Nearly ten years ago, Google’s featured snippets were first tested as an experiment. They now frequently appear in Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). In fact, highlighted snippets are now thought of as the top organic position, therefore they are a crucial component of any SEO plan.
What are highlighted excerpts?
Selected search results are displayed as featured snippets below the advertising in a box on Google’s organic results page. Featured snippets strive to provide an immediate response to the user’s query (hence its other well-known moniker, “answer boxes”).
According to recent studies, featured snippets have an average click-through rate of 35%. Being featured means occupying the most visible position at the top of everything (apart from advertisements).
Three main categories of featured snippets exist:
- Paragraph (textual response provided).
- List (the response is provided as a list).
- Table (a table containing the response).
Each kind may additionally have an image, which may originate from a non-featured third-party source. There can be two images in the featured box. According to a previous STAT survey, “paragraph” type featured snippets are the most popular.
Answer boxes or featured snippets?
There may still be some ambiguity in the phrase. A lot of people, including myself, like to call featured snippets “answer boxes” because they typically contain an answer in a box.
Although there is nothing wrong with this language, it might lead to some misunderstandings because Google frequently provides a “quick answer” (a definition, an estimate, etc.) on top without providing a source link.
Because these provide more exposure for the linked site (therefore they’re crucial for content providers), let’s keep to the name “featured snippet” whenever there is a URL featured in the box.
Is there a possibility of being featured?
Yes. A previous study by Ahrefs found that the majority of highlighted pages already have a top-10 Google ranking. Therefore, you have a great possibility of being highlighted if you are already listed in the top 10 for relevant search terms.
For the same queries, featured snippets emerge and disappear, but your odds of being featured are higher if a featured snippet already appears for your target query (i.e., if Google has previously determined that your query’s search intent is informational).
Given that the search section’s goal is to provide a speedy response, it stands to reason that if your material has many queries and answers, your chances of being included are better.
Do Some Basic Keyword Research First
The bulk of highlighted snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords, according to numerous research. In fact, the likelihood that a featured snippet would appear increases with the number of words entered into a search box.
Starting by doing your keyword research is generally a good idea. Starting with Moz’s Keyword Explorer is an excellent idea. Keep in mind the following when conducting keyword research with featured snippets in mind:
Because they are the simplest to spot, start with question-type search searches (those that contain question terms like “what,” “why,” “how,” etc.), but don’t stop there…
Not simply inquiries, but informational intent as well. While featured snippets attempt to provide a fast response to the user’s query, other types of inquiries can also result in those featured results. The great majority of keywords that result in featured snippets are long-tail queries without any question words, according to the aforementioned Ahrefs analysis.
Utilizing a keyword research tool that displays a query’s ability to produce featured results right away is beneficial. A convenient filter provided by SE Ranking lets you view the keywords that are currently resulting in featured snippets.
Additionally, you can use Serpstat to run a competitor and filter their top-performing queries based on the presence of featured snippets. This is a wonderful summary of your potential competition, allowing you to identify their advantages and disadvantages.
Search Google for Additional Inquiries
Make sure to look into well-known specialized inquiries to learn more about the subject. You can gain valuable information into the common inquiries people have about your subject by using tools like Buzzsumo and Text Optimizer.
Find Search Terms Where You Perform Well
Finding out the keywords you already score highly for is your best bet. After you’ve optimized for answer boxes (more on this below), these will be the most straightforward to get featured for. Which search terms lead to clicks are displayed by Google Search Console. Click “Performance” to find that report. You can see which searches are your best performers by checking the box to display the positions your pages hold for each one.
Search Console refers to featured snippet locations as position #1, although SEO previously referred to them as position 0. There is nothing to do when you see #1 in Google Search Console. Think about #2 and lower. The filters can then be used to identify some of those that are question-type queries.
Ask People Instead of Keyword Tools
Although effective, all of the aforementioned techniques focus on already identified opportunities: those for which you or your rivals are already achieving high rankings. But what about going further? Find out how your readers, clients, and followers search and what inquiries they pose.
Featured Snippet Optimization
Work On Your On-Page SEO
There isn’t a secret tool or specific markup that will guarantee that your website is listed. Being highlighted can only happen if you do well for the query, thus it makes sense to start with general SEO recommended practices.
1. Aim to provide succinct responses to each query.
My own analysis of answer boxes has lead me to believe that Google favors answering questions that can be answered in a single paragraph. The average length of a paragraph sample, according to an older study by AJ Ghergich, is 45 words (with a maximum of 97 words); use this as your guide to determine how lengthy each answer should be in order to be featured.
This is not to say that all of your articles should be one paragraph long. Instead, long-form content that is divided into logical subsections and includes attention-grabbing visuals seems to be preferred by Google these days (also known as “cornerstone content,” which is obviously a better way of describing it because it’s not just about length).
Even if you don’t think cornerstone material is given any special consideration in SERPs, concentrating on lengthy articles will enable you to answer more connected inquiries in a single article.
2. Be accurate and meticulous in your organization.
Google adores lists, steps, and numbers. This is something that keeps happening: Answer boxes typically include information like the actual materials, number of steps, cooking time, year and place of birth, etc.
To learn more about the kind of summaries and responses Google is looking for when generating snippets (including featured snippets), consult their guide to writing meta descriptions. Google appreciates information that is well-organized, truthful, and data-driven.
No particular markup is required to organize your material. It appears that Google understands table>, ol>, and ul> without additional cues. Your text will be simpler to grasp for both Google and your visitors if you use H2 and H3 subheadings.
3. Ensure that one article addresses a number of relevant questions.
You should be able to determine synonymic and closely similar questions just as well as Google does. Making a new website to address each distinct query serves no use.
If you want to appear in response boxes, it is far smarter to write one excellent article that addresses numerous related issues. This brings us to our next strategy.
4. Put your questions in the right order.
You must appropriately structure your queries if you want to incorporate several questions that are closely related in one article. This will also aid in the effective structuring of your content. When it comes to coming up with an article concept and then segmenting it into subtopics, Serpstat is a big assistance to me. Look at the ” Questions” part of it. Hundreds of questions including your key phrase will be provided, after which a tag cloud of other frequently used terms will be generated.
5. Be sure to use compelling photos.
Images in a paragraph featured snippets are absurdly more captivating than plain featured snippets. Sincerely, I was unable to figure out how to add a picture so that it is highlighted. I experimented with giving it different names and “featured” status in the WordPress editor. When I try to direct Google to a better image on the website, it seems to pick up a random one instead.
The only way to change that, though, is to make sure that every single in-article image you use is attractive, branded, and properly annotated so that it will seem good regardless of which one Google chooses to highlight.
Because images are frequently used in featured boxes and frequently originate from different domains, it is essential to optimize and brand your photos for featured snippet optimization. Photos within featured photos can be clicked to enlarge them and show a link to the associated website. In other words, this may present a chance for non-featured sites to increase their traffic.
Image optimization is crucial for generating traffic from featured snippets because Google is pulling these pictures from Google Images search results. Remember to edit and re-upload the photos (on WordPress) as well. Even if you update a post with updated material, WordPress automatically inserts dates to picture URLs, making the graphics seem rather dated.
You can’t predict when you’ll get the results and it requires a lot of planning and research (especially if you don’t have many top 10 rankings yet), but consider it this way: Your motivation to produce better content is the possibility of being highlighted in Google search results. On the way there, you’ll accomplish some other crucial objectives.