Over the past years, Google has been changing its policies in the way it displays results to its users. If you want to drive more traffic to your site and want users to click on your content, showing up as a featured snippet in Google search will help. Google has been increasing the number of featured snippets, which it displays in its queries. This pushes the organic results further down to a web page.
A] What is a Featured Snippet?
Featured snippets are rich and bold search results that appear as a small box of content on SERP. They are fields of information that provide exact answers related to the user’s query.
They are usually positioned at the top of search pages just below the paid ads. Featured snippets are also known as ‘answer boxes’ as they provide answers to users without the user having to visit the page of content.
The snippet tells the user about the basics; to know the entire answer you will have to visit your web page. It’ll not only increase the traffic on the site but will also improve the click-through-rate.
B] Types of Content You can Optimize for Featured Snippets
This snippet includes a blurb of copy or short text (in a para form). It appears when a user has searched for a particular question. Paragraph snippet is the most common snippet type that accounts for 50% of results in SERP.
For this snippet, Google uses the text content or source to provide an answer to a user’s question within seconds. The answer to the question may be quite long on the actual source page, but the featured snippet gives a short response.
Para snippets are suited for comparisons and questions like – Who, What, Why, and How. For optimizing, you need to provide an answer in 40 to 50 words. Include the question as a heading and then answer the question.
Table snippet answers a user’s query in tabular form. It shares information in a more structured format, making the data easy to read directly from the search results. The table featured snippets shows the collection of data so it may answer the user searching for figures.
The best part, there is no need to summarize the tabular data in a particular format because Google formats the data in a layout that suits this type of snippet. But, you must format your data in a tabular form as it’ll become easier for your site visitors who visit your site later.
If you optimize your content for table snippets, make it easier for search engines to find your data. Start with a definitive heading, followed by your tabular data.
A list-featured snippet also provides an exact answer to the question but in a bulleted or list form. It displays answers in a process-driven, steps, or list queries. It accounts for more than 37% of snippet results that are only second to para snippets.
Numbered featured snippets feature content that explains how to do something – Recipes and DIY. Bulleted featured snippets come up when the content uses the bullets to show up different lists, here the order does not matter in SERP.
To optimize your content as a list, you’ll need to include the question as a heading. Answer the question in 50 words under the heading. You can also outline your steps with ordered or unordered list tags. For each step, use a heading. Google will then pull the steps to populate the snippet.
Video results embedded on the page are intended to answer users’ queries in an auditory or visual form. As reach for videos has increased over time, the video content now shows up in the coveted featured snippet (position zero).
For many How-to and Why searches, Google pulls up relevant videos to answer the question. The next time you search for something, pay attention to the 60 or 90-second clip suggestion (blue bar) in the display result.
You don’t have to do much to optimize your video content for featured snippets. Google seems to be in favor of video content so you’ll be able to do this without stress.
For optimizing your video, start organizing your content in a systematic format. Upload a script for close captions of your relevant video. Optimize the description part of your video by using keywords.
5. Rich Answer and Accordion
A rich answer is always featured in bold when a user asks a question. It is also known as short call-out snippets. It usually displays for questions that have metric-based or factual answers.
If a user types, ‘How many miles is the earth away from Saturn’. This type of snippet will give an exact result to the question asked in a bold format.
The accordion is an answer to users’ queries or questions with additional information. The user can choose to expand this snippet and learn more about it through the information provided.
C] Tips to Optimize Content for Featured Snippets
1. Answer questions in the content
Make sure that the answer to the question is clear and precise. Always present the question in a subheading <h2> markup and answer in the text with <p> markup. Use the rest of the content to provide supporting information.
2. Use long-tail keywords and focus on content length
Most information or content in SERP provides an answer to the question. You need to create content that targets long-tail keywords. The phrases should start with – How, Why, and What.
The content that shows up in the featured snippet is normally pulled from the pages that have a high organic ranking. Use on-page keyword optimization for this.
For the paragraph style answers, the ideal length of the content should be between 50 to 58 words. The content of this length tends to appear more frequently on SERP.
3. Include steps where applicable
Some answers require an in-depth explanation; you need to write in steps to explain the content. Page structure plays an important part here. Each step should be structured properly in a list format. Use a list or table where it is required. Don’t forget to use high-quality images on your page along with the content.
4. Don’t use Schema to optimize
Most SEO experts advise the use of Schema Markup for featured snippets. But, more than 80% of websites rank within the featured snippet. So even if you don’t use Schema markup for your site, it won’t affect the featured snippets, and your content may still feature in SERP.
Be concise and use data-driven and well-structured content. The way you structure content will decide whether it will feature in SERP or snippets. Take fair advantage of keyword intent and use high-quality images on your website.
When your web pages appear in the featured snippets, it can improve the click-through-rate and send more people to your website.
Use the above tips to optimize your content. Even if your content doesn’t always feature in the snippet, you’ll still have shareable content that is SEO-friendly. Also, pay special attention to the content length to make your snippet more engaging.
Nirav Dave is a Tech & Social enthusiast. He is also a Web Entrepreneur by Profession and loves to write about the latest trends in Social Media & SEO. You may also follow him on Twitter | Facebook