How to Rank for a Featured Snippet
Written by LaFleur
You want to drive the right people to your website; that’s where many of your clients and customers start their buying journey by engaging with your content and building their brand awareness. But you can’t do this if you’re not generating traffic. And you can’t generate traffic if your site isn’t optimized for search engines like Google and Bing.
So you need to put in the legwork to make sure you’re ranking well for high-volume and long-tail keywords on search engine results pages (SERPs). Better yet, take things a step further and optimize your content to rank for featured snippets.
“Featured whats?” you ask? Featured snippets — the most valuable position on the internet.
In today’s blog, we’re going to explain what featured snippets are, why they’re so important for business success, and five simple tips and tricks for ranking for a featured snippet.
What Are Featured Snippets and Why Are They So Important?
Featured snippets are search entries that reside in the “zero” position on a search engine results page for a given keyword. They provide simple and direct answers to vital questions related to your business and industry without too much salesmanship or information. In most cases, they include numbered lists, bullet points, definitions, and quick explanations of relevant topics. They occupy a ton of space on a SERP (search engine results page), which produces great brand exposure and ensures that you are the trusted resource for that specific search term.
Here’s an example of a featured snippet that LaFleur currently holds for the keyword phrase “who is chip lafleur.”
Featured snippets are incredibly helpful for consumers, but they’re even more valuable for your business. When you hold the “zero spot” on Google or Bing for a coveted, highly relevant keyword, you’re more likely to attract your ideal customers. In fact, HubSpot found that content with a featured snippet receives 200% more traffic than all other SERP entries.
Once you’ve achieved a featured snippet, the chances of you maintaining that zero position also increase. Web users are going to click on that entry more often, thus increasing the page’s authority with search engines. Further, other websites are far more likely to link to pages ranking for a featured snippet because they’re both extremely popular and helpful for the reader. These backlinks, one of the most influential SEO elements, will drive tons of referral traffic to pages that have “featured snippet” status.
Understanding the Different Types of Featured Snippets
The three main types of featured snippets are lists, tables, and paragraphs. Let’s break down each featured snippet type.
Lists: Web pages that provide simple and accurate instructions for a given task will appear as a list in the featured snippet box. So if your post or page is focused on explaining something, you should structure your content as a list to improve your chances of ranking for a featured snippet.
For example, the featured snippet for “what should you do if you find yourself in a situation with an aggressive driver” is a list.
Tables: If the content of your page is broken down into a table, chart, or graph to explain the key phrase topic, it will render accordingly on the SERP in the featured snippet position. So if you have the time and inclination to add these visual elements to your content, the result is well worth the work that goes into producing these more advanced content types.
The featured snippet for “silverstone track time” is a table snippet.
Paragraphs: The most common and popular featured snippet type, paragraph snippets are text-based answers placed directly on the SERP. If you have a quality image attached to the actual page, these will often render on the SERP as well. This is crucial, as consumers are far more likely to home in on a SERP entry with an image, so make sure you optimize your webpages with crisp, relevant, high-resolution images.
Here’s a paragraph-style snippet, for “what is lafleur marketing.”
5 Simple Tips and Tricks for Ranking for a Featured Snippet
Now that we know what a featured snippet is and how they appear on a SERP, let’s explore a few simple tips and tricks for achieving the zero position.
1) Identify Your Snippet Opportunities Through Competitive Analysis
As you begin developing your featured snippet strategy, you’ll need to identify where you stand the best chance of success. As with most SEO initiatives, this means your first step should be analyzing your top competitors. Use a tool like Clearscope, Moz, or SEMrush to discover which snippets your competitors own.
From there, you can review your existing content and identify areas for improvement for similar key phrases and topics. You can also simply type the keywords you want to rank for into a search engine to determine who’s currently ranking for the featured snippet. There’s also a helpful “People also ask” box under the zero position that includes related material that might inspire you as you develop your list of keywords you want to rank for.
