Featured Snippets are one of the most powerful tools for building a brand and increasing organic referral traffic from Google.
Google’s Featured Snippets include selected search results that appear at the very top of the search results page (SERP). These are organic pieces of information that strive to answer a query by bringing the most relevant content from the highest-ranking websites.
From the point of view of a brand, Featured Snippets can be an effective way of gaining more exposure and thereby increasing traffic to its website. There are a few methods by which you can optimise your content for this purpose.
However, first, we shall learn about the different types of featured snippets that are available. So, let us get down to it.
Types Of Featured Snippets
There are several different types of featured snippets that appear in Google’s search queries. Knowing about them is beneficial for planning and implementing the optimisation strategy that is most effective for your brand. Let us talk about them in detail.
1. Paragraph Featured Snippets
The majority of featured snippets are in the form of Paragraph Search Snippets, wherein the search results are provided in text form.
These can either be in the form of a box containing text or a box that includes both text and an image. These snippets generally range from 42 to 250 words and can also have more than a single image.
2. Listicle Featured Snippets
These types of Featured Snippets account for the second-highest search results after Paragraph Featured Snippets.
They generally consist of about six items and up to 44 words. List snippets can be subdivided into two categories - Ordered or Numbered Lists and Unordered or Bullet Lists.
3. Table Featured Snippets
When the search results appear in the form of a table, they are called Table Featured Snippets. They generally have two columns and five rows, with up to 45 words.
4. Video Featured Snippets
Video Featured Snippets are less common than other types of snippets, and most video results that appear come from YouTube. Usually, video snippets are around six minutes and thirty-five seconds long.
Other Types Of Search Results
Besides Featured Snippets, Google search results can also appear in other forms, which appear similar to snippets but are not the same thing. These include:
1. Google Knowledge Panel
A Knowledge Panel is an information box that provides information from different sources when searching for something on Google. It appears on the right side of the search results and provides a summarised snapshot of information regarding a topic.
Knowledge panels generally provide all the relevant facts in a single place, making it easy to find the answer you are looking for.
2. Google Knowledge Card
A Knowledge Card is generally the featured images that appear at the top of search results. Just like Knowledge Panels, Knowledge Cards are also a part of Google’s Knowledge Graph. They provide a general overview regarding the topic of the query. The highest-ranking website that provides results for the search query owns the Knowledge Card.
3. Google Entity Carousel
An Entity Carousel is also primarily meant for mobile devices, providing information that is easy to browse through on such devices. These results generally appear for ranked entities that belong to the same category and are most useful for local search results.
A Google Carousel is an interactive search result that allows the searcher to quickly and easily find relevant content using any mobile device. It can be helpful for discoverability as well as for promoting content.
The Probability Of Getting Featured
Ahrefs, one of the best-known companies that develop SEO tools, also conducts market research related to Google Search Results. According to its study, 99.58% of the pages in Featured Snippets come from websites that rank among the top ten in Google search results.
It means that there is a good possibility of getting featured for websites that already have a high ranking in the search results. The higher the ranking, the greater the chance of getting a featured snippet.
Another company, Getstat, says that about 70% of the snippets that appear on Google’s Featured Snippets come from websites outside the first organic position. Therefore, the content needs to make it to the top ten list to get your snippet featured, but it does not need to be on the number one spot. However, once you get a featured snippet, reaching the number one position becomes much easier.
Some of the different search queries with the highest number of featured results include topics related to health, finance, DIY techniques, transitional, status, etc.
Identifying Opportunities For Getting Featured
Before getting down to the business of optimising content for featured snippets, it is crucial to identify opportunities for getting featured. Like with all search result optimisation processes, the primary step is proper keyword research.
Conducting Keyword Research
Keyword research is the process that SEO specialists utilise to find and research the most popular terms that appear in various search queries on the internet. Most studies indicate that if you want to trigger featured snippets, then long-tail keywords are the best way. The higher the number of words in the search query, the more probable it is of having a featured snippet.
Undertaking keyword research is the first and foremost step in the process of optimising search results. Some key points to keep in mind when conducting keyword research are as follows...
- Search queries in the form of questions (what, why, how) are the easiest to identify.
