Want To Be a Google Featured Snippet? Optimize for That Now!
Organic traffic is one of the greatest determiners of online success, making it vital for websites and small businesses. That is why SEO agency experts encourage working towards becoming a featured snippet. Is it possible to create a featured snippet yourself?
The short answer is no, but improving SEO can help immensely.
This guide provides a comprehensive review of featured snippets and their place in SEO, including:
- How featured snippets affect traffic
- An overview of how Google makes featured snippets
- Five elements of featured snippets
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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How Do Google’s Featured Snippets Affect Website Traffic?
Google’s featured snippets place you at the top of results pages, giving you an advantageous position. This optimal placement allows you to dominate organic website traffic, bypassing all competitors in ranking. That makes users more likely to trust you and click through.
For many keywords, if not most, you also appear ahead of paid ads. As search engine results page (SERP) features have evolved, the need to visit page after page of results has decreased. It has reached the point where optimizing for zero-click searches is becoming a best practice.
Still, featured snippets are highly effective for drawing organic traffic, even in a zero-click ecosystem. Of course, it depends on the searcher’s intent and the information that you offer.
How to Become a Google Featured Snippet
According to Google, there is no way for website owners to create their own featured snippets, nor can they submit their content to become one. Google randomly generates all featured snippets directly in response to a search query. It does this by using indexed content as a base.
In a nutshell, Google relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to sift and sort through content and decide which one fits the desired result best. Using that logic, the closer and more accurately your content answers a question, the better its chances of becoming a featured snippet.
5 Elements of Featured Snippet Content You Should Know
Since it is impossible to create a featured snippet, unlike regular snippets and rich snippets, how can you take advantage of its benefits? The answer is to produce content that reflects the elements of one. In other words, use SEO to make content that exceeds user expectations.
Below are five elements your content should have to look and feel like a featured snippet.
1. It Answers a Question, Literally
Usually, search queries that Google can answer with a short, objective response trigger a featured snippet. That includes a broad range of search terms that use question words, such as:
- “why is almond butter so expensive”
- “what should you have in a disaster kit”
- “how to plan a birthday party at home”
You do not have to literally answer every question in existence, though. You only need to focus on those most relevant to you and your target audience.
Using the target keyword examples above, they are best suited to:
- health food stores, almond farmers, and almond butter manufacturers
- hardware stores, disaster relief organizations, and grocery stores
- event planners, children’s entertainment services, and bakeshops
2. The Content has Relevance
Google’s intelligent algorithms choose which content it turns into a featured snippet based on how well it answers a user’s query. Therefore, whatever you publish on your website should aim to do just that. Otherwise, it does not stand a chance of becoming a featured snippet.
For instance, if a user searches for "how to plan a cross-country road trip," they get results like:
1. A step-by-step guide for planning (the featured snippet)
2. Related posts, such as what items to prepare for the trip
3. Tips to ease the planning or experience of the trip itself
4. Route suggestions for a cross-country trip across the US
5. Recommendations for landmarks or tourist spots to visit
3. Context is Present and Clear
Similar to how you are targeting user search intent, your content should also be transparent about its purpose. This is particularly important for content that Google’s crawler bots cannot “see,” such as images and videos. For those files, Google needs context in the form of additional data.
Additional data for image and video content includes the following:
- a filename, alt tag, and caption relevant to the content
- key moments and subtitles for YouTube videos
- context from the text surrounding the image or video
Without these cues, Google might struggle to determine whether or not your content is relevant.
4. The Information is Objective
Needless to say, featured snippets should come from accurate sources of information to be useful for searchers. Google has even updated its algorithms to self-check and verify the information it presents as featured snippets. They did this in response to false matches.
That said, the best approach to SEO content is to be as plain and objective as possible. Following this tip reduces the possibility of falling short on quality and clarity. It does not guarantee featured snippets, but it boosts your website’s SEO.
5. High-Quality is a Top Priority
By Google’s own definition, focusing on content quality is a good bet when aiming to become a featured snippet. High-quality content is central to a robust SEO strategy. Without it, you have no reliable means of drawing in visitors, as low-quality content always misses the mark.
What does it mean for content to be high-quality? For starters, it has to be valuable, meaningful, and unique to your target market. Think of it as being similar to how you might go about finding something that you need. For example, you need a new washing machine. What would you look for to replace the old washer?
Next, consider what users might expect from content like yours and apply that same logic to the less impressive parts of your content strategy.
Organic traffic is a valuable asset for websites, especially for small businesses that want to drive sales. There is no better position on SERPs for this purpose than the featured snippet because of its high visibility. However, as with regular ranking, you need exceptional SEO to win the spot.
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