Google is constantly testing and adding features to search results pages (SERPs). Since the early days of search engines, the user may no longer recognize the site from the layered look that Google now offers to visitors. Search features like curated recipe links, top stories, and knowledge panels are now very common – but they all started with simply featured snippets.
Featured snippets were first introduced in 2014 and have caused a great deal of confusion in the search engine optimization (SEO) community. Suddenly, users are going to be in search engines instead of visiting your top page, right? Stealing clicks from Google websites! This is bad for business!
What is a Featured Snippet?
Role of Featured snippet in SEO
Why are featured snippets important for SEO?
According to SEMRush sensors, 6% of SERPs have a featured snippet. Depending on the query or search, user intent, and content added in the snippet, the click-through rate on a featured snippet may be significantly higher than the organic link you see below.
Compare the question asked for the cooking temperature that immediately provides the customer with what they need:
The previous question will give you a complete answer immediately; Links to the next 3,200-word article, which goes deeper for users who really need to know.
Interestingly, you do not have to have a top page for a query to get a featured snippet. A study by Ahrefs in 2018 found that only 32 percent of featured snippets were taking their content from the top-ranked page in organic search, and pages ranked second to fifth from search could drive significant traffic.
Since then, various updates have improved it a bit by removing duplicate pages from the first page results, but the point remains the featured snippet ranking no.
According to the same Ahrefs study, most snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords with a volume of fewer than 60 questions per month. Not coincidentally, these questions have more words and more interest in a topic. These are questions that businesses can focus on from the beginning to get customers into the middle of the funnel. This example is from the featured snippet for the question, “What are the differences between concrete and fiberglass pool?”
Featured snippets affect SEO in broadly two ways
First, featured snippets are an opportunity to get more clicks from organic search results without having to rank high on Google.
In fact, many SEO experts refer to the featured snippets box as “Position # 0” because it appears above the traditional #1 position.
According to Search Engine Land, the featured snippet earns 9% of all clicks.
If you can get your content in a featured snippet, you can give a serious boost to your organic click-through rate.
For example, we were recently able to rank a featured snippet for this keyword:
Second, featured snippets increase the number of “no-click searches”. In other words, not when a Google user clicks on any search result.
Because the featured snippet often gives the answer someone is looking for.
Therefore, before deciding on a specific keyword, it is important to look for the snippet featured in the search results. If so, according to an industry study by Ahrefs, you get fewer clicks compared to SERPs without specific snippets.
Having a featured snippet does not mean that you should automatically throw out the keyword. Above all, SEMrush reports that 11.74% of all queries have a featured snippet.
This means that it is difficult to completely avoid keywords with featured snippets.
In addition to competition and monthly search volumes, featured snippets are a factor in the process of choosing your keywords.
How to optimize featured snippets?
Here are few tips for optimizing featured snippets:
1. Start with on-page SEO
There is no magic button or special markup to confirm that your site is featured. Of course, it is better to start with specific SEO best practices, because it is possible to get the feature if you give a high rank to the question. For On-page SEO click here.
Randy Milanovic provides a good overview of the strategy to make your content findable. Eric Brantner of Coschedule has created a very useful SEO checklist and don’t forget to go through Moz’s SEO Guide. For Off-page SEO click here.
What about structured markup?
Most people suggest using Schema.org (because it is “subject” to recommend adding a schema to anything and everything) but the Ahrefs study shows that there is no correlation between the results displayed and the structured markup.
That being said, the best way to feature is by providing a better answer. Here are some practical tips:
1. The goal is to answer each question briefly
My own observation on the answer boxes made me think that Google would like to display the answer given in the paragraph.
According to a study by AJ Gergich, the average length of a paragraph snippet is 45 words (maximum 97 words), so this is your guide to how long each answer should look:
This does not mean that your articles should be one paragraph long. In contrast, these days Google prefers long-format content (also known as “cornerstone content”), which is not just about length but a better way to describe it. ) It is divided into logical subdivisions and provides images that attract attention.
2. Make sure an article answers many similar questions
In researching featured snippets, Ahrefs found that after featuring a page, it is possible to appear in many similar questions. This means it has to be structured and worded in a way that solves the most relevant questions.
Google is great at determining synonyms and closely related questions, so can you. It does not make sense to create a separate page to answer each specific question.
If you aim to appear in the answer box, it is a wise strategy to create a solid article addressing many related questions.
3. Be factual and manage well
Google prefers numbers, steps, and lists. We’ve seen it again and again: often the answer box lists the actual ingredients, number of steps, cooking time, year and city of birth, etc.
Be sure to list the useful numbers and names in your paragraph, introducing the answer to the question. Get the most realism.
In fact, a study by AJ Gergich concluded that Google’s liking structured content is the easiest way to feature comparison charts and listings. In fact, even for branded questions (when a user is explicitly researching a particular brand), Google selects a table from another site (not answered by the brand).
4. Organize your questions properly
To combine many questions that are closely related in one article, you need to organize your questions properly. It also helps you to structure your content better.
I have a multi-level keyword organization strategy that can also be applied here:
- A simple keyword creates a section or category of a blog
- A more specific search query becomes the title of the article.
- More specific questions determine the subtitle of the article and define its structure.
- There are many questions that are very closely related, all of which fall under the same
- subheading. Clicking on any word in the tag cloud will filter the results for questions that contain
- only that word. These are subsections of your article:
5. Be sure to use eye-catching images
Featured snippets with images are more ridiculously appealing than regular feature snippets. Honestly, I couldn’t figure out how to add paint to the picture. I tried to give it a different name and I tried to mark it as a “feature” in the WordPress editor. Google hopes to be able to remove random images from the page without me suggesting a better version.
That said, the only way to impress is that all the images in your article are attractive, branded, and nicely quoted so that no matter what features Google finishes, it’s good. It takes, here is a great selection of WordPress plugins that allow you to easily view your content (including graphs, tables, charts, etc.) while working on a piece. Learn about alt text from here.
You can use Banner Snack to create attractive branded images; I love their image editing functionality. You can quickly create graphics there, and then reuse them as banners and social media images and organize all your creatives into folders:
6. Monitor how you are doing
Ahrefs allows you to monitor what questions your domain is being featured for, so keep an eye on them as they grow and new ones appear:
7. Update and re-upload images (WordPress)
WordPress image adds dates to URLs, so images are considered out of date even if you update an article with new information. After I started updating my images, I was able to make snippets with ****** images appear in some paragraphs. Learn how to reduce WordPress site load time
This requires a lot of research and planning and you are not sure when you will see results (especially if you do not have top 10 rankings yet). Incentives to work harder on your content. You will achieve other important goals along the way:
- You will find hundreds of new content ideas (hence the rank for a wide variety of long-tail keywords).
- Research each topic in more depth (and create more incoming links as people link to deeper articles)
- learn to structure your articles well (so that you get a lower bounce rate because your articles are easier to read)
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