Featured snippets are prime real estate in the digital marketing world at the moment, and if your content gets featured in one, it means you’re doing everything right according to Google’s strict standards.
What is a Featured Snippet?
A featured snippet appears below any paid advertising on Google and above the organic search results and provides a clear and concise answer to a question. This is sometimes known as a rich snippet or even direct answer placement.
Who Gets the Featured Snippets?
Contrary to what a lot of people think, your web page or blog article doesn’t necessarily have to hold the top organic listing on Google’s search results to get in the featured snippet box.
Google’s bots look at a number of things when selecting a featured snippet, including relevant questions and keywords, informative content and visual elements and etc.
More often than not, the person who answers any given question the best and ticks all of the above boxes will be the person in the top organic position, however, it’s not uncommon for websites in the second or third position to land this coveted spot on Google.
How Can You Earn a Featured Snippet?
To earn a featured snippet, you need to do the following things:
- Find out what users are searching for on Google and what type of questions they’re asking.
- Target question-based keywords rather than generic ones. For instance, instead of ‘digital marketing’, target ‘what is digital marketing?’
- Structure your questions around ‘how to’, ‘how does’, what is’ and etc.
- Answer the main question clearly and then provide extra detail and examples, while also expanding on the original question to ensure you’re also answering any related questions the reader might have. For instance, if you’re answering ‘what is digital marketing?’ elaborate by explaining key digital marketing concepts, like SEO and PPC.
- Write high-quality and engaging content.
- Include valuable Q&A pages on your website.
What Questions are Users Asking?
There are a number of ways you can find out what people are searching. Start by doing your keyword research to see how often certain phrases are searched, and then use a handy blogging tool, like Answer the Public, to find out what questions people ask in relation to your chosen keyword.
A simple Google search can also help reveal what the top search results are and what people are actively searching on the web. For instance, if you Google ‘what is digital marketing?’ you can look at what everyone else is saying, then find your own unique way of answering this question in a valuable and engaging way.
Target Question-Based Keywords
If you type ‘digital marketing’ into Google you will get a different result to what you do when you type in ‘what is digital marketing?’
Even if you want to rank for both keywords, ‘what is digital marketing?’ is more likely to get you a featured snippet, because you’re actively answering a question in a clear and concise manner.
Structure Your Questions Carefully
When you ask a question, how do you ask it?
Would you say, ‘show me how to get a featured snippet?’ Or would you say ‘how can I get a featured snippet?’
Most likely the latter. People frequently search questions in the format, ‘how do’, ‘how can’, ‘how to’ and of course, ‘what is’. Make sure you’re formatting your questions in the same way.
Answer the Question
Answering a question comes down to the good old concept of ‘what, where, when, who, why’.
Provide a concise answer and then elaborate on it. Provide examples, include data and answer any related questions. If you’re telling someone what digital marketing is, you should be explaining it in enough detail so that they understand all of the important digital marketing factors, not just what it’s defined as.
Make the Content Engaging and Informative
Featured snippets, like all content on Google, must go through Google’s complex ranking system.
This means your content should always do the following:
- Be informative
- Be user-focused (a mixture of short and long sentences, more relaxed language, short paragraphs, dot points and etc.)
- Be entertaining
- Be of a high-quality
- Include visual elements (images, videos, graphics and etc.)
Include Q&A Pages on Your Website
What’s the easiest way to answer a question on your website? With a Q&A page, of course! Here, you can answer relevant questions following the above principles and increase your chances of not only ranking well on Google but also of snagging the featured snippet.
Just make sure any content on a Q&A page is to the point and not long-winded.