What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are small sections of text, pulled from pages within Google’s index, designed to provide a short, simple answer to a user's search. They typically appear at the top of Google search results and often appear as paragraphs, tables or a bulleted list.

Optimised properly, featured snippets can help you increase your search footprint and rank at the top of listings even for some of the most competitive terms.

That’s because featured snippets typically appear at the top of Google search results, even if the site from which the text was taken ranks on page 2 of the SERPs.

An example of a featured snippet, a small section of text designed to provide a short, simple answer to a question, such as 'what are the northern lights?'

How To Win At Featured Snippets

There are certain activities that can be undertaken in order to improve your chances of ranking for a featured snippet. 

Do your research

Performing keyword research will help you understand what your content should be focusing on. And when it comes to featured snippets, it is worth noting that, the more niche your chosen subject, the higher the likelihood of ranking well: over 85% of snippets appear for queries with a volume of 100 or less a month.

Use your own knowledge about your industry as well as common keyword research tools, such as SEM Rush and Google’s Keyword Planner, which will help give you an idea of the amount of interest in your chosen topics.

Keyword research tools can help you identify the amount of interest in a content idea.

Understand Your Audience

Whilst keyword research is always advantageous, you need to understand the intent of your audience whilst searching. A useful section in some SERPS is the "people also ask" section which can help you understand related questions for which users commonly search, so you can optimise accordingly.

The People also ask section offers insight into the questions users are actually asking.

Additionally, ask your staff about the queries they often receive from customers. This can be an effective way of identifying previously unthought-of queries, as well as helping your existing customers!

Ensure your site is technically optimised

A strong technical SEO foundation will always help your site to rank well across any organic listings. Without a strong technical groundwork, it will always be challenging to appear for traditional organic rankings, never mind featured snippets!

For the majority of clients we work with at Selesti, we recommend starting with a technical audit so we can identify and fix any issues that may be stopping a site from ranking. When you do an audit, it is best to identify issues in a priority order to ensure the most critical issues are addressed first. 

An SEO audit helps you identify issues with your website that are preventing it from ranking.

Essentially, there is little point in creating and writing loads of brilliant, engaging content if it will not be found by your audience. 

Structure your post better than your competitors 

Ensuring your content is well structured can make the difference between appearing for a featured snippet or not. Most content that ranks well for featured snippets tends to be driven from question-based content. Indeed, 41% of all questions searched on Google have featured snippets and this is only likely to increase into 2020.

You can also use something called “snippet bait” to increase your chances that your content will be chosen for a snippet.

Snippet bait is typically a section at the start of a post that is specially designed to appear in a featured snippet. For paragraph snippets this may be a short (40-60 word) paragraph that quickly summarises the response to a query in a straightforward, simple fashion, You can then go into further detail later into the post. 

Listen and engage authentically

Google ultimately only wants to rank brands that show they are honest and take their users’ privacy and needs seriously. To that end, they value sites that demonstrate strong E-A-T: Expertise, Authority & Trustworthiness.

Ensure your content ticks the above boxes of expertise, authority and trustworthiness, this will help you rank well in traditional organic search as well as give you a higher chance of winning a featured snippet.

Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness will give you a higher chance of winning a featured snippet.

Making the most of featured snippets

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to dominate the top of search space in 2020, even if you’re not ranking on the first page of search engine result pages. 

If you’d like some help to supercharge your position in the SERPs in 2020, get in touch with one of our experts today.