Did you know that the top five positions in Google search engine results pages (SERPs) get 67.6 percent of the traffic? With billions of websites worldwide, ranking for competitive keywords and landing in the top five feels like a far-fetched dream. But there is an easy five-step way to bypass the first five SERP positions and land at the top of the page? You can do this without having to create new content, build tons of backlinks or wait for years! You can climb to the top of the SERPs space in a few easy steps that optimize and structure your existing content for featured snippets.
When you own a featured snippet, you can enjoy the following benefits:
Seventy percent of featured snippets are pulled from results other than the first organic result and 30 percent of snippets are picked from listings between the fourth and 71st organic positions.
So, what does this mean for you? If you secure a featured snippet spot, you jump to the first position on Google almost instantly even if you are currently in 10th position! Featured snippets are picked by Google based on user intent, the precision of your answer and the structure of the page. This means you can strategically optimize every piece of your content for featured snippets.
Also, with the new 2020 Google update, featured snippets are not considered to be position zero anymore. They are now a part of the top 10 search results which makes them even more desirable.
Google says that there are no specific ways for us to indicate that a piece of content should be used for featured snippets. So, the best way to optimize for a featured snippet is to identify the common traits observed in most of them and follow the same for your content as well.
Here are few observations related to featured snippets:
- Featured snippets can be different formats — paragraph snippets, video snippets, table snippets, listicle snippets or image snippets.
- According to a study by Hubspot, snippets are more likely to have a word count between 54 to 58 words.
- Featured snippets are usually pulled for user queries, which answer questions such as “how”, “what”, “why” or “when”. Semantic relevance and matching user intent are the most important factors taken into account by Google while featuring a snippet.
- Another major observation is that the majority of featured snippets available are for long-tail keyword variations as compared to the shorter, more competitive ones.
- Page structure plays a huge role in featured snippet optimization so make sure to use proper HTML tags for your keyword and its answer.
- Featured snippets are usually more data-driven than opinion-based.
- Lower page load speeds have better chances of landing featured snippets.
- Featured snippets are usually stand-alone content which make complete sense even when snipped from a long piece of content.
- Google prefers to pick featured snippets for voice searches and research says that 90 percent of Google Assistant answers come from snippets.
- According to Google, adding structured markup has no effect on your featured snippet optimization efforts.
- Backlinks for featured snippets do not matter as much as they do for ranking in the first position.
- Also, one web page can be featured in multiple snippets for various search terms.
- Certain words tend to trigger featured snippets more than others.
Now you know all the factors that might increase your chances of getting featured snippets. Let’s look at the five actionable steps for optimizing your existing content to grab featured snippets:
The first step is to conduct an audit of your existing content to fish out all the featured snippet opportunities you can get.
Like we discussed in one of the previous section, snippets can be of many types:
Paragraph snippets (the most common type):
Listicle (Numbered/Bullet style) snippets:
Now, you need to decide which type of snippet would be best suited for your query. The easiest way is to look at the already ranking snippet for your search term and see what type does Google prefer.
If Google doesn’t have a snippet for your query then you can figure it out by looking at the search term. For example, a “how-to” question would usually fit into a listicle style snippet whereas, a “why” or “what” kinda query would be best answered in a paragraph format.
Now, you have your search query and the decided snippet format with you. So, the next step is to chalk out the actual answer for your featured snippet query. For this, start by analyzing the structure of the page which you want to optimize for the featured snippet. Check if you have already answered the search query in that page in some form or the other.
Now, create the answer content in the format that you have decided. Here’s what you should keep in mind while creating content that is optimized for featured snippets:
The next step would be to add the snippet to your content.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Formatting your snippet and page structure is a major part of featured snippet optimization. Only with the proper format, will Google be able to crawl through your content, understand the context and ultimately pick it up for the featured snippet.
Here are a few tips to format your content for featured snippets:
Remember that all your efforts for optimization will go to waste if your content is not high-quality. So make sure that you put out top-notch quality content and only then optimize these for featured snippets.
A good way to look at it is to compare your snippet content with the already ranking snippet content. Is your content more helpful, up-to-date and accurate than the existing one? Then you are on the right track to grab hundreds of featured snippets for your website!
Do let us know if you have any other tips for featured snippet optimization!