Featured Snippets - How to Stand Out On Google
Plain links are passée, featured snippets are now. These are bits snipped from content that send you straight up Google rankings. As we all know Google is a hard and constantly evolving taskmaster and it's vital to keep up with the changes or you'll be left behind. Featured snippets are today's fastest-growing tools and usually the first thing to be seen when searching. It puts trustworthy content in 'position zero' - usually right at the top of the page. But that's not a spot you can buy or choose, it's decided by Google's clever algorithms. Don't despair though, with a little content planning you can enhance your chances of earning the top rank.
What are featured snippets? How do they work?
Types of featured snippets
Featured snippets are boxed information at the top of Google search results. They answer search queries by grabbing content from top-ranking pages. For example: if I search for 'how to create SEO', I'm presented with a boxed list of nine SEO tips and an article link. Featured snippets commonly present as:
- Paragraphs: the most popular type, delivering a few sentences of information
- Numbered or bulleted lists
- Videos: for example, a YouTube clip from your content
- Knowledge panels: short snippets of information on the topic.
Featured snippets and Google ranking
With professional content you can rank high on SERPs and may win a 'snippet', jumping to pole position. But, you may be asking, 'If the searcher can get their answer from the featured snippet what incentive is there to visit my site?' It's a valid question and certainly applicable for searches such as, 'When was the Battle of Hastings?' The snippet simply gives the answer. Rephrase the question to 'What caused the Battle of Hastings?' and the snippet delivers tempter sentences from a source and its link. Content that answers questions like this climbs rankings and gets substantially more clicks.
Making featured snippets work for you
Build a strong brand
While featured snippets are top of the page in a search result, they're often the only thing visible on mobile devices. This makes the need to have a strong brand image backed up by great copywriting even more compelling. Be visible in SERPs, get people clicking on your link and you'll build and strengthen your long-term growth. And, there's nothing more visible than featured snippets.
Content with featured snippets in mind
Featured snippets boost credibility more than almost any other SEO tool. You don't have to pay for them, you don't even have to be an industry leader to earn one. Google just has to love your high-quality and well-formatted content. The more 'snippable' this content is, the more Google will recognise it. Drive your ranking by having the right keywords, phrases and question answers in your content and the better your chances are of a featured snippet, and therefore a spike in site traffic.
Optimise your post by using the 'inverted pyramid method'. Structure it by putting the most important content at the top and then structure the rest by importance. Use short snappy paragraphs, bullet points and lists. Keep sentences succinct and audience-focused. Choose active sentences and verbs over passive ones. Never forget that featured snippets should provide easy answers to commonly asked questions.
Words and questions that Google loves
Make use of keyword research to boost your chance of having featured snippets while building content around the questions people commonly ask. Find out what these questions are at 'Answer the Public'. This is a great (and free) online tool for content writers. For example, if writing about electric cars, type in 'electric cars' to see the questions commonly asked about them. Then design your content to answer some of them. The more questions you answer, the more likely you piece is to appear in Google's algorithm.
Word counts and headers
Google likes concise content. The average featured snippet word count is between 40 and 50. Organise content into sentences, paragraphs, instruction steps or lists that fit this word count then follow H1 to H6 conventions to structure headings, ensuring they are fluid and relevant.
Let's sum it up
A featured snippet is a tool that sits alongside keywords and having great content to drive traffic to your site. Get one and you're in Google position zero. Boost your chances of ranking for featured snippets by using greatcontent to create great copy. Contact that team today and take the next step up the ladder with excellent SEO content that's unique and tailored to you.
Text: Leonie Yeates
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