What is a Featured Snippet?
So, what is a featured snippet, a featured snippet is a summary of an answer displayed on the top of the Google search results. When a user types in a query, Google extracts the summary of the answer from a webpage and displays it along with the page’s URL and title. The user can read the answer directly from Google, or can choose to click through and read more information on the site that the summary was extracted from.
The nice thing about featured snippets is that they give you what you’re looking for without having to click on any links. Perfect for someone trying to settle a debate with friends or get the facts they need without spending time reading an entire article.
Some people may also know this to be an “answer box.”
Benefits of Aquiring a Featured Snippet
Since the featured snippet box comes before any of the search results, it’s usually referred to as being in position zero on Googles search engine result pages (SERP). If you're reading this article, I'm sure you already know a few benefits to having your website show up in a featured snippet on Google. However, just in case, here are a few benefits of being in the "0" position and snagging a featured snippet.
• Steal More Traffic from Organic
Ahrefs released a study that showed the first organic result had a significant drop in click-through rate when a featured snippet is present. When featured snippets are present for a user’s query, the first result gets a 19.6 percent click-through rate while the featured snippets receive an 8.6 click-through rate. That is a dramatic drop from when a featured snippet is not showing, in which the first result receives a 26 percent click-through rate. See the graph below:
Increasing Your Authority
When Google decides to show your URL as the featured snippet, they are bascially saying you're the authority for this search term. That's powerful and the more featured snippets you aquire, the more of an authority you become to Google. Google loves authority sites which means more rankings and better treatment from the Global monster search engine.
Discovering Featured Snippet Opportunities
First, as with any successful SEO tactics, you need to focus on your keywords. Using any of the popular tools online, like Google’s Keyword Planner, you can look at the keywords you’re already ranking organically for. Focus only on the ones that are ranking well and narrow it down to your top 10 keywords that get you on page 1 of a SERP.
Next you need to figure out which of the keywords you’re ranking for have the potential for featured snippets. You can use vlookup tools from Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush to find this out quickly, or you can do put in a bit of elbow grease and do it yourself. From the group of keywords where there is potential for a snippet, see if there is one already in place. If there is, determine which company is holding its place. You might even be pleasantly surprised to find out it’s you.
This process is much easier if you use one of the above tools. Otherwise, it can be very difficult and time consuming to figure out which snippets you own and which snippets other companies own. Export the information about snippets you own a spreadsheet so it’s easy to track and merge any duplicate keywords/snippets.
Do the same thing for snippets that are owned by your competitors and compare them with yours. This will help you get an idea of who owns what and for which keywords. Then you can work on strategically gaining ownership over snippets for keywords you rank highly in. After completing this, you’ve successfully identified the opportunities you’ll want to target.
Understanding Your Opportunities
Now that you have a nice list of the opportunities available for you, you need to make sure you understand what they mean and whether they’re worth pursuing. If you’re ranking highly on a page, but an extremely reputable company is occupying that page’s featured snippet, it might not be smart to put a lot of time and effort into trying to overtake them.
The more competitive a keyword is, the harder it will be to own the snippet. The more powerful the owning company is, the harder it will be to steal from them. Instead, focus on owning snippets for keywords with qualified traffic instead of simply higher search volumes. Think about why people are searching for terms with your keywords and try to get to the underlying intent of those searches. This will give you a competitive edge that Google’s algorithm will favor.
Now you’ll need to work on targeting the keywords you’re ranking highly for that have a featured snippet. Here’s how you can do that:
Messy websites provide users with difficult interactions and bad user experience. Since user experience is one of the main things that Google takes into consideration when ranking a website on their SERP, it’s important to pay attention to.
No one has time to search through confusing websites, especially if they’re difficult to maneuver. If you want to increase the chances of stealing that featured snippet spot for your keywords, make sure that all of the pages they appear on have a clear, concise, and easy to navigate layout. They should provide direct answers without too much fluff and be easy to digest for any reader.
Before, or after, any major body of written content in any of your pages, provide a quick summary of what you’ll be talking about. Use your targeted keywords in this summary and make it good enough for someone to be able to explicitly say what the post was about without reading it all the way through.
People like getting information fast and as much as we’d love for them to read everything on our websites, they don't. Summaries are essential and they get you results. As long as you use your target keyword, Google will analyze them and if they do a good job of explaining a topic, they’ll be more likely to be featured in a snippet.
If your currently trying to steal a featured snippet from a competitor, see how they’ve structured theirs and mimic it. We’re not saying steal their information or copy it word by word – which Google would penalize you for – but do some competitive markup that mirrors what you see.
Google loves unique information as much as people do. Creating unique content with information that isn’t already blasted all over the Internet gives you a competitive edge and will likely give you results.
Provide More Depth
While this may seem contradicting to writing summaries, it’s not. Instead, think of this as going above and beyond what people are expecting. Give them something that surprises them, but that is still relevant to what they’re searching for. Show them that you have value and you’ll be rewarded.
Clean Up Your Pages
If you have pages that are a bit outdated, go through and clean them up. Refresh the content, make sure there are no spelling or grammatical errors, fix any broken links or page redirects, and make sure there aren’t any 404 errors or plug-ins that need updating.
This falls under the umbrella of user experience and anything you do to improve it will help. We’re human and mistakes happen. Just make sure you go back and check up on your pages every now and again. You should also make sure that your title and headers are simple, yet firm. Don’t add any extra words to them other than your long-tail keywords. Be clear, direct, and avoid any redundancies.
Increase Your Backlinks
Try and give your webpage natural backlinks to increase the validity and reputability of your site. This will help give you that extra push you need to beat your competitor and steal that featured spot. Comment on popular blogs in your industry, write some guest posts, and create microsites to boost your chances of getting backlinks.
If you follow these steps and continue to boost your SEO efforts you’ll be much more likely to optimize your featured snippet opportunities and steal them from your competition. Consistency is key, so keep working on it and over time you’ll see the results you’re looking for.