne.