In this post we’re going to look at featured snippets, in particular what are they, should we be scared about them, and how do we get them.
First up, what is a featured snippet?
A featured snippet is a little bit of text that you see at the top of Google search results.
So we can see up here at the top of the Google search results we have this featured snippet here that says, “Some of the perfect ways to promote your blog and How to get traffic.”
And we’ve got a bit of text in the form of points from the HowdyBlogging’s website and sometimes a featured image as well.
So this is a featured snippet.
Three kinds of Features Snippets.
There are three different types of featured snippets that you’ll usually see.
- Text Featured Snippet
- Table Featured Snippet
- Video Featured Snippet
So you might see a text one, like above.
You might see a table.
If you searched for something like, historic interest rates, then you might see a table like this which has a bit of text and then some information.
Or you might see a video.
For example, if you were to search, how to tie a tie, you would see this video featured snippet.
Do we need to bother about featured snippet?
So why do we bother about featured snippets?
Well, the reason that we want featured snippets and the reason they’re good things to have is because you can see, aside from the Google ad the the top of the results listing, the entire above-the-fold section, the only organic result is the HowdyBlogging’s website.
We’ve got the featured snippet. We’ve got a link. And then we’ve got the link in the regular organic results.
So we completely dominate for a term like this using a featured snippet, so that’s why you want them.
Now, you’re still gonna get traffic.
You’re still gonna get traffic when you have a featured snippet. It’s not just that everyone is just gonna look at the answer there and then leave and carry on with the rest of their day content that they now know how to promote blogs.
Some people are gonna be clicking on that website to have a look at your site.
And then once they come on your site, then it’s an opportunity to convert them.
So for example, somebody who searches how to promote blogs is quite an informational research person.
They’re not necessarily looking for a blog promotion. But what they might be looking for is to improve their digital marketing knowledge.
So when you get on this page, you create a big call to action.
Something like “Not getting enough traffic? “Not converting enough leads?”
And then user get the free website and marketing review, which, by the way, everyone should request.
And then it pushes user into your sales funnel.
So even though this is an informational topic and an informational post, there is a commercial funnel there and you’ll convert a good number of people who land on your blog posts and knowledge-based posts into leads, even though they weren’t necessarily searching for something like a how to promote blogs.
So should we be worried about featured snippets?
There’s a load of scaremongering here that Google’s trying to push out the publisher, Google just wants to show all the information in the search results and publishers are basically bleeding to death ’cause Google isn’t sending them enough traffic.
Well, if your business model is purely based on having the answer in a very small amount of text, then yes, you are definitely, definitely in trouble.
For example, if your business was all ad-supported and you were having the weather, and you’ve got people onto your site to look at the weather.
And now when you search for, what is the temperature in Scotland, you get this entire knowledge graph piece at the top of the search results.
Then yes, this and featured snippets are going to destroy that particular part of the business.
So that ain’t good. But for most of us who sell a product or a service or generate leads to our website, featured snippets are a fantastic opportunity to get more traffic onto your website.
How to do we get featured snippet?
So let’s talk about how we get featured snippets.
Well, step one is to do a bit of research.
So we love Answer the Public to research the questions that people are asking.
So let’s say, for example, that we wanted to broaden our range of blog promotion featured snippets.
We might go to Answer the Public, type in how to promote blog, and see what sort of questions people are asking on Google about blog promotions that we could answer with out content.
Once it’s taken its sweet time in giving us some sweet results, we will see here the questions that people are asking about this topic.
So promote blog to increase traffic, how to promote your blog for free, how to promote wordpress blog, how to promote blog on instagram, blog promotion services etc.
And those are just the how questions, although, interestingly, only four of them actually contain the word how.
Then we have all these different types of questions that people might be asking about blog promotion.
Now, blog promotion isn’t necessarily the most popular topic in the entire world.
There are other much more popular topics, such as WordPress, but just taking this as an example.
What we would now do is we would cross-reference each of these different questions to see if that triggers a featured snippet in Google search results.
So let’s say, how to promote blogs, we might go over to Google and type in, how to promote blog and get traffic, and see if we get a featured snippet.
And yes, we do.
So we cross-reference each of the different questions to see if they’re bringing up our featured snippet.
Now, if I was competing with Blog Promotion or we wanted to get a better featured snippet here, we might make a piece of content all about how to promote blog to get more traffic and use the rest of the steps in this guide to take over that featured snippet.
Because that featured snippet there isn’t necessarily the best answer to this question, how to promote your blog.
If there was a guide that had information all about blog promotion, it had like a strategy template that people could execute on as well, that would be a really useful resource.
