We’ve probably all seen them: featured snippets. This ‘position 0’ search result shows searchers an on-point answer to their questions and is the answer Google Assistant uses to answer voice searches. With the growth of mobile and voice search, it is vital for marketers to optimize their content for featured snippets. If you want to get on the top, this blog is for you!
What are featured snippets?
Mobile has become the most important device, while at the same time voice searches are expected to be 50% of all mobile searches in 2020, according to Google. This means that the time has come to start focusing on featured snippets. Featured snippets are the search results shown before all the organic search results and show a super quick answer to the question asked.
Because this search result is shown on the top of the search results it is said to be the number 0 position. Besides this position being shown ‘above the fold’, it also takes a significant amount of space of the page. Taking this into consideration, featured snippets increase your visibility considerately:
- Over 40% of all search queries show a featured snippet1
- When there isn’t any featured snippet available, the first result owns 26% of all clicks. But when a featured snippet is available, this is only 19,6% since the featured snippet steals 8,6% of all clicks2
- According to Ahrefs, you get 31% more traffic to your website when you are shown in the featured snippet and the number 1 search result!3
These featured snippets are drawn from all the search results on the first page by an algorithm of Google. So you don’t even have to be in the number 1 position of all the search results to get a featured snippet, you only have to give the best answer to the question asked.
The search queries Google can answer easily often begin with interrogative words like what, who, how, why, which, when, and where. You might recognize this from the way you can optimize your website for voice search. That’s because Google Assistant mainly uses featured snippets to answer the questions people search for when users search using their voice. With the growing popularity of voice search, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to get a featured snippet.
Want to make your website ready for voice search? You can read all about it in our blog about voice search SEO.
Different kinds of featured snippets
Although most of you might recognize the featured snippet as a block showing the answer real quick, there are actually different kinds of featured snippets.
Paragraph featured snippet
A paragraph of text showing the answer to the question. When it’s only about some words or a small part of the paragraph Google shows this by making this piece of text bold. Besides text, Google also shows a little image inside the featured snippet block.
List featured snippet
A summary that shows an answer to the question. This can be a step-by-step explanation, a top 10 (or more) or multiple options the searcher can choose between.
Table featured snippet
A snippet that clearly shows an answer within a table.
Since Google owns YouTube, Google can also show a snippet of a YouTube video that shows an explanation. It’s even advanced enough to skip automatically to the right part of the video (when optimized in the right way).
Besides featured snippets, Google also shows other important search results you might want to look into. ‘People also ask’ is an example of this and shows a block with similar questions about the subject. The answers to these questions are mostly featured snippets and important for you to have a try at.
Besides that, Google shows a knowledge card too. This knowledge card is shown next to the search results - and in mobile somewhere in between all the results - and shows more information about a company, a famous person, movie or game. This knowledge card often shows the information on a Wikipedia page or a Google My Business profile.
How to get a featured snippet?
Every company, small or big, can get a featured snippet as long as the content is right. That’s why we give you 6 tips to get yourself a featured snippet.
1. Optimize your content to get on the first page of Google
According to Ahref, 99.58% of all featured snippets are search results shown on the first page4. The biggest chance you have to earn a featured snippet is to get your website on the first page of search results for keywords that are important to your company.
2. Look at the competition
The keywords your company scores with probably already have featured snippets. And that’s something you can use as your advantage. Take a look at what your competitors are writing about and don’t forget looking at the ‘People also ask’ block. This block shows the most relevant questions of a subject and which content Google shows your target group. Don’t just copy-paste the content of a featured snippet, but make it your own. Just use this as a source of inspiration to optimize your text, and keep it short but powerful.
3. Keyword research
We probably all know about the good old keyword research, and you can also use it for your featured snippets optimization! Research which questions your target group has and mainly the questions starting with who, what, where, when, which, how and why. A quick tip: use https://answerthepublic.com/ to find out all the questions your target group possibly has.
Don’t forget to also look at the keywords you already rank for. Optimizing these keywords make it easier for you to get a featured snippet. You can use Google Search Console to see which keywords people use to get to your business online. SEO Tool MOZ also shows which keywords are important for your business, how well you rank, and which keywords are already shown as featured snippets. If you want to use MOZ or already have it, take a look under ‘SERP’ features for this.
4. The answer in one paragraph
According to HubSpot, it’s important to use just 50 words in the paragraph that answers the question. Try to answer the question fast and objectively, while also making sure people have to visit your page to get more in-depth information. To do this, you can let the title encourage people to click through by showing them they can find more information on the page that might also be interesting for them.
5. Even your code is essential
The same research of HubSpot shows that having a clear design with little code is essential to be seen by Google. That’s where the MODX CMS comes in. Since the MODX CMS is a light CMS that’s understandable for Google. By using little code, Google can easily get to that awesome piece of content you want to show in a featured snippet.
An important factor with this is the creation of factly lists because that’s what Google loves. You can code this yourself, but Google can even generate lists from the subheadings (H3) when these show a summary. Though Google is pretty advanced in this, you can make it easier for the algorithm to number the subheading the right way like 1., 2., etc. instead of 1), 2), etc.
If you want to make sure searchers have to click through to your page when they see your website in a featured snippet, you have to use at least 8 items. Besides that, try to show the question in the H2 title or right on top of the list5
6. Google My Business
Another result that actually isn’t a featured snippet, but really is important, is a knowledge card. The knowledge is important for your business because it’s shown at the top of the results. Because the information is accessed through a Google My Business profile, you have to get started with Google My Business.
Keep in mind that Google can always decide that another page answers the question better than yours. That means that when you do earn a featured snippet, it can already be gone the next day. That’s why you have to continuously keep optimizing your website to make sure it’s always visible in the search results.