Google’s Featured Snippets: Quick Start Guide
Snippets. Do you use them? Do you know what they are?
In this quick guide, we provide an overview of the featured snippet, and how these brief extracts could bring big benefits to your business…
What are featured snippets?
When you type a question into Google, as well as the paid sponsored listings, you will likely come across some organic featured snippets that seem to perfectly answer your question.
Snippets themselves are special boxes where the format of a regular online search result is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first.
They can also appear within a related questions group (e.g., “People Also Ask”).
Why do featured snippets matter?
There are several reasons why you should consider featured snippets:
✅ Page 1 shortcut
Featured snippets help you get to the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) without having to pay for ads. It’s a shortcut to your website from page 1 search results!
✅ Ultimate brand awareness
If your snippet is selected by Google, your brand will be up there in lights for all to see – and all for free!
This will help strengthen your brand identity by demonstrating that “you know your stuff” – hence being selected as the brand best positioned to answer the user’s question.
✅ More eyeballs on your site
Featured snippets contain a link to the website from which they came.
With your snippet considered engaging enough to appear on Google, this is also usually enough for the user to click through to your site for more information.
And if your website is working the right way, you’ll engage that user for even longer. It’s a great way to be awarded new clients, and a better Google ranking.
Types of featured snippet
There are several different types of featured snippet to suit different content types:
A paragraph snippet is a short piece of text – approximately 40-60 words – that provides a brief answer to questions like “How“, “Who“, “Why“, “When“, and “What“.
For the best chance of featuring, pose the question in a heading (e.g., H2 or H3) and then answer the question immediately following.
Lists can be used to rank things, show the steps of a process, or identify different products. Here we see a process list for starting a new business in Australia. Think of how you can create lists for the services or products you provide…
A large percentage of Google’s featured snippets are tables.
Table snippets are great for easy-to-view data comparisons.
What information can you tabulate on your site?
Video snippets are very popular, with YouTube being one of the largest search engines in the world. Video featured snippets can be useful for “how-to” queries, especially those relating to practical processes where visuals are key. The example here shows the top results for how to make an origami swan (you know you want to try).
Other search features/rich results
- People Also Ask
- Knowledge Graph
- Knowledge Panel
- Entity Panel
- Image Pack
- Map/Local Pack
- Popular Products
- Related Products
- App Install
- Top Stories
- Related Searches
View some examples below:
How to earn Google’s featured snippets
So, you now know what a featured snippet is, but how do you now make it happen? Here are seven steps to help you earn a Google featured snippet.
1. Keyword research – choose questions or topics on which you are an authority
Using words or phrases related to your products or services will help your snippet appear where and when you want it to.
Check out Mailchimp’s list of 12 free keyword research tools as a place to start.
2. Take note of the format of featured snippets and the selected keywords
Type your question into Google and see what appears.
What formats seem to be most popular? What keywords are people using?
How can you apply this information to your own website content (without copying, of course)?
3. Identify competitors’ featured snippets
Competitor analysis is important in any content creation, to ensure you stay ahead of the rest.
Featured snippets are no different.
Search for answers in your industry and see what your competitors are doing.
And then do better.
4. Use this information to structure and produce content
When you have your keywords and target snippet type/s, get onto the content.
This is what will ultimately work for you. But, importantly, don’t just form sentences from your keywords and think that’ll be enough.
These days, Google looks for good, authentic, original content over keyword use.
Is your content personalised and proper?
Remember, you can always engage a people-centric copywriter to assist…
5. Mark up and structure pages
Have a look at your existing website pages.
And look for ways you can tailor them for Featured Snippets.
Again, you can engage a copywriter to assist with this task, along with an SEO specialist, such as Rogue Web Design, who offer an in-depth SEO service to help boost your rankings and get you prominent on the SERPs.
For the best outcome, engage both specialists to work in collaboration.
6. Add quality graphics and images
Graphics and images provide contrast to the copy, generating greater interest and helping reinforce key points to those who are more visual.
From an SEO perspective, images can help with ‘rich results’, providing a greater chance to appear in image packs or image search results (don’t forget to name and caption your images using your keywords!).
In addition, other sites may find your graphics useful, and so may choose to link to or share your resources – creating backlinks that are great for optimising your rank.
When to call in the experts
The above steps can be very time-consuming – and, not to mention, boring – for the average business owner.
It may be more cost-effective to appoint experts to assist. Copywriters (like myself), SEO experts and web builders are a great place to start.
Even better if you can collate a team of these experts to help make it all happen!
Such a team can also address other elements of Google success, such as increasing a website’s topical authority through bulking up your content, and off-page activities like social media and backlinks, frequency of content, and so on.
There’s so much to think about. Why not leave the thinking to us?
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) for Google Featured Snippets
You cannot mark your page to appear as a featured snippet. Instead, Google systems determine whether a page would make a good featured snippet and, if so, will elevate it. Not got the time? Not sure exactly what to do? Call in the experts.
I work regularly with SEO experts and website developers – such as Rogue Web Design who are leaders in both fields – giving me a solid understanding of the nuances relating to SEO content and copy. As a bonus, this collaboration enables me to deliver complete solutions at best cost.
Clicking a featured snippet takes the user directly to the section of the page that appeared in the featured snippet. Scrolling to the position that appeared in the snippet happens automatically, without any additional annotation by the site. So, if you’re wanting to draw your audience’s attention to something specific on a page, a featured snippet is the ideal way to make that happen. Need some help? Contact me for a chat.
Featured snippets are important for SEO because they can increase your click-through rate, drive more traffic to your site, enhance your brand awareness, and establish your credibility as an expert.
As quoted by Google itself, Google’s automated systems determine whether a page would make a good featured snippet to highlight for a specific search request. Note that snippets are automatically created from page content. Once again we’re reminded, content is key.
Why Choose Us?
Unlike many large agencies with their templated approach, I have a people-first mentality. I take the time to understand every client, every person – who you are and what is important to you – so that we can find and implement the most effective communications solutions and deliver your messages the right way.
This is also true of my SEO copywriting. Naturally, I consider the keywords and take into consideration competitor activity. But, I couple this with the genuine, authentic content that today’s search engines seek to ensure you get results.
Furthermore, for those searching for optimum SEO impact, I partner with SEO experts such as Rogue Web Design to deliver SEO reports and, from those, website content that will really make a difference.
If you want to stand out, choose Waterer Communications.
It’s never about the message. It’s about the way it’s delivered.
Contact me for a friendly chat and to find out more about how we can collaborate.
Google’s Featured Snippets: Quick Start Guide
Article written by Susan Waterer of Waterer Communications in conjunction with Rogue Web Design. Read the featured snippet article on Waterer Communications blog. Snippets. Do you use them? Do you know what they are? In this quick guide, we provide an overview of the featured snippet, and how these brief extracts could bring big benefits…
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