Using Featured Snippets to Your Advantage

22 Jun, 2020 Content Optimization

Google initially introduced featured snippets to its Search Engine Results Page (SERP) in 2014, and they have since become one of the more notable search features for users and content creators alike. 12% of search queries have featured snippets in the results, and more are continuously being added as Google strives to provide users with quick answers while ensuring the results remain relevant. Below, we outline some helpful tips about how to use featured snippets to your advantage.

Understanding Featured Snippets

Featured snippets are spotlighted clips of text from web pages that are showcased on the very top of the SERP. Automatically pulled from the websites, these snippets are specifically aimed at quickly answering the user’s query.

As a result, users have nicknamed these featured snippets “answer boxes,” as they showcase what Google has deemed to be the most appropriate answer for that query. The snippet will typically include four things: information quoted from the website, the page title, a link to the page, and the URL of the page.

Depending on the nature of the search query, there are four types of featured snippets: paragraphs, lists, tables, and videos. Paragraphs seem to be the most common, and lists can come in either bulleted or numbered form.

Shortcut to High Rankings

Presented at the top of the Google organic search results right below the search bar, featured snippets can be seen as a shortcut to organically ranking at the top position. In a study done by Ahrefs, nearly all of the web pages chosen to be the featured snippet were already ranked in the top ten results, meaning the higher your content is currently ranking, the more likely it will be given the featured snippet.

Increased Exposure

Being chosen as the featured snippet can drastically help a website. Featured snippets increase exposure and can be an excellent branding opportunity. This increased visibility on the SERP for relevant topics can help in growing a business’ overall web presence.

Impact on Click-Through-Rates

This increased exposure does not necessarily translate to more clicks, however. Since featured snippets are often responses to basic questions and therefore include the answer within the excerpt, a user typically is not required to further engage with the webpage to get more information. As a result, featured snippets often have reduced click-through-rates (CTRs).

There has been an exception to this trend in regards to detailed search queries. When a query is complex and requires a detailed answer, the snippet can only include a limited amount of information. Therefore, the user is likely to click on the link to get a more comprehensive answer to their question, thus driving up that particular site’s CTR.

Keywords to Trigger Snippets

Google’s decision to include featured snippets for search queries largely depends on the nature of the inquiry and the keywords used. According to research from Ahrefs, a majority of featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords, meaning the more specific a search query is, the more likely a featured snippet will be included. Therefore, it is useful to publish in-depth content that incorporates long-tail keywords.

Keeping Featured Snippets in Mind

While Google does give the option to opt-out of featured snippets, it is in your website’s best interest not to as it may lead to decreased traffic. Instead, as you continue to grow your website and create content, you should keep featured snippets in mind as opportunities to improve.

Whether you are looking to enhance your website’s visibility or improve your SERP ranking, it is useful to consult an expert who has experience in digital marketing.