Ranking on the Google search engine ranking page is the #1 preference for every business. As the saying goes: The best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google. If you aren’t ranking on the first page, you aren’t even in the game. There are multiple ways to gain first place in SERPs as Google has introduced a featured snippet that pushes your content at the top of the first page and your content is highlighted so it gets all the love from the searchers:
You must have seen this featured snippet. It appears almost with every search query. So, how to make your content rank for featured snippets, and what content could be used for a featured snippet in the first place?
What is a Featured Snippet?
Features snippets are short text snippets that appear above Google SERPs to help users quickly get an answer to their query without visiting the webpage. The featured snippet provides an instant answer to the query in paragraph, bullet, or table form.
Here is an example of a Google featured snippet:
Google defines featured snippets as a text snippet where text appears before a link to the page. However, in all other results and search ads, the link to the page appears first. Whenever text precedes the URL in SERPs, it is known as featured snippets.
The reason why Google uses featured snippets is to improve user experience and provide an answer to their query quickly. If the snippet is helpful, users can click the URL below it to visit the page. The text and image for the snippet are automatically picked by Google based on the query.
A study of 2 million featured snippets conducted by Ahrefs revealed some interesting facts about featured snippets that make it a goldmine for marketers. Around 12.3% of search queries have a featured snippet:
And featured snippets have an average of 8.6% CTR:
While having your content ranked in the featured snippet is a great idea, but it has a significantly low CTR than the first natural search result (#1 position) because the featured snippet provides an answer instantly so a lot of people don’t click the URL.
What Content Could Be Used for a Featured Snippet
Having your content ranking in the featured snippet drives clicks, engagement, and boosts brand awareness. Having a clear understanding of what content is preferred by Google for featured snippets will simplify the process and make it easier to achieve snippets.
First, featured snippets are constantly updated by Google (with or without any intimation). After all, it is a Google product that is purely aimed at improving user experience, so it keeps on evolving.
Generally, there are four main types of featured snippets:
- Paragraph snippets
- Definition snippets
- List snippets
- Table snippets
Let’s see what type of content is featured in each snippet and how you can create content accordingly.
1. Paragraph Snippets
This is the most common type of snippet where Google pulls text from a webpage and presents it in the form of a paragraph to answer the query. Here is an example:
The paragraph is extracted based on the query and the answer is usually detailed. Google tries to answer the query right away and if the user needs a detailed answer, he/she can click the URL.
Paragraph snippets usually work best for questions. For example, queries starting from why, where, who, how-to, etc. are ideal for paragraph snippets.
Follow these tips to make your content picked for paragraph snippet:
- Use headings and subheadings
- Make headings and subheadings descriptive and detailed
- Write a short summary of what is discussed in the heading/subheading addressing the main questions in the first paragraph.
2. Definition Snippets
A definition snippet (or definition box) is used to provide definitions and address ‘what is’ queries. It triggers with or without the word ‘define’ or ‘definition’ in the search query.
Here is an example:
It is a type of paragraph snippet with the only difference that it specifically answers what is questions. A paragraph snippet can answer any query.
Follow these tips to ensure your content is picked up for definition snippet:
- Use definitions clearly in the text preferably with a subheading
- Write a short paragraph to define or address queries in the text. Dispersed content or very detailed answers don’t make it to the definition box
- Use what is, definition, defined, or synonyms to help Google understand and find relevant content from text.
3. List Snippets
It includes both ordered and unordered lists that are used to list steps, tips, or rankings. Here is an example of a list snippet:
Terms like list, best, steps, etc. usually trigger list snippets so using relevant words or phrases in the content makes it easier for Google to identify lists. You don’t have to necessarily create a bullet list in the content rather Google can convert headings and subheadings into a featured list.
In the above example, each SEO tool is a separate heading in the original text. Google creates a list automatically by converting subheadings into a list.
Follow these tips to have your content featured in a list snippet:
- Use relevant words or phrases in the title and within the text that relate to lists or steps
- Use headings and subheadings appropriately throughout the content
- Adding bullets and numbered lists significantly increase the chances of getting featured in a list snippet
- Keep bullets, lists, and subheadings short as Google has limited space for the featured snippet.
4. Table Snippets
Tablet snippets answer search queries in the form of a table. The data is extracted from a table by Google so you have to create a table if you are targeting table snippets.
However, Google recreates the table based on the query. Only the relevant data is pulled and shown to the user.
Here is an example:
This isn’t the original table rather Google recreated it only shows the latest figures. Here is the original table:
So, the table was recreated based on relevant information. It doesn’t matter how you have created a table, it won’t appear as-is.
The only thing important for getting featured in a table snippet is to have a table. Make sure it is easy-to-read and each column has a proper heading.
Featured snippets provide you with a great way to stand out from the crowd and reach your target audience with exceptional content. Yes, the content used for a featured snippet is nothing but high-quality content.
The quality of the content is more important than its format and structure. While you are busy formatting your content, don’t ignore its quality. Low-quality snippets that don’t answer queries appropriately are reported by users and are demoted eventually.
Featured Image: Unsplash