The development of featured snippets is a clear demonstration of how constantly SEO evolves. It used to be all about competing to get on the first page and subsequently, to be the top-ranking result. But these days, landing the featured spot is probably just as coveted.
Now, we know it’s easy to get discouraged on this matter. Small business owners and marketers who don’t have million-dollar marketing budgets are prone to assuming that being the featured snippet is out of their reach. But the truth is you can totally make it happen even with just organic content. How? That’s exactly what we’ll show you today.
Wait, what exactly are featured snippets?
If for some reason you’re unfamiliar about what featured snippets are, it’s the piece of informational content that shows up on top of Google’s SERPs. If there are sponsored posts and ads, the featured snippet would appear immediately after them. See the photo below:
Obviously, the featured snippet is the top organic result. Google displays it as a direct answer to a search query—determining through its search algorithm that it is of high quality and that is fulfills search intent.
Follow these tips to ace featured snippets
Since featured snippets are a form of organic content, the good news is you can land the said spot if you know how to adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. However, you’d really have to work hard to earn it –and I think this fact isn’t surprising at all. You’re probably competing with many other sites who are after the same goal, after all.
If you can’t afford sponsored posts or ads, how would you achieve this? Outlined below are some simple steps that you can follow to help you create a featured snippet.
1. Do your research: What questions are your readers asking?
Featured snippets typically make an appearance in searches that contain questions like:
- What is
- How to
- How does/do
- Why does/do
With this in mind, take time to think about what questions your target audience are commonly asking. For example, if you’re a fitness website, instead of targeting the keyword “muscles,” you can consider extending it to “how to build muscles.” This helps you avoid broad and high-competition keywords while letting you target more specific (but likely more lucrative!) searches.
2. Tailor content to answer questions
Once you have several ideas, it’s now time to brainstorm how you can tailor your content to answer these questions. And since the very nature of featured snippets is to give out information, make sure that you’re offering in-depth answers.
To put it simply, Google’s search algorithm is on the lookout for pieces of content that best answer its users’ questions. It aims to help people easily locate what they’re looking for, so consider search intent above all else.
3. …and be the best at it
Now, all of the websites who are competing for the featured snippet spot—and there are probably at least a dozen of them in each niche—will answer questions and cater to user intent, just like you. Obviously, you’re going to have to be the best at it to win—knowing that there’s only one spot available for the taking.
So how do you outperform the competition? Consider the following:
- As much as possible, cover every possible question about the topic. Go in-depth with your explanation and minimise fluff in your writing.
- If you’re describing a process, break down each step and discuss each part sufficiently.
- Use supplementary materials like photos, videos, infographics, and other visual content.
- Consider beginners when talking about your niche. If you can make a neophyte understand and appreciate your content, the better.
4. Focus on creating high-quality content
Featured snippets may have their own set of “requirements” that you need to accomplish, just like those outlined above. But don’t forget that they do not bypass Google’s normal search ranking algorithm. Rather, these extra tips should go on top of an existing SEO strategy that should serve as your foundation.
Again, featured snippets make it to the top of organic search results, so it’s vital to have all the standard ranking requirements covered. Make sure that your content is:
- Interactive and/or entertaining
As you can see, there’s no room for cutting corners here. Put in the work required. Don’t get tempted to focus solely on answering questions.
5. Build Q&A and FAQ pages
Question-and-answer pages can increase the likelihood of your site making it as a featured snippet because it compiles questions, offers valuable information to readers, and uses pretty much the same wording someone would use in a search.
When building this page, try your best to include all relevant questions. And of course, supply each with a comprehensive and well-written answer. Again, don’t insert too much fluff and just focus on delivering what the user needs. You might also want to include internal links on your answers.
The past few years have seen the dominance of user intent and experience in dictating SEO strategies—and this dominance is expected to grow even more. By investing time in learning and applying these tips, you help ensure that your content will stay relevant in the coming years. And with every piece of readily-consumable and user-focused content that you produce, you strengthen your brand as a reliable source of digital information.
If you want to know more about featured snippets and how it can impact your business, give us a call today! We at Search Insights understand how important SEO and digital relevance is, and we’d be more than happy to guide you on your way.