How to Build More Traffic by Optimizing for Google Featured Snippets

How to Build More Traffic by Optimizing for Google Featured Snippets

Google introduced featured snippets as a way of improving users’ satisfaction by providing an immediate answer to their search queries.

The research shows that featured snippets account for a 35.1% share of all clicks. So, it’s not a surprise that websites that appear in this part of the SERP get better click-through rates and increased revenue from organic traffic by an astonishing 677%.

That being said, it is important to know that Google will consider your content for featured snippets only if you already rank in the top 10 results on their first page.

How do you secure this sweet spot on Google’s SERP and enjoy the benefits that come with it? This is where we come to the rescue with our top five strategies that will help you optimize your content for Google featured snippets:

Choose the right keywords

Adjust format to fit featured snippets

Add “trigger” words

Use SEO tactics

Check out what your competition is doing

Before we get into more details, let’s cover some basics!

What is Google’s featured snippet?

A Google featured snippet is a brief informational passage that provides a direct answer to the user’s search query. What is unique about featured snippets is that they always appear above position #1 in Google’s SERP, thus practically taking “position zero.”

For example, if you type ”What are Google featured snippets?” you’ll get this result:

Google Featured Snippet Example
The paragraph in the red rectangle is a featured snippet, and it answers the question immediately without having to click on the actual website.

What is Google’s featured snippet?

There are four types of featured snippets:

  1. Paragraph
  2. List
  3. Table
  4. Video

1. Paragraph

Paragraph snippets usually provide the answers to “how”, “how-to”, “who”, “why”, and “what” questions from your search queries. This type of featured snippet is the most common and encompasses 50% of all snippet results.

These questions can be anything from “How to find IP address” to “Why do cats purr?”

Why do cats purr

2. List

Lists can appear in numbered or bulleted form, and they usually pop up when you search for some kind of step-by-step guide.

For example:

List Google Featured Snippet

Lists are the second most common type of featured snippets, encompassing 37% of all snippet results.

3. Table

Tables normally appear when your search query involves data or other information that is best presented in a table format.

Table Google Featured Snippet

4. Videos

Google usually displays videos (mostly from Youtube) as an answer to the “how-to” search query.

Table Google Featured Snippet

You will also notice that Google offers a ready-to-play time stamp so that you can skip the intro and play it from the specific part that directly answers your “how-to” question.

Now that you know what feature snippets are and what types exist, let’s get back to optimizing your content for that prized “zero position”.

Choose the right keywords

Keywords that are made up of 10 words trigger 55.5% of featured snippets, while a single keyword triggers only 4,3% of featured snippets.

Let’s say you run an optical shop. Going after a keyword like “Glasses” probably won’t secure you the position on featured snippets. You need to expand your keyword to match the search intent as specifically as possible.

For example, if you offer an authoritative answer to the “How to read an eye prescription” question, you will have a better chance of appearing in featured snippets. This will help you get more quality traffic as it responds to a specific intention behind the search query from users who are closer to the converting point.

You should also pay attention to keyword difficulty (KD). KD is an SEO metric that shows how difficult it is to rank for a specific search term. The lower the keyword rank, the higher your chances are of appearing in featured snippets.

For this purpose, you can use some of the available online tools for calculating KD, such as Semrush or KWFinder.

If you are running a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign, you can always use your best-ranked pay-per-click keywords to optimize your content for featured snippets.

Adjust format to fit featured snippets

It’s not all about keywords, you will also need to adjust the format of your content to fit featured snippets, and here is how:

  • Opt for descriptive headers – make sure your headers contain long-tail and question-based keywords and don’t forget to provide the answers directly underneath them.
  • Use simple and short sentences – don’t overcomplicate your content with long, technical terms. Use everyday language that every average user understands.
  • Include numbered or bulleted lists along with tables and graphs – these are the formats that trigger featured snippets, so use them whenever it’s possible.
  • Use between 40 and 60 words for paragraph-style snippets
  • Make sure to date and update your content 70% of featured snippets are posted within the past 2 to 3 years.

Don’t forget to include appropriate HTML markups to help Google better understand your content structure.

  • Use <p> tags for paragraph snippets
  • Use <table> tags for table snippets
  • Use <ol> and <ul> tags for listicles

Add “trigger” words

The research performed by The STAT Team shows that some words trigger featured snippets more than others. Another research conducted by Semrush reveals what question-type keywords trigger snippets the most.

According to this research, these five questions appear in featured snippets most frequently:

  why” – 77.63%

  do” – 67.54%

  are” – 67.51%

  how” – 65.27%

Other words like “does”, “will”, “when”, “is”, and “what” also appear in more than 50% of featured snippets triggered by question search queries.

These words reveal the user intent behind a search query, so make sure you use them when you create your question-based keywords for content.

Use SEO tactics

Generally speaking, making your content SEO-friendly will help Google understand what your page is all about. Some SEO tactics can increase your chances of appearing in featured snippets, such as:

  • Proper URL structure – ideally, your URL should contain 2 to 3 words.
  • Captivating title tag – create a catchy title and make sure it fits the pixel requirements (160x200px). For this purpose, you can use tools such as Coschedule Headline Analyzer, which can help you find the perfect title.
  • User-centric meta description tag – user-oriented and keyword-specific meta description tags typically drive more clicks.
  • Optimize image Alt attributes – make sure you use descriptive alt text for all your graphics and images. This will help Google understand your content better.
  • Include internal links – this will help Google identify your most important pages and you can use them to support the rankings of your most valuable pages as well.
  • Engage in link building – this is important for setting yourself as an authority in your field.

Check out what your competition is doing

Try typing the main keywords that you have optimized for featured snippets and see who is currently claiming position zero. Observe their content structure and what markups they are using.

Then go back to your content and make a comparison. Is your content structured the same way? Does it answer the user’s question clearly?

Finally, try to focus on how you can deliver the desired information better than your competitors so that Google reconsiders your content for a featured snippet opportunity. You might not succeed on the first try, but be persistent and keep on improving your content until you make it.

Is optimizing for featured snippets worth all this trouble?

The short answer is–yes! Ranking zero on Google’s SERP comes with many benefits, including:

  • Increased organic traffic
  • Better click-through rates
  • More authority
  • Boosted brand image and visibility

All these benefits come from the fact that Google’s featured snippets are easier to see and are placed at the very top, even above the organic results. This instantly triggers more trust from

people, plus some of us are too lazy to scroll down to other results, so we always click on the first page that pops up, providing it offers exactly what we are looking for.

Key takeaways

More than 50% of the mobile screen gets covered with a featured snippet, and when we know that more than 64% of all search queries are done from mobile devices, it gives a whole new dimension to the importance of appearing in snippets.

If you want to have a chance of popping up in the featured snippets, make sure you have the right keywords sprinkled with the popular “trigger” words.

Adjust your format to fit featured snippets and ensure you use all SEO tactics that can help you with this endeavor.

Lastly, take a peek at what your competition is doing and try to find ways to outrank them with more useful content.

We hope our article provided you with everything you needed to know about Google featured snippets. More importantly, we hope that our tips will help you take that biggest “piece of the pie” in Google’s SERPs.

Nicole Kelly

Nicole Kelly

Guest Author

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