Ahh, the mysterious “featured snippet”. Or what many online marketers, SEMs and SEOs refer to as “position 0”. A featured snippet is a highly sought after block of descriptive content that appears at the top of Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) for different user search queries. Featured snippets have the opportunity to appear before all other natural (non-paid) search result listings, like in this example:
The Value in Featured Snippets
Featured snippets offer valuable digital real estate for businesses that aim to achieve strong search engine visibility and generate a higher quantity of interested website visitors. Even if a particular search query isn’t searched often right now, they’re still very important to go after. You never know which phrases might become actively used in the future.
Featured snippets can be obtained by producing high-quality, helpful content that answers the topical questions asked by your target audience in Google. With the support of strategic SEO, you can extend, refine, and further align the content in a way that best answers these questions for potential Google search users.
“When a user asks a question in Google Search, we might show a search result in a special featured snippet block at the top of the search results page. This featured snippet block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL.” – Google Support
The benefits of a position zero featured snippet in Google:
- Provides an updated experience for Google search users.
- Satisfies user search questions by displaying more comprehensive answers.
- Offers attractive, new, unique display real estate in Google’s search engine.
- Attracts interested visitors to your featured snippet linked website.
- Builds positive brand reputation, topical influence, and site engagement.
Thoughts on Google Search
Google is consistently attempting to improve its search algorithms to provide the most helpful, relevant result listings for a user’s search query. These are the results that will acquire the most featured snippet visibility.
Through experiencing the trends, it’s looking like Google aims to better decipher and extract the linguistics behind an indexed page’s content, by improving the intelligence of their website crawl bots and data analysis sytems.
The result of these improvements? Possibly that high-quality, content-filled websites will populate the majority of 1st page results, for the highest number of page listings and keyword rankings. As competition rises, its going to take more website optimizing effort to rank, and these ranking positions will inevitably become more valuable.
An active, content-producing, user-oriented website will send more favorable ranking signals to Google than ever before, as their system begins observing more extensive user engagement and user experience signals across devices, sifting out the hundreds of thousands of inactive, outdated websites from the SERPs.
How to Rank in Position 0
So how do you acquire a featured snippet result for one of your website’s pages? Just like achieving organic rankings through a campaign by an SEO company or specialist, existing SEO campaign ranking efforts, depending on the primary keyword phrase you want a page to rank for and the corresponding topic, that page’s content needs to be comprehensive, and helpful or entertaining, depending on the original intent behind the keyword phrase.
Your page must stand out over competing pages that are already ranking for the target keyword, giving potential searchers of the keyword and closely related keywords exactly what they’re looking for.
Here’s how to possibly achieve a featured snippet result:
- Write content focused on a primary keyword and topic relevant to your business.
- Answer common conversational questions related to the keyword topic.
- Review currently ranking pages in the search results for your target keyword.
- Provide answers based on Google’s “related searches” section.
(can observe this near bottom of search results page)
- Think about how you can differentiate your page content from competitors.
- Incorporate extensive, value-adding support information.
- Produce a high word count compared to ranking pages.
- Structure the page and elements for user experience flow.
- Confirm the content looks great on large and mobile devices.
- Add media elements ie. images, video supporting your content.
- Apply relevant structured data markup to the page’s HTML.
(helps Google further understand page content).
- Build relevant internal links to the page from supporting site pages.
- Build relevant external links through genuine social promotion and outreach.
If there’s already a ranked featured snippet, aim to be even more comprehensive, differentiating, unique and helpful on your page than the current ranking page. There’s always room to improve a piece of content, such as keyword density improvements, incorporating a variety of related terms that current ranking pages are also using, chunking up the content to make it more readable, providing a FAQ, resource, or comments section near the end of the page, adding social elements. There’s tons of enhancements you can make!
A Powerful, Time-Saving Tool
Want to analyze featured snippet competition and generate content ideas fast? Check out SEMRush, an incredibly useful digital marketing software that saves you time when you need to research, track, and implement your content marketing efforts.
The Importance of Structured Data
Moving forward, once general SEO understanding and efforts are in place, it’ll be beneficial to gain an understanding of structured data, and how this type of data can be marked up across your website pages for more featured snippet and rich snippet/card opportunities. As of now, there’s no conclusive evidence that structured data improves page ranking ability, but it can provide your site with uniquely visual snippets of content that appear in Google search results.
Structured data helps provide more data context to Google for potential search engine visibility and getting featured in rich snippets. This data can be local-oriented, brand-oriented, product-oriented, convenience-oriented, and much more. Structured data will probably have a stronger impact on voice search results down the line too.
Structured Data is Still in its Infancy
As seen through industry news updates, and improvements to Google’s structured data testing tool and structured data debugging features in Google Search Console, it’s safe to say that Google is continuing the development of structured data, featured snippets, rich cards, and the types of results snippets eligible for display in their search results. Interactive snippets that will continue to surface in a variety of unique ways based on content type like local business info, products, reviews, podcasts, articles, videos, recipes, movies, and more!
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