The goal of most SEO efforts is to achieve first page, first place rankings in Google. However, the more competitive your keywords are, the harder it becomes to accomplish this. Many companies struggle to get to the first page and even less make it to the coveted first position.
Google’s featured snippet is an alternative strategy you can pursue to boost your search traffic and get first page, position 0 placement. The advantage of the snippet is that Google focuses more on the content of a page that it wants to feature, rather than the authority. That means even though you might have fewer backlinks than your competitors, you still have a shot to position your page before theirs by providing a unique and structured article that answers the user’s question.
What’s a Featured Snippet?
Featured snippets are Google’s shortcut for providing answers to commonly asked questions. Whenever a Google user types in a question into the search query, Google will try to programmatically extract the answer from a website it believes can answer the question. The featured snippet is designed to attract attention and answer the user’s question faster. According to Google, the features snippet contains “a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title, and URL.”
Google’s features snippets are positioned above the regular search result, nicknamed “position 0.” So if your page is normally ranked for position 5, getting that featured snippet at the top of the results can lead to a significant boost in traffic.
Below is an example of a featured snippet in Google:
How to Optimize for the Featured Snippet
Understand your Industry
Not every search query returns a featured snippet. In fact, according to RankRanger, less than 10% of search queries have a featured snippet. If you are a local business, for example, your chances of getting featured are slim since Google does not do featured snippets on local search results. Your efforts are better spent on increasing your visibility on Google’s map results.
On the other hand, many industries have a lot of consumers who are looking for answers or need more information before making a buying decision. These industries have a better opportunity to get search traffic from featured snippets. These industries include:
The best way to find out if your industry provides an opportunity for featured snippets is to spy on your competition. Tools like SEMrush make it easy to find out if your competition is ranking for featured snippets or not.
Find the Right Keywords
Now that we know which of our competitors are ranking for featured snippets, we can focus on compiling keywords that we want our site to be featured for. Here are some things to keep in mind as you perform your keyword research:
- Long-tail keywords get featured snippets more often
- Snippets answer questions so focus on common words that begin questions such as who, where, why, when, and how
- Go for higher volume queries
- Get ideas from the “people also ask” Google suggestion box. Simply go to Google, find a search query that has a featured snippet, and scroll down to the section labeled “People Also Ask.”
A great resource for finding questions that people are searching for is Answer the Public. This website is simple to use. All you have to do is enter a particular keyword in the search bar and it will automatically compile a web diagram of suggested questions. The diagram is a great visualization tool, it automatically sorts questions by who, where, why, when, what, and more.
Optimize for Users and Google
Now that you know what kind of content users are looking for you can begin to optimize your website. There are several things you need to do to increase your chance of getting the featured snippet.
First, you need to optimize the content. You know people are going to be looking for answers so you need to write an article or blog post that clearly answers the question. It even helps to include the exact question people might be searching. Content is the most important part of this strategy as it will ultimately decide if Google wants to feature your website or not. Make sure your writing is clear, easy to read, and free of grammatical errors. Having media such as pictures, charts, and embedded videos will help as well since Google rewards media-rich articles.
Second, you should make sure that your website is Google friendly.
- Use Google's Tag Manager to make sure your content is structured and that Google understands it.
- Use proper heading tags for such as <h1> and <h2>.
- Add proper meta tags and descriptions
Once you have published the article, you want to make sure that users who visit your website are engaging with the content. If you are experiencing a high bounce rate or low session durations, Google might consider that as a signal that users are not finding the answer they are looking for. This ultimately reflects negatively on your SERPs. If this is the case, experiment with adding more media, data, and information to keep visitors engaged and reading longer.
Getting that prized Featured Snippet spot is all about publishing quality content that is structured correctly and has plenty of user engagement. For a novice writer, this can be hard to achieve. That is why a lot of marketers and website owners choose to put their money (and trust) into content writing services.
Article Blizzard is one such service that provides quality articles at a reasonable price. All the content available for sale on Article Blizzard is highly optimized for user engagement and even the Google bots love us! We know what it takes to make a blog go from nothing to something; after all, we have done it plenty of times before.
The real difference happened for us when we decided not to pursue what most other companies were doing online: regurgitating content that is posted all over the web. Instead, we started engaging our audience with new ideas that answered their questions. And now that is what we are doing for our customers and they love it! Come and see the difference high-quality, premium content can make on your website.
Have you ever been featured before? Let us know in the comment section below.