Rank For Featured Snippet: 3 Do’s And Don’ts

Rank For Featured Snippet: 3 Do’s And Don’ts

Rank For Featured Snippet Blog

The demand for fast, relevant answers found is repeatedly increasing in the need for digital content. It’s really important in today’s competitive market that marketers think about the context of their customer on the path to purchase;

  • How fast they should be getting the information they need,
  • Where are they searching from,
  • What devices are they typically using to get to you,
  • Are you answering to their needs,

….and the list to understand your customers can actually go on and on. When a business gets to know and achieve all of these, they are in for a gold mine.

In order to provide the best user experience to the searches, Google provides a short snippet of relevant content a user can get in the first glance without having to read through a 2,500-word article.

At this stage, you can’t deny that featured snippets are a super interesting phenomenon. To successfully rank for featured snippet is considered one of the biggest and most promising SEO achievements in 2019 and beyond.

Let’s dive right in.

What is A Featured Snippet?

Featured snippet from Google Blog

To many, it is also referred to as a position 0. Pretty straightforward; Position 0 is a position that appears higher than the #1 rank.

Well, featured snippets were first introduced back in 2014, where a method of presenting content relevant to “what is…” or “how to…” emerged.

The goal here is to offer users immediate and easy-to-digest answers at the top of the search results with sufficient information. The results returned are pulled from high-ranking sites that Google trusts and feels have the most accurate answers.

Surely, this position is a very powerful space to occupy in the SERP. When it comes to SEO, 0 is the new number #1.

When your business provides the definitive answer to a question, that’s a powerful statement about your brand. Not only that, if you are able to rank for featured snippet, it has been shown to vastly improve statistics such as organic traffic, CTRs, ranks, and conversions.

According to Search Engine Watch in their data analysis, position 0 ranks in an astounding 32.3% in CTR. As it is placed higher than the first ranking and can be seen first, it only makes sense that it obtains the highest market share compared to the others below it.

What Does A Featured Snippet Look like?

A featured snippet is framed by a box, and positioned at the top of the results, but below the paid ads. Like this:

inbound vs outbound marketing

Yes, getting into position 0 might be an awesome thing for businesses but it requires crafting great answers and good SEO.

If you’re wondering how Google generates these featured snippets, you’ve come to the right place! Well, the results are generated organically, based on the relevance of information provided.

Google programmatically searches for the answer on websites, determines the best and displays it for the searches. Pages that Google chooses to feature are of high-authority, high quality, and well-structured that is clearly relevant to the users.

After several algorithm updates, it has been more about “them” (users) and less about “you”. What we do know is that Google is highlighting the need for websites to focus on content that is relevant to the user.

No doubt, Google is investing efforts into optimizing featured snippets results, and this should give marketers a pause and realization that Google will only put its importance on featured snippets or position 0 from now on.

The Do’s

Instead of coming up with another article on the power of position 0 (we previously wrote about it), I thought I should come up with the Do’s and Don’ts that will give you a better understanding of how to workaround this topic.

1.Do brainstorm question and informational queries to target

brainstorm question and informational queries to target featured snippets

First things first, not every single search term you aim for has featured snippets. They only show up in some types of searches so don’t target everything you come across.

Instead, the main thing to think about is the question and informational queries that you should be targeting. For instance, someone searching for “best facial product” could be essentially looking for answers to the question “How can I improve my skin condition”? So both terms would fall into this category.

The best way to figure out what you’re really looking for is to start doing searches. Start by testing out numerous keywords in Google to see which query returns with a snippet result. Upon doing this, you will achieve:

i) Get a better feel for the types of queries that often feature snippets

Google related answers

ii) Each search will give you more ideas to target other keywords by looking at the “Searches Related To” section and “People Also Ask” section.

People also ask for featured snippet

Your end goal here is to come up with an endless list of keyword possibilities; the more you have to start, the better your results will be.

2. Do create content aimed at getting snippets

You also need to have a good write up and in-depth content. This is in line when it comes to winning the SEO game as there aren’t any shortcuts but quality content. A checklist of these might be of help:

  • Target your content to be more than 2,000 words
  • Pick a topic that is evergreen
  • Answer your target questions in less than 60 words
  • Use semantic keywords (LSI Keywords) to show the breadth of understanding the topic
  • Create content that will ideally comprise the featured snippets

Which brings us to our next point, that is to know the several types of featured snippets present in Google’s search. Note that not every type of these snippets applies to your site.

Generally, there are 5 different forms of snippets that you could find when a result is returned;
paragraphs, lists, tables, videos, and two-in-one. I will be telling you more on these right away.

(i) Paragraphs

Featured snippets in the form of a paragraph are the most popular ones to be shown. The results are shown in a short chunk of words. Research says that there are about 80% featured snippets of this form.

The challenge here is that Google is going to pull out just a section of your text. To rank for this, you have to be on top of your page structure and provide answers in less than 60 words.

For example, here’s a snippet on “What is a featured snippet”

what is a featured snippet Google query

It’s 58 words long and succinctly answers the question. And here’s the answer as it appears in the article.

(ii) Lists

List Google snippets differ from the one above in that it positions the copy in a summarized list instead of a paragraph. More often than not, you’ll find this kind of snippet explaining to searchers in steps on how to do something, such as recipes.

What’s great about this type of snippet is that it gives clear instructions to the searchers and takes them through a step by step process. It’s normal that we all want to have clear guidance on things that we are not sure of right?

