Digital marketers and website owners across the globe want to drive increased organic traffic to their websites. While there are various channels for achieving this, search engines continue to play a crucial role. When your website makes it to the top of relevant search engine results pages (SERPs), it boosts brand awareness, reputation, and credibility. Moreover, it establishes your brand as an industry authority and helps drive more conversions.
Traditionally, marketers have used various search engine optimization (SEO) to skyrocket their websites to the top of SERPs. However, apart from organic listing, you can also target featured snippets in the search results. In this blog, we’ll discuss a few steps to take optimize your website for featured snippets. However, let’s first take a closer look at the concept of featured snippets.
Decoding Featured Snippets
A featured snippet is a block that contains a brief answer to a search query. It is usually retrieved from one of the top-ranking organic listings for that query. It contains the URL and title of the page from which the answer is extracted. Here is an example:
It’s worth noting that the featured snippet also includes images. However, these images aren’t necessarily extracted from the featured listing. Typically, there are three types of featured snippets:
- Paragraph – It usually answers questions such as “what”, “why”, “who”, “how”, etc.
- List – It displays step-by-step instructions and numbered lists.
- Table – It often includes comparison charts and numerical data.
Traditionally, Google displayed featured snippets on top of the organic listings. Some featured snippets were also displayed in the right sidebar. This was, however, only applicable for search results on the desktop.
However, Google has introduced new algorithm changes for featured snippets. Due to these changes, featured snippets for specific search queries may not appear above organic listings. Instead, they will likely be included lower on the SERP between two organic listings. More, featured snippets in the right sidebar are becoming increasingly uncommon.
Are you wondering why featured snippets deserve your attention when you could just focus on improving your website’s search engine ranking? Let’s find out.
Benefits of Featured Snippets
The biggest advantage of featured snippets is that they give increased visibility to your website. The format immediately grabs a user’s attention. Moreover, when your website shows up in featured snippets, it is perceived as a trusted source of valuable information. This, in turn, reinforces your brand’s authority and credibility.
The best part is that your website can make it to featured snippets even when it doesn’t rank among the topmost search results. This is particularly useful when you’re competing with an established brand that has a website with a high domain authority (DA) score. While you can’t outrank such a competitor, you can still get an edge over them by optimizing your website for featured snippets.
Moreover, it helps your website get increased visibility for voice search queries. This is because voice search queries are often framed as questions. It is particularly crucial considering that the use of smart speakers and virtual assistants has been on the rise.
A Word of Caution
The advantages of featured snippets are tempting enough to dissuade you from focusing on conventional SEO. However, it’s worth noting that most featured snippets are extracted from top-ranking web pages for a relevant search query. Therefore, if you use tried and tested SEO techniques, your website will also likely make it to featured snippets.
Moreover, Google has introduced the de-duplication of search engine listings. This means if your website appears in the featured snippets section, it won’t be included in the organic search results. While featured snippets boost visibility, they aren’t always successful in driving organic traffic. According to a recent Ahrefs study, the click-through rate of a featured snippet is lower than that of the topmost organic listing.
It is, therefore, essential to consider whether you only want increased brand awareness and authority. If your goal is to attract more website visitors and convert them into paying customers, focusing on SEO might be wiser. Moreover, if your website already ranks high for certain search queries, getting included in featured snippets can do more harm than good.
It’s now time for us to discuss some tips to optimize your website for featured snippets.
Featured Snippets: Best Practices
If you’ve already developed a concrete SEO strategy, you can introduce a few tweaks to optimize it for featured snippets. Here are a few effective techniques:
Renew Your Keyword Research
Keyword research is one of the most crucial stages of SEO. Keywords are terms and phrases that your target audience will likely use in their search queries. For featured snippets, you should target keywords that represent questions. You can use keyword research tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs for this purpose.
It’s also recommended that you run a Google search for your target keyword and look at the “People also ask” section. It gives you an idea of additional questions that are commonly asked by your target audience. This, in turn, lets you optimize your content for several search queries and answer multiple questions in one blog post.
Answer Multiple Questions
Featured snippets want to deliver the closest match to a user’s search query. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure that your content is written in such a way that it answers specific questions. It can also go a long way to help search engine spiders understand what your content is all about. Additionally, it’s recommended that you answer related questions in the same blog post.
Organize & Structure Your Content
Using meaningful and descriptive subheadings helps search engine spiders interpret and index your content. Moreover, it is essential to identify the type of featured snippet you’d like to target. This, in turn, lets you decide whether you should include charts, bullet points, etc. in your blog. Organizing your content into clear and concise blocks is also helpful.
It is equally crucial to pay attention to the overall structure of your content. For instance, you should start by answering the most important questions. Thereafter, you can add generic information. It’s recommended that you use the following “inverted pyramid” format:
You should add relevant and high-quality images to support your content. Make sure you add keyword-rich alt text for each image. It’s also recommended that you add new images every time you update your content.
Add a FAQ Page
One of the simplest and most effective ways of getting your website included in featured snippets is to add a FAQ page. It is, however, crucial to have a deep understanding of your target audience. This, in turn, helps you identify the questions they are most likely to ask. Make sure you provide clear, concise, and accurate answers to each question.
What Not to Do
A study by SEMrush reveals that featured snippets have a length of 40 to 50 words. Therefore, you should refrain from including lengthy and elaborate answers in your content. Instead, you should keep your answers short and to the point.
It’s also worth mentioning that you shouldn’t flood your content with keywords. Make sure they are naturally integrated in the answers. You should also ensure that every answer is factually correct.
Lastly, you should remember that ranking for featured snippets isn’t an alternative to SEO. Therefore, you shouldn’t ignore the conventional SEO guidelines while optimizing your content for featured snippets. On the contrary, if your website already ranks higher for a keyword, it is perceived as an authority. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of ranking for featured snippets.
Featured snippets provide an effective way of increasing your website’s visibility on search engines. However, ranking for featured snippets isn’t an alternative to traditional SEO. Instead, you should modify your existing SEO strategy to focus on featured snippets.
The first step is to identify the questions that your target audience will likely ask. Thereafter, you should create high-quality content that answers these questions. Organize your content into precise blocks and provide short and to-the-point answers. You should also add a FAQ page that addresses common questions.
Have you used any other techniques to optimize your website for featured snippets? Share your views in the comments section below.