Google any question and your search results will probably return a featured snippet. Whether it’s questions about how to fix a leaky roof or how to match your shirt to your pants, Google tries to fast-track users queries by providing a box–or snippet–at the top of its search results. This feature includes text, a picture and website citation that will hopefully answer users’ questions.
This is some of the most prime real estate on the Internet and often websites will compete relentlessly to achieve the coveted position. Why? Because it drives traffic up. Not only is the featured snippet the first result on the page, it takes up a chunk of space, has a picture and dramatically reduces the time it takes users to find answers. In the end, according to ahrefs.com, 8.6% of all clicks go to the featured snippet and 28.2% are split between the first organic listing and the featured snippet.
How can you get a featured snippet?
There are several methods Pioneer Media uses to get you that coveted top-of-the-page spot, or zero spot as google refers to it as.
One of the first methods is to find out what keywords people are already using to search for your website and then building content around those search phrases. It also helps to think like your average Internet user and what questions they might be asking based on your most popular keyword searches.
For example, Pioneer Media helped Eyman Plumbing Heating & Air achieve multiple featured snippets. This one for how to hide exterior pipes grew out of the research and thinking mentioned above. From there, featured snippets are very intuitive in that a lot of what’s going to drive your results to the top is common sense. Briefly and clearly expressed answers and well-organized content win big points with Google. For this Eyman featured snippet we created a blog post with the question as the title and included a tight, easy to read list that includes keywords and answers to the above question.
It also helps to add a summary of your article, either in the beginning or at the end. In journalism they call this the “lede,” a sentence or two that explains the point of the article. Online you’d call it a “tl;dr,” meaning too long, didn’t read. They both mean the same thing. Having deep research and a beautifully written blog posts that engages readers might be good once you have them on the website, but the programs scanning your websites codes aren’t so discerning. They want to see concise, easily understandable information that answers a question in a matter of seconds.
Take this featured snippet also from Eyman Plumbing, about How Plumbing Works in Your Apartment. Three sentences explain concisely what you need to know and out-do competing websites.
Finally, as your vying for that featured spot or even after achieving that organic visibility, you have to monitor the target. In other words, you need to keep an eye on the search term you want to dominate. Also take notes. What is the website that currently has that spot doing that you’re not.
Are there methods, like including a list and clear subheads, that you’re not using? Are there paragraphs tighter and more explicit?
The last thing to remember is that featured snippets are a dynamic aspect of search technology. Google changes what it prioritizes in the feature from time to time, but the underlying message is the same: have content, usually blog posts, on your website that’s direct and built with a single question or search term in mind, and make sure you answer the question.
How featured snippets help you
As we mentioned above, featured snippets allow you to grow your visibility organically. By combining thoughtful research with intentional content creation that utilizes specific language, it increases your websites traffic, getting you new customers.
Below are some graphs showing how our media clients benefited from our services including featured snippets. In 2019, shown in blue, users saw a universal increase of more than 600 percent in users, new users and sessions. These tens of thousands of new interactions are direct results of designing a website around the user experience–an experience that starts before they’ve even clicked on your page.