Featured snippets are often the first search result that you see when you type any search query on Google. These appear in a different format than the rest of the search results and are usually the only link that users click on to find an answer to their query.
In fact, most users don’t even click on it but find the relevant answer right on the search engine results pages (SERPs). That is why featured snippets are the most coveted position for marketers: Featured snippets can help you secure the top ranking on Google.
In this post, you will find out everything that you need to know about featured snippets and how to rank for one.
So, let’s get started.
Before we get into the details of how to rank in featured snippets, you must first understand what the different types of snippets are. This will help you understand how to structure your content to improve your chances.
Here are the four main types of featured snippets on Google.
These are the featured snippets that appear in the form of numbered or bulleted lists of key points that answer a question. These lists are often created by taking the subheadings of a longer article.
To optimize for list featured snippets, you have to structure your content in the form of a list that answers the key question.
For example, to answer a “how-to” question, you can write a numbered list of the step-by-step process of how to do something. It is even better if you format each step as a separate heading.
These are the most common type of featured snippets and appear in the form of a few sentences that answer a user’s question. For this, Google takes a paragraph from the source content that provides the best answer or explanation for a user’s search query.
The actual content can be much longer than the answer provided in the featured snippet. So, make sure that you answer the key question that you’re targeting in an easily-digestible format.
The third type of featured snippets appears in the form of a table or answer box. These are usually shown for answers that are more structured and can be organized in a table.
Google is capable of summarizing and formatting data in the form of a table if all the data is available. However, you could make the job easier and structure all relevant data in the form of a table to increase your chances of getting featured, but more on that later.
Many Google search questions are best answered by watching a video that explains things properly. That is why, for certain questions, Google shows videos as featured snippets.
To optimize for video featured snippets, you need to improve your video descriptions so that Google knows what your video is all about.
Now that we have covered the basics, we can get into the details of how you can increase your chances of ranking in Google’s featured snippets.
Ready to learn more about how to do that?
Keep reading and find the answers in the next section.
Now that you understand what featured snippets are and how they appear on the Google SERPs, it’s time to actually start preparing to rank for them. I have six useful tips to help you get your content to rank in Google’s featured snippets.
Curious to learn what the tips are?
The first step in your quest to rank in featured snippets has to be thorough keyword research. There are numerous tools for SEO that you can use to search for relevant keywords in your niche.
Once you have a list of target keywords, the next step is to find questions related to each keyword that you can answer to rank in a featured snippet. In this section, you will learn how to find questions that you can answer. You’ll also learn how to do it right to improve your chances of ranking in featured snippets.
Ready to learn more?
Let’s get started.
One of the best ways to find questions on any topic or keyword is to search for it on Google and check the “people also ask” section to find more questions. Click on any of those questions to find even more related questions.
Basically, you don’t really need any paid tool for this as Google itself will provide you with enough information on which questions to answer.
However, if you want a quicker and easier way to do this, you can use a tool like AnswerThePublic. You can simply type a keyword and find all relevant questions that people ask about that topic or keyword, as shown in the example below.
Image via AnswerThePublic
Once you have a list of questions, you then need to create good content that answers those questions in the best way possible.
For this, first do some research and see how the current featured snippet answers each question. Then, try to write a better answer and add that somewhere in your content. This can be a paragraph in a longer content piece, a bulleted list or another format.
When you create long-form content, you can actually answer multiple related questions on a topic through it. But, for ranking in featured snippets, you must provide a short and specific answer for each question.
This is especially useful for featuring in paragraph-style featured snippets, as you can include multiple paragraphs in your content to answer different questions.
This is a tactic that you can use to rank in a list-style featured snippet. Structure your content in a way that your subheadings answer the main target question.
Also, it is a good idea to use bullet points or numbered lists for your subheadings as well. Basically, create a listicle post and format it right to get featured in a list-type featured snippet.
Other than this, you can also create multiple bulleted or numbered lists in a longer content piece to answer multiple questions.
Firstly, if you are not yet using video content on your website, then it’s high time that you start doing so. Video is currently one of the most popular content types and should be a part of your content marketing strategy.
That said, not everyone using video content is getting featured in Google’s featured snippets. In fact, Google picks only one of the thousands of options to showcase in the featured snippets section.
So, what makes Google pick one video over the numerous others?
The answer, surprisingly, is not so much the video content itself, but more about how you package and market it.
What I mean is that you don’t just need to produce high-quality content, you also need to inform Google what your video is about. Unlike text content, which is easier for Google to understand, with videos you need to make an extra effort.
So, how can you do that?
The simple answer is by optimizing your video titles and descriptions with your target keywords. But, not just any keywords. You should use long-tail, preferably question-type keywords, to get the best results. Use long-tail keywords that tell Google that you are answering a specific question with your video.
For instance, if you want your video to rank for “how to do x,” why not use that as your video title? Also, use it in your video description to inform Google that your video is relevant and answers the question.
You can also create and upload video scripts to provide both your audience and Google more information about your video.
As mentioned earlier, Google organizes collections of data in the form of a table to show it as a table featured snippet. If you already do the work for it, you can increase your chances of getting featured.
So, identify the types of content on your website that would be easier to consume in the form of a table and get to work. This will not only make Google more likely to choose your content but will also make your customers happy as they get summarized information.
Also, add a relevant title that includes your target keyword right before your table. Make sure that your table directly follows that title. The purpose of this is to format your content in a way that can be directly used by Google in a featured snippet.
Basically, think about how you would want your featured snippet to appear and put it as it is somewhere in your content.
Did you know that most featured snippets come from content pieces that already rank on the first page of Google’s search results?
This indicates that there is a strong correlation between search rankings and the likelihood of content to rank in featured snippets. So, why not focus on good old SEO techniques to ensure that your content ranks first?
Start with the basic on-page and off-page SEO tactics to get started. Ensure consistently good content quality by creating relevant, easy-to-understand, targeted content. Also, optimize your content with relevant keywords and side words to improve your rankings.
Last, but not least, you can add a Q&A page on your website where you answer all common questions in your niche. Think about who your prospective audiences are and what kind of questions related to your business they would like answered.
Answer all of those industry questions on the Q&A page and pay extra attention to each answer. In fact, search for each question that you are planning to add and see what is currently being featured as the first answer. Then, write a better answer for each question in a few sentences, to increase your chances of appearing in paragraph-style featured snippets.
This is actually a brilliant way to get your page to rank for multiple questions as a featured snippet. Each question and answer in itself can rank separately if you do your bit.
These are six of the best tips to get your content to rank for Google’s featured snippets. Try these and increase your chances of getting ranked for featured snippets.
Have any other questions related to featured snippets? Feel free to ask by leaving a comment.