How To Make Your SEO Content Rank as Featured Snippets
Although SEO agency experts make a big deal about featured snippets, it is not actually possible to create them yourself. Unlike regular snippets, Google generates featured snippets by relying only on the best SEO content it can find.
This guide covers critical topics that should help you get the most out of your SEO content by:
- Defining what a featured snippet is and why it matters in ranking
- Discussing the relationship between SEO and featured snippets
- Showing three SEO content strategies to boost your chances of achieving a featured snippet
There’s a lot to discuss, so get ready to take notes.
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Snippets vs. Featured Snippets
A "snippet" is a short blurb about your web page that appears whenever someone enters a keyword on search engines. You can customize your page’s snippets by writing accurate meta descriptions. However, Google can also generate one for you if it feels yours misses the mark.
You can customize your snippets further through metadata to make them appear as lists or with images. Those are called “rich snippets,” which expand what you can do to quickly get the correct information in front of users. A common application of this is showing recipe information.
A featured snippet is an automatically generated search result displayed in a high-visibility area, typically at the top or right-hand side of the page. Google produces one based on whether or not a featured snippet can answer the query. It draws information from the content it has in its index.
How Are SEO and Google’s Featured Snippets Related?
Search engine optimization (SEO) comes from the idea that meeting content and website standards helps your website rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs). Among these standards are creating high-quality content for users and ensuring a smooth on-site user experience (UX).
Being a Google featured snippet adds to that by highlighting the best answers on SERPs for users to see. However, your website must already have exceptional on-page SEO to qualify as a featured snippet. Google only finds the information. They need you to provide it.
It is safe to say that the common ground between these two concepts is that they encourage you to align your strategies with your customers’ needs. Therefore, prioritize your content and on-page SEO for users. It does not guarantee featured snippet results, but it benefits you nonetheless.
3 SEO Content Strategies With Featured Snippet Potential
SEO content follows a set of practices to emphasize positive aspects. However, you need to avoid those that have a negative impact on your content. The most commonly cited of these is picking a target keyword carefully because of how it affects other parts of SEO.
Google’s experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) rating system also plays a significant role in SEO. Focusing on the customer experience helps you rise above the noise on the SERPs. E-E-A-T is how you achieve that.
If you are unsure if your content displays those four characteristics, ask yourself the following:
- Is this something I have dealt with firsthand?
- Am I qualified to speak about this topic?
- Can users rely on my content to be correct?
- Is my content authentic and beneficial?
However, it is not enough to show E-E-A-T because not all kinds of content trigger a featured snippet. Fortunately, there seems to be a noticeable pattern among those who do. Below are three content strategies commonly used among featured snippets on SERPs.
1. Make Educational Content
As mentioned above, Google creates a featured snippet in response to the user’s query. Therefore, keywords with a clear search intent are more likely to generate a featured snippet than those without. For example, in "fried chicken" vs. "KFC." The former’s intent is vague, while the latter's is not.
Searching for "fried chicken" results in a SERP littered with various suggestions, including images, recipes, and restaurants, because of how broad it is. On the other hand, "KFC" yields a knowledge panel on the fast food chain. Branded keywords are not the only ones that work, though.
Educational content formats are also prime triggers for featured snippets, for instance:
- "How-to" articles that provide helpful step-by-step instructions
- “Why” articles that explain a concept or phenomenon
- “What” articles that provide valuable information on a subject
2. Add Features to Your Videos
Featured snippets are not exclusively for written content. Videos can also fill that coveted position at the top of the SERPs, provided they meet the searcher’s needs. You can ensure this by using all the accessibility features YouTube offers, especially key moments and subtitles.
Search engines such as Google cannot directly process visual content, unlike blogs and articles. Google relies on additional information, including captions and subtitles, to preview and understand videos. Although YouTube has automatic captions, it is better to add them yourself.
3. Provide Context for Images
Similar to videos, captions are indispensable in image SEO. In addition, a filename and alt tag create context that describes the image and its contents. That is important because, otherwise, Google will overlook the image itself, and you lose out on SEO.
Although it does not hurt your content to lack them, if your content is not optimized for search it loses out on opportunities to become a featured snippet. When uploading images to your website, especially ones you want to appear in SERPs, remember to keep track of the following:
- Image Alt Tags
These are so easy to change that it is worth updating your image gallery to optimize them. After all, SEO has no expiration date. You can do it before (which is ideal) but also after the fact.
Featured snippets are, in essence, the great equalizer of Google’s SERPs. They stand above paid ads and top results in a position that cannot be bought or manipulated. Becoming a featured snippet is a matter of fit and content quality, meaning everyone has an equal chance.
The best approach to featured snippets is simply to follow SEO to the best of your ability. The better you are at answering your target audience’s burning questions, the better your chance of attaining the coveted position.
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