How to feature in a featured snippet on Google
How do people find your website online? Maybe you shell out loads for Pay Per Click advertising every month. Maybe you put your efforts into social media marketing so that you stand out on your favoured platform. Perhaps you’ve spent years honing your website to be a well-oiled SEO machine. Whatever efforts you put in, trying to be found online is difficult. Raising to the top of the search rankings takes time and effort. Except – it doesn’t always.
How often do you search for the answer to a question on Google? For a great many people, the answer is quite often. The concept is not a new one – remember Ask Jeeves? People don’t just use search engines to look for places, people and things. They used them to find answers. That’s where featured snippets come in.
What is a featured snippet?
A featured snippet is a cut out box at the top of a page of search query results. If Google identifies your query as a question, and it thinks it can auto generate the answer, then it produces a featured snippet from a page in the search results that seems to be particularly relevant. This will show up after the ads and sponsored content, but above all other organic search results.
Google tries to find the content that it thinks best answers your search query. If there is a clear section in a web page that it feels represents an answer, it might cut this out to show you before you click on the search result. It chooses what it considers to be high quality content.
Why do you want to be in a featured snippet?
Getting your content in a featured snippet is one of the easiest ways of reaching the top search position for organic content. While it is certainly possible to get your content to the top of the search rankings through traditional SEO practices, a featured snippet is often easier to achieve.
Besides ranking highly on search results, a featured snippet is also a great way to position yourself as an expert on a subject. Google choosing your answer to a question marks your site out as a knowledge base, and that you are a trustworthy source of information.
How to feature:
Getting into a featured snippet is not easy, but it is relatively straight forward. Essentially, you need to produce an article that is the best answer to a question – according to Google. The best way to do this is to try and fit a few targets.
- Answer the question clearly and knowledgably.
- Answer questions that people are asking.
- Write content that Google understands as good.
- Organise your page clearly.
Choose a topic
One of the secrets to getting in a featured snippet is to choose the right topic. Finding this is a case of examining your brand, and deciding what you know most about. Your topic of choice should be something specific. What is the most in-depth subject that you can provide expert insights on?
If there is a secret to getting your content in featured snippets, it is to write specifically. This means taking a detailed, focused question, and answering it. Don’t write general how to guides around the subject, instead, provide the specific answer to a specific question.
For example, if you are searching for the answer to a question like ‘how to calculate the volume of a cylinder’, you don’t want to read a blog post about the uses of cylindrical objects. You want a post that specifically tells you, step by step, how to calculate the volume of a cylinder.
Get the question right
Getting the question right is different to finding the right topic. Think about how people search, and what they search for. Do they ask ‘How do I…’?, ‘What is the way to…’?, ‘Best way to…’? ‘What is a…’? or others? Finding the right question to ask is about finding out what people want to know. One way to approach this is via the site answerthepublic.com. This is an invaluable tool for people who are trying to get their content into a featured snippet. It provides a huge variety of ideas for the questions people might be asking about any given topic. An alternative to this is simply to start typing in google, and seeing what it suggests. Many of the suggestions will be appropriate potential content titles for your work.
Finally, it is worth considering the long tail keywords. These are search queries beyond the simple ‘How do I…’ or ‘What is…’. They might take in locations, subcategories and additional detail. It is often worth targeting these keywords, as they may be easier to feature for. However, do not target too many similar longtails, as the pages may end up cannibalising each other.
Write the best content
This may sound obvious, but it is important to have high quality content. This is a similar concept to simply writing well, but not quite the same. Google has its own definitions of what ‘high quality content’ is.
‘Well written’ is a contentious term – it is fundamentally subjective. However, there are targets you can try to reach to pass Google’s ‘high quality’ test. Some of the factors Google uses are unknown, however you should try to be
- User focused.
What does this mean?
- You should try to produce content that answers all of the search queries questions – perhaps including ones that they have not considered yet, but may follow up with.
- Don’t copy anyone else’s content. While it is inevitable that two articles on a similar subject might have similar content, make sure yours is different enough.
- Make sure your content isn’t too dense or difficult. You need to address technicalities and produce in depth answers. However, make sure you explain the complicated parts in as simple and engaging a style as possible.
- Who do you aim your content at? It isn’t Google. Featuring in a snippet is all well and good, but Google is never going to put you there if your content doesn’t help someone answer a question they have.
Organise your page the best
Make your page readable to Google in as clear a way as you can. This is simple enough, but many pages fail to do so. Doing this means arranging your content in a way that might not be particularly visible to the naked eye, but is seen by Google.
How do I arrange a page?
The secret to arranging a page is in the headers. Google understands pages based on things like how the content is organised in headers. Make sure that your target keywords are in the headers, in a sensible header structure. If you are trying to answer something like ‘How do I conjugate the subjunctive in Latin?’, you might use the following sort of structure
Google understands this type of structure much more clearly than one long section that isn’t separated by any headers.
Google also understands content that it is written in clear bullet points or a numbered list better than a block of text. It is much more likely to feature a snippet of bullet points or a numbered list.
Content Marketing from Gumpo
Content marketing can be hard. Getting in a featured snippet is not enough to boost your business’ content plan alone. However, that’s where Gumpo can step in to help. Gumpo are experts in content researching, planning and writing. Whatever you want your web content to do – whether it’s the copy for a whole new site, or a series of high ranking blog posts, Gumpo can help you.