Featured snippets have risen in prominence over the past couple of years and offered businesses a chance to get their content in prime position. In this article, we’ll look at what featured snippets are, their benefits and how to go about working towards achieving your very first featured snippet. We’ll also take a look to see if featured snippets continue to be an effective SEO strategy for your business in 2020.
What is a featured snippet?
You might have come across the term featured snippet and wondered what it means? A featured snippet is a short text snippet that appears above Google’s search results which can be used to quickly answer a searcher’s query. Commonly known as position 0, featured snippets are generally found for informational type search queries and the results can be displayed as a paragraph, list or table.
Snippets are usually pulled from search results that are ranking on page one for the search query, but they can also be taken from lower ranking pages if they are a better match. Featured snippets are designed to make finding answers easier for users.
Benefits of featured snippets
One of the key benefits of a featured snippet is ranking in position zero and having your information shown to searchers. As snippets tend to be a brief summary or steps that answer the searchers query, they also have the option of clicking through to your page for more information. Prior to January this year, websites could rank on the first page of Google and also be shown in the featured snippets position zero.
Since January, featured snippet listings are no longer also showing in the organic results which means that your listing will only appear as a featured snippet. This has caused a lot of businesses to think twice about the use of featured snippets with fears that they could lead to less people clicking through to their website.
How to get a featured snippet
The first step to look at when it comes to getting a featured snippet is to identify opportunities for your business. Generally speaking, you are looking for search queries where you already rank on the first page of search results and that are currently showing a featured snippet. Once you know which pages you want to target you can start creating a plan for how to get a featured snippet. Some of the techniques for doing this include:
Use questions as headings – Seeing as most featured snippets are answers to questions it makes it easy for Google to understand when you include the exact question as a heading on your page.
Provide concise answers – The first couple of sentences for each question should be a concise answer to the question. You can go on to provide a more detailed explanation in subsequent paragraphs but keep the first paragraph short and make sure that it answers the question.
Good structure – Google loves structure and so do users. Having your content laid out with good sub-headings and paragraphs will help the search engines understand it and make it easier for you to get a featured snippet.
Improve on the current listing – Take a good look at the website that is currently listed as a featured snippet. What are they doing that you are not? Can you improve on their content and the answer that is provided? If so, then this represents a great opportunity for your business to steal the listing from a competitor.
People also ask – Don’t forget to include answers to questions in the people ask section which is commonly found below the featured snippet. This will help you provide a more in-depth piece of content that is focused on a wider topic and will give you additional opportunities for ranking in the featured snippet section.
Use formatting – From tables to lists, make sure you use the best formatting for your content. Write descriptive headings, use short and informative sentences, use number and bullet point lists, add relevant tables and don’t forget to include useful images.
Word count – For paragraph snippets keep your answer to 40 – 50 words as various studies show that this is the optimum word count for a featured snippet paragraph.