How to Use Featured Snippets to Boost Your Search Rankings

What’s the best way to get better search rankings? Since 2014, it’s been using featured snippets, yet only 23% of all search page results include a featured snippet. Still, that’s up 165% since 2016, according to moz.com.

What is a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet is a response to a search query that appears at the top of search results. There’s another name of sorts for featured snippet – it’s position zero. That’s right, there’s one place higher than the top-ranked place on a search. By the way, typically, paid ads are given top billing, with a featured snippet below the ads.

5 Types of Featured Snippets

1. Paragraph. This is the most common featured snippet. One half of all featured snippets are paragraphs. Here’s an example:

Featured Snippet Paragraph

2. List. This is the second most common featured snippet type. It looks like this:

Featured Snippet Example

List featured snippets will have either numbers or bullet points. Here’s an example of a featured snippet with bullet points:

Bullet points featured snippet

Optinmonster advises to use a question as the heading (which isn’t the case in the example), and answer the question in a list of 40-50 words. 37% of all featured snippets are lists, like the ones above.

3. Table. Here’s an example:

Featured Snippet Table

Table featured snippets typically offer data, like the example above. Put your data into a table with a heading that identifies what your table is about.

4. Video. Here’s an example:

Video Featured Snippet

How to videos are perfect for this kind of featured snippet.

5. In 2018, Google updated their featured snippets, adding carousel featured snippets. A carousel featured snippet looks like this:

Carousel featured snippet

You see that below the main image are several other offerings. Here’s a second kind of carousel featured snippets:

Carousel featured snippet

In this second type of carousel featured snippet there are tabs across the top that are called IQ-bubbles. They offer an array of information related to the search query. What kind of information is most likely to be featured in an IQ-bubble? Moz researched this question, and this is what they came up with:

Carousel featured snippets statistics

According to Brittny Muller of Moz, half of all featured snippets are included in a carousel.

How Do You Get Featured?

That’s the big question, and unfortunately there’s no one 100% foolproof way. It takes good keywords, SEO, formatting, and monitoring, according to optinmonster.com. There are some common elements to featured snippets: an image, a source page title, and a source page URL.

The place to start is to get high rankings for your content. According to Moz, ” On a single-snippet SERP and ignoring any SERP features, Google pulls from the first organic rank 31 percent of the time.” 

Optimize your content for searches, particularly for paragraph featured snippets, since this is the most likely candidate to be featured.

Optinmonster suggests that paragraph featured snippets tend to be comparisons (x versus y), or answer who, what, why, or how questions. To get selected as a Google featured snippet, the paragraph needs to be short, about 40-50 words.

Optinmonster suggests that for a list featured snippet, use a question in the heading and answer the question in 40-50 words in a list format. An alternative to this formatting, would be presenting the same information in a table.

Google is prioritizing video content, so producing videos with high long tail keywords is one way to score a featured snippet. How to’s are a favorite of Google, so organize your content in a step by step format, and optimize your video’s description with long tail keywords.

Concise and highly targeted content is most likely to get you into the coveted zero position. The 40-50 word guideline is important. In an example of content that was chosen by Google for a featured snippet, Optinmonster used the following outline for a blog post on lead magnets:

  • Heading: What Is a Lead Magnet?
  • Paragraph: A lead magnet is…
  • Sub-heading: Why Every Business Needs a Lead Magnet
  • Sub-heading: What Makes a Good Lead Magnet
  • Heading: 69 Irresistible Lead Magnet Ideas
  • Heading: Useful Lead Magnet Ideas
  • Etc…

Organization is a key element for search engines. Pay attention to how you present information; in addition to how you organize your blog posts, use long tail keywords, keyword intent, and high quality images.

Use some of my posts that deal with how to get more visitors to your website to boost your overall SEO numbers, which will build your reputation and that of your website. The objective is to get to first place in ranking, which will put you in position to nab the zero position.

One way to get more attuned to what it takes to grab the zero position is to notice what featured snippets come up when you do searches. The Google “People also ask” boxes are another source of information.

Here’s a strategy that I use for better SEO. Go to Buzzsumo or Semrush and type in your top competitor’s URL. What you’ll see are their top posts. This is what you’ll know: those posts garnered lots of attention. Look at their posts and write on the same topic, but make it better than theirs. If you can find their keywords, use their keywords.

Buzzsumo and Semrush are both paid services, but you can do a limited amount of work on both of them for free. Semrush offers a filter that tells you what has been used as a featured snippet, which can be extremely helpful.

Another great resource is Answer the Public. With Answer the Public, you can find questions that people are asking. This is also a paid service with a free option.

Any Questions?

If you have questions about featured snippets, ask them in the Comments section and I’ll answer them.

Add your questions and comments, and like and share this post with others.

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