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How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2019

Posted By: admin Posted Date: June 10, 2019

Google aims at answering users queries directly and clearly – enter featured snippets! Featured snippets are quick answers that appear above organic search results. Ask Google – Who is the President of the United States? Or How Many Calories in a McDonald’s Burger? – and the answer will appear in a special block of its own with a short description or some factual detail.

Websites and content creators must optimize their content to be featured – the incentive is huge! Being featured means more traffic and increased click through for your web page. A featured snippet has far more real estate and gains more exposure than any other result on that page, resulting in establishing credibility and trust. Relevant traffic coming through will improve conversion and engagement.

Read on – in this article, we talk about what featured snippets are, the different types of snippets, how they differ from rich snippets, and how exactly you can optimize your content for Google’s featured snippets.

What are Featured Snippets?

A featured snippet is Google’s answer to a query, displayed at position zero, above organic search results. As per Google, featured snippets “enhance and draw user attention on the results page”. Featured snippets are easy-to-read, authoritative answers that directly answer a user’s search query.

This featured snippets is a block at the top of the search results page, containing a summary of the answer and a link to the web page it is extracted from. Featured snippets aim to answer the user’s query right away and typically answer who, what, when, why, how to type questions.

What are the Different Types of Featured Snippets?

There are four different types of featured snippets:

1) Paragraph Snippets – The most common type of snippet, paragraph snippets are text answers within the featured snippet block. They may also feature an image alongside. They answer “How To / Who is/ What is” type search queries.

2) List Snippets – List snippets are answers in a step-by-step form, numbered list, or a bulleted list. They answer queries on recipes, DIY tasks and “How Do I/ Best of” type queries.

3) Table Snippets – For structured data, Google can reformat content into tables for better readability. These type of table snippets answer questions on pricing, rates, and data.

4) Video Snippets – Google can also construct answers from Youtube and video descriptions. Any query that meets the criteria for being answered through a video can feature this snippet.

Some More Examples of Featured Snippets:

We’ve talked about the different kinds of featured snippets above – Google chooses the best way to answer a user’s query. Here are some more examples to help you understand further:

1) Asking Questions as a user – How to Change a Tyre? Google provides step-by-step clear answer.

2) DIY Questions answered – How Can I paint My Own Room? Google answers the question with some video guidance from Youtube.

3) Questions with straightforward answers – who/what/when type questions with the answer and a description in paragraph form.

Not all queries will have answers in the forms of featured snippets. However, Google is constantly adding more and more featured snippets – identifying user intent and answering human-type queries. With voice search becoming popular, featured snippets are becoming more important.

Featured Snippets Vs Rich Snippets

A rich snippet should not be confused with a featured snippet – it does not show up on the top of the SERPs. Rich snippets can appear anywhere in search results while featured snippets always appear at position zero.

Rich snippets are an enhanced version of an organic search result, with extra or “rich” information such as ratings, pricing, photos etc. It may have a slightly expanded real estate than other search results, according to information marked up on the site using structured schema data. Studies say that rich snippets get a higher click-through-rate than organic search results.

Some examples of rich snippets:

Contrastingly, here’s what a featured snippet looks like – note that they appear below paid results, but above organic search results:

How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2019

Before we begin optimization, here’s some important tips and facts to know about featured snippets:

  • If your pages rank higher up in the SERPs {Page 1 or top 10}, there is a much better chance of being featured. If a page does not rank in the top 10, it is almost impossible to be featured. Improving overall SEO for your website is key.
  • Google points out that it “programmatically determines that a page contains a likely answer to the user’s question, and displays the result as a featured snippet” so adding a special code or having structured markup on your website will not increase your chances of being featured.
  • Search queries for recipes, DIY processes, best of, definitions, pricing, and reviews get featured results most often.
  • Asking questions and answering them in a paragraph under 50 words helps optimize content to be featured. Include a FAQ section and update your content regularly.
  • Featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords and question-type search queries

A Step-by-Step Guide to Optimizing for Featured Snippets:

1. Improve Overall SEO

Since being featured is possible only when your content is ranked high, you must follow SEO best practises. Work on high quality content that is readable, findable, and consumable.

2. Determine Target Keywords

Find featured snippet opportunities for your website in two ways – determine low-hanging fruit with keywords that are already ranking on the first page and find new opportunities using a tool like AHREFs. Do keyword research with a focus on questions and target the most frequently occuring words in featured snippets {As Identified by AHREFs}

3. Revise Old Content

Revise existing content to answer questions. Your existing content may be high-ranking but will need a different approach to getting featured. Include the target keyword in the first paragraph – it will show up as bold within the featured snippet. Add summaries and lists to prime your content to be featured.

4. Create New Strategic Content

Browse Google for more questions and track trends across the internet in order to decide your new content strategy. Create content that answers questions – Who, What, When, Why, Where, and How – relevant to your product, industry, and web site.

5. Organize Queries Tactically

Structure your content into generic, specific, and more specific queries in order to answer related and non-related queries. Add a hook to your content so that a user is forced to click through the snippet on top your web site.

6. Get Factual

Google gives preference to factual, numbers-driven and and well-structured content. Add as much colour and richness in terms of your answer – dates, ingredients, steps, numbers all help. This doesn’t mean a specific markup – <table> <ol> and <ul> work just as well.

7. Answer Questions, Succinctly

Add the main question your content piece is answering as a heading or subheading, and answer the same concisely. 45-50 words is the recommended length for the same. The answer can be subsequently elaborated and structured for easy reading.

8. Answer Related Questions in One Article

A page should be structured and written in such a way that it answers a primary question as well as any related questions. If a page has been featured, it will get featured in related queries as well. This establishes credibility and authority. Look up the “People also Ask” section for related question suggestions.

9. Add Images

Use eye-catching, branded and annotated images throughout your webpage. WordPress adds dates to images, so updating images periodically will help as well.

10. Monitor & Get Indexed

Constantly monitor the queries that you have been featured for, their CTRs and any new opportunities that pop up. Use Google Search Console to submit a page to Google and fetch it for re-indexing.

In conclusion, a featured snippet increases not only exposure and traffic, but also relevancy of traffic. It isn’t easy to be featured – but finding snippet opportunities as well as optimizing your content can help you win and be ahead of your competitors!

In order to optimize, target informational intent and question-based queries. Add summaries and lists – ensuring that you order questions directly, clearly, and concisely.

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