In recent years, Google has evolved to be one of the most widely used search engine platforms. Due to the growing popularity of the website, it continuously launches new features to help businesses as well as consumers. As Google keeps refining its search algorithm, it has left no stone unturned to provide consumers with the ultimate search experience.
One such highlight of the Google search engine result page (SERP) is its featured snippets. Several businesses and websites try to appear on the featured snippets to boost their brand visibility. Getting a webpage into featured snippets can help websites to increase their visibility, traffic and click-through rate. However, not everyone possesses the knowledge to make it to the top. If you want your brand to be a highlight of Google’s SERP, here is a complete guide about featured snippets and how you can use them to boost your visibility.
What is a featured snippet?
A featured snippet is like a search summary that answers the different queries of the users. It is a special column that appears above the top search results on the Google search results page. Instead of displaying the complete webpage, the featured snippet displays a piece of information from a webpage that is highly relevant to the user’s query. As it even displays a link to the webpage and title, it becomes easier for users to visit the website with a single click.
Featured snippets are also known as answer boxes as users can get the desired information without visiting the webpage. While there are various types of featured snippets the four majorly used featured snippets include paragraph, list, table and video. As featured snippets efficiently increase search visibility it helps websites to boost brand recognition.
How to use featured snippets to increase visibility?
One of the significant facts that make featured snippets exclusive is that there is no specific option for websites to mark their page as a featured snippet. Google automatically determines the page that contains the most relevant answer to the search query and displays the result as a featured snippet.
Over the years, digital marketers have tried multiple strategies to determine the type of content that qualifies for the position in the featured snippet section. While there is no particular rule of thumb that lands a page in the featured snippet sections, experts say that factors such as ranking in the top 5 positions, highly relevant use of keywords and a decently optimised page structure can be useful. Furthermore, digital marketing experts also found that authority signals and strong backlink profiles have little to no impact on a website appearing in the featured snippet section.
Here are some tips and tricks that will increase your chances of appearing on the featured snippets.
● Find common questions asked by users
Featured snippets are displayed automatically from web search listings. Google automatically determines if a page can be used to highlight a specific search request. Since featured snippets are mostly generated for query-based searches, you must optimise your webpage by identifying the common questions that your audience seeks answers for.
Tools such as Serpstat, Answer the Public and Google-related searches can help you create a list of common and most relevant questions that are widely used by your target audience. While listing the questions you can add queries that begin with How, When, What, Why and Where.
● Answer these questions in your content
Once you create a list of potential questions, the next step is to create content to answer these questions. To increase the chances of your webpage appearing in featured snippets, use the question as a title for your content. Additionally, pay attention to the quality and structure of your content. Focus on writing short and relevant answers. You can also use bullet points and break the content into smaller pieces.
● Conduct keyword research
Keywords play an important role in optimising any content for the search engine. As featured snippets are often triggered by long-tail keywords, ensure that you make good use of these keywords in your content. The more your keywords match the query typed in a search box, the higher your chances of getting to a featured snippet. Keyword research tools such as SEMrush, WordStream and Google’s Keyword Planner are excellent choices for performing keyword research for featured snippets.
● Use appropriate formatting
Regardless of the SEO strategies you prefer, well-formatted content can find its way to the top of the SERP. Google usually generate a small paragraph or text snippet for a shorter and less question-oriented search query. On the other hand, for longer-tail questions, it displays a step-by-step list that leads users to their answers. When you use subheadings in your content, Google will arrange them chronologically and display a list of these subheadings in the featured snippets instead of the full content. Thus, using the appropriate format in your content with proper titles, subheadings, lists or tables is more likely to make your webpage appear in the featured snippets.
● Implement Schema markup
Schema markup refers to a code or semantic vocabulary that users use to tag their website. These tags help search engines by providing more informative results for search queries. As Schema uses a unique semantic vocabulary in a microdata format, it completely explains to the search engine what the data is all about. This further assists search engines in recognising webpages for featured snippets and giving more precise results for search queries.
Appearing on a featured snippet is a result of both hard work and luck. As the Google search algorithm completely controls which websites will make it to the featured snippets section, there is no fixed procedure that you can follow. However, with proper content optimisation and formatting, you can increase your chances of getting your webpage highlighted. Moreover, you can also keep testing your website by continuously making changes and adding more informative content to achieve the desired results.