We are all familiar with the drill — in order to get a lot of organic traffic from Google, we have to make sure our content ranks on the first page (preferably rank #1 to #3).
However, what if I told you that there’s an even better way to get traffic pouring to your website?
All you have to do is get a Featured Snippet for your content by optimizing it.
What is a Featured Snippet?
To answer this question, let’s go and ask Google straight away:
As you can see, the answer to this question is, in fact, a featured snippet from Google’s own Q&A page.
In short, a featured snippet is a special content block containing a direct answer to your question. It includes a summary of the answer to your specific question, extracted from a website, plus a link to that specific page. Sometimes, it even includes a relevant image next to the answer.
There’s a huge SEO benefit of having your content featured in a Google’s “rich result” snippet.
Featured Snippet Benefits
If you earn your spot in a featured snippet (aka Answer Box), you will notice visible results shortly after.
After getting featured in a snippet, your content is more likely to be seen, read and clicked on. Your website traffic will increase, as well as your conversion rate. Featured snippets showcase expertise and trust, which is really important for SEO.
When it comes to ranking, a featured snippet is considered position #0, which means it doesn’t compete with other 1-10 ranked links. Only paid ads can come before snippets and that’s only for some keywords.
A study conducted by HubSpot showcases the exact value of being featured in a snippet:
As you can see, the click-through rate shows a significant increase when their content is shown in the Answer Box.
Another study was done by Ben Goodsell showing a 516% increase in organic sessions.
Featured snippets are an amazing opportunity for those who want to benefit from SEO. Before we get into the How’s, let’s first explore the three different kinds of featured snippets.
Three Kinds of Featured Snippets
There are three kinds of content that get featured in a snippet:
- Paragraphs (text answers)
- Lists (answers are listed from #1 to #x)
- Tables (the answer is given in a table)
SEMrush reports these featured snippet percentages from 10 million SERPs:
Here’s an example of a text snippet, it’s similar to the one you saw at the beginning:
As you can see, it tries to answer your questions in the most direct way possible. However, there is definitely a chance to improve this answer and I’m sure some coffee blog will come up with it.
In this case, Google extracts a list and shows you the best answers:
In this example, I searched Google for “best movie apps” and it showed me a featured snippet extracted from this website. Although the original answers have headers of their own, Google combined the <h2> elements and created a list to display in a featured snippet.
Snippets also work in table formats, as shown here:
How to Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets?
So, how can you optimize your content to get it featured in an “Answer Box” or “Rich Result”?
There are multiple things you can do here, but let’s start off with the basics — content structure:
You should always provide a direct answer to a specific question or keyword. The best way to do this is to ask the question yourself and then provide a condensed answer for it. Take a look at this example:
As you can see, the snippet contains practical steps on “recipe for turkey”. In fact, recipes are one of the most featured snippets out of all Google searches!
If you’re struggling the find the correct questions, or if it’s too hard to rank for your desired one, take a look at the question box below the snippet to find more similar questions:
You can easily create site content around these questions and get featured there. The best way to go about this is to find a specific keyword answer the “how, why, where, when” questions related to that specific keyword. You can use websites such as Answer the Public to find relevant questions:
To honor the topic, let’s answer some of the frequently asked questions regarding featured snippets.
What is the Optimal Word Count for Featured Snippets?
According to a report from SEMrush, the average word count for featured snippets is between 40-50 words. This mostly applies to paragraph snippets, although the same can be said for lists and tables.
How do I Format the Content for List or Table Snippets?
There is no one specific code or way to format your content for featured snippets. Google analyzes your content and uses everything from bullet points, tables and headlines to come up with a list or table as a result.
Does Voice Search use Featured Snippets?
Yes. In fact, voice search only displays the result found in a featured snippet. This is a huge opportunity for sites because the voice search industry is growing each year.
Do I Have to Rank Highly to Get Featured?
Yes, but it doesn’t have to be rank 1. The featured snippet research by Ahrefs shows that 99.58% of featured pages already show up in the top 10 Google rankings. However, 70% of those results came from the page ranked below the first one. This means you have to be on the first page, but not necessarily ranked #1 to get featured. In fact, according to this statistic, it’s better if you rank less than #1.
Featured snippets are an incredible opportunity to increase your website traffic and get more clicks. The best way to get featured is to optimize your site content to make sure Google can feature it in the snippet. There are no shortcuts to this, however, using the tips from this article will help you achieve that position #1 on Google.