Featured snippets are “at a glance” answers to a specific search query that show up at the very top of Google’s search results [above position #1].
Imagine you once heard the word, “Drop shipping” from someone but aren’t sure what it really means or how it works. So you decide to get on Google and type the keywords, “how to do drop shipping,” to gain more insights.
Here’s a featured snippet for ‘how to do drop shipping’
You’ll notice this comes at ‘Position 0’ of organic search before other search results come on for the same search term.
According to Google, the idea behind snippets is to “Enhance and draw user attention on the results page.” And because of the unique positioning of these snippets on Google SERP, they get much more visibility, more organic click through, and higher conversion rates.
In fact, based on a HubSpot report, content that shows up on featured snippet do get 2X higher click through rates than others.
But…before we dive deep into how to get your content on featured snippets, here are a few things to keep in mind:
There are different types of featured snippets that show up in Google search results.
This is the most popular type of snippet as we know it, and it accounts for a whopping 81.95% of all featured snippets.
When a user asks Google for a specific information via search, Google crawls the internet and extracts texts from a specific site in a bid to respond to the user’s direct query.
A Paragraph snippet looks something like this…
You’ll notice the paragraph snippet above attempts to answer the search query, ‘why does my ear itch’ without you clicking any link.
Paragraph Snippet typically appears for questions that come in the - How to / Who is / Why is / What is fashion.
This alongside bulleted list account for 10.77% of all featured snippets.
Numbered list snippets list out steps for getting something done when a user asks Google for a specific information via search.
One great thing about numbered list snippets is that users can see clearly at first glance some steps to get what they want done which can immediately get them to click through for more detail.
A numbered list snippet looks something like this…
You’ll notice the numbered list snippet above attempts to answer the search query, ‘steps for learning web development’ without having to click any link.
Numbered list snippets typically appear for keywords like – Recipes / DIYs / How to.
Listicles [articles that follow a list format] are created mostly for this type of Google’s featured snippets. Like numbered list snippets, they list or rank items.
A bulleted list snippet looks something like this…
You’ll notice the bulleted list snippet above attempts to answer the search query, ‘best cars in the world 2019’ without having to click any link.
Bulleted lists appear for keywords like - Best of / Ranked items / Feature lists.
This is the least popular snippet type, accounting for just 7.28% of all featured snippets.
When it comes to structured data, Google doesn’t just pull information from original content. What it actually does is reformat data and re-present it in tables, in a way that’s more readable and useful for the searcher.
A Table snippet looks something like this…
You’ll notice the Table list snippet above attempts to answer the search query, ‘2019 car sales by model’ in table form even without clicking any link.
Table snippets typically show up for keywords like – Data / Rates/ Lists / Pricing.
Now that we know the most common featured snippet types, we might as well head straight to…
In fact, Neil Patel says it best, “If your content doesn’t answer questions, it won’t get into the featured snippet. That’s all there is to it.”
For featured snippets, Google’s crawlers search the internet for the best answer to a searcher’s question. When it finds it, it displays the content in snippets so users can easily find answers to their query without having to click any links.
One quick way to see the top long-tail keywords in question format is in the “People also ask” section of Google search page.
For instance, how do I buy a secondhand car reveals…
You can see the other long-tail question keywords like “What is the trick to buying a car,” right? Awesome!
Usually, featured snippets displays the first few lines or so of text or table.
So, when creating content that targets Google’s featured snippet, ensure you answer the specific keyword question in your introductory text [in say, a few lines] before you go deeper and explain concepts.
Well, let’s assume you’re trying to create a detailed blog content on, “How do I Buy a Secondhand Car?”
You could start the content after the title, like so...
“Want to buy a secondhand car, right? Here are the steps at a glance…
Starting out your content using the above approach is a great way to position for Google’s featured snippet.
You need to add an FAQ page as part of the content that goes on your site from the get go.
FAQs are a great way to provide at-a-glance value to your existing and future clients, and increase your chances of getting into Google’s featured snippet.
Now, the more your customers interact with you, the more questions they’d have naturally.
As you answer these frequently asked questions, make a note of them in your journal and update your FAQs accordingly.
Why are FAQs so powerful in context?
It’s because the FAQ section answers questions much the same way as searchers type in a query into search. So, it’s a lot easier and more likely for Google crawlers to pick up your answers and display as featured snippets.
Featured snippets will continue to pop up in search queries as people get more comfortable with voice search and Google focuses more on understanding user intent and optimizing user experience.
Many more people will continue to find featured snippets more convenient, relevant, and helpful which translates to more organic traffic for site owners able to position their content to rank for Google’s featured snippet.
By knowing what featured snippets are, their relevance in content marketing and how to win with them, you’re well on your way to dominating your niche.
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