Optimising your website content to appear in a Google featured snippet is how you can best position your business as the authority on a given subject and the key to future-proofing your SEO. If your content is selected, it will appear in Google’s featured snippet, usually sitting at the very top of search results for a related query.
7 Steps to Optimise Your Website Content for Google Featured Snippets
- Pinpoint the target keywords for your piece of content
- Identify the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How searches related to your content
- Search for any featured snippets already appearing for your pinpointed keywords.
- Add the featured snippet code to the top of your page
- Keep your list to short sentences
- Include Your Keywords in the snippet
- Keep adding
What is a Google Featured Snippet?
If you use Google, and most of us do – several times a day - you have probably already come across a featured snippet. These helpful little extracts pop up above the search results listed below them, with a clear and concise answer to your search query.
Featured snippets are how Google are providing their users with a short answer to their question on the search page itself. Featured snippets may take away the need for users to click through to find their answer using the links provided in the search results.
Featured snippets generally appear in three forms. These are:
- The Paragraph: An answer to the searcher’s query formatted as a short paragraph.
- The List: Typically a step-by-step answer, or a bulleted or numbered list answering the searcher’s query, and
- The Table: Not as common, but for certain results a tabled answer will appear.
A featured snippet can also be image-based or as simple as a quick answer box showing the definition of a word or phrase. These are less likely to obtain click-through traffic as they provide an instant, albeit brief, answer for the searcher. Appearing here may not get you clicks, but it will help position your business as an authority on a given topic.
Featured snippets show above the #1 ranked spot in the search results, and are pulled from the content of pages that rank on Page 1 of the search results for that particular query. Being the #1 result does not automatically mean you will be chosen by Google to have an excerpt from your page to appear as a featured snippet. Google selects the excerpt based on its ability to simply and concisely answer the query.
That’s right, content that isn’t from the #1 ranked result can appear above the #1 result! 70% of featured snippets are pulled from sites ranking #2 through #10 according to one study. So, to secure this sought-after position, you will first have to ensure your page appears on Page 1 of search results. (To read more about how to do this, check out our blogs on Search Engine Optimisation here)
What are the benefits in appearing in a Google Featured Snippet?
Many of the search terms your customers use in their Google queries will lead them to a result that prominently displays a Google featured snippet. Right now, your business should already be operating a mobile responsive website.
After all, your customers are changing the way in which they search online: mobile search is now more popular than desktop search, and voice queries are expected to overshadow mobile search in the future.
Voice search, which favours featured snippets, is expected to be 50% of all searches by 2020 according to Google and rival Bing. It is crucial your business keeps tabs on the shifting ways your customers search by implementing an active strategy to ensure your site appears in search results, otherwise you will be left behind.
On the other hand, if you optimise your website content for featured snippets, you will be working solidly towards positioning your business as the authority on each topic related to the content you choose. You may even score that coveted position - position #0 - sitting above even the #1 ranked result!
Now you’ve got sufficient motivation to optimise your website for Google Featured Snippets, let’s discuss how it’s done.
Best Ways To Optimise Your Website Content for Google Featured Snippets
How do you determine the Google featured snippets your website could secure? Here are a few simple tips on how to get started.
7 Steps to Optimise Your Website Content for Google Featured Snippets
1. Pinpoint the target keywords for your piece of content
Use a keyword research tool to discover the keywords for which your content is ranking higher than #10.
2. Identify the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How searches related to your content
What questions are your customers asking Google that your content provides the answers to?
3. Search for any featured snippets already appearing for your pinpointed keywords.
To do this, open a new incognito window and search the Google domain you wish to create content for (Google.com / Google.com.au etc). Now type in each keyword, one by one, and note if a featured snippet is present. Is it a paragraph or a list?
4. Add the featured snippet code to the top of your page
Do this after you have identified a high-traffic query where your page is ranking above #10. (Even if a snippet is not already showing for a keyword, don’t let it deter you as Google is constantly adding new snippets).
5. Keep your list to short sentences
Keep in mind Google prefer featured snippets to sit around the 50-word mark and keep your lists to short sentences. If a featured snippet is already appearing for keywords you have identified in your site’s content, take note of what is appearing and try to improve on it.
6. Include Your Keywords in the snippet
Include the keyword you are optimising within your featured snippet code, as it will appear in bold if it appears as a featured snippet. Try to include the question in the title (or the <h2>) of the snippet, and keep it simple and succinct. You will find using featured snippet code is simple, and varies slightly based on whether you are creating a list or paragraph-style snippet.
7. Keep adding
If you are optimising for a snippet on multiple queries (multiple snippets) it is best practice to add additional featured snippet code throughout the content, or place it at the bottom of the page as an FAQ.
Remember, ensuring your snippet content is clear and concise is paramount, but try to make your content make people want to click-through to your site in order to read more.
Building referral traffic from Google is increasingly difficult for anyone that hasn’t gotten on top of optimising their content to adapt to Google’s more recent change: featured snippets. Hopefully you are now well on your way to optimising your business website for featured snippets and securing your position above the search results!
Keeping up to date with current SEO strategies is vital to ensure your customers can find you online and the time you invest will reap clear rewards. You may be interested in checking out our blog on optimising your website design, or our blog on how to optimise your e-commerce site.
If you want learn more about how to optimise your website to grow your business, contact us.