All of us have seen a Google search results page with a short selection of text featured at the top, above the number one organic position. This selection is called a featured snippet, and it’s Google’s way of answering a user’s specific query quickly and accurately. The text is pulled directly from a website in Google’s index as the best logical answer to what the user is searching for.
For example, if a user was to search “how to start a blog,” this is the top of the Google results page. Below the ad, you can see specific text that answers that query in a clear and concise way.
Landing that “position #0” (as it is commonly referred to by SEOs) can make a big difference when it comes to getting more clicks to your page.
Why Are Featured Snippets Important?
You might assume that the Google featured snippet always pulls from the #1 organic result on the SERP. However, this is not always the case. The web page used in the featured snippet could be a little further down in the organic results, sometimes even in the third or fourth position! If you happen to be in this boat, landing the Google featured snippet could significantly boost your organic clicks without having to change your rankings.
It also gives your website more exposure and credibility. The user sees that Google trusts the content on your page and, as a result, may be more likely to click on your pages for other queries in the future if they rank well.
When Does Google Use Featured Snippets?
According to a study conducted by SEMrush, featured snippets are overwhelmingly present in Google results pages when keywords are in the form of a question. They also show up with preposition and comparison keywords more often than generic keywords. This tells us that your content has a better chance of securing a featured snippet if it answers a question.
There are also different types of featured snippets to answer different kinds of questions. Here are the most common Google featured snippets:
The most common type of featured snippet is the paragraph. These often give a short definition or description in response to a “what is” user query.
Featured snippets with lists are the next most common type. Keywords that might trigger a listicle featured snippet include “best,” “types,” and “ways.” The most straightforward format to answer these queries is usually with a list.
Although featured snippets in the form of a table are less common, they are really helpful when users need a quick answer to questions about sizes, amounts, or rates.
How Do You Win a Featured Snippet?
There’s no secret formula to secure a Google featured snippet, but many SEOs agree there are things you can do that will help. Britney Muller at Moz recently hosted a webinar about featured snippets and shared some insight on this.
Here are some tips Britney and other SEO experts recommend:
- Add summaries to your most popular posts to give Google a condensed version of the content that is easier to pull out for a featured snippet.
- Do your research to identify the most commonly asked questions in your industry, then create content that directly answers these questions.
- Use FAQ schema markup on all your FAQ content.
- Format your content into short paragraphs, lists, or tables.
- Update your content regularly, especially topics that are time-sensitive (i.e., Current Mortage Rate).
If you are already ranking on page one for a specific keyword, this is a potential opportunity to win that coveted featured snippet. Use these tips to slightly tweak your content to see if it makes a difference. Getting that featured snippet can often be trial and error pursuit.
SEO and Featured Snippets
Landing a featured snippet is often an integral part of an SEO strategy to improve organic rankings. At the moment, there is no way to know whether clicks come from the featured snippet or the organic result below the featured snippet, so it can be a little vague as to how much it helps. However, SEOs see the value of having a featured snippet and how it can drive more organic traffic than without it.
If you’d like to learn more about Google featured snippets and how our team can help with your organic search results, contact the Levy Online team for more information. We’d love to discuss our SEO strategies and how we’ve helped our clients improve their rankings.