The ultimate goal of Google is to provide quick answers to the query run by the searcher. In due course, it has reserved space on the top of all SERPs. We can call it position zero.
How tempting it is to get your content to appear in position zero! On top of all search results!
That is why I, Maulik Masrani, have decided to present feature snippets and show you how to position your content there.
An intelligent mind might ask this ultimate question. Search Engine Land has answered that by citing a study conducted by Ahrefs.
Ahrefs has studied two million featured snippets and concluded that:
We all know that Google’s ultimate aim is to provide quick solutions to a query run by the searcher. Fortunately, Google has hit its goals, and a study by Ahrefs supports it.
Based on clickstream data, Ahrefs showed that featured snippets reduce clicks on search results. With such success, Google has increased its focus on displaying featured snippets, and it was evident in a study based on 1.4 million queries.
It means the tendency of Google to display featured snippets in SERPs is increasing with the pace of time. We can see a steep growth in showing featured snippets in SERPs.
The numbers increased in 2016, reaching more than 50% of all SERPs featured snippets which was nearly 30% in 2014.
So, why should we lag leveraging it in our SEO efforts?
Featured snippets are advantageous for both:
Users go to search engines to find answers to their queries. What if SERPs display an immediate response to their queries without further exploring SERPs’ results?
Every user will like it because it ultimately saves their precious time and effort to open different pages. The ultimate aim of Google is to provide satisfactory answers to users’ queries as soon as possible, and featured snippets do it precisely & beautifully.
The above statistic by Ahrefs indicates that featured snippets reduce the clicks on SERPs.
The above statistics by Ahrefs show featured snippets grabbing almost 8% of CTR on all SERPs. This is a tempting benefit for a website or business to get additional traffic through featured snippets. Fortunately, getting a top ranking in SERPs is possible without entering the rate race.
Your brand will be exposed to a broader audience through SERPs. Your content in featured snippets means they get the attention of plenty of eyes. The ultimate impact of being your brand in featured snippets is enforcing a greater trust among the readers even though they don’t click on your link. Thus, you can get greater organic brand exposure by appearing in featured snippets.
Do you know Google uses featured snippets to provide voice search services? If your content in featured snippets is befitting in giving answers in voice search, Google will use it. So, you will have a presence in voice searches too.
Your content and link in featured snippets eventually lead to increased traffic and CTR. These are factors that Google counts in its ranking algorithm. So, your chances of getting a higher ranking in SERPs also increase by appearing in featured snippets.
Your content in featured snippets means a lot to the audience. It increases your brand authority, and people start you believing as an authority in your business niche. This can result in increased credibility, and people may reference your content in other contexts.
Your presence in featured snippets leads to, high CTR = more traffic. You have a golden opportunity to optimize your website for high conversions by engaging your traffic with your content and pushing them ahead in the sales funnel.
Your presence in featured snippets is directly related to high domain authority, high CTR, and high traffic. These are factors responsible for boosting your keyword ranking as a cumulative effect.
However, before doing anything to learn how to leverage featured snippets for better SEO results, we must know how many types of featured snippets appear in Google SERPs.
There are four main types of featured snippets:
The study reveals some interesting facts useful in crafting content for featured snippets ranking.
Let’s take a quick look at the information:
I ran a search query asking why featured snippets are important on Google and found an answer in paragraph format. The most attractive features of paragraph types of snippets are in bold letters and highlighted text with a background color. So they can grab the immediate attention of the reader/searcher on the SERPs.
Similarly, I asked Google the meaning of a word, and it displays results from the dictionary with a button to explore more definitions.
As Wikipedia is a treasure of knowledge, we find more content from Wikipedia in featured snippets of most searches in SERPs.
Modern searchers surf with buying intentions and tend to compare various product metrics to make an informed decision. The data is displayed in table and row format. Table types of featured snippets are useful in visualization of data in various comparisons. In due course, table types of featured snippets provide immediate assistance to them without going through further processes on the SERPs.
When I ran a query asking Google the earnings of Amazon, it displayed a featured snippet in table format with several rows and columns. It was not only one table but more than that with detailed information.
When I asked Google what the different types of featured snippets are, it revealed a list of five kinds of snippets in the result. It was an unordered list with bulleted points. However, many featured snippets appear in an ordered list with enhanced readability. Moreover, there was a link drawing me to the page with details.
When I ran a query asking Google how to braid hair, the featured snippet’s ultimate results were a YouTube video. Google often displays video snippets whenever there is a video on the search query. It widely suited for the industries like DIY and home improvement, food, recipes, fitness and wellness, travel industry and education and training industry.
Earning featured snippets for your website or its content is not rocket science. Let’s see what can help us to earn featured snippets for our content.
What precautions should we take?
What measures should we take while crafting our website’s content?
SEMrush, in partnership with Brado, has revealed that the length of keywords in the search query is responsible for triggering the appearance of featured snippets in the SERPs.
We can see in their data that approximately the key phrase of a 10 word query triggers the appearance of featured snippets in more than 55% of search queries.
Logically, long-tailed keywords or long key phrases reveal searchers’ intent the best compared to short key phrases or short keywords.
So, you should select the appropriate length of your question/query in your content and give a direct answer to it, covering long-tail keywords in your content.
In the early days of search engines, users needed to know the relevant keywords for their queries to get the best answers. Today, users enter direct questions instead of keywords in the search bar and get precise answers, mostly in featured snippets. The same goes true for voice search. Ask a direct question to the search engine and get appropriate SERPs.
A recent study revealed that 29% of keywords that trigger featured snippets begin with question words.
You can see “Why” & “Can” are question words that trigger a high percentage of featured snippets in the SERPs.
So, use question words or ask direct question/s in your content and increase the probability of appearing in featured snippets. You can request multiple questions and use multiple question words in your content.
We know there are four different formats of featured snippets.
It is up to your content that determines which format of the featured snippet will work in your context. Of course, you need to write content in a natural way and adapt the format that makes sense to your data/content.
Try to be succinct in content writing and stick to roughly 40 to 50 words or 250 to 300 characters. These are optimal sizes of content that appear in featured snippets.
Google has different ranking algorithms for texts and images. It means there is no guarantee if your text or images are ranking in a featured snippet, your images will do.
If you want to rank your images along with your texts in a featured snippet, you must optimize them for a specific aspect ratio, and it is 16px (w) X 200px (l).
A study on the percentage of content showing in featured snippets with data revealed that the list type of content with dates showed a high percentage following the paragraphs type of content. Similarly, the difference between video and table types of content was negligible.
If you think putting dates on content/posts may make it outdated after a while, you are mistaken. It has been seen that nearly 70% of content that appeared in featured snippets was a week or less old. A considerable portion of the content was two to three years old.
It means dates have no apparent impact on the appearance of content in featured snippets.
Do you know the anatomy of URLs?
More numbers of subfolders make URLs complex and too long to read, and search engines don’t prefer too long URLs in ranking content for featured snippets.
A recent study showed that URLs with two subfolders have the highest visibility in featured snippets.
So, try to keep the number of subfolders up to there, not more.
Use The Best SEO Practices:
It is less likely to rank your content in featured snippet, if your web page is ranking on the second or third page of SERP. Most of the content that appears in featured snippets are URLs from the first page of SERPs and mainly from web pages ranking in the second or third position of the SERPs.
It means you must follow the best SEO practices, including on-page and off-page SEO, and achieve higher ranking in the SERPs.