So that might be a better approach to pick up that featured snippet.
So once we’ve found a bunch of questions which are bringing featured snippets, the next step is to start planning and creating the information that’s gonna get ranked.
So if you noticed that the featured snippet that you wanna take over is text, you know that you’re gonna be using text in your featured snippet.
If your featured snippet is a table, then you know that you’re gonna be creating a table for your featured snippet.
If it’s a video, you know, guess what, it’s gonna be a table. (springy bouncing), obviously it’s gonna be a video.
So you know what sort of content format you need to use to compete.
The next thing to do is to ask yourself the really honest question: can I actually improve on what’s there?
You have the best chance of taking over a featured snippet slot if the information in that snippet isn’t really relevant or isn’t very good quality.
If it’s really good, you might have quite a hard time taking over that featured snippet place because the stuff that’s there is already pretty good.
So Google’s not be able to see much of a difference if it shows yours or if it shows theirs.
Okay, the next step is to format the content that you’re creating.
So let’s just click on any featured post and see what happens.
So you’ll notice, at the top of this post, we have why blog promotion and importance of blog promotion.
We’re making it really clear what Google should be showing in the featured snippet.
This is the first sentence, here you go, this is exactly what you wanna show in a featured snippet.
We’re not forcing Google to hunt around.
Another great tip on your post is to make sure that you’re using sub headlines.
Because actually, if somebody’s searching, for example, wordpress blog or wix blog, let’s just see on Google if there’s a featured snippet for that. There is indeed a featured snippet for that.
So potentially you could try and compete here. Which looks like it’s what Google actually wants.
So that might be one way that we wanna unseat this particular example.
Step four is to use images.
Images are great because they can be used in the featured snippet, and that just makes it more eye-catching and gives you more of a chance that you’re gonna get the click as well.
So use a featured image, particularly if that image includes the keywords that you’re searching for. We’ve seen some really interesting studies about embedding text in images and seeing if Google ranks those images.
And guess what, it does.
So it’s looking at the text in images.
So if you can include your keywords or some of your target keywords in an image like this, so much the better.
Now, the question that people often have is:
what sort of schema markup should we use in order to rank in featured snippets?
Now, John Mueller from Google, in January came out and said actually there’s nothing really specifically that you can do with schema that would help your page or site rank better in featured snippets.
So the message that we took from that and that we’ve seen reflected in the real world is that schema isn’t gonna give you a featured snippet.
However, using as much relevant schema data as you possibly can is just general good SEO practice anyway.
You can use the Yoast SEO plugin and it’s got a whole bunch of different schema functionality, if you’re on WordPress.
That’s the simplest way to do it.
So, Featured snippets are the bit of text, the table or the video that you see at the top of search results, usually when you search for something informational and you want a piece of information as the result.
The benefits are that we get a lot of good-quality organic traffic and then you obviously get the chance to convert that informational traffic into leads or sales, if you have a high-converting blog or knowledge pages.
You shouldn’t be worried about featured snippets.
Yes, whilst Google is trying to show you a website information straight in the search results so people don’t actually land on your website, all that they do is showing that actually we’re still getting a really good number of people through to your site and you will only see your traffic increase if you pick up position zero in the featured snippets.
We then looked at how to get featured snippets.
So step one is to understand the sort of queries that are bringing up featured snippets.
So you can go to Answer the Public, search around your topic, see what sorts of questions people are asking, and then test each of those in Google to see if they’re bringing up a featured snippet result.
If they are, do you think you can do better than the result that’s showing?
Can you give more useful information, can you be more relevant?
You also wanna check out the format of that featured snippet.
So is it a table, is it text, does it have an image, is there a video?
And you wanna make sure that your content that you’re trying to rank for that featured snippet matches that format. ‘Cause Google’s already saying, “Yeah, I think this is pretty good for this answer,” so you don’t necessarily wanna go against that.
You wanna format your text or your data well.
If you’re using a table, make it nice and easy to read.
And if you’re using text, make sure Google can see this as relevant as possible for that search.
You might even wanna use a keyword-optimized headline which matches the question that people are asking and put that directly above the piece of text just so Google can see very clearly this is the definition, this is the piece of text that we should be using.
Use images for that extra potential. If you want extra brownie points, don’t be afraid to use text in those images, ’cause Google is looking at that.
And of course, markup your content using schema / structured data. It is best practice.
Even if it doesn’t directly impact your featured snippet ranking, it’s still a good thing to do and the SEO gods will smile gladly upon you.
So I hope you found that look into featured snippets useful.
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Leave a comment if you have any questions about featured snippets.