Ranking Content in The Featured Snippet

According to SEMrush, 9.97% of Google search results contain featured snippets. When a user asks a question in Google Search, Google programmatically detects pages that answer the user’s query. Google displays the best and more accurate summary of the answer in a snippet that appears above the #1 organic result. It’s what we refer to as position #0. That’s why ranking content in the featured snippet is so important. It can jump you in front of the first result if you have the right and most precise answer to the question asked by the user. Being in the top position can significantly boost the website CTR and drive notable traffic.

Not all search queries can result in a featured snippet as some search queries by their nature are not answerable via rich snippets. Transactional and navigational search queries per example would not serve the purpose of a rich snippet.

So how do you qualify for a Featured Snippet?

All of the featured snippets are from pages that rank in the top 10 positions. It is crucial to rank on the first page to get drafted for a featured snippet. You can find out which keywords you already list for on the first page by using SEO tools such as webmastertools, SEMrush, Ahrefs or by doing a manual search in an incognito window.

Once you have found which keywords you list for you can optimise the content for that keyword to make it appear in a featured snippet. Writing content that effectively targets questions asked by the users is one of the best ways to get featured. You can achieve this by writing content that asks and answers a popular question in the same post.

A useful website to generate ideas or questions to answer is answerthepublic.com. All you have to do is write a subject, and the website generates hundreds of possible questions regarding that subject. You can also use webmaster tools to see if your site is currently impressing for questions or subject matter that questions can be created for and subsequently answered.

Ranking content in featured snippet

Another way to rank content in a rich snippet is to find keywords that already have a featured snippet ranking and try to outrank the website that is holding that place. You can also find opportunities by using Google suggestions in the “People also ask” box.

How to outrank your competitor in the featured snippet?

SEMrush can also help you find what snippets your competitor is ranking for. If their content is weak be it shallow or not so well written, you can outrank them by creating better content or a more accurate answer to a specific question they are being featured for.

There is a technique called Skyscraping, and it consists of finding some online content which is usually ranking pretty high in the SERPs and adding to it, so it looks more credible to the Google bots. Ideally, you want to analyze the post that you are skyscraping and think about areas where you can add more value to the post and make it more engaging and up to date. Although, when skyscraping all content written must be unique and not paraphrased, so you’re simply using the original post as a reference.

There are a few reasons why you would want to use this technique: there’s already a demand, you’re dealing with a primed audience, and it has serious ranking potential. Subsequently, you have to reach out to the people who have already linked out to similar content to put your piece on their radar and hopefully earn a link.

Types of Snippets

Snippets come in different shapes and sizes; paragraph snippet is the most common (about 80% of snippets are in paragraph format). The two other formats are list snippet and table snippet.

Ranking content in featured snippet


How to Rank for Paragraph Snippets

Paragraph Snippet – this snippet shows paragraph-type answers to questions like how?, who?, why?, when? and what?.

Formatting your content accordingly to the snippet format you wish to rank for is essential.  SEMrush analyzed nearly 7 million featured Snippets, and they found that most featured snippets are 40 to 60 words long. If you desire to rank for a Text snippet, you have to make sure the answer to the query contains 40 to 60 words.

Ranking content in featured snippet

In order to present quality data to search engines, the information needs to be highly organised. It’s what we refer to as structured data. To make it easier for Google to create rich snippets of your content, you have to explicitly tell the search engines what your page contains, it will allow them to easily index, display, and generate rich results or snippets when possible.


How to Rank for list Snippets

List Snippet – Answers that are presented in a numbered list or bulleted lists fall under this snippet type. List snippets apply mostly to posts about step-by-step instructions and recipes.

If you desire to rank for a list snippet use H2 or H3 subheaders for every item on your list. Google will pull those subheaders from your content and include them to the featured snippet.

Ranking content in featured snippet


Rank in table Snippets

To rank for a table snippet, you need to create a table; Google can easily pull data from.

Ranking content in featured snippet
Ranking content in featured snippet

JSON-LD

Language and format are essential to rank for a featured snippet. It’s critical to make your content easy to find for the Google algorithm by optimising it. We previously wrote an article about how to optimise your content. JSON-LD (JavaScript Object Notation for Linked Data) is designed to explain to browsers the content that the page contains. It is the newest web standard in active development by Google. In conjunction with Schema.org, they work to improve advanced search results, rich snippets and the knowledge graph of the web.

This format helps to improve the match between the intent of the searcher and the content being published.

Sturctured data testing

You can test structured data by using structured data testing tool. This tool allows you to fetch structured data through a website crawler or paste the code snippet in directly to see valid/invalid microdata and JSON-LD. Sometime it will allow you so see an example “preview” of what search engine would generate from your mark up.

Optimise for voice search

More and more queries are done over the AI digital assistants such as Cortana, Siri, and Alexa. According to Comscore, by 2020, 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches. People are using voice search over their mobile phone, or home assistants and snippets show up for those question-type queries. It’s a known fact that featured snippets provide easy-to-read, authoritative answers that digital assistants love to say out loud when asked questions. It makes sense to rank for these snippets.

Here is an example, I found by searching on Google, of a pool company who was able to score a rich snippet via an article they wrote about pool cleaning. My query was “how to clean pool”.

Ranking content in featured snippet


Other types of Snippets

Knowledge snippets

This type of information is mostly pulled by the search engine from Wikipedia.

Ranking content in featured snippet


YouTube or Video snippet

Ranking content in featured snippet

This snippet features videos that are related to the query.

Rich answer
The rich answer is an instant answer provided directly by Google with no credit to any website.

Ranking content in featured snippet

Conclusion

Nowadays pages with featured snippets are dominating the search queries, and they are on the rise. According to Ahrefs study, 12.29 percent of search queries have featured snippets in the search. Scoring featured snippet means that you rank for position 0, which is the highest place possible without advertising. It is a great way to get more organic traffic to your website and a higher click-through rate.

Using tools such as SEMruch or Ahrefs and Google can give you great opportunities to score a featured snippet. Keep in mind the question type queries, format, voice search question type and the number of words to use to optimise for the FS.

In this video you can learn how to optimise your website for schema markup.


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