You may first be wondering what we mean by a featured snippet. These small pieces of text appear at the top of a SERP (search engine results page) as a way to answer a web surfer’s query straight away in a short snippet of text. There are various different types of featured snippets that can be displayed, so how can you go about telling which one’s which?
What are the different types of featured snippet?
Being the most popular type of featured snippet, a paragraph provides a summarised yet descriptive answer to a search query, usually in the form of a couple of short sentences. The user may be searching for a basic meaning of a word, or perhaps looking to learn more about a particular topic.
A featured snippet in the form of a table allows a web surfer to compare data in a fast and clear manner. So, if someone is searching for the highest grossing films of all time, their SERP may look something like this.
When it comes to list featured snippets, some of them may be ordered (e.g. with each given a ranking), or they will come in an unordered list (like the image above) by which bullet points will be displayed.
If a web surfer is looking to get their craft on and take up crochet, a video featured snippet that points them in the right direction is incredibly useful. If this video looks to answer a search query well, Google will display them at the top of the SERP for users to see.
What are the benefits of a featured snippet?
Optimising your content for featured snippets is a critical factor to incorporate into your SEO strategy, the main reason being that they have been proven to heighten brand exposure. A study discovered that the CTR (click-through rate) on a featured page climbed from 2% to 8%. Not only this, it also found that the revenue from organic traffic increased by a massive 677%, proving that every business should definitely be on top of their featured snippet game.
But hold your horses. If you want to feel the advantages of higher traffic, you’ll firstly need to ‘prove’ to Google that you’re worth featuring. You’ll need to create content that’s eye-catching and will entice web surfers in, to avoid them simply skimming the snippet and not actually clicking on the link to see what your website is all about.
Once you’re aware of the best techniques to use (and don’t worry, we’ve got you covered in this area), readers will see your business as both an authoritative and trustworthy source. When your brand is associated with these positive traits and you’re already ranking high on Google, you’re more likely to land a featured snippet. This notion is supported by an Ahrefs’ study which found that 99.58% of featured snippets are taken from the top ten ranking pieces of content for that particular search query
How to get your content into a featured snippet
How is your business currently performing?
Now that you know what a featured snippet could do for your business, how can you go about creating a piece of content worthy of such approval? The first step is to analyse how you’re currently performing; although it’s important to adapt your writing techniques moving forwards, you shouldn’t leave older pieces to collect dust. By using tracking tools – or by relying on the help of trained SEO experts to perform your analysis (hint hint) – you’ll be able to see how often your website appears in a featured snippet. It’s common for this to be a fairly low number, so don’t panic if this is the case. This just gives you all the more reason to optimise your digital marketing strategy in a way that will land you the featured snippet of your dreams.
Always, and we mean always, do your keyword research. You’ll need to understand what your target audience will be scouring the web for before creating pieces of content, making sure that your piece revolves around those particular keywords. After discovering the search volume of each, think of clever ways to insert these phrases into your writing without impacting the overall readability (that means no keyword stuffing), making sure that they’re clearly displayed in your titles and subheadings to grab attention.
High quality content
There are a number of factors that go into creating high quality pieces of content, from understanding how to be a good writer to knowing how to get your brand’s tone of voice right. Your audience will ultimately be at the heart of anything you write, and it’s certain that there will be plenty of other sources out there that will be aiming to target the same keywords as you. You’ll need to find a way to not only draw them in and keep them on the page for as long as possible; ideally right up until the very end of your piece. By producing quality, consistent and in-depth content that always has the reader’s best interest in mind, you’ll be proving to Google that your content is worth a featured snippet. And if you’re landing that top spot, it’ll be nothing but unicorns and rainbows moving forwards.
Once you’ve finished writing your piece, take a step back and transport yourself into the mind of your reader. Is this piece of content actually answering the question? Are the tips provided realistic, and ones you would follow yourself? Is your piece clearly laid out? If the answer to any of these questions comes with even slight hesitation, it’s definitely worth going back to the drawing board and seeing what could be done to improve.
When we talk about competitor analysis, we don’t mean stealing ideas and applying these to your own work. Instead, once you’re aware of the keywords you’re aiming to target, you should search for the topic as if you were the target audience to see which pieces currently have featured snippets. Analyse their work and discover what it is they could be doing differently for their higher ranking, perhaps discovering a different take on the answer or finding relevant topics that other pieces of content haven’t yet covered. The whole point is to be better than your competition, not to match them.
If you’re looking to either improve your current digital marketing strategy, or need the expertise to create a brand new one from scratch, get in touch with our team of professionals today. From providing advice on landing the featured snippet of your dreams, to helping you to create the most effective pieces of content, we have everything you need to excel.
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