How To: Get Your Content In Google’s Featured Snippets

Featured snippets eclipse organic results at the top of the SERPs. When you search a query using Google, you get an answer in the form of a featured snippet. A featured snippet is summarized bits of text that provides detailed information in an attempt to answer your question.

A featured snippet shows up in Google’s SERP immediately after ads and sponsored posts.

Google considers your featured snippet as quality content because it meets its many signals, including rich in SEO keywords. To get a refresher on the signals RankBrain, one of the main components of Hummingbird, Google’s algorithm uses to determine the importance of your website, read our guide.

As Google focuses on user intent and user experience, featured snippets will continue to gain importance.

A major search engine result page opportunity has arisen because of Google’s featured snippets. Featured snippets give your website an opportunity to absorb a ton of attention toward your site and can be an invaluable weapon for marketers. When your content is displayed in a featured snippet, you will get an increase of clicks and traffic to your site. When your website appears in a featured snippet, your site gets online exposure.

When your content is shown as a featured snippet its considered “ranking zero” or captured in an answer box. Google tends to favor quality content that is highly readable and categorized with subtitles that uses credible sources for consideration as a featured snippet.

If you don’t like a feature snippet for a topic that relates to your content, create quality content around the topic so your work can grab the spotlight. You want to seek out queries that already use the answer box. You can use Keyword Explorer or STAT to simplify this task. You can reformat your content by adding more accurate and in-depth information along with hyperlinks which link back to credible sources.

How To: Write Content That Answers A Question

When you create content for your content strategy, make sure to specifically answer questions related to your topic. Neil Patel says it best. “If your content doesn’t answer questions, it won’t get into the featured snippet. That’s all there is to it,” Patel says.

When writing content, you need to understand which questions your audience is asking, and how you can tailor your content to answer those questions accordingly.

For example, lets say you’re writing content about long-tail keywords. Put yourself in the mindset of someone who has never heard of long-tail keywords before. Also, put yourself in the mindset of someone who has an understanding of long-tail keywords but is searching for more information. What would that content look like?

Ask yourself the following questions about long-tail keywords:

  • How Do I Write A Long-Tail Keyword?
  • Do Long-Tail Keywords Affect Your Website’s Ranking?
  • Can Long-Tail Keywords Help My Sale Goals?

In your article, answer each question as an in-depth reply. Make each subtitle a question that you’re actually answering. Writing questions into your content is an SEO strategy that helps your content improve its ranking. Read more SEO strategies to add to your content strategy here.

Hummingbird, Google’s algorithm, is constantly reading through countless websites to find the quality content that will answer each question you enter in the search field.

When search engine bots crawl your website to find the right content, they display the content in the form of a featured snippet which makes it easier for people to locate the information they’re looking for.

How To: Know Which Questions Readers Are Asking

According to findings by Stone Temple Consulting, 19 percent of searches using a question result in a featured snippet on the first SERP.

When it comes to featured snippets, there are specific types of inquiries that Google prefers to feature.

When you frame your content using the following questions, Google is likely to publish it in a featured snippet:

  • How Does
  • How Do
  • How To
  • What Is

Hummingbird also favors the following types of questions for inclusion as a featured snippet:

  • Why Do
  • Why Does
  • What

Keep in mind how you’ll frame your question in your article. The in-depth information that you provide must answer the question that you’re using as a subtitle. Remember, think of your targeted demographic that will read your article. Make the content align with your readers’ needs.

Think about it. If someone is reading an article that’s about long-tail keywords what are some assumptions you can make about her?

You can assume the following:

  • She wants to know the definition of long-tail keywords.
  • She wants to know how to use long-tail keywords.
  • She wants to know how to create long-tail keywords.
  • She wants to know the benefits of long-tail keywords.

Tailor your content to suit the question formats above so you can increase your chance of your content being shown in a featured snippet.

For example, instead of targeting the general keyword “manicure,” consider extending the keyword to the long-tail “how to do stiletto manicure in Fort Lauderdale.”  This example is considered a localized long-tail keyword.

Notice how the query mimics a question a visitor would likely type into Google’s search field. Google loves when you liter your content with relevant questions people ask regarding your topic.

One easy way to find these types of searches is to go to Google’s search box and type a question someone from your target audience would enter. You’ll see some ideas pop up.  Another site, Answer The Public, is a great way to find questions your audience might be asking.

You can also identify queries in a keyword research that, implicitly or explicitly, ask a question says Moz. The question must be slightly broader than what Google can deliver directly out of Knowledge Graph.

How To: Create Quality Content

Featured snippets do not bypass Google’s complex ranking system. In fact, the content that appears in a featured snippet is part of a content strategy that’s specifically tailored for indexation on Google.

A content strategy focuses on the planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. The basis of an effective content strategy is a strong SEO keyword research.

Again, quality content is important because its one of the main factors Hummingbird determines to rank your website. If your website is lacking in content as it relates to your main topic, you will not appear in a search engine result page.

Quality content gets indexed in Hummingbird. Once your content gets indexed by Google, your website will experience a surge in traffic from people who are searching a specific query that relates to your topic. Remember, Google determines for the reader if your website is relevant to her search.

A content strategy helps you focus on a main topic and a few subtopics so readers can get an overall feel of your expertise and services or products.

A content strategy will be unique for each website. The goal of a content strategy is to create meaningful, cohesive, engaging, and sustainable content.

As a content strategist, you must identify the main type of content that’s required to successfully execute your core strategy.

You’ll need to know the following information:

  • Who is your targeted demographic?
  • What are their concerns?
  • What do you provide as a solution?

When you’re writing quality content, each piece of content should:

  • Reflect your organization’s goals and user’s needs.
  • Understand how user’s think and speak about a subject.
  • Be purposeful in your writing style and omit jargon.
  • Current and factual.
  • When new information becomes available, update your content or archive it.
  • Be accessible to all people.

Rob Bucci of Vancouver, Canada, who presented at MozCon, shared his insights on featured snippets. Bucci says there are three kinds of featured snippets or answer boxes that appear in Google’s results on both mobile and desktop.

They are:

Paragraph Article: Its’s very important that your answers are written in the form of paragraphs. Featured snippets that are in paragraph format make up 63 percent of all search results.

List Article: A list article is popular because it dissects a complex topic into easy, understandable sections by numbers or bullet points. These types of featured snippets make up about 19 percent of answers.

Table Article: Lets say you need to compare and contrast important points. The information maybe complex and involve statistics. A table article would be helpful in presenting this type of information. Articles that include tables make up 16 percent of answers.

How To: Create A Frequently Ask Questions (FAQ) Page

Including an in-depth FAQ or Q&A landing page about your main topic on your website is a great way to get your content indexed on Google. An FAQ page features all relevant questions, and each is well-formatted with a complete answer.

A typical FAQ landing page answers up to 50 questions, asking a question first, then presenting a detailed answer afterwards. When you structure your Q&A page correctly, it should help all your readers find simple, complete answers to their questions.

Because this section already address user questions in virtually the same wording searchers would use, they’re ripe to be picked up as featured snippets.

An FAQ page answers the most popular or frequently asked questions concerning a topic. It’s considered evergreen content because the information will always be relevant. An FAQ section increases your chances of making it into a featured snippet. It can boost your chances of getting on the front page.

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We have more helpful articles on web design, SEO, social media marketing, content strategy and video marketing. Follow Carla St. Louis, our in-house Content Strategist. Follow Be The Square on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter for more information on useful internet marketing strategies.

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