How To Optimize Content To Earn a Featured Snippet
Winning strategies for securing a spot at position zero based on Google’s updated algorithm.
When a user types in a query on Google, there’s a small block of text that pops up at the top of the search results. This is called a featured snippet.
For businesses, securing a featured snippet for a particular search term can provide a big boost to their organic traffic. It can help them drive more clicks to their websites and improve their search engine results page (SERP) rankings without the need to tap into paid search.
However, Google’s algorithm changes from time to time, so earning a featured snippet isn’t as simple as it seems. But there are strategies that can help businesses increase their chances of landing this most coveted spot amid Google’s ever-changing ranking signals.
Write with Brevity
Don’t beat around the bush; get straight to the point. To rank for featured snippets, it’s important to present all necessary information in the most concise manner. The topic must be explained in no more than three sentences. Define the topic in the first sentence. Use the second and third sentences to provide supporting facts to the first statement.
For instance, when you look up ‘content management system,” Google pulls up this featured snippet that captures its definition—A content management system (CMS) is a software application that enables users to create, edit, collaborate, and publish and store digital content. CMSes are typically used for enterprise content management (ECM) and web content management (WCM). This featured snippet explains the term with clarity and brevity while providing the most important details about the topic. So when writing content, stick to a simple format and steer clear of complicated phrasing and unnecessary words when creating definitions.
Focus on Format
Introduce the sections of your content with succinct headings. This informs the search engine that the information underneath can be pulled into a featured snippet. In fact, according to Search Engine Land, most web pages that receive featured snippets incorporate headings into their content.
When writing headings, it’s best to format them into questions so Google can easily match them to specific search queries. For instance, use “What are the Benefits of Performance Testing?” as a heading to the content section dedicated to enumerating the advantages of performance testing. Make sure that your headings are succinct and straightforward and provide a clear context to the information.
Use The Right Triggers
Insert trigger terms in your content to increase your appearances on featured snippets. For example, content with terms associated with time such as “often,” “when,” “age,” “years,” and “last” show up more in featured snippets, according to STAT Research Analytics. Content with question-related term, such as “causes,” “definition,” “meaning,” and “define” also appear more in this coveted spot.
There are also a set of trigger terms for each subject matter, such as finance, mathematics, occupation, and so on. Indeed, there are trigger words for each topic, so be sure to keep them in mind when writing content, especially those with specialized topics. Furthermore, keep in mind that high search-volume keywords appear twice as often on the featured snippets. So make it a point to build content around keywords that are relevant to your topic.
Observe the optimal word count for featured snippets. According to SEMRush, most content featured at position zero contains 40 to 50 words. Meanwhile, Hubspot recommended an ideal word count of no less than 58 words to rank for featured snippets. While Google doesn’t impose an exact minimum length for featured snippets, its algorithm appears to prioritize digestible information over lengthy texts.
So turn your content into bite-sized chunks. Keep your sections fewer than 60 words each to increase their chances of being pulled up. Formatting information into lists and tables also helps keep your content within the optimal word count. Aside from that, it makes your content more readable, which can help you outperform competitors.
Add Some Assets
Featured snippets aren’t all text; sometimes they come with images and videos to better explain a topic. So don’t be afraid to throw in some multimedia assets into your content. Not only does it provide better context to information, it also helps boost user engagement within your webpage.
Video can also help you rank for featured snippets. Just make sure to include transcriptions of your content to help Google’s algorithm determine context.