2) Answer Critical Questions With Relevant Keyword Groupings
The goal of any featured snippet is to answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of relevant consumer questions. Therefore, you need to create content that answers these questions while also incorporating multiple keyword variants into your copy.
Use one of the tools listed above to find search terms that are similar or related to your root keywords. This typically includes long-tail keywords and questions that focus on your consumers’ needs and your solutions. These keyword variants signal to Google that your content is doing a good job of answering a specific question. Just as importantly, they also help your audience understand the nuances of the answer to their problem — no matter how simple something might seem on its face.
3) Use Concise, Informative Copy
The debate over the optimal length of a blog or web page rages on, but research suggests that featured snippets are usually extremely brief and direct. This doesn’t mean the page itself needs to be quite so concise, but if you can answer the question you’re trying to rank for in a specific section in less than 100 words, search engines are more likely to pull that information as the featured snippet on the SERP. From there, the user can click on your entry to get the full scoop.
You should also attempt to answer other closely related questions within your post. According to a study from Ahrefs, featured snippets for specific search terms are also more likely to become featured snippets for related search terms. So if you’re trying to rank for “Why would I need a personal injury attorney,” don’t just focus on car wrecks and settlements. Explain the full gambit of your worth and how your firm can help victims. One in-depth page or blog post covering multiple related questions is far more likely to achieve one or more featured snippets than dozens of shorter articles focused solely on a single, isolated topic.
Related Content: When and Why to Refresh Your Content
4) Structure Your Content According to Best Practices
You’ll never be successful with SEO (much less achieve featured snippets) if you don’t follow a few best practices. First and foremost, this means structuring your content sections with header tags. The title of the page or blog should be the only H1 on the page. Subsequently, each major section should be introduced with an H2 that includes some variant of your key phrase or at least language closely related to the larger topic of the piece. If you choose to break down more granular information within those sections, use H3s or even H4s to delineate the content for both your readers and the search engines.
If you’re using numbered lists or bullet points, be sure to stress the chronological order of each, making it easier for the search engine to interpret the progression of these steps and pull them as a concise featured snippet. Additionally, be sure to designate a specific focus keyword on the back end of each web page, include a helpful meta-description describing the exact purpose of the page, and use multiple long-tail keyword variants to reinforce and support the focus keyword.
5) Use Helpful Images and Well-Produced Video
As search engines continue to refine their practices and become even more sophisticated, images and video are factoring into their algorithms as critical content elements. Since readers love to absorb information visually and audibly, you should create a robust image and video library that complements your content.
As stated above, search engines will often pull an image from your content page, especially if that image has accompanying alt-tags and matches the words on the page. Be sure to use high-resolution images that are both relevant and engaging to the user.
If you choose to take things a step further by incorporating video into your content marketing efforts, you don’t have to break the bank. Most marketers can create effective video content with an SLR camera or even a stable mobile phone or device. The key, as usual, is to make the content helpful and engaging. Also, by adding subtitles or a transcript for your videos, you greatly increase the chances of ranking for a featured snippet or at least appearing in a higher position on a SERP.
Contact LaFleur for Help With All of Your Content Marketing Efforts
You’re probably realizing that ranking for a featured snippet is quite challenging. There’s immense competition for high-volume and long-tail key phrases, which means you have to do everything just right to achieve your goal. At LaFleur, our team of content marketers has the skill and experience you need to improve your SEO efforts, build brand awareness, and drive more traffic to your website and digital properties. We’ve helped our clients rank for dozens of featured snippets for their most prized keywords, and we’d like to do the same for you. To learn more about LaFleur and our full suite of digital marketing services, please contact us today by completing this brief online form or calling us directly at (888) 222-1512.
Howells-Barby, M. (2016, February 9). How to optimize your content for Google’s featured snippet box. HubSpot. Retrieved from https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-featured-snippet-box
Soulo, T. (2020, April 7). Ahrefs’ study of 2 million featured snippets: 10 important takeaways. Ahrefs. Retrieved from https://ahrefs.com/blog/featured-snippets-study/
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.