Google’s featured snippets feature is a relatively new addition to its search engine results pages, but it is one that has proven enormously powerful for both website owners and search engine users. In fact, many SEO experts are now beginning to view the featured snippet as being just as important as hitting the first page of search results. Getting your content featured in one of these boxes is not easy, but for experienced SEO professionals, the techniques needed to get there should be reasonably familiar.
Why Featured Snippets Matter
You’ve almost certainly seen one of Google’s featured snippets by now even if you aren’t aware of it. The purpose of Google’s featured snippets is to make pertinent information instantly and clearly available to searchers, providing them with the information that they need on the SERP itself. This might initially sound like a disadvantage to websites as the user does not have the click through to the actual web page in order to get the information that they need. However, the proof is in the pudding, and any website that has managed to be featured in one of these snippets has reaped rewards for doing so.
In many cases, the featured snippet will still lead to a user clicking through to the web page in question, either because they want to get a more detailed answer or because they have other questions that the same website may well be able to answer. In fact, many SEO experts now advise that being featured in one of Google’s featured snippets is an even more effective way of driving up traffic than being the first result in the results list.
But how do you get your content featured by Google in this way? Many of the techniques that will help you achieve this are concepts that you will already be familiar with from your usual SEO practices, but there are also some extra things you should know.
Check Out Your Competitors’ Snippets
Whenever it comes to matters relating to SEO, you need to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. In order for your website to achieve the highest possible ranking in search engine results pages or be featured in one of the featured snippets boxes, you need to outshine your competitors. If your competitors aren’t putting much effort in or if there are certain keywords and questions that they have overlooked in their own SEO efforts, you can target these with relative ease. You don’t necessarily need to throw a lot of time and resources at a problem, not if your competitors are going to make things easy for you.
You can use SEMRush to identify which featured snippets your competitors have already earned, and also to identify the best potential targets for you. SEMRush is a versatile SEO tool, and it is one of the best for targeting featured snippets.
Simply open up the tool and then run a regular search for your own or a competitor’s domain, using the Organic research option. You will then be taken to a page that includes a Featured Snippets section in the lower right corner.
Once you know what snippets your competitors are targeting, you can then make a judgment as to whether you think you can outdo them. If you come across any potential customer queries that your competitors are not currently answering, this presents an opportunity for you.
You don’t need any fancy tools in order to identify featured snippets opportunities, you just need to be able to think like a customer. Ask yourself what kind of questions your target audience is likely to type into Google, and then type them in for yourself. If you notice any that have a weak featured snippet or no featured snippet at all, this is your chance to get in there with your own content.
There may be cases where the existing featured snippet is notably high quality. If you don’t think that you can improve upon it in a meaningful way, then maybe it’s best to reserve your resources for a more realistic battle.
Pay Attention To The “People Also Ask” Box
Alongside the featured snippets box, you will also see a box marked ‘people also ask’ on Google results pages. This will provide you with more ideas for relevant questions to target and can also provide you with entirely new ideas for content.
Some people have also found that the website answerthepublic.com is a fruitful source of questions for them to target. This website, like Google, will show you exactly what people are searching for and how frequently.
Aim For Page 1 Of Google’s SERP
The vast majority of the content that Google includes in its featured snippets sections is taken from the content that appears on the first page of search results. This is not a hard and fast rule, there are exceptions and it is possible to find your way into a featured snippet from the second or third page of results.
However, it is worth thinking about your efforts to make it into a featured snippet as being part of your broader effort to maximize your SEO and hit the first page of results. If there is specific content that you want to be included in a featured snippets box, focus on tweaking it so that it provides optimal value to the user.
Being featured in a featured snippets box can be an even better tool for driving up traffic than being the very first result on the results page. It is, therefore, well worth your time considering which common customer queries you can answer and producing content that is worthy of being featured. Making these a core component of your overall SEO strategy will pay dividends in the long run.
Speak to your SEO expert today and see what they suggest in terms of what content and questions to target. As users increasingly move towards voice-based searches and other techniques that make searches for individual keywords less important and fully-formed questions more prominent, these featured snippets boxes are going to become even more valuable.