Optimising for Google’s Featured Snippets

It can’t have escaped your notice, but it is getting harder to gain more referral traffic from Google, or is it just us? Nope it’s harder and it’s not just because the competition is tougher (because it is!). Google has moved past the top ten results and now organic search results just aren’t generating the traffic they used to. So, how do you adapt?

Enter Featured Snippets

Featured snippets results are featured on top of Google’s organic Search Results below the ads. They aim to answer the user’s question immediately. This Results in additional brand exposure in the search results. A report from Ben Goodsell shows that the click-through rate (CTR) increased to 8% from 2%, with revenue from their organic traffic boosting by 677%.

For Google’s featured snippets, Google features the URL in the answer box, presenting extra exposure – which is why they’re important for content publishers. 

How Do I Get Featured?

Most featured pages are those that already rank within the Google top 10. So, if you already rank highly, there’s a good chance that you’ll make it to the featured snippets. A study by Getstat claims that 70% of featured snippets are from pages from outside of the #1 spot. So, it’s not required to be at the top, just to have the best content.

Wikipedia.org reigns supreme in a lot of featured snippets, which is unsurprising. If Wikipedia features for your search query, it’s not going to be an easy task to beat – that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged from trying.

The most common types of search queries that feature in Google's snippets are:

  • DIY Questions
  • Health
  • Finance
  • status
  • Requirements
  • mathematical

Queries such as images, videos, local and shopping often don't make it to the featured snippets.

Ok, Got it. So How Do I Get my Content Into the Featured Snippets?

It all starts with great content. But you should start with the basics: Good old keyword research. Many studies show that most featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords. The more that are typed into the search query, the higher the likelihood of a featured snippet appearing in the results.

It’s always recommended that you start by researching your keywords. When your researching with featured snippets in mind, it’s worth remembering:

  • Start with question-type search queries. These are the easiest to identify.
  • Target informative intent, not just questions. While featured snippets aim to answer a user’s question straight away, questions don’t always trigger featured results. Many keywords triggering featured snippets are long-tail queries without questions in them.

Some keyword research tools even show whether a query triggers featured snippets or not.

Further to your research, make sure you browse Google’s “People also ask” sections whenever they appear in the search results. This provides great insight into which questions Google deems to be related to the chosen topic.

The SEO Factor

There’s no secret magical mark-up that will ensure your site gets featured. It is recommended that you start with non-specific SEO best practices. Being featured only becomes possible when you already rank highly for the search.

Some people would suggest using Schema.org, however; studies have shown that there is no correlation between having a structured mark-up and being featured.

Some have observed that Google prefers to feature a response that is given within one paragraph. The average length of a paragraph snippet is 45 words (the maximum length is 97 words), so this should be your guideline to how long your answer should be to get featured.

This doesn’t mean that your articles should be no longer than a paragraph. In fact, Google seems to prefer long-form content (also known as “cornerstone content”) that’s broken into logical subsections and appropriate images. Read our blog on writing engaging blog content for more ideas.

If you think that your content has value that should be featured in Google's Featured Snippets, then Get in touch!

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