Without a doubt, Google is the number one source of information in the world. So famous is Google search, that the word ‘Google’ itself has become a synonym for ‘search’, and is used as such. Given its eponymous status in the world of search and information, Google does everything it can to simplify the dissemination of information, giving you reliable data, each and every time. One of the ways it does this is through ‘Featured Snippets’.
Featured snippets is one of those features that you see and use regularly, except that you probably haven’t really noticed it. When you ask Google a query, more often than not, the very first result shows up in a box of its own, The text is larger than the subsequent results, and you will notice that the selection of text is in direct context to the query asked – even boldening the search words. These snippets aim to answer a user’s question as accurately as possible, but more than just adding to great user experience, Google Snippets is the gold standard of SEO.
Optimising SEO for snippets
Trying to optimise content to appear in Google Snippets has been part of SEO strategy for a while now, and there are a number of tips one can employ to earn a spot at the top. Given the various types of Google snippets showing featured content, there really isn’t a one size fits all. If you’re familiar with how these snippets are displayed, you will realise that they come in different forms – while some display infographics with text, others may simply be a list of bullet points, or just a simple paragraph. Keeping these tips in mind, however, should get you started.
Use SEMrush to scope out the competition
SEMrush is the ultimate SEO tool and can be used to find out your competitor’s (as well as your own) Featured Snippet ranking. To do this, run a regular domain search, and then click ‘Organic Research’ on the left panel. On the bottom right of the page, you will find a link to Featured Snippets. Using this data, you can find out the snippets your competition is earning, and optimise accordingly.
Use Google, because, it’s Google
Google search for all the AI and Machine Learning in the world, still runs on user input. So, if you were a user looking for the content you’ve written, what would you ask Google? By using Google Search the same way your audience would, you can find various snippets that are currently being featured, and accordingly, optimise your content to take over that sweet spot.
Use Anwer The Public for suggestions
At Creometric, we love data. So if you’re anything like us, you will absolutely love Answer The Public. The idea behind the site is simple. It takes a keyword (that you’re trying to rank for) and visualises the top questions that people are asking online with regards to that keyword. The amount of data you can glean from Answer The Public is priceless, and a goldmine for content writers. Also, since Featured Snippets revolves around answering questions, the data earned from Answer The Public is a great indicator for what people are looking for.
Use Serpstat to analyze keywords
Serpstat is another great tool for analyzing keywords. Since you’re already using keywords as part of your SEO journey, here’s a tool that will help you take optimization to the next level. Using Serpstat, all you have to is type in a domain, keyword, or link. Hovering over a result will reveal if that particular query has a featured snippet. This is invaluable information when trying to find out what your competition is ranking for. If you are currently ranking for a particular keyword, find out if Google is currently bringing up snippets. If they are, then try to rank for it by using tools like Answer The Public to identify the questions people are searching for.
How to’s and word counts
Finally, there are a few extra things you can do on your own site to get you closer to Featured Snippets. For starters, make sure you’re writing bite-sized content. SEMrush suggests that you keep featured content between 40 and 50 words. You’ll also want to section off your paragraphs, lists, and steps. In addition, consider adding a How-To section on your website. Since people are constantly searching for DIY options, it would help if you had your own How-To section that answers specific questions. This allows for all your questions and answers to reside on one particular part of your site.
With these tips, you should be able to rank higher on Google Search Results, and reach that coveted Featured Snippets box in no time!