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Featured Snippets Optimisation in 2023
In this presentation originally shot at LondonSEO Meetup, I explain everything you need to know about Featured Snippets optimisation.
- What are featured snippets?
- What are the types of featured snippets?
- Why are featured snippets important?
- How do you earn featured snippets?
- How do featured snippets impact CTR?
- What is featured snippet optimisation?
- How do you optimise for Google’s featured snippets?
- What are the benefits of featured snippet optimisation?
- Book a Free Consultation
What are featured snippets?
Featured snippets are short, succinct summary sections of text that appear at the top of page 1 of Google’s organic search results. They are designed to directly answer a searcher’s query, without them having to click through to a specific web page. Featured snippets are formatted to appear in boxes and are automatically selected from top pages within Google’s index.
What are the types of featured snippets?
Generally speaking, there are four main types of featured snippets that Google displays on its search engine results pages (SERP). The type of featured snippet that appears is dependent on the searcher’s query. The different types of featured snippets include:
– Paragraph snippets
-Bulleted list snippets
-Numbered list snippets
Paragraphs are the most common type of featured snippet that you will come across, making up roughly 82% of Google’s featured snippets. They are typically used to answer search queries that feature who, what, why, when and how and are featured alongside images.
Bulleted & numbered list snippets
As expected, these lists are usually used for listing benefits, features, pros & cons in bullet form, or to number a step by step process, recipe or set of instructions. Accounting for 11% of snippets on Google, they are the second most popular type of featured snippet to optimise for.
Table snippets are used for queries that contain comparisons, data or specific information that can be split for formatting. Whilst these are the least commonly used type of featured snippet, they are popular because they share information in an easy to read, clear way.
Why are featured snippets important?
Topical authority is important to Google, it won’t give authority to a page based on keywords alone. It is crucial to evidence that you are able to holistically cover a topic as an expert, giving searcher’s the quality answers they are looking for.
Featured snippets do just this, and generate opportunities for pages with less authority to appear at the top of the SERP. You do not have to sit in position 1 of Google’s search to earn the featured snippet, but after achieving the snippet your website’s organic visibility is boosted.
How do you earn featured snippets?
Earning featured snippets is easier than you may think. The first step is creating quality content that evidences your expertise, authority and trustworthiness (EAT). You then have to ensure that Google will be able to recognise your content to use for the featured snippet, we call this featured snippet optimisation.
Whilst featured snippets are easier to achieve if you already have pages with high rankings, you can earn them without being in the top positions on the first page of Google’s SERP.
How do featured snippets impact CTR?
Featured snippets appear at the top of Google’s SERP, giving your website greater visibility without having to spend money on advertisements pay per click. Obtaining featured snippets will double your page’s click-through-rate and cause an exponential increase in impressions and organic traffic.
What is featured snippet optimisation?
Featured snippet optimisation forms an important part of page SEO. It describes the process of optimising your website’s content in order to earn featured snippets for given search queries. This is done to increase your website’s visibility and take up more real estate on Google’s SERP. It can be carried out on a range of pages from blog posts to product pages. To be featured for the different types of snippets, there are a set of optimisation strategies that should be employed.
How do you optimise for Google’s featured snippets?
There are a number of techniques you can use to optimize your content for Google’s featured snippets. These tried and tested methods will help get the ball rolling for your website, and once the first featured snippet for a page is earnt, many others for the same page are usually triggered in a short amount of time. Generally, once Google has recognised your webpage as an expert in the topic, your page will start to earn several related featured snippets.
- Content length
- Topical authority
- People also ask section
- Target paragraph, list or table
- Add relevant images
Content relevance, quality and length
Content quality and relevance is important when attempting to rank your pages for featured snippets. Following Google’s EAT update, it is now imperative that you have a range of pages on a topic so that Google sees your website as an authoritative figure in your field of knowledge. The EAT update included:
E – Expertise
A – Authoritative
T – Trustworthiness
These are the 3 main features that Google recognises favourably, because it is this topical authority that gives the most benefit to its users.
When it comes to content length, there is a correlation between long form content and featured snippets, put simply in depth content equals better content. This has seen the minimum amount of words on a page rise from 300 – 500 words to 1,000 – 2,000 words.
SEMrush SEO Writing Assistant
As well as crawling your competitor sites for keyword research to indicate what you should be writing about for a given page, you can make use of SEMrush’s SEO writing assistant. This feature has a Chrome plugin which enables you to view SEO recommendations from your Google doc in real time, creating a time-efficient way to optimize for featured snippets as you go.
Ensure that your content is written by experts in the subject, particularly for complicated topics that require lots of details. When writing content, focus on benefits and advantages, as these sections explain what makes your topic useful for the user, which is important to Google. This is especially true for industries that affect people’s lives, such as finance and health.
People also ask section
The ‘people also ask’ box is a section of Google’s SERP that reveals the most popular questions Google receives that relate to your original search query. When conducting featured snippet optimisation, it’s important to consider these questions and answer them in your own content using subheadings (H2 – H5 tags).
By turning your headings into questions, you are helping Google’s bots identify your site’s information more quickly, most of the snippets we see today are pulled from ‘people also ask’ questions.
Target paragraph, list or table
When answering the questions from ‘people also ask’, you can develop your content using either the paragraph, bulleted or numbered list or table – whichever is most appropriate.
-To target the paragraph featured snippet, immediately follow the question with a one-paragraph answer within the optimal word count for a snippet, which is 40 – 58 words.
-To target the list featured snippet or table featured snippet, format your content with a table, numbers or bullets of short points of information to give a quick, easy to read summarisation.
Add relevant images
Often an overlooked part of featured snippet optimisation, ensure that you add relevant images alongside the snippet query you are answering. This is important because without an optimised image, Google will choose to show an image from another source.
When uploading the image to your site, be sure to optimise both the file name and image alt tags with the keyword you are trying to rank on the first page for.
What are the benefits of featured snippet optimisation?
Featured snippets attempt to make Google’s users’ lives easier by directly answering their search queries with the most relevant and quality information. As well as benefiting users, they also benefit websites that want to appear on page one of Google’s SERP. There are several advantages to optimising for featured snippets, including:
Increase in organic conversions
Save money spent on paid advertisements to attract users. By answering questions that are relevant to your field, you are more likely to reach your target audience and increase your pool of customers or clients.
Exponential increase in website traffic
After securing featured snippets, you should notice a spike in the number of visits to your site. This is because you are appearing at the top of Google’s SERP, in a position that is considered trustworthy in the eyes of the user.
Boost in brand awareness and trust
The more website traffic you drive up, the more exposure your brand receives. By appearing in the featured snippet section Google is essentially shining a spotlight on your site, which can significantly increase overall brand awareness.
A website’s authority largely demonstrates how much Google is in favour of or trusts a website. By securing featured snippets, Google is validating its trust in you as an authoritative online figure.
You will often find that improvement in one page of your site will have a positive effect and increase in keyword rankings for related pages under the same domain.
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