Increasing domain authority featured snippet

There are 2 ways list snippets will be shown: ordered and unordered. The example you see above is an ordered list. On the flip side, the unordered lists are results that come in bullet points.

The way to win this type of snippet would be to start with the words “Step X” in H2 headings. Google will pull out all of these steps to populate the snippet. Here’s an example of “The Best Place To Travel”

the best place to travel Google query snippet

In your content, make it clear that each subhead is a new step with clear content hierarchy (heading tags 1,2 and so forth).

(iii) Tables

In a table format, information is structured ways that make data easy to read directly from the SERPs.

These results will show up as a summary collection from data sets such as prices, dates, product specs, years and other numerical data.

Don’t worry about how Google is going to pull out the information searches look for as they made it possible to recreate its own table when it comes to featured snippets, as in the example below:

Federal holidays 2019 united states

Featured snippet tables can come in more than one column, so don’t feel limited by the amount of information you show. In fact, if you are aiming to rank in this format, remember to look at the size; have a table with more than 4 rows to increase the chance of getting clicks to your site.

(iv) Videos

These days, Google is so sophisticated that it features snippets from Youtube as well.

Imagine it’s Sunday morning and you’d like to make yourself a french toast but you’re not quite sure how to. So you head to Google, and search for “How to make a french toast”. Yes, a written list of instructions would be great, but in this case, a video would be better, right?

Here’s an example of how a video snippet looks like:

How to HIIT workouts - Google Search

So, be sure to optimize your snippets if you’re planning to rank for position 0 too!

(v) Two-In-One

This featured snippet may appear to be quite the same as the above, but it actually has its differences too. This kind of snippet shows 2 sources of answers in one box.

That goes to say, the two-in-one snippets will show the content from one site, and the visuals to the right are drawn from another site.

difference between http vs https featured snippet

The example above perfectly answers your curiosity. Notice that the image is sourced from SEOPressor whereas the text is sourced from instantssl?

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to present it in this way. To increase your chances of ranking for a featured snippet, include helpful, relevant visuals with your content.

3. Do focus on long-tail keywords

Write in conversational tone

If you’ve noticed closely, most featured snippets in the search include evergreen content that targets long-tail keyword phrases.

These long-tail keywords not only helps in search engine rankings, but it also drives high-quality traffic to your website. To put it simply, long-tail keywords have very high conversion rates.

Imagine this situation: Would you walk up to a friend and say “Pizza Recipes”? I hope you don’t.

Instead, you’d be saying “What’s a good pizza recipe?”. Google is preparing themselves that its users are more likely to use a search engine to ask real, human questions. This is aligned to their state of growing voice search at the same time.

Besides, have you noticed one thing?

All the featured snippet screenshots in this entire post are of long-tail keywords too! Here’s another one for you:

short or long tail keywords

That goes to say, your chances of ranking for position 0 is higher now!

The Don’ts

1. Don’t Be Discouraged If You Are Not #1

Featured snippet that does not come from the first rank

The easiest way to get featured on position 0 is to have your website appearing in the 1st page of SERP. It is not necessary that you rank #1, so long you are in the top 10 ranking for that particular query.

According to a study by Gestat, they found out that over 70% of featured snippets does not come from the #1 rank. Instead, it comes from what is seen as an authoritative site by Google that answers to the user’s intent.

This is further confirmed when Ahrefs did a study, saying 99.58% of featured snippets are already ranked in the top 10 for multiple keywords. With that, it shows webmasters how important it is to be deemed trustworthy if you want to have more of your sites to rank high on Google.

2. Don’t Neglect On Your Formatting

All the steps mentioned may be meat and vegetables, but you can’t forget your sides.

Although headings may seem unimportant, but they do increase your chances of showing as a featured snippet! If you’ve done your homework on on-page SEO, you’ll know that header tags like h1, h2, h3, and h4 are essential components.

Include the question as a heading and answer the question below, directly like this:

H2 headings in blog

These subheading tags should be used to help search engines read and understand the content. Be direct!

3. Don’t Leave Out User Experience


Last but not least, you should not miss out on user experience.

Just because you answered a question straight up on a page, Google doesn’t have to choose your page as a featured snippet. When you think about it logically, it makes sense.

Everyone knows that Google is making extra effort to provide the best user experience online. I’m pretty sure that the highest ranking results have great on-page and off-page optimization, which is what makes them great and ranking at the #1.

These sites have beneficial and relevant content produced at the same time offering great user experience and are responsive. One of the standards to maintain a great user experience can start with images, videos, and easy-to-use navigation.

If a featured snippet is in place, it only proves that users are happy with what they have found and it’s a vote of approval by them.


So is Google’s featured snippets here to stay?

Right now, all indication leads to a big YES. As Google focuses on user intent and user experience, featured snippets will only continue to gain more traction. This means it could be well worth your time to optimize your chances of achieving a position at the very top today.

Getting featured as a Google snippet requires implementation of all the strategies mentioned above and is not the result of only a few tweaks. Better not let your competitors have all the fun, so get to work and earn those snippets today.

If you managed to rank for a featured snippet, do let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear how you are getting on targeting some of these new and exciting SERP features.

Updated: 25/3/19


Join 100,000+ fellow SEO marketers! Get RankReveal’s latest insights straight to your inbox.
Enter your email address below: