Series: Complete SEO Marketing Guide

Part 5: Optimization for Featured snippets

Optimization for Featured Snippets

The internet has changed spectacularly in the last decade. Previously, web users were provided with a lot of options for finding information without any clear direction. Could you remember a few years ago when you tried to find a recipe and a search engine would only provide organic search results and ads?

It seems like just a memory now that Google has created featured snippets to make search more convenient. Businesses now fight for featured snippets to have their content listed first for a query.

This results in increased exposure and more sales opportunities. Fortunately, receiving a featured snippet is a straightforward process. This guide will cover the following ways you can obtain a featured snippet for your website.

photo: featured snippet

What is a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet is a small section of content that appears at the top of a search engine result page (SERP) for a particular query. For example, if you wanted to know how much flour went into a batch of a dozen cookies, you can simply type in your query and Google will present a snippet of information.

You can also access a featured snippet by conducting a voice search through a voice assistant or your smart speaker. Featured snippets hold the highest position on a SERP. Being the first thing that potential customers see upon searching for a query, it’s important to secure this spot for your business.

Below, you will find out why.

Why are Featured Snippets Important?

A featured snippet is vitally important to achieve maximum visibility on a SERP. As you may know, search engine optimization (SEO) is a very extensive process. It can take several months to climb to a high position on a SERP.

However, more hard work and knowledge is needed to reach the top spot of the SERP. Only the best SEO companies can provide this type of service, so you can expect to spend thousands of dollars just to position yourself right where your target audience is clicking.

Fortunately, it doesn’t take nearly as much time and effort to create a featured snippet, and this far usurps the value of the first ranking in terms of visibility. Achieving a featured snippet is more convenient, less time-consuming, and inexpensive compared to having the first ranking on Google.

Therefore, it’s important to put your business in this position. The efficacy of SEO is all about position. The higher you are, the more return you will receive from your investment.

Having a featured snippet can not only lead to higher website traffic (since your website link will be present in the snippet), but it can also result in a higher click-through rate (CTR) than the first search ranking.

What are the Types of Featured Snippets?

Generally, there are three types of featured snippets: paragraph, list, and table. Depending on the query, each type of featured snippet can be present. Though, every kind of snippet will show up for a variety of different reasons.

Let’s break down the differences in all of these. To begin, a paragraph snippet is the most common one. If you ask a detailed question about why the sky is blue or what would happen if the Sun suddenly went out, then you would likely see a paragraph explaining the answer.

Paragraph snippets only appear when the corresponding answer can be explicitly stated. However, if the answer must be detailed in order to be fully sufficient, then that’s when a list or table comes in.

For example, if you want to know the ingredients for a peanut butter cookie recipe, a list snippet would likely appear. Lists are simple to read and are ideal when presenting a series of information.

Conversely, a table snippet mostly shows off mathematical data. For example, if you want to know the odds of winning five times a row in blackjack, a table with probability values will likely come up.

As you can see, depending on the type of question or query you search, you’re bound to get a snippet that presents the most relevant and detailed answer. With that said, continue reading to learn more about how you can create featured snippets for your business.

photo types of snippets

Find Competitors With Snippets

Do you remember Brian Dean’s Skyscraper Technique? The technique involved finding the best pieces of content online surrounding the topic you wanted to write about. Next, you would create longer and better content, find the sites linking to the pieces of content you want to outrank, and ask for a link to your better article.

It was a surprisingly simple and genius content marketing method that led to thousands of backlinks for Dean’s website, and it’s still a fundamental strategy. In the same way, you can achieve the same type of success in regards to a featured snippet.

By using a keyword tool, you can find competitors that already have a featured snippet. Next, locate the snippet and visit the web page link. If the snippet is derived from a blog post, you can create an even better one.

You can do this by making your post longer, more detailed, and full of statistics and visuals. Naturally, Google will award a featured snippet to the website with the most relevant content.

If you follow these steps, you can have a snippet in no time

photo research competitor snippets

Use Google to Identify Snippet Opportunities

Do you want to receive a featured snippet but don’t know where to look? The good news is that you can find inspiration and ideas for snippets without even doing extensive keyword research.

By finding a snippet your competitor has, you can scroll down to a section that says “people always ask”. All of these questions hold snippet opportunities you can take advantage of.

The best way to do this is by creating a FAQ section on your website. Include all of the questions “people always ask” in this section to increase your chances of being awarded a rich snippet for your diligent work.

photo search faqs snippets

Find Content Ideas on Answer the Public

With the exception of locating the questions “people always ask” on Google, trying to uncover the questions people are searching can be difficult and time-consuming. This is why it’s important to consult other resources to aid in your search.

Answer the Public is an amazing resource to help you find popular questions online about any topic. Simply visit their website and type in a sample topic in the search bar. Then, you will see a tree of information for questions in the form of who, when, where, etc.

You will have to create an account to gain full access to this tool, and it’s highly worth it considering your return on what you will spend.

Answer Multiple Questions

Featured snippets are given to websites that provide valuable information. Oftentimes, these snippets contain the answers to multiple questions. This makes snippets a highly-resourceful source of information.

You can literally find an answer to another question you may have thought of but didn’t search. If you want to boost your chances of receiving a snippet, answer multiple questions on your landing pages, FAQs, and other web pages Google may derive a snippet from.

The more detailed and useful your answers are, the better.

photo multiple faqs snippets

Maintain an Optimal Word Count

Featured snippets are not very long. This information is designed to be ready quickly or spoken by a voice assistant. For this reason, keep your answers around 55 words. This can be difficult if you want to provide a detailed answer and cover a lot of different questions.

Therefore, if you must create a table or list, you can. Furthermore, you can use schema markup to integrate this data in a format that can be processed by search engines. All in all, answers that are both detailed and succinct are more likely to become a snippet.

Add a How-To Section on Your Website

Although it was previously mentioned that you should provide only a brief answer to receive a snippet, this isn’t always the case for everyone. While succinct answers are extremely ideal, they won’t result in a high click-through rate for all of your hard work.

Think about it - once a web user gets all of the information they need, they’ll simply close the browser without visiting your website. If you provide a more detailed answer for a highly-detailed question, Google will naturally truncate your response while still leaving the link of your website present.

By cutting off your snippet, the web user will be forced to click on your web link to receive a full answer. This will place them on your website and into your sales funnel for potential conversion.

Remember that short and sufficient answers are ideal, but they aren’t always possible and that’s fine if you add a how-to section on your site. For example, a how-to guide on how to change a transmission in a card won’t really fit in a snippet.

Include the tutorial on your website and Google will naturally provide a snippet for your site.

Conclusion

Receiving a featured snippet is one of the easiest ways to gain more traffic to your website. Though, you won’t get anywhere without mastering the search intent behind particular queries.

The next post will explain the basics of search intent and why you should leverage data to achieve meaningful search traffic to your website.

photo search intent
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