8 Tips for Earning More Featured Snippets – the Prized Position
As the ultimate number one position, featured snippets are the holy grail of search results, and marketers everywhere are clamoring to get their pages to rank there. But how do you get a featured snippet? What kind of content is in featured snippets, and how do they perform?
We’ll go over all of this information and more on this page.
What are featured snippets?
The golden question — what are featured snippets?
In short, featured snippets are the new first place results. They appear in search results below paid ads, but above the first place result in SERPs. They take up prime real estate in search results, so they’re extremely effective for earning clicks and traffic to your site.
Instead of just a title tag and a meta description as a result, a featured snippet typically includes an image, an ordered or numbered list, a table, or an answer to a searcher’s question. They’re especially good at answering the 5 “W questions,” Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
The result will also include a link to the page the information was found, and the URL. Featured snippets are especially beneficial to people using a mobile device to find an answer, since mobile search traffic has surpassed desktop traffic.
Because of the format, featured snippets provide more information than a typical search result. They are also extremely user-friendly since they help searchers find answers without even clicking a result. They save users from skimming an entire page to find what they’re looking for, and instead, delivers it directly in search results.
Google states that their algorithm detects when a query is a question and finds pages that answer the question being asked. They then display a top result as the featured snippet.
That being said, you can’t “make” one of your pages a featured snippet — it’s up to Googles discretion what featured snippets are featured for each query.
The only thing you can do to increase your chances at having a featured snippet is to optimize your page, which we’ll talk about how to do a little later on.
As for how often featured snippets are used in results, the numbers are only rising. Take a look at the chart below to see how featured snippets are increasing in popularity with every passing year. Info courtesy of https://www.rankranger.com/blog/complete-guide-to-featured-snippets.
Looking at this chart, you can see that featured snippets aren’t going away any time soon, and in fact, it’s only a matter of time before there’s a featured snippet for a majority of search queries.
Types of featured snippets
Although featured snippets share the common thread of being located above normal search results, there are many different kinds of featured snippets that accomplish different things. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of featured snippets.
1. Paragraph snippets
The most common kind of featured snippet, paragraph snippets occupy a staggering 82% of total snippets.
They’re exactly what their name suggests — these snippets provide a paragraph in response to a search query. They’re typically between 40-50 words in length, and they often include an image alongside them in search results.
These kinds of results are most often triggered by specific questions that require a direct answer and explanation.
2. List snippets
The second most common kind of snippet is the list snippet. They appear 10.8% of the time, and are usually in response of some sort of request for a step-by-step, or multi-answer question.
Bulleted list snippets are typically provided for questions with multiple answers. For example, a query like “what channels are available on amazon prime,” provides a featured snippet that has a bulleted answer to show a list of the available channels.
Numbered lists are typically provided when the search query asks how to do something. For example, “how to braid hair” returns a numbered list featured snippet to show the order of the steps.
3. Table snippets
Another self-explanatory featured snippet format, the table snippets feature a table of numerical information. They are served when users ask a question that requires numerical data.
For example, searching for “2017 car sales by brand” returns a table featured snippet. It outlines the company, and the sales made in each year.
Only 7.28% of featured snippets are table snippets, and the reason being is that not a lot of content is optimized for this kind of result. That being said, it’s safe to assume that if you don’t have an actual table on your web page, you won’t have a table in featured snippets since Google won’t generate it for you.
4. Video snippet
These snippets are extremely useful when users search for a particular song, or how-to demonstration. Clicking the video will take users straight to YouTube, and save them a few steps.
In terms of featured snippets, this format is fairly new, so it’s not used for a high percentage of search results.
Now that you’re aware of the many kinds of featured snippets, you may wonder if you have a say in what kind of featured snippet you receive.
The answer is no. Since you can’t tell Google what pages you want a featured snippet for (imagine that!), there is no way to decide what format you’ll be awarded if you take over a featured snippet spot. Google’s algorithm decides for you, and since they want what’s best for users, it will be the most beneficial choice to you, too.
Importance of earning featured snippets
So we now understand what featured snippets are, let’s talk about why it’s important to earn featured snippets.
It’s not position one, it’s position zero
Position one used to be the envy of all marketers. As its name denotes, position one was the first place result in search results pages, and these results are known to get the most clicks from searchers.
However, featured snippets rank even higher than the first position result, which is why they’re known as position zero.
Featured snippets are now the very first result on a results page, second only to paid ads.
They take up a lot of space
When you look at a typical search result, it’s made up of a title tag, the URL, a meta description, and sometimes the date.
Normal results don’t provide much info about the page, and certainly don’t feed users the answers to their questions right off the bat.
Featured snippets, however, provide answers to questions without a user having to click onto the page. This is a huge plus because it saves a user time and frustration, and gives them what they’re looking for quickly.
However, featured snippets give users the opportunity to learn more by also providing a URL. This covers all bases and makes sure that the searcher intent is fully covered.
They’re more engaging than a typical search result
As we mentioned, a typical search result is made up of all text.
A featured snippet is far more exciting and engaging to users since it often provides an image alongside the answer to their question.
Taking it a step further, featured snippets can also feature numbered lists, bulleted lists, tables, and YouTube videos, which make them even more engaging.
Just like a list breaks up a block of text and engages users on a page of site copy, it also stands out in search results.
They’re great for mobile search
When you perform a search in Google on your mobile device, your screen is only large enough to display the first few results, if that.
