Optimizing Your Content for Google’s Featured Snippets

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You may have noticed that the top search results are longer limited to links. This is because Google search results are now packed with features, such as the knowledge graph, user questions, and one of the essential features, the featured snippet. 

Do you want to rank highly in Google’s search results without building links or making significant content updates? You can achieve that using featured snippets. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about featured snippets and how to optimize them. 

What is a Featured Snippet?

Featured snippets are specific search results that appear at the top of Google’s results page and provide a brief response to the search query. For informational or lengthy search queries, featured snippets frequently take the form of a list, chart, or video. Google obtains this data from one of the top-ranking pages, which is then promoted to the top of the natural search results.

Google’s featured snippets provide users with the information they want in the search results. They are the expanded snippets that top Google’s search engine result pages. Instead of the standard one or two-line meta description, users see more text, which may include bullet points and longer explanations.

When Google first introduced featured snippets, some sites received two results on page one of the SERPs, dramatically increasing organic visibility and traffic.

How Do Featured Snippets Work?

Google looks for the most relevant result to match a search query when it receives one. And when Google has the list of search results ready, it uses the procedure described below to select the pertinent featured snippet from the top 10 search results:

  1. Determining the text components of a keyword-based sentence to determine whether it qualifies to appear as a featured snippet.
  2. Figuring out the break features that show where a sentence with a keyword structure can be shortened in a featured snippet.
  3. Determining the snippet score and assigning it to determine the snippet’s strength.
  4. Choosing the snippet with the best overall snippet rating.

This is how Google chooses a website for featured snippets and strives to give users relevant information quickly.

Why Are Featured Snippets Important for SEO?

Why Are Featured Snippets Important for SEO - iRocket VC

Two factors affect SEO when using featured snippets. Featured Snippets offer the chance to increase clickthrough rates from organic search results without necessarily ranking highly on Google’s results page. 

Due to its placement above the conventional #1 spot, many SEO professionals refer to the Featured Snippet box as “Position #0.” As a result, your organic click-through rate will significantly increase if you can get your content into the Featured Snippet.

There are more “no-click searches” as a result of Featured Snippets. Alternatively, when a Google user doesn’t click on any search results, this is because the Featured Snippet frequently provides the desired response.

Featured snippets make up the majority of SERPs. They provide you with great exposure and help keep your website visible. They will also help your visibility. In addition, you can rank for them without paying additional advertising costs.

Therefore, it’s crucial to consider whether or not a featured snippet appears in the search results before choosing a specific keyword. If so, a study by Ahrefs found that your site would receive fewer clicks than SERPs without a featured snippet.

Voice search and featured snippets 

A goal of the featured snippet is to support voice search, so keep that in mind. Google reads back featured snippets to users who conduct voice searches on mobile devices or Google Home devices. This implies that featured snippets always need to make sense in this setting. 

When optimizing for featured snippets, it makes sense to consider how your response would sound if intelligent assistants read it aloud on voice search.

The Different Featured Snippet Formats You Can Target

Understanding the different kinds of featured snippets is essential when optimizing for them.

Description Featured Snippets

The most typical featured snippet is a paragraph, which consists of two or three sentences of text taken from the part of your content that is most closely related to the search queries. This text excerpt aims to provide searchers with a clear, concise definition or description.

Google occasionally combines featured snippets with People Also Ask (PAA) boxes. This is frequently derived from a source other than the featured snippet. Click on the additional questions next to the search query to learn more.

Tip: Google frequently uses featured snippets to respond to “what is” queries.  Most “What” questions have the highest search volumes, but you must find keywords with low Keyword Difficulty (KD) scores to rank for them.

Video featured snippets

An example of a featured snippet is a video featured snippet displayed at the top of Google’s search results in a video format. They give the user a brief video preview that directly responds to their question. The video’s title, thumbnail, and brief content description make up most snippets.

Listicle Featured Snippets

Ordered list

This is a list of things that are shown in a particular order. Google frequently uses ordered lists when a search requires a series of steps or a process. They also use ordered lists for lists that rank items according to a particular hierarchy.

The unordered list

Google uses this method to display a list of items that are not required to be in any particular order.

Note: The “How” and “Why” keyword terms are used to create featured snippets for listicles. These are the topics to use if you want featured snippets more quickly. 

Table Featured Snippets

Here, Google takes the information from your content page and presents it as a table on the search results page.

