Featured snippets are a growing area of focus in SEO. It is no wonder when they have the ability to bring in a large quantity of traffic to your website by getting your site ranking in the prestigious "position zero" above all other results on the SERP. But in order to be awarded with a featured snippet, you must show Google that you are answering the searcher's query to a high standard, thus satisfying the user’s search intent.
At Reboot, we are self-professed Featured Snippet Champions. The Content Marketing team work hard to ensure their content is perfectly optimised to earn a featured snippet for our clients. For one client, we successfully achieved 9 featured snippets and 63 SERP features (including image packs and site links) in just a couple of months.
Read on to hear about our top tips and tricks for getting your content rewarded with a featured snippet.
Table of Contents:
- What is a featured snippet?
- How to get a featured snippet
- How to steal a featured snippet
According to Google’s definition, a featured snippet – also known as an “answer box” or “Position 0” – is:
“A search result in a special featured snippet block at the top of the search results page. This featured snippet block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL.”
It looks something like this on the search results:
Featured snippets can appear in three main forms:
- A paragraph-formatted answer to satisfy the searcher’s query
- A bullet point or numbered list that answers the searcher’s query (either step-by-step or a list)
- A table of information
It’s worth noting that there is no way to “opt in” for a featured snippet to make your website more likely to get one – it is down to Google and the content you produce. The search engine carefully determines which page on the SERP contains the best answer to the user's question and displays the result as a featured snippet.
But, featured snippets are subject to change because Google is constantly looking for fresh content to include instead, particularly for information which may change often. For instance, search queries regarding a TV programme:
Getting a featured snippet is often seen as a fantastic achievement. This increased visibility of your website also comes with another benefit: higher organic click-through rates. According to a HubSpot report, content that appears as a featured snippet can get 2x higher click-through rates than content not in the so-called “position zero”.
Typically, featured snippets are only awarded to posts in the top 10 search results on the first page of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). If you are ranking below this position, it is unlikely that you will be awarded a snippet.
One way to increase your chances of getting a featured snippet is to create content focusing on informational question keywords. For instance, all “WH” keywords (what, when, why, how etc.) have higher featured snippet rates than regular keywords – particularly how and what.
But, put simply, if your content doesn’t clearly and concisely answer the question, you will not be awarded with a featured snippet.
Remember to ensure you conduct thorough keyword research, to ensure the content you wish to write has a decent search volume each month, and bear in mind a user’s search intent to ensure you are attracting the right customers to your website.
Other things to bear in mind:
- Word count
As you may know, there is some confusion about word count in SEO. When it comes to ranking for a featured snippet, when answering a direct question which you hope to be featured in a snippet, it is advisable to write in short sentences and paragraphs, each having no more than 40 to 50 words. This is due to a SEMrush study, which shows that most featured snippet results contain answers between this amount:
- Words and topics
According to the analysis performed in a study, the following types of search queries get featured results most often:
- DIY processes
Further research by Ahrefs found that these are the most frequently used words that appear in featured snippets:
- Content structure
Think carefully about your content structure when trying to optimise your posts for featured snippets. For instance, you may want to add a “FAQ” section to your site, to maximise the use of question keywords, or even include a how-to section on your website.
As mentioned above, consider structuring your content into short paragraphs with questions as subheadings.
You may even want to think about certain content styles which Google tends to prefer:
- Bullet points
- Numbered lists
It is a good idea to repurpose old content to increase ranking potential and even steal featured snippets from competitors.
At the beginning of August 2019, Google announced an update to its ‘featured snippets’ algorithm. The reason behind this was to make featured snippets more useful to users by understanding which information needs fresh content, in order to remove snippets with ‘out-of-date’ information that are no longer useful.
According to Google, these kind of search queries need fresh content:
- Information that is regularly updated
- Information that changes with passing time
- Current events
Therefore, when looking to steal feature snippets from competitors, search for content which falls into one of these three categories. When revisiting your posts, ensure your content is as evergreen as possible – and don’t forget to frequently make amendments to the content where needed to maximise chances of winning a featured snippet.
As aforementioned, featured snippets are usually always awarded to posts in the top 10 on the SERP. This is what you can do to steal featured snippets:
- Find keywords that your blog posts are ranking for in the top 10 in the SERP
- Type URL + " /blog " into Ahrefs
- Click organic keywords
- Order by position
At the top of the toolbar, click “SERP features” and select “featured snippet”. This will show you the terms that you could possibly steal from other competitor websites.
Steal a featured snippet for this keyword if you are ranking between position 1 and 10 – especially if your blog post is ranking higher than the post that currently has been awarded a featured snippet.
Carefully look at your competitors title – how is it formatted? Is it numbered, short, long? Can you steal it?
Where is the featured keyword in the title and blog? Consider doing the same.
Carefully look at your competitors blog post – how is the post formatted? Ask yourself the following questions:
Where is their featured snippet it the article? If it is near the top, you may want to move the section up in your own blog post to help Google understand your post and crawl.
Is it a listicle or an informative guide?
Can you insert a table?
Analyse the word count – 40 to 50 words per paragraph is advisable
RELATED: Are featured snippets good or bad?