Featured Snippets – An SEO Victory

I started to type “Have you ever pulled out your phone and Googled….” but then I stopped myself because this is 2019 and everyone has done this before. If not, I’ll add you to our telephone book list. For those of you savvy technology users who rely on Google for your daily information and go-to resource, I’m certain you have encountered a Featured Snippet and didn’t even realize it!

A Featured Snippet is a search result that typically answers a question a user has typed in. In my example below, you will see what I searched for and what Google populated to answer it. As a proud Minnesotan the accent could be up for debate – but the benefits that Featured Snippets can provide to your website are not.

featured-snippet-example

Example of the featured snippet that appears when you search “Do Minnesotans have accents?”.

How Do Featured Snippets Work?

Now that you know what a Featured Snippet looks like – let’s talk about how a Featured Snippet works. Since Google essentially runs the world wide web they want to accurately serve their users and continue to be the best informational resource out there. That means Google bots are crawling the web all day and every day to find the most accurate and relevant information to match to users’ searches. Looking at the example below, Google determined the website tablespoon.com has the highest quality response and information to answer the user question of “How to make a hotdish”.

example-featured-snippet-recipe

Example of a featured snippet that appears when you search “how to make a hotdish”.

 

Google’s bots are looking for quality on-page content that is very informational based. It’s important to remember that you’re not selling to Google, you’re selling to users. What this means is the content on the page needs to be more informative and much less sales oriented. Google is not in the business to serve you. We’re all in the business to serve Google, because the majority of the users coming to your website are coming from Google, so make sure your content meets their requirements or you’re moot.

How Does Informative Content Correlate with a Featured Snippet?

Put yourself in the shoes of the user who is looking for instructions on how to make a hotdish. Do you think the user wants to read through sales pitch after sales pitch in the content, or how amazing it was, without any context? No, and neither does Google. The user who is seeking this information wants facts and instructions. Let’s pretend you’re the Digital Marketing Strategist for tablespoon.com. Don’t get me wrong you still want to list the advantages of your hotdish recipe, but don’t forget the most important part – the why.

If it really is the best hotdish make sure you provide some context. Has this recipe obliterated all competition at every County Fair across the state of Minnesota? Great! But how has it? Is it the all-natural grass-fed beef from your local farm? Is the beef browned with a specific type of oil? How is it simmered? Is the cheese local from our friendly neighbors to the East? Is the cheddar aged? If so, how long? By answering the previous questions it allows for better information and context to the user and/or bot consuming this information.

How Do You Get a Featured Snippet?

First and foremost, make sure your content is relevant and informative. Another quick and easy way to ensure that you’re optimizing for Featured Snippets on your site is removing branded content in the first paragraph of content on a page. Keep the opening paragraph content specific to information about the page, product, recipe, etc., not you as a company or brand. That’s what a closing call-to-action paragraph is for. We can save that topic for a rainy day.

So your content is informative and contextual, what’s next? Schema mark-up! Schema or Structured Data is a way of clearly and specifically communicating to Search Engines what a page is about and the different data points on it. If you’d like to learn more about what Schema is and the different types of Schema available click here.

Let’s circle back to our previous example of “how to make a hotdish” search. Was this page marked up with Schema? You betcha! Take a look:

featured-snippet-structured-data-tool-example-results

Example of the results from running the featured snippet’s site through the structured data testing tool.

In the example above we can see “Recipe” listed twice on the right. The website tablespoon.com was using Recipe Schema/Structured Data to help optimize this specific page. Which allows the search engines to better understand this page and the content on it.

Are you wondering what the Recipe mark up looks like? Take a look!

recipe-structured-data

Example of what the recipe’s schema mark up looks like.

 

It becomes pretty obvious when you see the breakdown above why Schema is so advantageous. It clearly breaks down the content on the page for search engines, which helps to better optimize for a Featured Snippet because all of the page’s content is structured in the mark-up. This makes it easier for the search engines to pull this information and populate it as an answer for a user search.

What a Featured Snippet Can Do for YOU

When a Featured Snippet displays on the Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) it’s considered to be at “Position Zero” because it’s taking up the majority of the real estate on the SERP and is featured right at the top. This is hot real estate for the internet. We’re talking a penthouse in downtown Minneapolis hot. If you, your company, your brand, etc., can have that real estate – the better – because it means more exposure for you.

A Featured Snippet can really help bring new traffic into your website. It only makes sense – look how much room it takes up on the SERP!

featured-snippet-size-example

Example of the amount of space a featured snippet takes up on the search engine results page.

Since Google credits the site it gets the information from, overall traffic to the site typically sees an increase. If a user wants to find out more information about the Mall of America, it’s going to be very likely that they will click on the link provided to learn more about it.

Not only will a Featured Snippet most likely bring more traffic into your website, it will help validate your credibility. If Google is using your website as an informational resource, it means they value the content you’re providing and have determined your page to have the most credible, accurate and reliable information. That also means that Featured Snippets will change if Google finds a better resource than you or your site. That’s why continuous optimization of a website is so important.

An SEO Specialist’s Take Away on Featured Snippets

It’s vital to remember that the worldwide web is an enormous entity and there are so many options and competitors. That’s why it’s imperative to make sure the information you have on your website is specific, informative, contextual, valuable and crawlable.  If you do all of this then you just might see one of your web pages being used for a Featured Snippet.

Contact Ecreativeworks for More Information on How to Optimize Your Website

Reach out to Ecreativeworks to have your website optimized for Featured Snippets. Providing answers for every step of the user journey is very valuable to us here. We have a staff that is well-versed in the best practices of SEO and very skilled in bringing forth excellent and personal customer service. Get started today!

Written By: Hadley Purdy: Digital Marketing Specialist for Ecreativeworks

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