When you have a featured snippet however, it takes up a lot more search result real estate on a smartphone screen, so your featured snippet is the first, and potentially one of the only results a mobile user sees.
This is great for increased clicks.
With paid ads above organic, you want that top spot
Paid ads take up a considerable chunk of search result real estate.
It’s even true that sometimes, ads and Google My Business listings take up nearly half of the first page of results. That being said, it’s more important than ever to earn a featured snippet.
When you do, it ensures that even if ads and Google My Business listings take up a substantial amount of the results page, your featured snippet will be next in line.
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Does my niche get a lot of featured snippets?
Do some niches get more featured snippets than others? If so, which niches get the most?
This may sounds like an odd question, but the truth is, certain niches tend to get more position zero, or featured snippet spots than others.
Check out the niches that had the most featured snippets in May of 2017:
If your business is within one of these niches, you have a great chance of having a featured snippet. However, just because you are within one of these niches, doesn’t mean that you’re automatically guaranteed a featured snippet. You have to have the right content to be featured!
Now, check out the industries with the lowest percentage of featured snippets:
Again, just because you’re in one of these niches doesn’t mean you won’t have a chance at a featured snippet.
It’s all about optimizing your pages correctly.
8 tips for earning more featured snippets
If you want to earn featured snippets for your website, you’re not alone. Marketers near and far are consistently looking for new ways to win featured snippets in search results.
Though there is no fool-proof way to win them, let’s talk about a few ways that seem to work.
1. Do your keyword research
Just like you’d do keyword research for your website content, it’s important to do the same kind of keyword research for featured snippets.
We know that featured snippets usually answer a question, so you should base your keyword research on finding long-tail keyword phrases the can be posed as a question. It’s even better if there aren’t a lot of pages that target the specific phrase. That means you’ll have an easier time ranking for it!
2. Follow SEO best practices
Just because you answer a specific question blatantly on a page, Google doesn’t have to choose your page as a featured snippet.
One of the best ways to get a featured snippet is to already rank in search results. In fact, 31% of featured snippets are pulled from a first position search result, 23.5% from a second result, 16% from a third result etc.
No matter how you look at it, the lower you are on a search results page, the slimmer your change to have a featured snippet.
When you think about it logically it makes perfect sense why this happens.
Google wants to provide the best results to users. The highest-ranking results have great on-page and off-page optimization, which is what makes them so great. They have beneficial and informative content, offer a great user experience, and are responsive.
If a featured snippet appears above a position one result, it only makes sense that it would also have great SEO in place.
Here are some SEO standards that your page should follow:
- Target the keyword or question you want to be featured for
- Provide informative information to readers
- Provide a great user experience with images, videos, and easy-to-use navigation
- Have a high number of backlinks
- Have great page speed
This is by no means a complete list, but it gives you a good idea of what qualities your page should have before ranking highly in search results, or in a featured snippet.
3. Use imagery that supports your content
Most position zero pages, or featured snippets include an image.
That being said, it’s important to have a lot of images on your page — not only to create a great user experience, but to provide visuals for the keywords that you’re targeting.
For example, if you want to earn a featured snippet for a question about the best taco recipe, you should provide an image of the recipe card, or at the very least, an image of a taco.
This will help bring everything together in your featured snippet.
4. Arrange content in lists and tables
As we know, featured snippets often feature lists (bulleted and numbered), and tables. So to increase the chances of your content bring featured, include those elements on your pages.
We mentioned earlier that your page won’t be featured as a table if your page doesn’t have a table to feature. So help Google out and give them the information that they’re looking for!
5. Use questions in subheadings
Since featured snippets aim to answer questions, having those questions in subheadings make it even easier for Google to pull.
Use those subheadings to ask the question you want to be featured for, and the content below to answer the question.
6. Identify low-hanging fruit
When we say to identify your “low-hanging fruit,” we simply mean to find pages that you already rank well for.
As we mentioned, it’s unlikely that your page will be a featured snippet if it doesn’t already rank within the top few spots on results pages. That’s why the simplest thing to do is to identify your pages that already rank highly in search results, and optimize them for a featured snippet.
You could do so by adding a table, adding more bulleted lists, or making some of your headings questions that answer a Who, What, When, Where, Why, or How question.
When you do so, you’ll have a better chance of earning a featured snipped because that page already ranks highly.
7. Answer more than one question
The paragraph snippets are mostly used for answering a specific question, so to increase your chances at earning a featured snippet for a specific page, answer multiple questions!
Research has found that once you earn a featured snippet, it’s more likely to earn other snippets for queries that are similar.
So in order to earn more featured snippets, simply address more than one question on your page, so that you can rank for every version of that query.
8. Organize your pages with headings
When you have headings on your pages, it makes it much easier for Google to understand your content. The easier it is for Google to understand your content, the easier it will be for them to hand over a featured snippet.
In addition to using headings, you should be sure to keep the answers to the questions you’re asking, simple and concise. When you do so, it will ensure that Google knows exactly where the answer is, and that it won’t be too long for a featured snippet.
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WebFX can help you earn more featured snippets
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If you’re looking to get your website featured in position zero spots in search results, and then some, our featured snippet creation & optimization services can help.
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- Custom infographic creation – Infographics are a great way to display numeric information, and they break up long walls of text on your website. We can create the perfect infographic for your website.
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