The popularity of featured snippets has been soaring since its inception in 2014. According to Moz, a whopping 23% of all search result pages include a featured snippet.
Now, it’s more often that the first thing users see on the SERP is a featured snippet. According to a recent study, the number of results in Position zero of Google or featured snippets has been increasing steadily every year.
Given below is a graph that compares the number of search results that came up with featured snippets between the years 2014-2016.
Source: Perficient Digital
The increasing popularity of featured snippets can be attributed to the fact that they provide users with quick and informative results. However, discussions are ripe about how featured snippets are resulting in more “no-click” results.
There’s barely a need to click on different websites and look for answers to the user’s queries. Hubspot has a different story to tell as their report suggests that the website that makes it to the featured snippets gets a 2x higher click-through-rate.
What Are Featured Snippets?
If you aren’t already familiar with featured snippets, it refers to the search results that appear at the top of the SERP, above the first organic search result (Position 1). This is the reason why featured snippets are also known as Position zero results.
In a featured snippet, you can usually find a part of the content taken from a website indexed by Google that shows the answer to the specific query of an end-user. Check out the images below to get a better understanding.
However, featured snippets are different from Google Answer Box as these are results that Google’s algorithm auto-generates rather than taken from the websites that are indexed. In addition to this, Google Answer Box is not attributed to any website.
There are five main types of featured snippets:
Paragraph featured snippets
Paragraph featured snippets appear on the top of the SERP as an excerpt from a webpage answering your specific query.
List snippets appear in the form of a list as shown below.
Table featured snippets
Video featured Snippets
The video featured snippets usually appear when you want to learn a tutorial.
Accordion featured snippets appear as hidden tabs on the SERP, which you need to click on to retrieve the content.
Importance of Featured Snippets
Featured snippets offer maximum visibility to the content published on websites. They have more value than any other standard search results as these are considered by users as recommendations from Google.
The best part of coming up in the featured snippet is that you don’t need to rank number 1 in the SERP order to be featured, you can rank in Position 3 or Position 5 and still find a place in the featured snippet if your content is relevant to what the end-user is looking for.
A featured snippet is also beneficial for brand recognition. When a search query is placed through voice search, Google reads out the featured snippet result beginning with, “according to (your website name)…”
As per Ahrefs report, if you rank both for the featured snippet as well as Position 1 in the SERP, then you’re likely to get more than 28% of all clicks to your page!
Many businesses wonder whether featured snippets drive traffic since people can get all the required information without clicking on the website link.
To drive traffic through the featured snippet, it’s recommended that you add maximum information in your content. That way, when Google shows your content snippet in the form of a list or table, it adds a “More items” or “ More rows” link in the end. This encourages users to click on the link in order to get complete information.
Identifying Featured Snippet Opportunities
While creating new content for your website, look for related keywords that are ranking for featured snippets. Take a cue from the already ranking content and try to write something more informative in order to take over the featured snippet position for that particular keyword.
Another way to increase your chances of ranking in the featured snippets is to look for questions that people ask online.
As you cover those questions in your content, the chances of it being featured in Position 0 also increases. If you already have existing content that answers most queries and ranks on the top of the SERP, try to optimize it even further to find a place in Position 0.
11 Ways to Optimize Content For Featured Snippets
The biggest question that most website owners have is how to optimize their new and existing content to show up in the featured snippets. Getting your content to rank in Position 0 is not impossible if you know how to do it right. You can try these 11 ways to increase the chances of your content to rank in Position 0 of the SERP.
- Optimize Content to Rank on Top
- Write Content That Answer Questions
- Answer Related Queries
- Stay Focused On Answering Questions Throughout the Content
- Write Short & Crisp Answers
- Add FAQ Section to Your Content
- Format Content Structure For Featured Snippets
- Add a Table of Content With Anchor Links
- Optimize Image For Featured Snippets
- Improvise on the Existing Snippet
- Add a TL;DR Summary
Optimize Content to Rank on Top
Before you seek out to rank for the featured snippet on Google, you must strive to find a top position on the SERP. The featured snippet is mostly likely to rank from the top 5 results of the SERP.
Write Content That Answer Questions
When people make online search terms, it’s most likely in the form of questions that start with words like what, when, how, whom, why, or where. Ensure that you are optimizing the content for question-based keywords. Also, when you write content, make sure that it answers these questions easily. This way, you will have a chance to rank in the featured snippets as well.
So, for example, instead of writing “5 easy ways to make a cake,” try writing “how to bake a cake easily?”
Answer Related Search Term
Whatever topic you chose to write about, ensure you cover all the related search terms on the same page. You can research to find the related questions to your core topic and then optimize them in the content accordingly.
Tools like Ahrefs’ question section can be beneficial to find related questions on any given topic. You can also take suggestions from Google’s “related search” suggestions to find a cue about the different related topics to cover.
Stay Focused On Answering Questions Throughout the Content
While creating content, you should be focused on answering questions throughout the particular post. Every section of the content, including H1, H2, H3, etc. should answer questions related to the target keyword. According to a study by Jumpshot published on Moz, almost 8% of the search terms in 2017 were question-based.
The best way to identify the questions asked by the target audience is by analyzing the “People also asked section on the SERP. These are the questions that people frequently ask on Google and answering them in a better way can help you find featured snippet opportunities.
Write Short & Crisp Answers
The more concise your answer is, the easier it gets for Google to identify the content and deem whether it satisfies the online query or not. Wherever possible, try to answer questions based on your target keywords and within 40-50 words.
Add FAQ Section to Your Content
An FAQ section can improve your chances of showing up in the featured snippet. Proper schema markup for FAQ pages can showcase a rich search result to the right audience and increase the CTR along with the possibility to rank in Position 0.
Format Content Structure For Featured Snippets
Try to format your website content to fit the five types of featured snippets mentioned in the section above. Content structured as lists has the maximum probability of ranking as a featured snippet. Use heading tags like H2 and H3 to create a list structure for your content. Also, ensure to add a heading for every individual step explained.
Add a Table of Content With Anchor Links
Adding the ‘Table of Contents’ to any blog post makes it easier for Google to identify the potential for featured snippets. List the content in a well-structured manner in between the introduction and the conclusion and link each section to the respective part in the TOC.
Optimize Image For Featured Snippets
In addition to the text used in featured snippets, you should also try to optimize the image for featured snippets. Unlike the text, the image that appears alongside some snippets can be from a different website. Look for the current featured image for a given keyword and try to optimize the image on your site with something more appealing. Add an alt text that is more relevant to the keyword and the given query and add it on the top part of your blog post/website content. Also, ensure that you go for original images only.
Improvise on the Existing Snippet
Look for a featured snippet and try to analyze the gaps in your content that are preventing it from ranking in Position 0. Try to follow the content structure, tonality, and add additional information that is missing from the existing content ranking in the featured snippet. Research well on the search-intent keywords and try to answer them more elaborately than your competitors.
Add a TLDR Summary
As a website owner, you must be already aware of the high-ranking web pages on your site. If you can provide a summary of the content on those web pages, it could improve your potential to rank in the featured snippets.
— Snippet App (@SnippetApp) November 22, 2013
Finally, remember that user engagement is very essential for ranking in Position 0 of Google, and it’s something that is not achievable through smart SEO tactics alone. Other essential factors like website loading speed, mobile experience, readability, and content quality also affect the popularity of a website and its worthiness to rank in the featured snippet. So, strive to offer a wholesome experience to your audience when they hit up a particular query related to your niche online and in no time, you’ll find your content in Position 0.