Want to learn how to optimize your content to get Google Featured Snippets? Well, read on as I will explain with you tips on how to do just that in this article.
I’m sure you’ve heard about these before, or you might in fact got some of your posts featured by “accident” and want to learn how to replicate that. And yes there are ways to increase your chances of getting a featured snippet.
What is a Google featured snippet
Featured snippets are Google’s way of showing quick answers to a user’s search query. They can be in the form of a short text paragraph, list, table, or video. To create these featured snippets, Google searches for relevant content from the sites that are already ranking high in their SERPs.
Since featured snippets rank at the top of the search engine page, and for that reason, they are also called “position 0”.
The ability to rank keywords higher than the 1st position in the SERPs (search engine result pages), is something that many SEOs want to achieve.
Getting a featured snippet for just a few of your website’s pages can boost your traffic volume by a lot.
Sure, ranking on the first page of the search results is probably more important in the grand scheme of things, but one must not ignore Google’s featured snippet box.
Types of Featured snippets
There are 4 types of featured snippets. A description that’s in the form of a short paragraph, a list (either bullet points or numbered list), a table with values, and a video.
I don’t know why but most bloggers out there that are talking about featured snippets always forget to include the video type.
Anyway let’s look at these snippet types a little more in-depth:
Also called description snippets, these are in the form of short paragraphs that can give users a relevant answer to a question in just a few words.
These are also the most popular type of snippets appearing in the search results. On average, 50% of all featured snippets are paragraphs according to Moz.
You can easily incorporate these into your content to increase your chances of getting into the featured snippets box.
With over 37% of appearances, the list featured snippets are also pretty popular search results. These are usually achieved by using headings, and bullet points in your content. More on that later.
Websites with a higher chance of getting this featured snippet are the ones posting a ton of list-type content also known as listicles.
The most dominating niches for listicles are usually reviews, finance, food, gaming, travel, and lifestyle.
But of course, list type content can be created for pretty much any content so, there’s really no excuse for not creating them.
Similar to lists, tables are also pretty common in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Usually, sites that are focused on publishing more structured content in the form of a table are food recipe sites.
Sometimes Google can take content from a page that either has an ordinary list and transform it into a table to showcase in their feature box.
But that’s a bit rarer since most of the websites that you will see featured for this type of snippet will have tables in their content.
Sometimes Google thinks that a user is better served with a video answer to their question, so they give them a video in the form of a short featured snippet.
Videos that get the featured snippet position usually won’t show the whole video to the user. Instead, Google will point the user straight to the part of the video where it explains how to do exactly what they have searched for.
As you can see in the above image, Google will start the video at 1:12, making the user skip over the non-important video intro, so that they can get straight to the good part.
Another type of featured snippets are Images. Although, these days it seems that Google is making a ton of changes in regards to how they will feature images in position 0, so we’re probably going to see fewer of these as we move on.
Tips on How to Get Featured Snippets
Alright, so the moment you’ve been waiting for… how can you optimize your content for featured snippets?
Well, to be honest with you, unlike regular SEO optimization, trying to get a featured snippet is more a stroke of luck or chance type of thing.
Because Google’s algorithm regarding the feature box is pretty random, and they pick content usually from the first page of their results, you don’t really know if your site or the content page will be the one to get it or not.
However, with that being said… there are a couple of ways to achieve the coveted position 0 and get your content featured.
Let’s get it…
1. Research Keywords with featured snippets
The first thing you got to do is to research keywords that have featured snippet appearances in the search results.
Using a tool like Semrush you can quickly analyze keywords that get the featured snippet and check out the websites that are ranking for them and how they created their content.
You can either analyze your own website and see if you have any featured snippets going on for your content, or if you have any opportunities to get featured.
Or…you can simply use the tool to spy on your competition and see what type of content they are getting featured for and try to implement the same strategy on your site.
You can also manually research keywords in Google yourself, but this will be a bit more time-consuming, still, it can be done.
Simply go to Google, type in a keyword-relevant to your content, and see if there are any featured snippets showing.
If they are, then click on it, and go check out the websites that are ranking and see how they have structured their page and what type of content they have used in order to get in Google’s feature box.
Hint: You can do this for low competition keywords, in order to have a better chance of ranking and getting featured snippets.
2. Answer a question
This one is pretty easy to do. You simply answer a question on your site, with a short paragraph, and hope that it gets picked up.
No really, that’s all you have to do.
Semrush found out that on average your answers need to be about 40 to 50 words in order to get the featured snippet position.
So make sure that you’re answering clear and to the point, without too much fluff, if you want a higher chance at ranking in position 0.
Hint: You can use AnswerThePublic to see a very detailed list of questions that people might have for every topic out there.
Using this great tool you can quickly uncover a bunch of questions that you can use and answer into your content to have a bigger chance at getting featured in the snippet box.
AnswerThePublic (affiliate link) is one of my “secret” tactics to create amazing relevant content on all my niche sites, sometimes including NetHustler too.
3. Use headings
Here’s the thing, probably the most important tip for getting your content featured, is making sure that your page has proper structure and headings.
You need to make it easy for Google to crawl your page and quickly identify what’s all about and if it’s “eligible” for the feature box.
One of the easiest ways to achieve that is by making correct use of the H1, H2, H3, etc. headings throughout your page.
The optimal way is to only have one H1 tag (this is usually your page title), a few H2 tags that are the main points of the content, followed by H3 and H4 as subpoints for going more in-depth for example with a step-by-step guide.
