If you’re looking to expand your digital reach and bring more traffic to your business, featured snippets could be your ticket to the top of the rankings. When you rank for a featured snippet on Google, you win the top of the results page and get your valuable content prominently displayed. 

Featured snippets can improve your business via increased digital traffic and greater brand awareness. To rank for a featured snippet, you’ll need to optimize your content with high impact keywords and valuable information that answers a user’s search query. A skilled marketing team can help you create higher ranking content and even win those elusive featured snippets. Here’s how:

What Are Featured Snippets?

A featured snippet is a brief section of text, a table, a video or a list pulled directly from a website that answers a user’s search query on Google. Snippets appear at the top of a search results page above the first result. They are sometimes referred to as result #0.

Here’s an example of a featured snippet from the search query “How to pack your toiletries.”

In this example, the featured snippet is an ordered list from our client, Bekins Van Lines. It gives step-by-step instructions for how to pack your bathroom items more efficiently. This result puts Bekins in the top position and establishes them as an authority for this query.

This result means users may not need to click anywhere else if they found what they were looking for within the featured snippet. If a user clicks on the featured snippet, they will be taken to the exact spot on the referring page where the featured content came from.

The Stats: Why Featured Snippets are A Big Win

In 2019, Google tipped the point where less than 50% of searches result in a click. Of those who do click, 26% will click on the first result if there is no snippet. However, if there is a snippet, only 19.6% will click on the first result and 8.6% will click on the featured snippet. 

8% may not seem like a high percentage but consider that the other 50+% of people who don’t click on any result will see your content at the top of the page.

The presence of a snippet discourages people from clicking on other search results because they’ve already found the answer to their query. If you can provide that source of information in the form of a featured snippet, you build brand awareness and establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field.

The device a search is performed on makes a big difference. 60% of Google searches occur on mobile devices. Many mobile searches are via voice search and produce the more unique, long-tailed keywords that lead to snippets. 

A bonus in winning a featured snippet on a mobile device is that it will fill 50% of the device’s screen. That means a user won’t see most of the other search results without scrolling. It puts you head and shoulders above everyone else blotted out by your snippet.

How Does Google Choose Featured Snippets?

The explanation from Google states that snippets are designed to “help people more easily discover what they’re seeking.” To achieve this, Google’s automated systems match queries with content and then displays what it determines to be the most useful results first.

How does Google know if your website has the valuable information users are looking for?

When you post new information on the web, Google uses what it calls “crawlers” to scan your content. They categorize and catalog your web pages based on what these crawlers detect. The way your content is categorized affects your organic search results. If Google thinks your content is especially useful for answering a user’s query, they will feature it as a zero position featured snippet.

How to Optimize for Featured Snippets

About 19% of SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) contain a featured snippet. Most snippets answer detailed long-tail keyword type queries (a longer and more specific search, popular with voice search on personal phones).

One of the best ways to get your site noticed is to rank for a featured snippet—here’s how:

1.Discover. Figure out which queries could produce featured snippets related to your business. There are two ways to do this:

  • Long way: Perform question based research around queries related to your business.
  • Short way: Use keyword tracking software to discover featured snippet opportunities.

A digital marketing expert who understands SEO and content best practices can find which keywords are most effective for your business. Then, they can strategize how to rank for a featured snippet using their keyword strategy.  This strategy will ultimately drive more traffic to your website.

2.Optimize. You need to optimize the content on your webpage for the specific snippets you identified in step one. The way you do that will depend on the types of featured snippets you’re going for. Here are a few quick optimization tips: 

  • For a description or definition, the question/answer format works well. Use H1s or H2s to state the keywords in a query and then provide a concise answer directly beneath. The text for your answer should be featured snippet length—between 40-60 words. Keep your answers short and to the point. Avoid adding opinions.
  • For a table, organize your data in a neat and visual manner. Statistics show that tables with five rows and two columns appear as snippets most frequently. 
  • For a list, keep it to around six items and 44 words. Use an H2 or H3 for each step in a how-to guide followed by a more detailed explanation.

3.Enhance your technical SEO elements. A good cook doesn’t serve a delicious meal without proper presentation. Giving your pages the right titles, meta descriptions and schema sends an irresistible digital waft that makes Google suddenly hungry for your content. Knowing the back end of content marketing can make your business the plat du jour. 

4.Maximize your efforts. When you create a new piece of content, make sure you optimize it with relevant keywords, useful information, easy to understand lists and helpful tables. Most importantly, make content succinct and authoritative. If your site has enough authority, a single post could rank for multiple featured snippets!

Other Ideas on Featured Snippets to Increase Traffic

  • Have quality content. Good content is often more difficult to produce than people realize. Not only does Google crawl for important keywords, it looks for content that is well written, easy to read and definitive. Hire a professional to make your content stand out above the masses of similar posts and pages. 
  • Get page one rankings. If you’re not already on page one in the SERPs, you will have a difficult time ranking for a snippet. 99% of snippets are taken from pages that are already on page one. If you aren’t among the elite, work with an experienced marketing agency to create a campaign that will put you on page one.
  • Schema markup. Schema is a behind-the-scenes back page code that makes it easier for Google to crawl your pages and understand your content. Adding schema to existing pages will help boost their reach and push you closer to the top of the rankings.
  • Track progress. To rank higher and stay on top, you need to know how to track featured snippets along with all your metrics.  Continually optimize, rework and update as necessary to stay relevant.

Give Your Business an Winning Lead With Featured Snippets  

Australian hard rockers AC/DC pointed out that it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock ‘n’ roll. We’ll add that it’s a long way to the top if you want to rank on Google – especially if you want those coveted featured snippets at the top of the results page.

A great way to get to the top, is to work with a trusted and experienced digital marketing agency. At Gemini, we can audit your website, improve your content, optimize for featured snippets, and track your progress all within one cohesive program. Contact us to see how we can position you as a rockstar at the top of the search engine queries in your field.