While it’s true that it’s not getting any easier to rank highly on the first page of Google, it’s not impossible. In fact, even if you don’t have the first place, you can still outrank those fortunate few who have worked tirelessly to achieve that coveted first-place ranking. How so? With what is known as Google featured snippets.
Not sure what that is or perhaps you know what it is but want to learn a bit more about its importance and how you can secure a Featured Snippet ranking? In this post, we are going to have an in-depth look at these highly prized positions that many marketers are not yet fully benefiting from.
What Are Google Featured Snippets?
Even if you don’t recognise it by the name, or its other terms, zero result or position zero, you’ll know what it is when we explain them more.
It’s that special block that comes up directly above the first proper organic ranking. It normally addresses the direct answer to queries or questions, such as how/why/when/where/what and who, etc.
It usually takes the form of a video, table, list or paragraph along with a webpage URL, page title and publication date. They are somewhat like Knowledge Graphs and Rich Answers but differ from those in that the information is pulled from an organic listing on the first page of Google results, so therefore the website gets a special bit of credit via this placement.
The premise is to make life easier, as ever, for the humble Google user. It provides an answer to a user’s question immediately right there in the search results, at least a brief summary, without them having to go on the merry hunt through the content supplied by first-page result sites.
Had that eureka moment and realised you’ve seen featured snippets a hundred times before?
Now you know what Featured Snippets are, let’s look at the different types of Featured Snippets used.
Types of Featured Snippets
You will find and probably already know, even if again you don’t know the official names for them, that Featured Snippets take the form either as Table Snippets, List Snippets (both numbered and bulleted) and Paragraph Snippets.
Let’s look at these in greater detail.
1. Table Featured Snippet
The Table Featured Snippets are incredibly popular, believe it or not, accounting for around 29% of all the snippets found on Google. Users love them and Google loves them because it enables them to show off their capabilities with them.
Rather than the Table Featured Snippets just taking the information from a site and spitting it onto the search results page in exactly the way it’s formatted on its site, they can pull the exact and precise information a user has been searching for and recreate the table catering directly to the user.
2. List Featured Snippets
List Featured Snippets take two unique and interesting forms – as bulleted lists and numbered lists:
Bulleted List Featured Snippets
Whether you are looking to become a pro SEO master or a content manager, Bulleted List Featured Snippets are something you should try to use. Listicles, yes, that irritating clickbait, but attractive and easy to digest articles are ideal for this kind of Featured Snippet. It doesn’t even matter if you are listing them or you are trying to rank with them.
Bulleted Featured List Snippets normally present information on
- Feature Lists
- Unranked Items
- Ranked Items
- Best of Lists
Numbered List Featured Snippet
Another type of List Featured Snippet is in the form of a numbered list and they are often used to quickly highlight a step-by-step guide of some kind, like recipes for instance. These kinds of Snippets are effective because although they give all the information away, or most of it, users are still likely to click through to see any accompanying content or fuller descriptions of the listed items.
Some of the most common Numbered List Featured Snippets include:
- How do I
- How to
- DIY tasks
That’s not all….
Besides those three main types of Featured Snippets, there are two others you are likely to have seen at some point – The Two-For-One-style Snippet and the YouTube Snippet.
Two-For-One style Snippet – often, Google will make the user’s workload even easier by pulling two sites, rather than just one site that answer their question or query.
YouTube Snippet – thinking beyond websites, Google likes to pull, when it can, YouTube links as well to answer queries and search questions. Rather than just providing the link, you often get Featured Snippets where you can play the video right there in the search results.
How to Rank for Featured Snippets
So, now you know what Google Featured Snippets are and the different types of Featured Snippets there are, you probably are thinking ‘great, now I want to rank for these – How do I do it?’. There are several simple ways you can try to do it.
Carry out research into keywords with a more direct focus on answering questions.
- Questions are the best way to get a Featured Snippet placement. You can either use free tools like Answer The Public and People also ask on Google to find popular long-tail keywords that are questions or paid-for tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs that can even let you see which, if any, of your keywords currently rank for Featured Snippets.
Write content and provide imagery with it that addresses the keyword you want to rank for directly.
- Featured Snippets normally just features a few lines of text or a table, around 54 to 58 words – if we are being precise. You will preferably want to answer the keyword question within the first couple of sentences, before diving into it more with your supporting content.
Format properly so Google reads it more easily.
- Don’t go to all the trouble of the first two steps without garnishing them. Format the pages you want to be featured in the Featured Snippet. Use standard HTML tags to allow Google to scan better for pages, meaning <h2> and <h3> tags for bullet points and questions and then <p> (paragraph tags) for the section of text or <li>, <ul> or <ol> for lists.
Now you know what featured snippets are and the ways to rank better with them, you are more in tune with SEO and set for more hits.