What are Featured Snippets? 5 ways to optimize content to rank in position “0” of Google

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When you search on Google, you’ll often see a short result on the top of the result. These results are called featured snippets and they provide direct answers/replies from the contents of a website without having to enter the web page.

These featured snippets show up as a short result and they rank higher than other results. The featured snippets are great to increase brand awareness as well as the click-through rate of the ranking content. Most importantly, it takes significant real estate on the search engine results pages.

In this post, we are going to cover what they are, the types of featured snippets, and how to optimize your content for these featured snippets.

What is a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet is a short and direct answer to a search query in Google. It is a short piece of information related to the users’ search, appearing at “Position 0” in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

example of featured snippet optimize content for featured snippet
An example of a featured snippet. These snippets maintain position “0” in Google and occupy a lot of real estate

Google always seeks to provide the best experience to its users. Hence, it offers the featured snippet section for the users to get quick results on their search query.

Basically, Google checks the top-performing results for a certain keyword and extracts a part of the content that best answers the users’ query. The featured snippet section has been available in Google around 2013.

Now, you might ask – should you target your web page for the featured snippets?

At first glance, it looks like the snippets would give away the answers, so users would leave without clicking. To be honest, it depends on the user query and the feature snippet result.

If the users want to know more than what was provided in the featured snippet, they would certainly click on the search result. As a result, it increases the chance of your website getting clicks. Most importantly though, it helps increase the brand awareness of your website.

If you are consistently getting top results – especially in the featured snippet for contents and queries in your niche – your brand’s awareness and recall increase.

Why are Featured Snippets important?

Now, let’s talk about the importance of featured snippets.

Brand Visibility

The featured snippets appear on the top of the result page and that’s the first thing users see. Along with the snippet, users see the domain or brand name of the page. Also, this lets users perceive the brand to be an expert on the niche. The brand’s credibility increases if they can continuously occupy featured snippets for various search terms in the niche.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

With the featured snippet, Google also displays the link to the page containing the snippet. If the users have to go in-depth on the topic they are searching for, they will likely click on it. As they appear on top, the chances of getting clicks are high.

A study conducted by Search Engine Land showed that featured snippets get around 8.6% of the clicks.

Relevant

To achieve the featured snippet, your post or page doesn’t need to be the top result. If you have the most relevant answer according to Google, then it displays on the featured snippet. Providing the best answer for a given search query increases the likelihood of getting the featured snippet.

Occupy more SERP real-estate

Featured snippet takes a large proportion of real-estate in the Search Engine Results Pages. It pushes down any competitor and alternative search results.

Moreover, in some instances, the same post or page can appear on the results of the first page of Google enabling you to get clicks from both spots. More real estate equates to a higher likelihood of clicks.

Authority

If your content appears on the featured snippet, then it means that you are on the right track in your content marketing strategy. Also, it means that Google views content from your domain as important and relevant, and wants to show it to users. That also improves the authority of your domain on Google.

Rank for related terms

If you noticed, Google can pull a featured snippet for a search term from the content that’s not entirely about it, but only somewhat related. The bottom line is that if the snippet information fulfills the search intent, it could be even a small part of the content.

featured snippet in related post optimize content for featured snippet
WPBeginner is an authoritative site in the WordPress Niche and ranks its content for related search queries

In the above example, the featured snippet for ‘why is WordPress so popular’ is taken from the post that’s about ‘why to use WordPress’. It’s because the post has included the popularity of WordPress somewhere in it with a good explanation.

This gives a single content chance to rank on featured snippets for multiple search terms if properly optimized.

What are the types of Featured Snippets?

Now, let’s see the most popular types of featured snippets.

Answer Box

Answer boxes, also known as paragraph snippets are the most common types of featured snippets that are displayed on Google SERPs. It simply gives text-based information in a descriptive way. Usually, the answer box appears for searches answering queries like what, why, who, how, etc.

Here’s an example.

answer box featured snippet marketingwithwp optimize content for featured snippet
A simple branded search for most popular WordPress theme shows an answer box featured snippet

Table Featured Snippet

If you have a table included in your post or page, it has chances of appearing on the table featured snippet for relevant searches. It displays tabular data in the featured snippet that makes users easier to visualize and understand the data.

