When you ask Google a question (meaning you type something in the search engine,) apart from the links to websites that may hold your answer, you can also find answer boxes at the top of organic search results. This is called a ‘featured snippet’, and it has been selected by Google as a relevant answer to search queries.
Now, that is an awesome position for any business, as you can imagine. Websites featured in the snippet boxes aren’t even always the top-ranked websites; they are just taken to the top of the page as an answer to a query. It goes without saying that is a pretty good spot to be in. And, since Google made it clear that you cannot request to be in the featured snippet because they will select the websites themselves, it makes you wonder: is there any way to increase your chances of getting there?
Of course, there is. Several ways, in fact, and we’ll tell you all about them right now.
Types of Featured Snippets
First, let’s look at the different types of featured snippets. When a user searches Google for something, the search engine tries to create an appropriate format when answering the question to make sure the user gets what they are looking for.
Here are some common types of featured snippets:
- Paragraph Featured Snipped – a small blurb of the copy, usually no more than 50 words. This format usually appears when a person types in a question in Google;
- List Featured Snippet – it’s like a paragraph, but in numbered list format, and a common model when a user goes for “how to” types of queries.
- Table Featured Snippet – This format is for when users search for data, like when a user searches for the “average bread prices in Australia.” The table organizes the data and makes it easier to read.
- Answer boxes – they are similar to a featured snippet, except without one key element: the link for more information.
- Video featured snippet – if a video answers the question, then Google brings it forward.
How to Optimise for Google Featured Snippet
Now we’re getting to the part where we need to get our hands dirty. There is no magical formula to get Google to look at your content and say “yes, this is the one for the featured snippet, ” but there are good old fashioned content marketing and organic SEO methods that can definitely help.
Here’s a guide on how to prepare your content for the featured snippet.
1. Do Some Keyword Research
If you are diligent about your content marketing strategy, then you are probably already doing keyword research to identify the topics you focus on in your articles. But, if you also want to be featured in a snippet, you might need to change your strategy a little bit.
Specifically, you need to look at long-tail keywords and target them head-on. These keywords are essentially the questions users write in the Google search. For instance, a common keyword you’d use is ‘”dog food online, ” but a long-tail keyword accounts better for the specific question a person might ask: “where do I find cheap dog food online?”
And the more specific you go, the higher the chances your content will be relevant to the query. And when Google sees relevancy, it tends to award it with a featured snippet.
2. Answer the Important Questions
Your long-tail keywords should focus on the “what, why, how does, and how to” parts of life. In your content, you should pose these questions directly, and then clearly provide the answer in the body of the text.
The question should be posted in a subheading with the <h2> markup, while the answer should integrate the <p>. This helps Google make a connection between the question and the answer, and increases the chances of getting highlighted.
The rest of the article should then focus on additional information that supports the answer. But, as a general rule, the answer should stand on its own, so try to be direct, concise, and to the point.
3. Go for Lists
Particularly for the “how to” types of questions where you have multiple steps to explain, format these articles in lists. You should keep the same principle of directly posing the question at the beginning of the articles and marking it with <h2>, but keep the markup for every item on the list as well.
So, it will look something like this:
<h2>How do I learn French?</h2>
<h2>1. Hire a teacher.</h2>
<p>Teachers are the only way to learn French the proper way</p>
<h2>2. Visit France</h2>
And so on. That’s an effective strategy for having your content featured as list snippets.
4. Insert a Table
Try to insert a table and structure it if you have to present any kind of data. It not only helps users understand the information better, but it can also end up as a table featured snippet in the SERP.
Don’t forget to use the
markup. Remember, web crawlers can’t actually read your content and identify a table by looking at it, they look for specific signs to recognize it.
5. Improve on-page SEO
Even though sites that you can find in the featured snippet aren’t always ranking at the top, they usually do have very good organic traffic and are in the top 3 spots.So that tells us that we still need to focus on SEO:
- Optimize metadata;
- Conduct keyword research;
- Write high-quality content;
- Include images and graphics;
- Improve website speed and navigation;
- Optimize for mobile.
The on-page SEO strategies can help you improve the quality of the website and get featured. If you need some tips on how to optimize your website, we can help.
6. Establish Your Authority
As an authority website, you are essentially telling Google that your voice is listened to by users as well as other websites.
You first need very high-quality content to get to an authority position. That means your articles must be original, informative, include multiple forms of content, easy to read, and, most importantly, of interest to your audience.
After that, you’ll also need to acquire high-quality backlinks that tell Google your page is a valuable query result. High-quality and original content will help a lot in that department. If you write relevant things, other websites in your niche will surely link to any research or infographic you’ve made. But, to give it a boost, you can also reach out to certain websites and propose a collaboration.
7. Add High-Quality Images and Videos
The written word is great and all, but your content also needs a healthy dose of visuals. For one thing, users get bored or tired of reading countless lines of text, even if the subject is of interest to them.
You need to break the text by adding videos and images but without breaking the flow of the text. For instance, if you have a paragraph where you want to explain how a certain program works, add a screenshot of the program to help users visualize the process.
A step-by-step video would come even more in handy, because you show your audience how to do something, and provide additional support via text.
Keep in mind, however, that all visual materials you add to the content must be very high quality. Users will definitely tax you for blurry images and shaky videos, and Google thinks of them as a red flag.
How Do You Find Snippet Opportunities?
Lastly, let’s look at where to find featured snippet opportunities and get your name featured in these organic results.
The first place to look in is Google. When you start to write a question in the search bar, Google begins giving a few suggestions based on your cookies but also based on what other people have searched for. You can look at these suggestions as possible ideas for content.
Remember to also check the “People also ask” box that shows up mid page/for additional points of view on the topic. Write these ideas down, and create an editorial calendar.Other ways to find snippet opportunities may be:
- Answer the public.
Check out these platforms routinely to get inspired, but remember to always start with keyword research first. You have to identify the areas of interest for your public, and then figure out the questions (or snippet opportunities).
The only way to get in the Google featured snippet is through organic SEO that you should be doing anyway. Apart from them, there are just a few small steps to organize your content in snippet-friendly fashion, and you’re all set.
If you’re looking for additional support with Search Engine Optimisation, we’d love to help out. Contact Australian Internet Advertising now!