Featured Snippets is the new ranking assigned by Google to the pages that match better than the organic results. It is called “Ranking Zero” and its placement is above the organic search. Zero-Ranking is achieved when content from a page is featured as the best answer to a search query. It is featured in a box to make it eye-catchy.
Featuring in the answer box in Google could mean increased clicks and traffic to the site featured in the snippet. Here in this article, we’ll discuss the three specific types of Featured Snippets and the way that coveted position in the SERPs could be achieved.
To understand paragraph style Featured Snippet, I did a search on “English History” and the result was a short paragraph of about 40-50 words from Wikipedia. A nice picture of an English King and link to Wikipedia page was also provided in the box. It is the best answer Google can give for the query and I am likely to click on the link to get comprehensive information.
Some queries can be answered only in steps hence list view. If the query has “how to”, you are likely to get a list of “to do” steps in the box answer. I got a list of five steps and a link to the WikiHow site in the box for my query “how to remove mascara”. Sometimes the list answer has supportive image(s).
This format is used for showing comparisons. The answer box contains a table showing comparison and also there could be a visual shot taken from a page. Google answered my query for WordPress hosting comparison in a table format. The table has five rows and a link for 8 more rows and 1 more column. Link to the web page showing the table was given at the bottom.
In addition to knowing about the three types of Featured Snippets; there are many exciting things about the Google answer boxes. Google can pick content from any page from Page1 to Page7 and feature its content as the perfect box answer for a query. It is zero ranking and it can be achieved by content optimization and modification.
Best practices to appear in the answer box/featured snippet
- Identify queries in KW research that, implicitly or explicitly as, ask a question
If you ask age of a country, Google will reply in a word or sentence and without any citation to any page. No credit will be awarded to the page from where the answer is taken. But Google will require citation in answering broader questions like “English History”. Your job is to identify those queries that require answers in a broader format.
Focus on the queries that require a broad search instead of a single line answer. Also you need modifying your content to match with the answer. Here using keywords could help. Learn from examples and also understand the format Google uses for Featured Snippets.
- Seek out queries that already use the answer box. If the competition’s doing a poor job, these are often easy to grab
Study the queries answered in Featured Snippets. See how the answer is provided and also see the rank of the page linked with the answer. It might be a close competitor and you could give a better answer to the query. Study of Featured Snippets for the queries related to your business will give you an insight on the algorithm Google is using to choose snippets.
Chances are that a weak answer could feature in the box because of presentation. Take it as an opportunity to modify your content to become the next snippet for similar query. Since choosing snippet is a priority of Google, you can convince the search engine to choose your content for box answer.
- Ranking 1 can help, but isn’t required! Google will pull from any first page result
Higher ranking can certainly increase chances of your content featuring in snippets but top rank is no guarantee of success in the game of zero-ranking. The test results show that Google picks content from any of the top ten ranking pages but it can also dive deep into SERPs in search of a perfect answer for the query.
- Format and language are essential! Match the paragraph, or table, and use the logical answer to the query terms in your title/caption/label/section header
Focus on the language like selection of words and phrases. The answer should be perfectly matching with the query. Study answers and their formats and try modifying your content to make it the best answer for the searched query. Another thing you need considering with the content is the format. Keep the three Featured Snippets in mind and try formatting your content in one of the formats.
- Be accurate. Google tend to favor stronger, more correct responses
Accuracy is the key to success in the game of zero ranking with Featured Snippets. Google appreciate quality and efforts made for strengthening accuracy. Your search for “how to strengthen your back” will yield result in a list format and not in an article. But query “strengthen your back” could result in a paragraph.
- Entice the clicks by using Google’s maximum snippet length to your advantage
Featuring in snippets isn’t a guarantee for clicks as the searcher might find a better answer in the organic results than the box. But most of the times, Featured Snippets brings clicks and targeted traffic for the featured sites. Study Google’s maximum snippet length to become searchable and get clicks through Featured Snippets.
Featured Snippets have opened a new battlefront for SEOs. The battle is for zero-rank that is above organic results and its advantage is that any site on any rank can come in Featured Snippets. What SEOs need doing to feature in snippets and achieve zero rank is matching content with search queries. There are different formats for box answers and Google sticks to the formats while searching answer for a query.