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Understanding The Rules Of Google Featured Snippets

December 22, 2019

Ali Soudi - Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Social Media

Article Overview

10min read

For most people in the world, their online queries start and end with Google. The search engine giant has become an inevitable part of our lives as we start depending more and more on it for even the simplest of reasons. From finding a doctor to treat your flu to booking your tickets to a tropical vacation, Google will help you find the right service provider. 

According to SEO Tribunal, Google is getting 5.6 Billion searches per day, with an average person doing 3-4 searches in a day. Even so, building referral traffic on Google is proving to be tougher each day. Apart from the apparent increase in competition, the search engine is also evolving fast and reducing referral traffic. As the search engine moves more and more towards Zero Click Searches, which dominates the Google mobile searches at 56.10%, it is very necessary to learn about the one feature that is getting major attention on the search engine results page (SERP)- the Featured Snippets.

So what are Google’s Featured Snippets?

Featured snippets the selected search results that Google’s algorithm picks out and features at the top of the organic search results. Although the snippets appear below the ads section, they are very prominent and essentially take up much of the top positions in the SERP.

The introduction of featured snippets has helped google with its vision of Zero Click Searches, where a searcher doesn’t require to leave the SERP to find answers to their queries. 

Let’s see some examples of commonly seen Google Featured Snippets-

The paragraph

Here the query result is given as a text box, with or without image.

24th 1

The List

As the name suggests, the answer comes in the form of a list.

 

24th 3

The Table

The search result appears in a table.

24th 2

Understanding Featured Snippets

According to popular search analytics enterprise Getstat, the ‘paragraph’ style snippets are the most popular ones that appear in the search results, which makes 81.95% of the total snippets. You might have also come across answer boxes under a section that reads ‘people’ also ask section, which answers related questions that people search online. 

But how does it impact your online visibility?

With the online traffic being redirected through the snippets to the website links that get featured, being on top of the organic results doesn’t cut anymore. However, a simple observation of the page will let you know that Google usually pulls the results right from the content that’s already ranking on the first page of the results. A research by Ahrefs showed that 99.58% of the feature pages are already in the top 10 ranks of the search results. But, this is not a hard and fast rule as sometimes, the search engine’s algorithm has featured content from websites that appears much lower in the search results.

So how can your content get featured?

As mentioned before, by ranking in the top 10 of Google SERP, your website will already have a good chance of being featured through the snippets. But, does featured snippets appear for all kinds of queries? As of now, it doesn’t.

Another popular research showed that the top 5 search queries that got the most featured results are DIY processes, Health, Finance, Mathematics, and Requirements. So if your niche falls within these and the webpage is already on the first page of Google, chances are that your webpages are already getting featured as snippets. If it doesn’t, here are the top techniques to ensure that your webpage gets the ‘position zero’ and gets featured on Google.

Finding your spot on Google snippets

With Google featured snippets, every company and brand with an optimized website and quality content stands a chance to earn a spot at the ‘position zero’ and appear as a snippet. Remember that snippets are not permanent spots. If another web page has content that explains a query better than yours does, it can easily replace your position on top. So the easiest way to get a featured snippet spot is to consistently produce quality content and format it the way Google likes it.

 

  • Start with keyword research

Keyword search

As snippets depend a lot upon the quality and relevance of your content, start with good old keyword research. Instead of concentrating on the regular keywords, identify the long-tail keywords that trigger featured snippets. Studies show that featured snippets appear for queries with more words typed into the search box. 

While researching for the right keywords, its best to start with question-type queries. Although they are not the only types that trigger featured results. These search queries are the easiest to search and identify trigger keywords. However, don’t just stop there. Ensure that you target questions that are purely informative and have long-tailed queries with no question words. Identifying a highly specific long-tailed keyword will help you ensure that your keywords trigger answer boxes.

 

  • Think like your audience

 

Before you structure your content, it is a good idea to think like the audience and know what they are searching for. For instance, when you do a Google search that triggers snippets, what are the kind of snippets that come up? Apart from the top result, there will be questions related to each of the search terms you have entered. 

The ‘People also ask’ section can be quite insightful when you are trying to understand featured snippets. By expanding these queries, you will also get more related queries that people have already asked and triggered a snippet response from Google.

You can also explore common question-answer forums such as Quora and Reddit to find queries that people commonly ask about a particular topic. Similarly, “Answer the Public” is a cool search query data visualization tool that can also give you questions people commonly ask on the internet. For instance, let’s take a look at the results shown for the search ‘blog writing’.

ask questions

By using tools like these and doing a generic Google search, you will be able to identify what the public is looking for while searching online.

 

  • Optimize your content for featured snippets

 

As you may have already realized, featured snippets depend a lot on quality content and its optimization. Once a page earns a featured snippet, the same page will have more likelihood of being featured on the other related query as well. So, while creating content with the idea of getting them featured, it is necessary to be very thorough about the topic you are discussing and ensure that it answers all relevant questions.

One way to do this is to focus on creating an article that answers several questions, rather than having multiple articles that discusses the different ideas. As of 2019, the ideal length of a blog post is around 1700 words, as Google’s algorithm prefers more content, thereby helping blog posts with over a 1,000 words do better on average than shorter ones. 

When it comes to structuring your blog, ensure that the paragraphs are tight and concise so that Google can feature them easily. By breaking down your article into lists, steps, and paragraphs with relevant subheadings, the blog will have a better chance of getting featured. 

According to SEMrush, the ideal length of a featured snippet is about 40 to 50 words. Most of the content featured for different queries have the paragraphs or content sections optimized to about 50 words, much similar to how meta tags are optimized for the search engine.

Another great tip to get your web page featured is to include a “Q&A” or a “Frequently Asked Questions” section, which can answer queries related to your products, solutions or industry. Remember that images and videos can also help feature your page; so adding high-quality images and videos will create interest and engagement for your content.

 

FAQs

Final Thoughts

We understand that it can be quite exhausting when you try to keep up with the updates Google introduces now and then. By keeping a close watch on the many changes that this search engine introduces now and then, you will be able to find your way to be on top of the Google search results. 

By maintaining your presence in the Google Ads, featured snippets and organic results section, people will eventually regard you as an authority in your industry. For a business, this ensures great visibility as well as added credibility in the long run.  

If you are interested to learn more about featured snippets and how to optimize your website content to get featured, speak to our marketing and SEO experts today.

Ali Soudi

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing

Ali Soudi is a Google Certified Digital Marketer with 10+ years of industry experience. He is a prolific writer on business-related topics, regularly contributing articles to leading digital marketing and business websites.

Ali Soudi

Ali Soudi

Head of Digital Marketing
Social Media
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