- Try to identify the intent of the user’s search query.
- Look for similar or related questions on Google to learn more about the topic.
- Phrases for which you already have a high ranking are the easiest to get featured.
- The Google Search Console is an excellent tool to help you identify your top-performing results.
- Besides your target audience, you can also try to find the questions that other people search for.
- Use Seed Keywords, a research tool to find related keywords from friends and family.
- Utilise the power of social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Optimising For Featured Snippets
Once you have completed your keyword research using the various available tools, it is time to optimise your website. This process involves several steps that we are going to talk about now.
To get your snippet featured in Google’s search results, you will need to acquire the already ranking snippet of your competitor for that search query, which is not an easy task. For that purpose, the first step will be to identify your competitors’ featured snippets.
Search for keyword groups that own the snippets by entering your competitors’ URL in the application. After finding the list, categorise them into various types of featured snippets and sort them by the highest search volume. The one thing that you should keep in mind when optimising for Google’s featured snippets is to determine the intent behind a query.
A proper understanding will help create better answers with a greater possibility of ranking higher. While the intent for each query will generally be different, the answers should always be informational.
Techniques For On-Page SEO
Since being featured is only possible if your answers have a good ranking, it is an excellent idea to start with general practices for improving the ranking. As such, the first and foremost thing that you can do is to provide a better answer than the one in the competitors’ featured snippet. Some of the ways to do that are mentioned below.
1. Provide Concise Answers And Better Content
A scientific analysis of various featured snippets indicates that Google prefers to feature clear and concise results. It means that answers that have fewer paragraphs are more likely to get featured. The average number of words that a featured response has is around 45 words, so that should explain how to compose your result.
Shorter and simpler sentences also help improve readability. However, it does not mean that every answer needs to be restricted to a single paragraph. Recent trends show that Google is shifting towards cornerstone content. Cornerstone content includes the best and most important articles on a website.
Long articles also help to cover related topics and questions. They can help you retain a more significant number of visitors to your website by offering content that is easier to read. Additionally, the maximum word count for getting a featured snippet is generally around 95 words, so you can make effective use of that word length.
2. Use More Facts And Objective Data
One common factor in the majority of featured snippets is that they are highly factual. Snippets often contain steps, lists, etc., making it easier for the reader to find what they are looking for.
If possible, make sure that your answer includes as much factual information in an objective and concise manner as possible. Similarly, using lists and comparison charts increases the chances of getting your content featured. Using numbers and numerical data can also help in this aspect.
Besides factual information, another way to get a featured snippet is by ensuring proper structure and organisation. Providing answers in a properly structured format makes for a better reading experience, thereby helping the viewers save time and effort.
Try to add more value than what the competitors’ content offers by including media elements, pointers, illustrations, examples, etc. Research-based content is usually better than opinion-based.
3. One Article For Several Questions
According to Ahrefs’ study, if a page gets featured, it will get featured in other similar queries. In such a case, it is best to compile the content so that it answers several related questions.
Google’s powerful AI can quickly identify closely related questions and queries. Having content that answers many questions related to the same topic provides a higher chance of your content getting featured. Besides, it also helps reduce the amount of effort you would otherwise have to put in to create a separate page for each answer.
Including question keywords in heading tags is another way to increase the chances of getting featured. Most featured snippets tend to begin after a heading tag.
Additionally, the longer the content can deliver value, the more effective it is. If your answer remains relevant for a longer time, such as for a certain number of years, it tends to acquire a higher ranking as well. However, creating such content also depends on the type and nature of the query, as information can change over time depending on the topic.
4. Organising Questions And Validating The Content
As mentioned above, it is better and more efficient to include answers to several questions in a single article. However, to do that, you need to ensure that the questions are correctly organised. Better organised questions can also help you structure your content in a more impactful manner. It also helps improve readability contributing towards improving the ranking of the content.
A well-organised content is easier to read through, more comprehensive and more straightforward to understand, and meets the requirements of search engines. Once the content has been prepared, ensure that it meets specific criteria, including the targeted keywords, defined user search intent, listed suggestions, the target audience, etc. It is best to validate the data to ensure that there are no errors and discrepancies.
