The number 1 spot on Google’s organic search results is no longer the top spot. It can be outranked by a featured snippet. We’ll go over what exactly a featured snippet is and what you can do to optimize your site to increase your chances of getting one below.
What is a Featured Snippet?
When you do a search in Google, sometimes the results show a listing where a block of content describing a page comes before the page link, instead of after it. This snippet is displayed above the first organic search result, giving it what is referred to as position 0. Although earlier this year, Google announced they will no longer be repeating the snippet result on the first page of search results. The snippet will now count as one of the 10 results on the first page. So, if you are already ranked number 1, getting a featured snippet could potentially hurt your click through rates since more people still click one the first organic listing than the snippet. But it is still great exposure and strategy if you do not rank number 1.
Google uses snippets to help people find the answer to their query easier. Typically, the snippet displays the exact answer to the query and can be especially helpful when doing mobile or voice searches. They are pulled from regular web search listings when Google determines it would be helpful to highlight information from one of them. They are mostly like to appear when the search query is phrased as a question.
How to Optimize for Featured Snippets
So, what can you do to get your site in the featured snippet position 0? Here are a few tips that should help boost your chances of being featured as a snippet.
- Do question-based keyword research
Since snippets are most likely to appear when the query is phrased as question, do your research and find out what questions your target audience is asking and format your content to answer those questions.
- Utilize the “People also ask” box
In addition to doing your own keyword research, take advantage of the information Google is handing you. The results in the “People also ask” section give you insight into additional related topics that Google is telling you people are search for. These are great questions for you to answer and try to get your own snippet for.
- Write like a journalist
Journalists are taught to structure their news stories according to the inverted (or inverse) pyramid concept, where the most important piece of information goes first, followed by the supporting details. Borrowing this from this strategy, by leading with the answer to your target audience’s question, could help you snag a snippet.
- Modify your content
The STAT Search Analytics team did a whole lot of searching and came up with a list of eight modifiers that frequently return featured snippets. Queries with high featured snippet occurrence include the words average, salary, many, much, does, years, forming and often. Their data also reveled that location-based searches along with subjective words like free, best and reviews and info/help words like tutorial, guide and sample, don’t do much to trigger featured snippets.
- Format your content
Featured snippets can come in three different formats: paragraph, list and table. By formatting your content into well-organized lists and tables, with descriptive headers, short paragraphs and skimmable content you could increase your changes of ending up with a featured snippet.
- Get on page one
Organic rankings play a big factor in which sites Google uses for featured snippets. Nearly all featured snippets come from the first page of search results. Getting to page one will give you a much better chance of becoming a featured snippet.
Increase Search Traffic with Featured Snippets
Landing the number 1 spot on Google’s SERP isn’t the only way to get better search traffic. Thanks to featured snippets, you can increase your site’s visibility and traffic without ranking number 1, but it won’t be easy. Teaming up with an experienced internet marketing company could help. Give us a call at 414-465-2285 or contact us here if you are interested in learning more about the SEO services we provide.