Featured Snippets are Google results you have certainly interacted with when searching for questions in the engine.

These featured snippets (often referred to as “direct answers” or “rich snippets”) answers a query within the search results without the need for the user to visit the page.

Try it now: “Who won the Super Bowl?”

You’ll be presented with the answer (New England Patriots) but also other relevant answers to other questions you may have in mind such as the players, the team’s history, and links to their social channels.

Other rich snippets you’re likely to see include:

  • Recipes
  • Knowledge graphs
  • Images
  • Tables

… and so much more.

The featured snippets mainly rely on questions:

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why
  • How

It’s quite interesting and eye-opening when you learn of the different queries and factors that go into what’s displayed within these featured snippet segments of search.

To have placement in these queries essentially places you before the number one listing within Google for that keyword or phrase. By having this position you are bound to drastically increase website traffic and brand awareness.

The process behind being featured as a rich snippet can be broken down to the following actions:

  1. Find a common question (done through analytics and gut feeling)
  2. Create content that delivers a clear answer to the question
  3. Include additional information to reinforce the answer and content
  4. Increase your domain authority, link building, and user experience

Featured snippets are extremely powerful for increasing website traffic. A case study found on SearchEngineLand discovered that snippets increased their client search sessions by 516%!

Imagine if that were to happen for your website.

Let’s get into that.

This article will share how to go about enticing Google to feature your website as a featured snippet, ways to improve the content, and a few other tips to help convert those new visitors to maximize the featured spot.

Becoming One of Google’s Featured Snippets: A Guide

The vast majority of rich snippets delivered within Google fall into three categories based on the type of question asked:

  • WHAT – Is typically a paragraph-style snippet
  • HOW – Is typically a list or table-style snippet

There are others as they’ve been pointed out but these are the two “low hanging fruit” to aim for when going after rich snippets in Google.

An interesting thing of note is that the rich snippets aren’t always coming from those in the top positions — Google is willing to display featured snippets for those lower on the first page of results if it provides a quality answer and content.

So that means you have a chance no matter the size of the competition.

With that being said, there are some things you’ll want to do to improve your optimization and chances of being in one of these featured snippets:

#1: Track the questions

Begin tracking the search queries that include what, how, when, and why. You should be able to pull this data from your Google Analytics dashboard. You can also find this information by using tools like SEMRush or keeping a log of the competition (use their hard efforts to get a one-up on their position).

You’ll also want to see how the featured snippets are displayed for your competition so you are able to answer the question but do one better in hopes of overtaking their listing.

#2: Answer the question clearly

Most paragraph-style rich snippets fall under 250 characters so it’s within your best interest to answer the question as simply and clearly as possible. Try answering the question as if you only had space for a single paragraph.

For snippets that will show as lists/tables — format the content in an easy-to-read manner, HTML/CSS compliant, and toward the very beginning of the content.

Then, expand on the question by wrapping the rest with great content to further explain the finer details.

#3: Double down on the Q&A

Continue to answer questions you’re finding through analytics and regular search queries. Begin to compile these questions in a large Q&A section of your website while interlinking to the actual pages — build the resource!

Google may give you additional chances of becoming a featured snippet for those questions since you’re creating an all-encompassing resource.

#4: Do some link building and social

Push those questions the same way you’d do with every other piece of content.

Get active with building links to these questions using keywords and phrases. Consider even doing entire guest posts to promote the answer. Also, get on social and share it so it can be indexed, shared, and discussed.

Once you have that in the bag — it’s a matter of crossing your fingers and hoping your site will be selected for the snippet.

Improving Content and Maximizing ROI with Featured Snippets Potential)

The quality of content matters when Google deems it necessary to promote a certain website as its rich snippet.

We already know that the question should be answered as clear as possible but it’s important to also wrap that content with additional information to reinforce the answer and give people a reason to dig deeper.

Inclusions may be:

  • Related questions and queries
  • Embedded videos
  • Authority interviews
  • Relevant images and audio

Keyword optimization will take a play in this regard along with link building as you would with normal search engine optimization tactics.

Another element Google harps are engagement.

Someone landing on the page, reading the answer, and bouncing tells Google there isn’t much extra the site has to offer. If you can create greater engagement through enticing visitors to read other articles, sign up to a list, watch a video, or leave a comment then you’re on the right path.

Apply those conversion tactics to truly maximize the ROI!

Get started by using A/B testing to find how people interact with the site. Try new call-to-actions. Funnel users into making additional actions with enticing images, copy, and content that begs to be shared.

Conclusion

Rich snippets, as with any Google product/service, aren’t entirely clear how they are selected but we can make great judgments based on data and case studies.

Featured in one of these snippets becomes a real game changer:

  • A significant boost in traffic
  • Better brand awareness
  • Less need for PPC spending
  • More data to improve user experience

You can’t assume you’ll be featured in a snippet but it’s worth the effort. It may take a few weeks to show up or perhaps months.

As long as you’re working on creating great content that answers these questions — you’re creating an opportunity to show up and reap the rewards.

SEO is an ongoing battle. Knowledge is your tool to maximize your efforts and resources. For this reason, we invite you to dig deeper into the TopSpotSEM blog to keep up-to-date on the latest trends and strategies for dominating the Google listings.