5. Utilising Attention-Grabbing Images
Paragraph featured snippets generally include eye-catching images and pictures. To increase the chances of getting your article featured, it is best to have impressive high-quality images relevant to the topic. Images should also be branded and annotated correctly.
Good quality graphics are important for owning a featured snippet, especially for the listicle and paragraph type of featured snippets. It is generally better to use custom images or real-life pictures instead of stock images. Also, avoid using generic images and include different or unique pictures that can set your content apart from the competition.
One of the best methods to help in the proper visualisation of your page is WordPress plugins. Several plugins are available that can help create a visually appealing page with the help of tables, charts, graphs, etc.
Another great tool is Bannersnack that helps create attention-grabbing branded images with a powerful image editing functionality. You can use it to create suitable images and resize and edit them for use on multiple platforms.
6. Updating And Re-Uploading Images
WordPress is undoubtedly one of the most popular platforms for creating websites. Unfortunately, one of the issues using WordPress for your website is that it adds dates to image URLs. It can create a problem as even after updating the content of an article; the images will be considered old.
To solve this problem, you can upload newer images after updating the content of the article. It will update the existing image and the date it was uploaded, ensuring that it appears as a more recent article in the search results.
As mentioned above, using custom images instead of stock ones will generally be better for this purpose as stock images will most likely be present on several other websites.
7. Running A Competitive Analysis
Tools such as Semrush can help in a comprehensive analysis of how your answers are performing in contrast with the competition. They can also make your task simpler by providing SEO recommendations for the content that can be best optimised for featured snippets.
Basic SEO recommendations help make the content search-friendly. Take a look at the top ten rivals for target keywords which will help in identifying the competition. Similarly, you can also get critical recommendations regarding what should be included in the content. It can consist of several elements such as the necessary backlinks, ideal text length, minimum required level of readability, etc.
Studying how competitors are using keywords can be of great help in understanding how to maximise their utility. Once the analysis is complete, you can adjust the content according to the findings. The content outline needs to be created for any new content in light of recent research results. Similarly, for older content, the outline can be altered for better results.
8. Monitoring And Adjustment
Ahrefs is the most popular website that allows the monitoring of different domains. It provides the domain rating for each website, which can be very helpful in finding out how your website is doing. If the domain rating is not very high, you will need to make proper adjustments to the content.
Once the optimisations are in place, frequent checking will help you adjust the content as required to improve ranking. It is always a good idea to track the differences in CTR, rankings, impressions, etc., using tools like the Google Search Console.
Newer websites generally have a lower domain rating which increases over time as the content grows and evolves. Keeping an eye on the website rating can act as a guideline for making changes and improving the ranking.
Remember that the process of optimisation is an ongoing one and will not stop even after you get a featured snippet if you want to retain it.
Some Basic SEO Techniques For Featured Snippets
Some of the most effective SEO tips that work exceptionally well for featured snippets are:
- Create a catchy title tag suitable for the pixel requirements using tools like SEOmofo.
- Use question keywords in heading tags for better ranking.
- Keep URLs limited to three to four words for a better structure.
- Try to use keyword specific and user-centric meta descriptions for the highest clicks.
- Build links to ensure Google discovers the authoritativeness of your website.
- Assist Google in learning about the external sites you trust through citations.
- Implement proper internal linking to the most essential pages of the website.
- Include descriptive text with all images to help Google understand what it is about.
Optimising Google Feature Snippets
The process of optimisation is a long and time-consuming one, and there is no predetermined time by which results will become visible. However, the chances of getting featured snippets are relatively higher if you already have articles in the top ten search results.
Owning a featured snippet can be highly advantageous to your website, not only for building and improving the brand image but also for getting more traffic.
Content optimisation can help discover new content ideas, thereby improving the ranking of your content for a greater range of long-tail keywords. More in-depth research on various topics will also help build more incoming links. Finally, it will help you structure your content more effectively, get a lower bounce rate and ensure easier readability.
With that said, it is time to take our leave. Until next time, keep optimising!
Stephanie comes from a background specialising in off-page SEO, from link building, citations and strategic brand placements to increase search rankings. Stephanie brings to the team a unique approach to off-page and on-page optimisations for our clients.