Hey Google, what is a featured snippet?
The goal of SEO is to increase visits to your website with quality leads by improving your site’s search visibility with keyword rich results, aiming for the #1 spot on Google. But there is another spot, position #0 also known as the Google Feature Snippet. 53% of marketers are actively trying to rank for Google Featured Snippets because they dramatically improve your organic traffic. Over the next few hundred words we’ll go through how and why you should consider snippets when writing your content.
According to Google, featured snippets are pulled from web search listings that their automated system determines are a good fit to feature to meet a specific search request. Since snippets are automatically generated from page content, it is best to write areas of your content that you know respond to certain questions in a way that would be easy for Google to pick up on.
“We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself. They’re especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.” – Google
Positioning your content to be “snippet-ready”
While none of us can guarantee that a certain piece of content will be chosen for a featured snippet, there are some tips and tricks that content creators and webmasters use to attract Google’s attention. The first is rich results, or structured data, which helps Google understand your web pages. The second is meta descriptions, which typically increases organic click through rates (CTR) on their own by providing relevant search results for users. Google sometimes uses <meta> tag content to generate snippets if they think the description gives users a more accurate description offered directly from the page content itself.
Optimizing for mobile and voice search can help your featured snippet strategy
In 2020, the number of mobile search users in the United States reached 221 million, and 20% of those searches were done using voice search. Optimizing content for voice and mobile search is not too dissimilar from standard SEO practices. Keeping information clear and concise is an easy way to optimize your content. When you are specific and write conversational content that answers questions that your audience may ask, the content may rank better overall. Formatting content in this way signals to Google that your content is perfect to use for featured snippets.
How to check if your site has a featured snippet on Google
Long story short, there’s no free way to see whether any of your website’s pages are featuring as snippets. You can use tools such as MozPro or SEMRush to get the most detail about your pages and tracked keywords that have been featured in snippets. There were some workarounds making their way through the SEO-expert community following a Google update in August 2020, but the most effective one was no longer returning results as of late February 2021. However, we can still see pages that were featured with the URL change on Google Search Console up until that point, which is helpful when creating new content for your website. You can learn more about ways to see which pages on your site may be ranking for featured snippets in our upcoming posts in our Featured Snippet SEO series.