Updated: Feb 19
What are Featured Snippets?
With mobile and voice search traffic steadily growing, Google has increased its focus on understanding user intent and presenting info as quickly and simply as possible. Featured Snippets can be considered 'Position Zero' in Google. That’s right - it is possible to rank ABOVE the coveted #1 position in Google by optimizing your site for featured snippets. Featured snippets are an organic search feature that takes significant search traffic from the search results below them, making it more important than ever to optimize for them! Since Google’s understanding of user intent is becoming increasingly accurate, featured snippets are Google's attempt to answer the query right on the search results page so they don't have to search the actual results. Featured snippets show up above the #1 ranked spot, and typically appear above the fold (the part of the webpage that shows before a user scrolls).
Featured snippets can appear in three main forms:
Paragraph Featured Snippet - A paragraph-formatted answer to the searcher's query.
List Featured Snippet - A bulleted or numbered list that answers the searcher's query (typically shows up for more process-driven, step-by-step, and list queries).
Table Featured Snippet - Less often, Google uses a table featured snippet to answer the searcher's query.
So, How do you Rank in Featured Snippets?
Google pulls snippet answers from pages that rank on Page 1 of the results for that query (spots #1 through #10) - but the page that wins the featured snippet isn't necessarily the #1 result. Google picks the excerpt from the page that best answers the query in a simple, concise format . This leaves the door wide open for content that isn't in the #1 spot to appear ABOVE the #1 spot.
To get listed in featured snippets is a sought after reward that many try to achieve so you are going to have some competition. From research and lots of testing, what has been found is that Google selects answers to questions that people often search for by finding reputable and trustworthy resources. They judge this based on:
- Quality of content - Relevance of the text to the question at hand - How many visitors a site gets - How many pages visitors view - If visitors revisit the site, and - How long visitors stay on a site The best way to try to battle your way into featured snippets is to simply answer questions in a clear and concise manner. Focus on writing short yet descriptive paragraphs that answer common questions; present useful information or instructions in numbered/bulleted lists; or format data into tables for easier comprehension for the best chance at showing up in featured snippets. Be sure to write the question you are answering above your answer and use proper header structuring (the question should be an H2 or an H3, depending on where it is on the site). Creating an informative FAQ page is also a great way to try to appeal to featured snippets but if you don't feel like you can fill out an FAQ page with enough questions, it isn't 100% necessary; you could answer questions people ask you about your business and naturally place this content on the appropriate page on your site.
If you read through your present content, you will probably find places that you can just tweak a little bit and start targeting featured snippets right away!
Why Try Ranking in Featured Snippets?
The reason for targeting featured snippets is to try to get your page (or pages) to be present in the Position Zero so that users would see your content/website FIRST. If Google puts you in this position, users that type the specified queries or closely related ones (such as 'why should I get my trees trimmed', 'when can I tell I need to remove a tree', etc.) you will pop up right on top!
Featured Snippets, AKA Position Zero, answers will pop up to anyone, anywhere, even users that are out of your service range. However, it is still advantageous to be present to those users because if they click through to your site to learn about tree trimming, tree removal, etc.; you will be gaining click throughs and have more users spending time on your site.
When Google sees more users clicking through and spending time on your site, they boost your overall organic ratings and more potential customers will be able to find you easier. This is a great way to get your pages in the top couple positions for search terms that do not have featured snippets (such as tree trimming services, tree removal near me, etc.) and will help get you in what SEOs call 'The Local 3 Pack" which is this Google Maps result that pops up in search results just below the ads:
All-in-all, ranking for featured snippets is like winning a coveted prize. It is very possible to do it, but only the best (in Google's eyes) will make it there. In the end, performing the actions it takes to optimize for featured snippets will only improve your overall SEO, so you've got nothing to lose!