Cracking the Code: Mastering Featured Snippets for Maximum Exposure
When you search within Google, a short answer to your question often appears at the beginning of the search results page. This is what Google calls a featured snippet and is part of a page that has the most relevant answer to your question. By aligning your content with these featured snippets, you can get significantly more organic traffic to your page. This article explains how you stand a chance of being shown as a featured snippet.
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How to Write Specific Content for Featured Snippets?
To qualify to be shown as a featured snippet, it is important to answer possible user questions in your article. Ask a question as above in the title and provide a specific answer. That is the foundation, but there is more. Google wants you to provide in-depth information about the topic in your article. Because when the user clicks on the featured snippet, they do need to get relevant and additional information. Here are some examples:
What is a featured snippet?
A featured snippet is a summary of an answer to a question displayed above other search results. The answer is part of an article that contains additional information about the question.
How are Featured Snippets Selected?
Google’s algorithm tries to show the most relevant and effective answers based on the user’s search query. Almost always, this will be a concise answer to the query where it is sometimes provided with one or more images.
How can I Optimize my Content for Featured Snippets?
To qualify to be shown as a featured snippet, you can use structured data in addition to providing a concise answer to a question. This will help Google better understand the content of a page. In addition, it is important to provide content on a topic and you can use lists or tables. Also, make sure your content is always up-to-date and relevant.
What is Structured Data?
Structured data is also known as schema markup. This is code embedded in HTML that tells Google what kind of information is on the page, making it more indexable. Depending on what kind of site and content you offer visitors, you can use different types of schema markups. For example:
Article Markup: This is usually used for blog articles and can include information about the author, publication date, the title of the article, and the company behind the site.
Product Markup: A commercial website with products usually uses product markup. This includes information such as price, availability, and customer reviews.
Event Markup: For websites promoting events, you can use event markup that includes information such as the date and start time of the event, what admission costs, and where the event is taking place.
It’s not that Google won’t understand the content of your page if you don’t use scheduled markup. You just make it easier for Google. For example, Google is many times more likely to see you as an author if you use Author Markup on your dedicated author page, than if you only include your name with an article.
Why is In-Depth Information Important for Feature Snippets?
Although featured snippets are always concise summaries, they are almost always part of an article with in-depth information. What Google means by this is that you can show visitors in an article that you are an expert on the topic the user wants to know about. You can see an example of this below on the topic of featured snippets.
When did Google introduce Featured Snippets?
Very early on after the introduction of the Google search engine, featured snippets of a sort were used, but they didn’t have a name at the time. They were a kind of quick answers that could not be appreciated by many website owners because it seemed that Google wanted to use them to keep users on their site. After all, quick answers meant users didn’t need to search further or click through.
It wasn’t until 2016 that quick answers were officially announced as featured snippets. This was during the same period that Google also introduced ‘People Also Asked’.
By now, featured snippets are here to stay, and especially with the rise of voice search, they have become a welcome addition to search results.
What Types of Featured Snippets exist?
Google uses paragraph snippets, list snippets, and table snippets. The latter is the most common and consists of a small block of text. It usually results in answers to questions such as “what or who is”.
The list snippets are often displayed for questions about a series of something or about a “how do I…”. The list can consist of bullets or a number sequence. The latter is useful, for example, when showing the best films.
Table snippets are the least frequently displayed and are used, for example, to display price comparisons and statistics.
How Does The Algorithm Behind Featured Snippets Work:
Nobody – not even perhaps Google – knows exactly how the algorithm works that determines whether certain content is shown as featured snippets. What is known is that in addition to all the tips mentioned above, Google also looks at domain authority, page authority, and all the other criteria that are important within E-E-A-T. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (trustworthiness).
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Featured Snippets:
Writing your content in a way that gives you a chance to be shown as a featured snippet has great advantages, but can also have some disadvantages. It, therefore, depends entirely on your SEO and content strategy and whether your site benefits from them.
3 Advantages of Featured Snippets:
- Better visibility: When a featured snippet with your content is displayed, it is at the very top of the search results page and your website URL is also listed here. This makes it more likely that visitors will click through to your website if they want more information.
- Authority and reliability: If Google decides to show your answer to a question as a featured snippet, this can have a very positive impact on your domain authority and the level of reliability of your site. As a result, other content can also rank higher.
- Better Click-Through Rate (CTR): Research shows that pages displayed in a featured snippet usually have a higher click-through rate (CTR) than other search results. This can also have a positive impact on your ranking for your entire site.
3 Disadvantages of Featured Snippets:
- Less organic traffic: In some cases, appearing as a featured snippet instead of more organic search traffic can also lead to less organic search traffic. This is because the answer already provides enough information.
- Plagiarism: Sly content creators may incorporate the information in the featured snippet into their content and try to out-rank you that way.
- Little certainty of display: While it is never entirely certain whether your content will rank, this is completely uncertain when it comes to featured snippets. So you can spend a lot of work on your article without ever getting the desired results. Besides, Google’s algorithm keeps changing which means you will appear in a featured snippet today and not tomorrow.
Optimizing your content for featured snippets can be a valuable strategy to generate more organic traffic to your page. By answering potential user questions and providing in-depth information, you increase your chances of being shown as a featured snippet. Using structured data and providing up-to-date and relevant content are also important aspects to consider.
While being presented as a featured snippet brings benefits, such as better visibility, authority, and a higher click-through rate, there are also some drawbacks, such as a possible decrease in organic traffic and the risk of plagiarism. Moreover, the algorithm behind featured snippets is complex and unpredictable.
It is wise to write your content with featured snippets in mind, but it is not advisable to base your entire SEO strategy on it. Creating relevant, timely, and high-quality content that is valuable to organic visitors remains the key to higher rankings in search results. Ultimately, the goal is to meet the needs of Google users and provide them with the best possible information.