Small boxes of text that appear at the top of the search engine results page, featured snippets are an effort by Google to provide users with a clear, concise answer to their questions – one that doesn’t require them to click through to the result.
On the surface, that may seem a bit counterproductive. After all, isn’t getting people to access your website the whole reason for doing search engine optimization? If someone doesn’t even click on your site, how does having a featured snippet help you?
In a few ways.
First, featured snippets appear in what’s known as position zero on the SERP. They always precede the first link on the page, meaning they’re the first thing a user sees. This goes an incredibly long way towards building brand recognition.
Second, featured snippets actually can lead to clicks if you use them effectively. See, snippets generally comprise only a small portion of a page’s content. If the question you’re answering requires more than a few sentences, people will have to click to see the rest of it.
In fact, according to Search Engine Land, featured snippets are actually known to reduce the click-through rate for the first organic to below 20 percent. Basically, featured snippets represent an invaluable component of any SEO strategy. Let’s talk about how you can leverage them.
- Create exceptional content. For content to be selected by Google’s algorithms for a featured snippet, it needs to have ranked high on the SERP in the first place. With that in mind, you need a solid understanding of both SEO and of what your audience is looking for with your content.
- Find questions to answer. Figure out what people in your specific niche want to know. What questions is your audience likely to ask about your area of expertise, and how can you best answer them? You might consider using a tool like Answer the Public or AlsoAsked.
- Look at competitor’s snippets. Figure out what other businesses in your niche are doing to rank for featured snippets, and see how you can outdo them.
- Be thorough, yet direct. When answering a question, do so as thoroughly as possible while also remaining concise with your wording.
- Consider answering multiple questions per article. A solid article that answers several questions in one piece of content can be a powerful tool where featured snippets are concerned.
- Use high-quality media. High-quality video and images, particularly infographics, can go a long way towards making content more compelling.
- Understand the basics of SEO. Headers. Optimal content length. Keyword optimization. These are all essential to creating a page that ranks high enough for featured snippets.
Featured snippets are a powerful tool in any website’s marketing arsenal. Understanding how they work is at the core of effective SEO. Arm yourself with the knowledge above, and you’re well-equipped to bring in more traffic and reach a greater audience than ever before.