If you’ve been looking to learn more about search engine optimization (SEO), then you may have come across the term featured snippet. With so many new words and terms in the world of SEO, it can be difficult to keep up with all of them.
In this post, we’ll guide you through what featured snippets are, why they’re important for SEO and how you can secure your very own featured snippet.
What are Featured Snippets?
Featured snippets, also known as “position zero” or the “answer box”, are short excerpts from a webpage that appear in search results on Google.
Featured snippets are helpful for users because they can quickly answer their questions. In order to display a featured snippet, Google automatically pulls content from a webpage that exists within its index.
Featured snippets can appear:
- Within overall search results
- Within the “People also ask” section
- Along with Knowledge Graph information
How Do Featured Snippets Work?
To understand how featured snippets work, it’s important to have a general grasp of what Google aims to achieve for searchers.
Google’s goal is to improve the user experience so that more and more people feel comfortable using the search engine. The principal way to do this is to make internet searches as convenient and as painless as possible.
This involves helping searchers find the information they’re looking for in the least amount of clicks. Featured snippets help with this by answering a user’s query in a clear and concise manner.
As a result, when users search a particular keyword or type in a specific question, they’ll see a few sentences that aim to answer their question or satisfy their curiosity without having to click on the webpage. This is especially helpful for mobile users or those using voice search.
It’s important to note that not every query will have a featured snippet. One reason for this is that Google’s automated systems determine whether a page would make a good featured snipper for a search query.
Another factor that determines the likelihood of Google creating a featured snippet for a webpage is the number of words in a search query.
Queries with 5 or more words are more likely to return a featured snippet. Therefore, the more words in a query, the more likely it is for a search engine result page (SERP) to return a featured snippet.
What Are the Different Types of Featured Snippets?
There are four main types of featured snippets, including:
Paragraph or text featured snippets offer a brief, practical definition or information on a particular topic in a few words or sentences. With paragraph featured snippets, Google extracts text from a webpage to answer a searcher’s query and provides a link to the page in question. Definition boxes are also considered paragraph featured snippets, which are ideal for straightforward queries that ask to define a specific term or concept.
This type of featured snippet helps users who search for information with two or more variables. Table snippets are especially helpful for queries that aim to make a comparison. For example, a table featured snippet might show up in the SERPs if a user searched for a price comparison for a certain car make and model. And even though this information might appear in a table format in a Google featured snippet, it doesn’t mean it’ll show up that way on the actual webpage. Google pulls the relevant information from the site in question and creates the table for you.
Featured snippets might also show up as a numbered or bulleted list. These snippets are helpful for users searching for how to complete a task or solve a certain problem. List featured snippets might also show up in the SERPs if a user searches for a recipe. Additionally, users might encounter a list featured snippet if a webpage is listing items, features, or “best of” certain products.
Video featured snippets, or YouTube snippets are videos that show up in the SERPs if the search query requires a more visual answer. Additionally, video featured snippets often appear when a user is searching for a question, looking for a guide, or trying to view something specific.
The Benefits of Using Featured Snippets
Featured snippets offer several advantages for your website when it comes to SEO.
From increased organic rankings to more click-throughs, your site can gain an advantage over your competitors in the SERPs.
Increase Organic Traffic
Owning a featured snippet can increase the chances of your site getting more traffic. The reason why many people call featured snippets position zero is because they appear above the #1 search result.
Therefore, featured snippets show up at the very top of the SERPs, putting the excerpts of your webpage’s content front and center.
This means that by owning a featured snippet, your site will be more visible to users searching for a keyword you’re targeting.
And according to research, the top 3 Google search results get about 75% of all clicks. This means that people are more likely to click on your featured snippet than they are to click on the results below it.
Plus, featured snippets are often more eye-catching and provide a more direct answer to a search query.
And because people are always looking for an easy, convenient answer without minimal effort on their part, they’re more likely to click on a featured snippet that will point them to a webpage that offers true value. As a result, your site will get more traffic.
Another crucial benefit of featured snippets is that they offer the opportunity to boost organic conversions. That’s because potential customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a company if that particular brand answered their question or helped them solve a problem.
For example, if a local business like a plumbing company offers a blog post about DIY plumbing mistakes, a prospect is more likely to reach out to that business for additional questions.
Build Brand Awareness
Because featured snippets place your webpage at the top of the SERPs, this boosts your online visibility.
When people view your featured snippet and pay attention to the website the featured snippet points to, they’re now familiar with your brand. And even if they don’t click on the link, they’re still aware of your brand’s existence. Whenever they need your product or service, your brand will likely be top of mind.
For example, a B2B IT company creates a post about the benefits of cloud management. And Google eventually creates a featured snippet for it.
A potential client completes a search on this topic and finds the featured snippet that displays a list of benefits cloud management offers. They don’t click on the article, but they take note of the company’s name. Weeks later, the prospect visits the company’s website and sets up a free consultation.
Best Practices for Getting Your Content to Rank in Google’s Featured Snippets
Now that you’re familiar with featured snippets and understand the power they have when it comes to SEO, let’s discuss some ways to earn a featured snippet.
Perform keyword research
Doing keyword research will help you determine the type of content you need to create to earn a featured snippet. It’ll also help you locate which web pages already have featured snippets. This, in turn, will give you an idea of the type type of content Google prioritizes.
Create clear, concise website copy
Content that’s concise and to the point is more likely to earn a featured snippet. Google wants to show users content that they can easily understand and get the most value from.
Include questions in your content
More and more users are leveraging voice search to find information online. A large percentage of voice searches are questions. So, consider using words like “why”, “do’, and, “can” in your blog posts. Then, directly answer those questions in a clear, concise way.
Optimize for the specific featured snippet you want Google to create
Optimize the content on your page to help Google understand it. The better Google is able to understand what your content is about, the more likely it is to create a featured snippet. For example, if you want to attain a list featured snippet, then you’d create a numbered or bulleted list in your post.
Optimize your webpage for several long-tail terms
Featured snippets are more likely to show up when searchers use long-tail keywords. For example, instead of using the keyword “make cold brew” in your copy, consider using a more detailed keyword like, “How do you make cold brew coffee at home?”
Implement structured data where possible
Use structured data by indicating whether your content is an event, movie, review, recipe, or another category. This can help Google better identify the nature of your content, which improves your chances of securing a featured snippet.
Featured snippets are just one piece of the SEO puzzle. But they can offer a range of benefits to help your site rank in the SERPs, build brand awareness, and increase domain authority.
Need help getting your content to become a featured snippet in Google? IMP Digital has the tools you need. We help companies like yours boost their online visibility to attract more customers. Get in touch with us today to learn more.