4. Add lists
You should make use of bullet points and numbered lists in all of your content if possible.
It doesn’t take too long to create them in the first place and your site will only benefit from having these on.
These types of lists don’t need to be too lengthy, and they are a great and easy way to rank into the featured snippet box.
Plus, bullet points and numbered lists also provide a nicer user experience for your readers, helping them to digest the most important bits of your content right away.
For example, you can create a list with key-takeaway points of your content and put it in the beginning, and in that way, your readers and Google will easily identify what your article is all about.
5. Add tables
Sure, this might not be an option for some type of content out there, but you can still find creative ways to sneak in some tables in your pages and boost the chances of your content ranking for a Google featured snippet.
You can create tables for many things, one of the most popular usages of tables in the content is for recipes and reviews.
To create a table these days you don’t need to know how to code, if you’ve started a blog on WordPress, you can create tables easily with the new Gutenberg editor.
You can also install plugins such as TablePress if you want some advanced features.
Oh, and a table of contents is also pretty easy to create and insert into your content. You can create either anchor points with Gutenberg or install a plugin like Easy Table of Contents.
This way you will get all your main headings, into a nice little table at the start of your article, just like I have on this page.
6. Add images with alt text
Now, as I’ve said above, Google is experimenting with images inside the feature box, after the feedback that they have gotten from the community over the past years.
The main issue was that a featured snippet would feature a short text from website A, and then Google will also add a featured image from website B. This as you can imagine would create a lot of confusion for the users, so Google is now working on a better way to implement them into their featured snippet box.
However, that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t properly tag your images with the right alt (alternative text) attribute.
This is another way for the search engines to quickly scan your content and get a better idea of what it’s all about.
For example, in my website traffic sources article, I have put the name of the companies in each of their respective images, that way I have a nice list of images with alt attributes that are relevant to my content.
7. Create a video
Alright, sure, creating videos might not be for everyone, and they might be a bit too much to work on, but videos can also rank easily in the feature box.
Plus, people are consuming a lot of content via video these days, so you’re marketing efforts will benefit greatly even beyond getting into Google’s featured snippet box.
A report by Wyzowl shows that 86% of businesses invest in video marketing and that a staggering 96% of the people surveyed have watched an explainer video for a product or a service before buying it.
So as you can see, it would be foolish to ignore video marketing any longer, and since I’ve been a fool a vast majority of my life, I always have ignored video marketing.
Not anymore though…
My goal this year is to start creating videos in the form of explainers, guides, and tutorials for my NetHustler content, so I’m curious to see how that will work out, especially since I act like a clueless potato when I’m on camera.
8. Try to rank on the first page
Ahrefs did a recent study and found out that 99.58% of the featured content comes from the sites that are already ranking on the first page of Google.
Now it doesn’t really matter if you’re ranking in 1st position or the 10th, what matters is that your content is good enough to appear on the first page.
That gives a signal to Google that your content is of value and deserves a spot in their feature box.
Many marketers would agree with me in saying that getting your site ranking high in the SERPs is more important than getting the featured snippet box, and for good reason.
You see, featured snippets can come and go, the same way that the search results fluctuate with every Google update, but at least we can SEO our content, to get to the first page.
We can’t really do too much to get into the snippet box, like I said previously it’s all up to luck. Some day your page might get featured and the next day someone else takes the spot.
So make sure to also do proper on-page SEO optimization and build quality backlinks to your website and content to get higher chances of ranking higher in the SERPs.
The featured snippets will come naturally after that, especially if you implement some of these tips.
Alternatively, you could try to target long-tail keywords that are not that hard to rank, so that you can make this whole process easier.
You can use a tool like Semrush to do more in-depth keyword research.
Is it worth getting a featured snippet?
Sometimes getting featured snippets for some of your pages that are ranking high in Google might actually decrease the number of clicks that you’re site is getting and therefore the leads.
That’s because Google has introduced a new rule a few years back, that made websites either show up in the future snippet or in the organic search results.
Before that a website could appear two times on the first page, one in the featured box and another time in the regular results.
So now, with having to choose between the two, it’s really up to the marketer, and the data that they get from the featured snippet vs the organic result.
You can monitor that either with Google Search Console or with Semrush.
Users that are searching for things will sometimes be happy with seeing that short answer from Google and they won’t continue clicking on it to check out more info on your website.
Because of that, some sites might actually lose clicks and revenue, and so Google has implemented a way that you can block your site’s content from showing up into the featured snippet box.
You can use the max-snippet tag if you want to block Google from creating featured snippets of your content.
As you can see, even though ranking your content in the featured snippet might be more based on luck, there are still quite a few methods that you can apply to have an extra chance at it.
I’ve been lucky to get my content into featured snippets on many of my websites, and the extra traffic volume I’m getting from those is amazing.
Here’s an example for a page that got into the featured snippet box on one of my smaller niche sites:
Usually when you’re getting notifications in your Google Search Console is for when you’re pages have some errors like crawling problems or mobile visibility issues. Not this time though.
Originally that post was ranking at the bottom of the first page of Google since it was pretty new, and it was getting around 7 clicks per day, however after it got the featured snippet spot, the average daily clicks increased to 44.
A 529% increase that I achieved in a very short period of time, I’m talking a few weeks after publishing the original page and implementing some of these methods that I talk about here in this article. The main one being adding a table 😉
So, there you have it, 8 methods to have a better chance ranking in the featured snippets box.
Apply these tips straight away on all the pages that you can, and you will for sure see some improvements, even if you won’t get featured, you will still probably increase your rankings.