It’s important to remember that additional “snippet-like” results are available. To prevent confusion, you must be aware of these:

  • Knowledge panel
  • Knowledge card
  • Entity carousel

A commonality exists among these three SERP features. They draw information from entities in the knowledge graph rather than just one of the top-ranking search results. While they may have a link to the information’s original location (song lyrics, for instance), it never takes the form of a clickable title like in featured snippets. 

How To Optimize For Google Featured Snippets

To optimize for featured snippets, take the following actions:

You should include a heading that says “What is.”

Find a place in your content where you can insert a “What is [keyword]” heading tag to get your featured snippet optimizations started. This heading format is used on countless examples of pages that receive the featured snippet. This tells Google that the text you’ll write next might be valuable as a featured snippet. We saw a respectable success rate when implementing this strategy for our clients. 

Ideally, you should place this heading as high up in your content. Put it after the opening sentence if you’re writing a blog post. It blends nicely with the content and allows you to place it close to the top of the page, making it a great place to include it frequently. 

Use the tenses “is” and “are.”

An “is” statement must be used when optimizing the featured snippet. Beginning with the phrase “[Keyword] is….” is the proper way to begin a sentence. “Is” statements are frequently used in the text, according to our analysis of pages that received featured snippets. 

Our observations suggest that this content structure functions as a “triggering phrase,” enabling Google to locate relevant text for the featured snippet quickly. Therefore, to increase your chances of landing the featured snippet spot, ensure your first sentence adheres to this format.

Clearly define your topics.

In two to three sentences, fully define the subject. The most crucial guideline to remember when aiming for featured snippets is this. Avoid using any extraneous phrasing in your definition.

Feature snippets aim to provide users with as much information on the subject as quickly as possible. This means that the content you’re optimizing must attempt to provide a thorough description of the subject in two to three sentences. It’s crucial to keep your remarks brief for this step.

Adapt your format to that of the featured snippet.

This step is straightforward. In your content, match the featured snippet type on the SERP. 

For instance, if the term you want to optimize for has a paragraph-featured snippet, you must find a place to add or modify two or three sentences. However, if a bulleted list appears, you must include a similar list in your page’s content.

Use your brand name less frequently.

A business may follow the first few steps correctly but use language that disqualifies the outcome from being featured in the snippet. One instance of this language would be brand names. We frequently see errors like this. 

Featured snippets are what drive voice search. Users will hear what is in the featured snippet read aloud by devices like Google Home. The information must make perfect sense in this setting. Google will likely feature the content in a snippet if the brand name is replaced with generic language. 

Use third-person phrasing.

Don’t speak in the first person. The criteria for voice search optimization make using first-person language, like the previous step, potentially problematic. You have a better chance of getting a featured snippet if you restrict utilizing this language. 

Increase the scope of your SEO for featured snippets.

You can rank a single page for hundreds of featured snippets if your site and page have authority. The secret to scaling up this includes many ordered lists, definitions, and other formats that Google loves to use on your page in Featured Snippets.

Prioritize your tasks once you are one of the top five.

According to earlier research, the ranking position is essential when claiming a featured snippet. The likelihood of getting a featured snippet increases with your site’s position in the “standard” results, to put it simply.  Look for keywords where you already rank among the top 5 results when deciding which to prioritize. 

Make improvements iteratively.

You’ve created original on-page content with a dedicated “What is” heading at the top that concisely defines the subject; you’ve also avoided using any brand or first-person terminology. 

When Google re-indexes your content, you push your optimizations into production. Even after Google has finished indexing your new changes, the featured snippet still needs to appear on your page. No optimization should be stopped at this time. Instead, refine your strategy and give it another shot. It may require several iterations for the featured snippets you could receive.

Start with small changes and progress to more significant ones if you need help getting the desired outcomes. After a few rounds of rewriting to polish the language, the featured snippet is frequently attained.

Improve your Google rankings.

Optimizing your content for featured snippets is one thing. But the likelihood of your page appearing in a featured snippet is essentially zero if it does not already appear on Google’s first page.

When you consider it, this makes sense: Google’s best and most dependable content on that subject is listed on the first page. Therefore, even if a website’s information is perfectly formatted, they won’t take it. To have a chance of appearing in the Featured Snippet box, you must rank on page 1 in addition to adequately formatting your content.

The featured snippet algorithm is more simple to understand when compared to Google’s “primary” algorithm. Simple one-page changes that clearly define the topic for users have a much more significant impact on the featured snippet.

