Google has moved past 10 standard results in the SERP, to favour other types results such as featured snippets. Therefore, organic search results are no longer getting as much traffic as they used to.
Featured snippets are selected organic search results that are on top of Google’s organic results, below the ads in a box. Featured snippets aim to answer the user’s question instantly, resulting in many “no-click searches.”
The above picture shows an example of a featured snippet. The great thing about featured snippets is that they give me an answer without having to click. I do not have to click on any links, I just found the answer to my query, quickly! You must be 16 years old to drink energy drinks. Easy!
There are different kinds of featured snippets and the above is an answer given in a paragraph. Featured snippets can also answer your question in other forms such as in a list or table.
Studies have claimed:
- That the click-through-rate (CTR) on a featured page increased from two percent to eight percent once it is placed in an answer box, with revenue from organic traffic increasing by 677%.
- Another study highlighted a 20-30% increase in traffic for ConfluentForms.com while they held the featured snippet for the query.
Do I have a chance to get featured?
According to a study by Ahrefs, 99,58% of featured pages are already ranking in the top 10 of Google. So, if you already rank in the top 10, you have a good possibility of getting featured.
Furthermore, a study showed that 70% of snippets came from pages outside of the first organic position. So, it is a criterion that you rank you rank in top 10, but it does not mean that you must rank #1.
Where to start?
1. Identifying the right queries
Data about the featured snippets are clear. The most featured snippets are about answering:
- 42% is questions
- 18% prepositions
- 23% comparisons
2. Evaluate your current rankings
The lowest hanging fruits is to identify which terms & phrases you already are ranking highly for since these will be the easiest to get featured after you optimise for answer boxes.
Google Search Console shows you these phrases and their ranking positions. To find the report click “Search Traffic” and then “Search Analytics”.
Check the box “Position” to show the position your pages hold for each one and you will have the ability to see which queries the top performing ones are.
3. Evaluate your potential rankings
Customer support & sales teamYour custom support & sales team are the ones talking most with your clients & customers. Ask them if there any questions that the customers often are asking them about.
Use this tool to see which questions most often are asked on Google. You simply just type your topic in the search box on the front page and then the program will spit out a list of questions that people has been searching.
Use Social Media (Twitter & Quora)
Another way of discovering what people are having questions about is to monitor questions on Social Media such as Twitter and Quora. The search function in Twitter supports the “?” search operator that will filter results to those containing a question.
4. Access the query intent
There are different kinds of queries. You should aim for answering queries that are both transactional and informational.
By accessing these queries, you will get traffic that are relevant and that will convert into sales.
How to optimise for featured snippets
When you have found the queries that your audience is searching for you should optimise your page for featured snippets.
1. Landing pages: Holistic or specific?
The short answer is that it depends.
You should go holistic if:
- Customers are similar, and you have a small topic.
- If you can utilise existing page strength.
You should make sure that you use clear headers and sub sections to make it easy to understand and that your topic actually is holistic.
You should go specific if:
- If the query has a high enough search volume.
- Topic can be / should be explained in detail.
- Potential for related content.
- Higher transactional intent.
2. Provide the perfect content
You should aim to provide the perfect content. You content should be to factual and up to date.
Also, your content should be trustworthy so make sure to use supporting data and sources, preferably link to these sources in your content.
Make sure that you write for human and not crawlers, so please ignore keyword density terms and focus on creating amazing content.
Give it some structure!Depending on the query you want to answer it should be easy to understand fast. A study concluded that comparison charts and lists are an easier way to get featured because Google simply loves structured content.
3. Give it some structure!
Depending on the query you want to answer it should be easy to understand fast. A study concluded that comparison charts and lists are an easier way to get featured because Google simply loves structured content.
This make it easy to see the car brands and that this website can provide me with all the car brands that I need to know about.
4. Paragraph sweet spot: 40-60 words
Studies show that the average length for featured snippets is 45 words (the maximum is 97 words). So, we recommend that you keep the paragraph between 40-60 words.
Depending on which queries you want to be featured for, there are some basic recommendations.
- For prepositions and comparison queries you should list articles with clear headers.
- For “how to” methods you should use light HTML <OL> or <UL> lists like the above picture using HTML <OL>.
5. Bulk out your lists
We recommend you bulk your lists to drive the traffic to your website.
If all the answers are given in the featured snippet nobody will continue to your website. We therefore recommend that you bulk your list like this.
6. Prove you are an expert on the topic
On August 1, 2018 Google rolled out a new update. This update was E-A-T (Expertise – Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) and Google was rewarding & penalising websites depending on their expertise, authority and trust on their website.
Therefore, show that you are an expertise by providing supporting data and sources and by providing additional and useful content. Always make sure to use external links to the trustworthy sources where you have your data from.
7. Highlight your data (Schema.org)
Using schema will makes search engines understand your content better.
8. Have eye-grabbing images
Featured snippets with images are even more eye-catching than regular featured snippets.
It is always recommended that your image is:
- Relevant to the topic
- 4:3 aspect ratio