If you’re not familiar with what featured snippets are, they are descriptive results nestled in their own box that usually appear right at the top of a search result page. You can read about featured snippets in Google’s own words here.
2020 Update: If you get a featured snippet listing, you'll now no longer also have a 'regular' search result listing in addition to it.
They are another way to grab attention on Google’s search results, and appear above an organic traditional listing placed in first position. They are sometimes referred to as being rank 0 because of this.
Here’s how they appear:
Looks good doesn’t it? Right at the very top, big and bold, with a picture sometimes included as well.
It looks impressive, makes you appear authoritative and more importantly, it does steal traffic away from whatever is ranked #1.
It doesn’t just appear as text either; a featured snippet can take the form of a video or even a list, such as ingredients for a recipe for example.
Spotting your opportunity
Try and find out what questions are being asked around your subject, which means getting involved with some good old fashioned keyword research. The question and answer format is what you should be aiming for.
Google those questions related to your specialty yourself and see what comes up. Can you better the featured snippet you see? There are many SEO/Marketing tools out there that have dedicated areas on Featured Snippets that can do some of the heavy lifting.
Google tries it’s hardest to grab an answer from a selected page to use as a featured snippet, but sometimes they’re not always the best and you’ll be able spot the ones you know you can improve on. It’s a good idea to try and target these.
Another thing about Featured Snippets is that they work well with voice searches too, as they essentially act as a ‘natural’ voiced reply.
Sniping a Snippet
Clear and concise answers are your friends, all on a well headed page which is clearly structured. Your blog is the most obvious avenue to host dedicated pages to answering queries, or of course a Q&A page if you have one. Use either of those as your platform to host and answer the questions being asked.
Ask and answer your question within the first paragraph, if possible. The important thing is to make sure the question is answered concisely and factually.
Of course, Google does not give out details on the magic bullet which guarantees success in this endeavour, but just making things as easy as possible for the user and Google will help increase your chances of being the chosen one.
Answer the questions being asked, see what’s currently being chosen as a featured snippet and try to better it. You might even have some older content that could be reworked and optimised.
If you have any questions, get in touch and we’ll do our best to help!