What are Featured Snippets?
A featured snippet is a ‘rich result’ at the top of a Google SERP, set apart from other results, that directly answers a user’s question in Google.
Located at the top of the SERPs above the organic results, the featured snippet contains a concise answer to the question asked, the site URL from which the information was pulled, and an image (often from a different site). The position of these featured snippets is referred to as position one (previously known as position zero). For example, the query “frequency capping google best practices” returns:
- a snippet of information from one of the top 10 results
- an image
- a link to the URL for users who want to find out more
Types of featured snippets
There are many types of featured snippets, but these four appear most often in SERPs:
- The Definition Box: A snippet of text answering a common question or providing a quick description. For example, when you search for “ snippets ”…..
- The Table: this snippet is often seen appearing for travel-related results, where users can compare flight times, car rental prices, etc.
- The Numbered List: these are snippets where items are ordered in priority – such as a recipe for apple pie.
- The Bullet List: this list is similar to a numbered list or an unordered list, but items aren’t priorities. For example, a list of the “Top 5 SEO tips for Content Marketing.”
Reasons to try to rank for position one
Why are Google’s featured snippets important? Because they are an incredibly powerful space to occupy.
Featured snippets are the ultimate showcase for your search results. They display information from your web page at the very top of the page and capture the attention of users before they can even think about scrolling down to your competitors. A well-written featured snippet can boost click-through rates to the page and potentially boost conversions for your site.
According to an Ahrefs featured snippets study, 8.6% of all clicks go to the featured snippet. By ranking for position one, you will in fact, ‘steal’ clicks away from the #1 regular organic ranking result.
The goal of featured snippets is to provide the user with an instant answer and attract them to find out more by clicking through to the source – you.
Check to see if you already rank for a high-volume, competitive keyword. Earning a featured snippet for this keyword can help boost CTRs (click-through rates) even more for this keyword. Having the top result as a featured snippet can also help to increase the credibility of your site as an authority in your industry.
How to Rank for Voice Search Using Featured Snippets
Image Source: Google Assistant
More and more people today are using voice search applications. By 2020, 50% of the global population is expected to use voice search daily.
In response to voice queries, Google believes there’s just ‘one true answer’ and uses featured snippets results to provide that answer.The biggest difference between a standard search and a voice search is the use of language. Typically when we perform a Google search, we shorten our typed sentence.
Voice searches are generally spoken in full sentences, known as a long-tail query.
Best practices for a better chance of ranking for featured snippets
If your website covers finance, health or DIY, you have a higher chance of getting a featured snippet, as do queries containing the following words:
- Versus / vs.
Use a keyword planner
Including relevant, natural long-tail queries is essential in SEO. Questions or long-tail queries can be more likely to trigger featured snippets.
Use keyword research tools to brainstorm and research a list of target-based keywords that searchers may use. Google’s free keyword planner can help you research what keywords are relevant and that receive the most traffic.
Provide direct answers to user questions
Once you’ve strategised your keywords, you need to write the answers to searchers’ questions. Include a direct response and expand further in your content to provide depth (which Google loves).
Ensure you cover the questions under “People also ask …” and “Searches related to…”
Keeping the word count below 50 is a good idea, as the average description snippet sits around 40-50 words. Also, include headers to break up steps or lists.
Optimising your title tags
Your title tags should accurately describe your site’s content.
Ensure your title tags include keywords related to your content and are between 50 and 60 characters long to prevent important information from truncating in the search results. Use free tools like Portent Title Length Checker to see how your title appears on a SERP.
Should I boost the length of my content?
Short and sweet doesn’t always apply with Google. In fact, Google rewards users whose content is between 1,500 and 2,000 words. Stay ahead of the competition by aiming for 2000+ words.
Include relevant visuals to support your content – stock images, embedded video, infographics and screenshots. These not only attract attention, but they keep the reader on the page longer, boosting SEO.
Google’s search engine algorithm is constantly evolving and improving through annual updates and tweaks. Today, earning a featured snippet means you have obtained the highest-ranking spot possible – without resorting to advertising. By achieving position one, you will dominate search queries.
Check the search results to see which terms in your niche are triggering featured snippets. Learn from close competitors that have taken the top spot. Google ranks featured snippets that show a clear, concise answer for the user. Thus, it’s important to tag and structure your content to get to position 1.
Focus on providing a clear, accurate, easy-to-read answer to a searcher’s query. This gives you the best chance for Google to reward your efforts and for you to gain customer acquisition and retention.
To find out more about optimising your site to rank for featured snippets, get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable SEO team today!