You want your website to appear on the first page of Google search results. But what if I told you there's a way to be at the very top, even above the first organic search result and ads? Welcome to the valuable real estate known as "featured snippets." Featured snippets in Google search are short pieces of text appearing at the top of Google search results to answer a user's query quickly. Keep reading to learn the value of this real estate and best practices for featured snippets SEO to get your content to the very top.
What are Featured Snippets?
Featured snippets are selected search results displayed at the top of a SERP, often above ads and the first organic result. Also known as "Position 0," they aim to answer the searcher's question right away, thus improving the user experience. There are three types of featured snippets: Paragraph, List, and Table snippets.
A paragraph snippet looks like this:
Featured snippets in Google search also appear in the “People Also Ask” section. Each time you click a question, it drops down and shows the answer in the form of a featured snippet.
A snippet in the “People Also Ask” section looks like this:
How Does Google Choose What to Include in Featured Snippets?
There are likely thousands of blog posts that answer a user’s question, so how does Google choose which web page gets featured in a snippet? Moreover, how does Google choose which content from that website gets featured?
Featured snippets are chosen by Google's sophisticated systems that meticulously evaluate whether a web page would be an ideal candidate to provide a featured snippet for a specific search query. The process of selecting featured snippets is not random; it involves complex algorithms that analyze the content's relevance, clarity, and usefulness in relation to the user's query. The aim is to provide users with immediate, succinct answers to their questions without requiring them to click through to a website.
However, while Google's systems are highly advanced, they continually learn and improve based on user feedback. When users provide feedback about the quality or relevance of search results, including featured snippets, this information is used to refine Google's search algorithms.
This is good news because it means you can optimize for featured snippets SEO by creating high-quality, concise, informative content that readers find helpful.
3 Steps to Optimize Your Website Content for Featured Snippets
In general, you can increase the likelihood of your content appearing in a featured snippet by doing the following:
Identifying Valuable Keywords: Help Google understand your content and audience by using long-tail keywords on your website and blog posts. Choose keyword phrases you know your audience is searching for online to increase your chances of showing up in a featured snippet for that phrase.
Creating High-Quality Content: Google prioritizes high-quality, authoritative content. They use a process called E-E-A-T to determine which content is best and, therefore, should rank the highest in Google search results. So, ensure your content is well-researched, engaging, and offers value to your audience.
Answering Questions Directly: Many featured snippets answer specific questions. Structure your content in a Q&A format where possible, and provide concise, direct answers to commonly asked questions in your field.
6 Best Practices for Optimizing Your Blog Posts for Featured Snippets
While Google may pull information from your website copy for a featured snippet, they’ll likely use blog post content to answer a user’s search query. With that in mind, here’s how to optimize your blog posts to secure a spot in this coveted area.
Use Headers Effectively: Break down your content using headers (H2, H3, H4, and so on). This makes it easier for Google to understand and index your content. When possible, make your header a commonly searched question or query.
Provide Clear, Concise Answers: Google prefers short, brief answers that get to the point. Aim for 40-60 words or 300 characters when answering questions because this is the featured snippet length.
Use Bullet Points and Numbered Lists: For “how-to” or “tips” blogs, use bullet points or numbered lists. Google doesn’t just feature paragraphs in featured snippets. If a user searches for a query related to a list of answers, Google may show a brief list in a featured snippet like this:
Use Data and Statistics: Incorporating data and statistics can enhance the credibility of your content and increase the likelihood of being featured, especially when someone searches for data-related information like this:
Stay Current: Keep your content updated and relevant. Regularly revisit and refresh your posts to ensure they provide accurate information.
Add an FAQ Section: An FAQ section that addresses common questions in your industry can significantly boost your chances of appearing in featured snippets. One of the best ways to figure out the most common questions related to a blog topic is to search your primary keyword on Google and then check the “People Also Ask” section. AnswerThePublic is also a helpful tool.
Featured Snippets Statistics
Optimizing your blog content to show up for featured snippets in Google search requires time and effort. So, is it worth it? I’ll let you decide for yourself by reading these featured snippets statistics.
Featured snippets get over one-third (35.1%) of the total click share.
12.3% of search queries have featured snippets in Google.
70% of snippets use content from sites that aren't in the top-ranking organic position.
It’s evident that featured snippets SEO optimization pays off in terms of visibility and click-through rates.
Want to Optimize Your Site for Featured Snippets? Let's Talk Strategy
Before you start writing tons of blog posts in hopes of getting featured in a snippet, let’s talk strategy. Featured snippets SEO optimization is one aspect of a comprehensive SEO plan that includes keyword research, audience analysis, competitor research, content strategy, and more. As an SEO freelancer, I can help you develop a plan to improve your online visibility, including getting featured in “Position 0.” Learn more about my SEO services, and contact me today to receive a custom proposal that includes featured snippets SEO!