How to be the first on Google Search and beat your competition? ’Featured snippets’ is the answer. If you write content having in mind search intent and search discovery, Google says you can outrank your competition and get more targeted traffic towards your website or blog.
But what are featured snippets exactly and how do websites get to appear in this featured answer box in the SERP? Let us find out together.
What are ‘featured snippets’?
Featured snippets are 0-position links on Google Search that top both organic search and ads. Not only do they rank above all of them, but they also take up a lot of top SERP space, attract a ton of attention (read: traffic), and usually are an indicator of quality content that gets highlighted in a block at the top of the page. They are also known under the name of answer box.
In the snippet, users can see a summary of an answer to their query which is usually extracted from the web page and contains the link, page title, URL and sometimes even an image. Even though it is uncommon that the image is from your competitors, it may happen sometimes.
This summary is a text which the algorithm extracts by itself from the page of your website. The sole purpose of a so-called answer box is to give prominence to the page and show the user that Google trusts this answer because it finds it best out of all other. These results can change over time, and can even be stopped by opting out and using the <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your page.
Ever since their introduction in 2016, featured snippets were something all SEOs wanted for their website to have so Google kept on improving them. It was speculated in late November 2017 that featured snippets are going to lose strength and maybe even go away, but, among other things, Google confirmed with Search Engine Land that as of December 1, 2017, it will change the way it displays rich snippets in search results by increasing the length of the snippet on average. This eventually fluctuated into another treat.
In its Improving Search and Discovery on Google article from December 5, 2017, Michael Galvez, Product Manager at Google, announced that just like rich snippets, featured snippets are also going to get lengthier. More images and related searches will appear on a day-to-day basis to help users learn more about the topic and discover new things of interest to their search query.
Currently, there are three types of featured snippets:
The appearance of your answer largely depends on the way you write your page content and how you structure data. So, for example, if you write a step-by-step guide or tutorial, Google will probably feature your answer in the form of a numbered or bulleted list. On the other hand, if your page gives the best answer to a certain question, it can feature the summary in the form of a text box with or without an image. And lastly, if your page contains a table or data that can be structured in a spreadsheet, it will probably appear in a table on Google SERP as well.
According to Getstat, the most frequent type of the snippet is ‘paragraph’ with 91.95%, ‘list’ 10.77%, and ‘table’ 7.28%.
How to appear in Google’s featured snippets box?
So you are probably wondering how to get a featured snippets position for your website in the future.
According to Ahrefs study, 99.58% of pages with a featured snipped are already ranked in top 10 results on Google. This means that if your page is already well-positioned, the odds are that you might get one for your website. If you think that your page has a potential, you can even update its content and hope for the best if you do it right.
There are some areas that get the most out of featured snippets, such as culinary recipes, DIY things, health-related answers, financial or mathematical or statistical queries, etc. However, featured snippets do not appear for image and video queries, local search and shopping queries.
Here are some of the ways you can optimize your web page and get a featured position in the SERP:
1. Before you start writing, think about the how to, what, and why questions. There is a high chance that answering one such question will get you an answer box position.
3. Add Schema.org structured data. Even though this is not a must in every niche, it will not hurt your content in any way.
4. Brainstorm and ask around. Who knows what ideas you can get from regular users or friends who do not have anything to do with your company.
5. Add bulleted lists or numbering in your answers.
6. Be concise with your answers.
7. Be organized and up to the point.
8. Enrich your content with grasping images and add Alt tags to them.
And in the end, let your guiding star be the idea that the sole purpose of your web page text is to answer a user’s query, not the snippet itself. Only if you have given the best answer, with great precision and quality, will Google reward you with a featured snippets position that beats all other results.
Even though rich snippets are around for only a while, they have quickly become the most wanted item on every SEO’s list for website optimization. We honestly hope this information will prove useful to you and that your website will conquer Google SERP!