The Explainer Series: Featured Snippets.
Back in 2014 we first witnessed the introduction of featured snippets by Google, fast forward eight years, they have proven to provide a highly advantageous way to get content in front of searchers.
In this explainer series we will be taking a deep dive into different types of digital media and exploring how they work. In this blog we’re focusing on featured snippets, read on for an overview of how they work and how content can be optimised to feature in them.
What exactly are featured snippets and how do they work?
Featured snippets are the highlighted excerpts of content that appear at the top of a Google results page (above traditional organic results). This is known as position 0.
The featured snippet answer is taken directly from a website and displayed directly in the search results. The answers most likely to appear will be content that both answers the query concisely and with as much detail as possible.
Essentially, Google prioritises the website that it thinks best answers the search query. This information can be displayed as paragraphs, lists, step by step instructions or even tables!
Optimising content for featured snippets.
To stand a chance at ranking for featured snippets, it is super important to optimise your content so that it directly answers queries. The more you can put across your answer in a natural, verbal tone the higher your chances of being picked to take the featured snippet position.
One way we would advise you to do this is by meeting the nature of conversational language, by ensuring you are incorporating longtail keyword approaches into your SEO strategies.
A great example of how you can achieve this is through utilising FAQs. You can create content around the exact question users are searching for followed by a direct response.
You can then optimise these FAQs further by wrapping them in FAQ schema (a structured data vocabulary that helps search engines better understand the information on your website) to further enhance their chances of appearing in the SERPs.
How to know what search terms trigger featured snippets.
There are tools available such as SEM Rush which can help identify featured snippet opportunities. You can see at keyword level which Search Engine Results Page (SERP) features are present when that particular phrase is searched for in Google.
SEM Rush can also be utilised to see which featured snippet queries your competition has secured.
We would suggest starting by first, identifying what keyword is triggering a featured snippet that you already have content on.
Have a good look at the format of the result and how it’s being displayed (is it a table, paragraph, bullets, lists? etc). Then optimise the content you have around this query to ensure it is directly answering the question and is displayed in the same way.
When your focus shouldn’t be on taking position 0.
If you are already ranking in the top 3 positions of Google, we wouldn’t actively suggest trying to gain the featured snippet position. They’re not always 100% reliable, one day a featured snippet could be appearing for a search query, the next it’s gone.
We would instead suggest focusing on remaining in the top 3 search positions as a key priority. The brand ranking can also change frequently so you could have position 0 for a week then in the following it’s switched to someone else in your niche.
This can also result in loosing your organic ranking, which would be the priority as it will ultimately provide greater return.
However, if you are ranking further down on the results page, then trying to increase the amount of organic traffic to your site by optimising for position 0 would be a great move.
So, there you have it. If you want to appear in featured snippets, you know what to do.
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