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The advent of Google featured snippets came with lots of trial-and-error for individuals. However, SEO experts did their best to crack the code to it. This doesn’t mean that Google will stop updating its SEO terms. What’s more important is for you to keep yourself up to date.
When you punch in some keywords with other strings, a section appears at the top of your search results. That’s a featured snippet. It contains information you seek without the need to click through. However, users tend to click through because they want detailed information. This makes us understand that featured snippets are goldmines for quality traffic.
So, how do you earn featured snippets?
This guide provides you with information defining featured snippets, types of featured snippets, and how you can optimize for featured snippets.
What are featured snippets?
Many times, you have come across featured snippets, but you were unaware of the term “featured snippets.” Now, answer this question: Have you searched for something on Google and a box displayed to show you some answers to your questions?
This box can contain a paragraph or two, bullet points, number lists, tables, videos, or a highlighted phrase that answers your question. That is featured snippets. Often, this redirects you to another website containing comprehensive information for your query the moment you click the link.
Now that you have an insight into what featured snippets mean, let us define featured snippets.
Featured snippets are pieces of information curated from a particular website to provide answers to the search query. This information are selected to give you the basic details of the information you seek. Featured snippets can contain text, video, or a combination of the two. Featured snippets aim at giving a direct answer to your search query.
Google featured snippets are found at the top of the Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) or very close to the top of the page. They come after the ad for a search query. These pieces of information are gotten from pages of the first page of SERP. However, they can be derived from low-ranking pages too.
Notwithstanding, you have to click the link containing the information to learn more about the basic answers.
Types of Featured Snippets
As a website owner or SEO expert, it is essential that decide the kind of Google snippet you want to appear for. There are different types you can optimise for, and they are listed below.
Paragraph featured snippet is a snippet containing text written along with one, two, or more lines. It can be a text box with about four or five lines. Otherwise, it can be a single line.
Have you searched for a term, and a number list popped up at the top to answer your questions? That is a number list snippet. It appears as though you are writing a list of things required for preparing a recipe.
This kind of featured snippets does not look like the traditional table. It does not contain borders like the conventional table. But you will recognize it as a table once it pops up.
Videos displayed in the featured snippets box are curated from YouTube video content. They are from videos that their creators optimised efficiently. As a result, they are featured to answer your audience’s search query.
Why publishers should optimise for Google featured snippets
Featured snippets are one important tool you can use to increase your authority and relevance. It significantly increases the organic traffic and brand’s value perception. Either a user is using the mobile or desktop browser, featured snippets make you more prominent when your content is well optimised. As such, we are stating some reasons featured snippets matter.
You take half of the user’s phone screen
When you publish content that earn a featured snippet, your information appeared about 50% of the user’s screen. This means that you are shoving away your competition and making your potential customers focus on only you. This enhances your competitive edge.
Your website shows up for specific keywords
Most featured snippets are pulled together for a long-tail search query. This helps you attract quality visitors that may become long-term customers. For instance, “brown dog” is a general query, but “brown German Sheperd 2 years old” is a long tail search query. The latter may bring you tons of traffic and turn them to clients when you optimise for SEO.
Benefits of Featured Snippets
When you appear on the featured snippets, some benefits are attached to appearing as featured snippets. Below are some benefits attached to owning a featured snippet.
How to Earn Featured Snippets
Appearing in the featured snippet box is a tricky game. You have to structure your website very well and optimise your content to top the featured snippets game. It does not matter if a search query has one featured snippet before. You can replace such featured snippets if you carry out your assignment supremely well. However, it would be best if you worked efficiently on your on-page SEO.
There are some elements you must include in your featured snippet strategy to win the game. The important ones are discussed below.
Choosing keywords you want your featured snippets to pop up for is primary to all. It is the core of search engine optimization (SEO). But you must be strategic while choosing. However, brands are getting it wrong here. Learn more about Keyword research and SEO tricks.
Most brands are ranking for a general search query. As a result, it is getting difficult to get to Google SERP’s first page. That is because the general search term has high competition. But the other way round is for featured snippets.
Most featured snippets function the other way round. They rank for long-tail keywords specific and reveal more insight into what your visitors are more interested in. That is because they narrow down their search and filter out other websites.
As a result, long-tail keywords rank better and are always found in the featured snippets section. Research reveals that it is difficult to rank high for a general term. Google prefers to rank a website with good authority because they believe they have expertise on the topic than others. That is due to previous optimization efforts of that particular website.
Meanwhile, you can outrank some websites on the first page of Google SERP. You can achieve this by publishing content around the user’s long-tail search query. The ranking difficulty for a long-tail keyword is not high compared to the short term because your audience is specific with their search.
Thus, you should target long-tail keywords if you want to earn a featured snippet. This is the round up to featured snippet optimization.
Before, Google and other search engine users will punch in keywords and expect the best results for their keywords. But things have changed over time. Google and other search engines are now the go-to platforms providing answers to users’ questions. Now, people don’t only throw in keywords. The type them in a long-form question type.
Data evaluation of SEMRush on featured snippets claims that about one-third of keywords that make such snippets pop up a question-based word. They are questions that start with “why,” “what,” “do,” and “can.” But questions that begin with “where” don’t often trigger featured snippets because they are location-based. And, Google programmed their platform to feature them on Google Maps.
Start producing content now that you know the questions related to the keywords you want to rank for. You can create a content strategy to answer multiple questions in a single article or write an article for each question. Meanwhile, always remember your user intent while creating your content strategy plan.
The debate on the importance of URL in earning Google featured snippets exists for a while. There is a debate of URL changing in featured snippets or not. To date, there’s no absolute side to it. However, observations reveal that websites that earned featured snippets are informational.
That is, they are providing answers to users’ questions. These websites publish quality informational articles that answer questions of “how,” “when,” “what,” “can,” and “why.” The premium advice is to optimize your URLs to satisfy Google’s view of relevance and meet your users’ search intent.
One way you want to be recognized as a quality information source is by having concise paragraphs. It is one crucial factor that can make you earn a featured snippet. This can be paragraphs, lists, or steps involved in a process. SEMRush discovered that it is best to keep your word count between forty to fifty words if you want that section to rank for a featured snippet.
One crucial way to make your content look attractive and recognizable is by putting your content into sections. This enhances your content readability and makes it easier for your audience to understand what you are discussing. Ultimately, it makes it easier for Google to crawl your website and know what you want to rank for.
This process is regarded as paragraph formatting. It involves the use of headers to organize your content. You can use H1, H2, H3, or H4, depending on what you’re discussing under each category. It is essential to know how headers work. With that understanding, Google will help you understand your content structure better.
For instance, H1 can be “examples of automobile companies.” H2 will go on to be a list with those companies. As a result, you have a high chance of getting featured because Google recognized how you structured your content in chronological order.
Ranking for a particular keyword on Google is one tough competition. Everyone wants to be on the first page of SERP, drive tons of organic traffic and convert quality clients. But earning featured snippets is tougher.
Featured snippets are the best way to beat paid advertisements. When you earn it, it drives quality traffic to your website, makes you outrank your competition, and brings in more businesses. This provides you with insight into what sparks the interest of your visitors, how you can leverage it and become an authority for that particular query.
Featured snippets are evolving. It is here to stay, and websites will compete for it because of its impact on business. You should start implementing actionable tips shared in this guide as you optimize your content for SEO.
When you think of SEO, think of featured snippets. That’s your goldmine for quality organic traffic.
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