Usually, information like product comparison, pricing tables, item details, etc. appear on featured snippets.

It looks something like this.

table featured snippet optimize content for featured snippet
One of our comparison articles on AppSumo Plus Vs Briefcase occupies position 0 by using tables in the content

Do you have a big range of table in Google Sheets? Learn how to display google sheets data in your WordPress website.

List Featured Snippet

There’s a reason why listicle articles are popular. The best listicle content usually gets the list featured snippet spot. Things like ranks, item lists, step-by-step guides, etc. show up as the featured snippet as lists.

2 types of lists appear in the featured snippet –

  • Numbered list – Also called ordered list, useful for explaining steps and ranking object
  • Bulleted list – Also called unordered list, useful simply for listing items

Here are the examples of both of them.

Nepal101 – a travel company we operate occupies an ordered list featured snippet while searching for Festivals of Nepal
unordered list featured snippet optimize content for featured snippet
A generic search for the best WordPress Theme shows an unordered list of content

Video Featured Snippet

Google displays videos as featured snippets usually from YouTube. YouTube is the largest gallery of videos and it’s owned by Google. So, if a video provides users the best answer for the query, then users might get video results.

Generally, tutorial videos answering ‘how-to’ questions appear in the featured snippet.

Here’s an example.

video featured snippet optimize content for featured snippet
YouTube is the second biggest search engine and Google shows results from YouTube to answer user queries in the form of a Video featured snippet.

How to target content for featured snippets?

The first thing to understand is that there’s no guarantee or a definite step-by-step guide to rank for position “0” and get the featured snippet spot.

A lot depends on Google’s algorithm, your website’s authority, and most importantly, how well does your content answer the user’s query.

The best approach is to understand what is currently ranking and outdo them in terms of content quality.

Here are some tips that can get your content to occupy the featured snippet spot.

1. Create quality content

Google prioritizes quality content and the most relevant result to a user query. You want to create unique and relevant content that can best fulfill the user’s search query.

So, be it the simple text, image, video, list, or table, if the content is the best from the pack, then Google might choose it for the featured snippet.

2. Optimize content for SEO

As seen on SERPs, the result that appears on the top 10 i.e. on the first result page has a chance of landing on position 0.

If your website is struggling to make it to the first page, then you might want to improve the SEO rankings of the website content.

Start off with foundational items such as website speed, security and then move to On-Page SEO techniques such as SEO titles, descriptions, and URLs, links, etc., and more. Utilize SEO plugins like SEOPress to take better control of On-Page SEO.

3. Optimize content that is already ranking

You might have content that has a proper top-10 rank, but not getting a featured snippet yet. In that case, you can improve your content in order to snatch the featured snippet rank from competitors.

To be specific, you should directly respond to the search query with a precise answer with a point. Make the content precise and concise. Moreover, add items like tables, structure headings, etc.

4. Create a FAQ section

You also might have noticed that the majority of featured snippets are direct answers to questions. FAQ sections that provide direct answers to the most commonly asked questions do really well for featured snippets.

We’ve already discussed how Google can choose any part of a post/page as a snippet if it fulfills the search query. So, you’ll have chances of getting the spot for the questions answered in the post.

You can use tools like Answer the Public to research what users are asking about.

5. Use lists and tables to show data

If your content contains data, then make appropriate use of lists and tables to make it stand out.

Firstly, the lists and tables would make your content scannable making it readable for your website audience. Secondly, the lists and tables have higher chances of scoring the position 0 in SERPs.

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed our blog about featured snippets.

The featured snippets are a cool way to hack your content to position 0, and marketers should take advantage of them by using featured snippets to improve CTR and brand visibility.

We’d like you to try out the suggestions we’ve offered in the post and let us know if that helps you out.

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Ankit S J B Rana

Ankit is the founder of Marketing With WP and wants to help those who want to pursue a career in digital marketing.

From Co-Founding a successful boutique travel brand, Nepal101 to setting up Mbrella Films, Southeast Asia's #1 Film Production Company, online leads funnel to generate hundreds of B2B leads, he has done it all.

With Marketing With WP, Ankit wants to help marketers like yourselves utilize WordPress and other online tools to turn your website into a 24 hour marketing machine.

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