FAQs For Google Featured Snippets

Here are some of SEO professionals’ most frequent questions about featured snippets. 

What content types get featured snippets most often?

Lists, definitions, and how-to guides are among the content types that feature featured snippets the most frequently. In particular, they are commonly seen for content related to recipes, health and wellness topics, local businesses, and product information.

What are the chances that Google will remove my featured snippets?

Google reserves the right to decide whether to automatically or manually remove your featured snippet if it contains any of the following tags: harmful content, deceptive content, hateful content, manipulated media, medical content, sexually explicit content, terrorist content, violence, gore, vulgar language, and profanity. This also includes content that disputes the opinions of civic, medical, scientific, and historical experts.

If you violate Google’s guidelines, you risk losing the featured snippet. Naturally, you might lose the advantage if a rival provides a more thorough response to that question.

Are Featured Snippets Available for Category Pages or E-commerce Product Pages?

No, using Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads (PLAs), e-commerce products can obtain featured listings on Google SERPs. E-commerce websites can still own featured snippets for their blogs and how-to guides.

What’s the difference between featured snippets and rich snippets?

Rich snippets are enhanced organic search results, whereas featured snippets are taken directly from the content of the web page to address a user query.

A rich snippet displays reviews alongside your search result. It is a featured snippet if your website’s first SERP result offers users more in-depth information.

Can you opt out of featured snippets?

Including the max-snippet robots meta tag in your page’s HTML code is the best way to stop it from being displayed in featured snippets. This tag specifies the maximum character count that Google will display in the text snippets.

Additionally, since featured snippet descriptions are longer than those in standard snippet descriptions, you can set the character limit to the typical full description length. That’s around 160 characters.

Google provides several ways to opt out of featured snippets if you still want to. Remember that neither snippet robots meta tag techniques prevent your content from appearing in standard “blue link” snippets because Google could only use your hard-coded title tag and meta description. 

Important Tip: It’s a good idea to check your page’s position for the keyword without the featured snippet before deciding to opt out. Opting out and occupying lower positions can reduce traffic to your website.

How to Get More Featured Snippets

How to Get More Featured Snippets - iRocket VC

Increasing the number of featured snippets on your website is a quick and straightforward way to increase organic traffic possibly. Let’s discuss a few approaches to achieving that.

Take advantage of the content you already have and are ranked for.

Ranking well is a requirement for receiving the featured snippet, so that should still be the primary objective. Because search intent is a critical component of SEO success, you should continually evaluate the competing pages on the SERP.

Consider featured snippets as you create new content.

Let’s be clear: Earning a featured snippet shouldn’t be something other than your primary motivation for choosing how and why to approach a subject. Instead, it should be the cherry on top.

Use the proper schema markup to draw Google’s attention to any sections of your content that list steps to complete a task or contain FAQs.

Regardless of featured snippets, doing this can transform your direct search result into a rich one, which is a great idea. Such pages also dominate the featured snippets with ‘people also ask’ boxes where everything was from a single source.

How Do I Keep Track of My Featured Snippets?

A featured snippet is equivalent to coming in first place for a keyword. I’ll be happy to help you add tracking featured snippets to whatever keyword ranking positions you may already be keeping track of. 

Use a keyword-tracking tool.

A keyword tracking tool such as Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMrush can help you track your featured snippets. You can set up alerts to be notified of changes in your featured snippets and track your competitors’ snippets.

Use Google Search Console.

The performance of your website in search results, including the featured snippets you have acquired, can be tracked using Google Search Console. You can view the featured snippets you’ve received, the searches that lead to them, and their click-through rates in the Search Appearance section of Google Search Console.

Use manual tracking.

You can manually track your featured snippets by looking up your target keywords and seeing if your website comes up in the featured snippet position. You can save this data in a spreadsheet or document for later use.

Final Thoughts

Optimizing for featured snippets aims to provide a brief and valuable answer to the search query in the most appropriate format. You can rank your content highly for the desired keyword and earn the featured snippet using all the top SEO techniques.

The only thing to remember is that your definition needs to be objective. Or, put another way, avoid expressing a viewpoint on the subject.

Google doesn’t want people’s personal opinions to appear as definitions. So, try your best to write the definition without showing any emotion, even if you have strong feelings about the subject. You should write the definition in the style of a dictionary entry.