How to Score a Featured Snippet

Content | SEO

Organic search has evolved in what has felt like a blink of an eye.  And once again, it has changed, encouraging websites to answer questions and provide useful information relevant to search queries by rewarding them with a specially-designed top ranking spot to draw attention to their correct, credible answer.  That top-ranking spot is the called the featured snippet, and this is how you can score it for your company.

How do you rank in featured snippets?

You may find yourself asking “How do I get a featured snippet?” Well, you are asking yourself the wrong question completely. Check out what you should do to earn that featured snippet.  Solely focusing on “getting” a featured snippet only considers the final product and doesn’t force you to evaluate what separates it from the standard organic rankings below.  Featured snippets utilize content that is completely different from standard organic content, and thus require a completely different content optimization strategy.  So, your focus needs to be on optimizing your content specifically for a featured snippet.  But how?

The first thing you need to know is not every search result or query has a featured snippet.  Featured snippets are used to provide an answer to a user’s QUESTION up front, so focus your keyword research on question-based queries and informational long-tail terms.  So, make sure your focus terms start with one of the 5 Ws or one H, and make sure those terms are complete, conversational thoughts, as long-tail keywords tend to be.  The best place to search for these terms is Google’s very own “People Also Ask” section, whenever you see one in the search results.  Here, Google is basically giving you a free look at what questions they deem relevant or related to a topic.  Have more questions about question-based search queries?  Check out Emily’s post all about them.

If you are a metal stamping company that is working to draw particular attention to the different metal stamping services you offer, you can pose your informational content describing each service to answer a basic question about your service.  Make sure you answer the question clearly, concisely, and towards the beginning of your content, and go into detail further along in your content.  Do this, and it could be YOUR answer from YOUR content in that zero position (which I discuss more in the next section) when a user types in “what is brass stamping?”.

What is the zero-position on a SERP?

The zero position on a SERP is the very top position of the search results where featured snippets are found, even higher up (and more prominently showcased, hence “featured”) than the rest of the organic search results on the page, even the #1 ranking every site strives toward.  Essentially, the zero-position is another name for the featured snippet.  Google has stated that featured snippets are specially enhanced to draw user attention to that zero-position result on a SERP.  And since the zero-position hosts pieces of informational content that directly answer an (often question-based) search query, having your content in this position does wonders for your brand expertise and credibility.  Essentially, the zero-position is the new black.

What are the benefits of featured snippets?

Just like there are obvious benefits to ranking in the #1 spot organically, there are even greater benefits to ranking ahead of number one, in the zero-position (or in a featured snippet, with which that position is synonymous).  The most obvious benefit of a featured snippet is the increase in website traffic (which has the potential to be significant) that it will bring.  If you find that a certain page has experienced a mass influx of visitors to your site, and other, somewhat related pages get more visits as a result, you can investigate that page as well as the queries that triggers it to appear organically, and know for sure that it got a snippet, while knowing what queries trigger it.

The second and arguably the most meaningful benefit of featured snippets is the increase in conversions they bring.  Your organic appearance before a potential customer IS your first impression, and you make a strong one by answering a question that their query asks and being rewarded for it with a featured snippet.  You’ve just proven your value to your potential customer with this information and made them much more likely to inquire further with additional questions or a request for a quote.

If you’re that metal stamping company I mentioned earlier, and you’ve written your informational content about brass stamping that quickly answers what it is, and then further describes your brass stamping process and capabilities, and additionally optimized your content for a question-based query, you’ve put yourself in front of a potential customer and made a great case for why they should choose you for their brass stamping needs.  And based on what they read, they just might reach out asking for more information, or even a quote.

Creating perfect, captivating content is no walk in the park, especially when a completely new strategy is required to earn the new top position.  That’s why Top Floor has SEO and Content Specialists that don’t just have content in their job titles, but in their nature.  Ready to reimagine your content and grow your business?  Drop us a line, preferably in question form.