Featured Snippets | A guide to getting it right

If you are looking for a way to boost traffic to your site then this is the guide on featured snippets is for you.

Follow along and implement on your site and watch your traffic grow.

What are Featured Snippets

Have you ever searched on the web for something and noticed the box at the top (not the paid Ads) where you get a ‘snippet’ of information from a website on the search topic you entered.

Below is an example of a feature snippet for a search term I performed the other day to find some target phrases to test on this site.

Now if you examine the top ten results you will notice that this particular site is not holding position 1. It’s actually down in 3rd place at the time of writing this article.

featured snippets

But

Which result am I going to click on?

The featured result, of course, because it gives me a teaser of the information on that page and it’s very relevant to my needs at the time.

Having your site featured like this can have a massive impact on traffic – especially if you cannot outrank your competition in the top positions.

Note: There has been some chatter about Google dropping your normal listing in the results if you hold a featured snippet for the same search term but nothing solid has happened yet apart from testing. You can read more here from Barry Swartz over on Search Engine Land.

So how does this happen to your site?

Well if you click on the ‘About this result’ on the bottom of the snippet you land on a Google overview page that gives you some info on the feature.

One point to make here is where they state the following:

featured snippet in google

Now don’t let this put you off. Google state that you cannot directly mark up your page for featured snippets but you can still use elements of your content and page design to give yourself the best chance of earning a featured snippet in the SERPs.

How do you earn a featured snippet?

 

Identify questions people are asking and use this as headings for your content

You can use on of the many tools out there to perform keyword research and find these questions. I use SemRush all the time and look at the sites ranking in top positions to see what keywords they are ranking for with featured snippets.

Another great resource to find questions people are asking online is Answer The Public. This site is awesome. Type in your search term, select your country and hit the ‘Get Questions’ button.

Below is an example of 151 questions it returned related to SEO

how to use answer the public

Ask these questions in your content and provide reliable answers to each one

Structure your content into bullet points and topics with supporting information to back up your main points.

Keep these answers short enough to fit into the answer box or your info may get truncated. Usually about 40 words or so is plenty.

You can use the questions from the example above to structure your content. To back this up you may want to search for keyword volume for these search terms but don’t worry if there are 0 or only 10 searches per month listed. If your content is good enough you will pull in multiple of this with LSI keywords anyway.

(Read this great post by my good friend Nikolay Stoyanov on LSI keywords and all the benefits that go with them.

You can also use this site – LSI Graph to generate a list of LSI keywords to use in your content. If you are a WordPress user like us then you can even download a plugin for your site to help you out.

Make sure your content is the best online

A great example of this tactic is the Skyscraper Technique by Brian Dean. This tactic is by far the best way to outdo your competition – regardless of size and authority online. Used correctly your content structure will have all the requirements to gain that valuable featured snippet.

The content also has to focus on the reader and not on trying to game the search results. High-quality engaging content will be rewarded every time.

Different Types of Featured Snippets

There are many ways your site can earn featured snippets and below are some of the most common:

1. Featured List

This normally shows a list of options such as Top 10 x type sections of a page. Below is an example of a search result for Best Drone 2017. This is obviously going to be a very competitive term given the number of Ecommerce sites on the first page so the featured snippet is a great position to own for this particular term.

If you click on the result and actually view the page you will see there is in-depth reviews of each of the models listed but the snippet is taken either directly from a shortened list of URL’s near the top of the page or from the sidebar customised list of Drones. Either way, it’s a great result for a niche site to take out this position in the SERPs.

2. Featured Chart

The next featured snippet we want to look at is the featured chart. This can be specific information for any use case. In this example, we searched for ‘Car Tyre Pressure’ and were returned with the following results.

featured snippet chart display

In this instance, the search result returned a list of type sizes and correct pressure for both front and back tyres.

How cool is that?

Granted it’s only for VW cars but still. The only potential disadvantage I can see to this result is some users may not need to click through to the page because all the information is right there in front of you.

3. Featured Table

The featured Table can be a quick and easy way to grab yourself a featured snippet. You will nearly always see one pf these show up when you search for a consumer product – in this case, I ran a search for a gaming mouse and the table below was returned as a featured snippet.

featured snippet table

This type of result can be great for getting targeted traffic to your site and the beauty of it is there is plenty of intent behind the search so the chances of generating a sale are high if your content is good enough. This is a very common tactic used by Affiliate marketers that sell other people’s products on their site…

4. Knowledge Graph

The knowledge graph snippet is taken from the Google knowledge graph database and can be controlled by using Schema markup on your pages. Again you cannot dictate if Google will actually use this as a featured snippet but make sure to mark up your information anyway so you have the best chance.

Below is an example from a search for’ Knowledge Graph’ – funny that…

google knowledge graph featured snippet

Why Does Google Pick Your Site

One big theory on this (remember it’s Google we are talking about so it’s always going to be a theory) is engagement rates affect you chances to win over the featured snippets.

When Google shows your content in the featured snippet it is a huge sign of trust that your information is true and correct and I think they use engagement rates on your site to back this up.

If you notice you have a featured snippet showing (use SemRush to check) then cross reference this with data in Google Search Console and see if your page has a higher than usual click through rate.

One huge advantage of featured snippets is that your site does not have to be a powerhouse of authority.

Structure your content properly and provide answers that people are searching for and you can outrank anybody in the SERPs.

For a small company this is huge and with a little effort can be implemented with minimum cost to your business…

Over to you…