Did your website ever experience having a low click-through rate? The zero-click searches caused by Google’s featured snippets could be the reason behind it. Learn the different types of featured snippets on SERPs and how to optimize your content for them.
A featured snippet is a box of information that instantly answers a user’s query on Google’s search result pages. Google first introduced featured snippets in 2014 to improve the search experience of users by instantly displaying the most relevant information at the very top of search result pages like the image below.
These snippets are also referred to as Zero-Click Searches because they led 49% of all Google searches to result in no clicks. This implies that users are satisfied with the information of the snippet, and no longer find it necessary to visit a ranked result unless they want additional knowledge about the subject. These snippets are also called position “zero” because they rank above the rest of the SERP results.
Due to this, organic ranking results are losing traffic. For example, Wikipedia lost 21% of its traffic since the launch of position zero.
While these snippets decrease traffic to organic search results, having such a featured snippet can give your website more exposure and additional traffic as your site ranks right on top of all organic search results. There have been several websites experiencing a respectable increase in traffic and CTR while having a featured snippet on Google’s SERP.
But for this exceptional position, you must optimize your website. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss numerous ways to optimize your site and its content for Zero-Click Searches. But first, let’s understand its various types.
These are five types of featured snippets:
Paragraph snippets usually appear when you search for queries with “how-to”, “who”, “why”, “what”, etc.
Lists are further divided into two parts: numbered and bulleted.
The numbered list featured snippets usually appear when users search for a step-by-step tutorial such as “how to brew coffee”.
Bulleted lists are usual lists that do not require to be in sequence. For example, if you search for “latest Apple products”, you’ll get this:
Google features tables on SERPs as well as below.
Videos get featured snippets as well. Either they are featured entirely, or Google provides you with a suggested clip.
Sometimes, Google displays two featured snippets together or get the paragraph content from one website and an image from another to couple them together to provide more rich results.
Moreover, there are “snippet-like” results on SERPs that is worth noting to avoid any confusion:
These are small tools that provide immediate answers to the user’s query. One of these queries includes performing a simple calculus.
Another query that will give you an instant answer is checking the weather.
Or when you want to find out the meaning of definitions.
The knowledge panel contains additional information about your query. Mostly, they appear on the right side of the SERP when you search for an entity (e.g. organization, public figure, food, color, etc.)
Or search queries about diseases are another way to see a knowledge panel.
Before beginning with the optimization process, you should check whether your target keywords have a featured snippet. There are several ways and tools with which you can check whether you have a featured snippet, but one good way is to use the Rank Overview module by RankWatch to determine this.
Login to RankWatch (the tool has a 14-day free trial) and access the Ranking Overview Dashboard to find the keywords for which you have obtained a featured snippet.
Under ranking overview, check “additional ranks” of your target keywords.
These “additional ranks” represent whether your target keywords have acquired a featured snippet or not. The data collected by RankWatch include:
Green icon: Signifies that your domain acquired the knowledge panel answer box for the keyword.
Blue icon: This means there are a knowledge panel and answer box for your target keyword, but your domain is not ranking for it.
Grey icon: Implies that there are no knowledge panels and answer boxes on the first SERP for the target keyword.
Other than this, check keywords for which you rank in the top 10 results but don’t have a featured snippet. RankWatch provides data related to your current rankings next to the additional ranks too.
Google extracts the data for the featured snippets from websites ranking on the first page of the SERP. So, if you already have a page ranking in the top result page, you can tweak it a bit to acquire a featured snippet.
Creating high-quality and information-rich content is necessary to get a SERP position, and it becomes crucial if you want to acquire a featured snippet. Hence, you must create well-researched content that is relevant to the users and the best answers to their queries.
To get featured on SERPs, webmasters must conduct thorough research for question-based keywords and optimize them in content. Also, you will find that featured snippets appear mostly for questions like “what,” “where,” “when,” “who,” “why,” “can,” “how,” and so on.
Several keyword research tools can help you create a database of such question-based keywords. One of these tools is Twinword Ideas. Twinword Ideas provides you with numerous keyword suggestions. You need to enter the “keyword,” click on “search,” and that’s it. You will have a wide range of keyword suggestions.
You can narrow down the list by targeting keywords with “what,” “why,” “how,” etc.
To do that, you can either add a custom filter under the popular topics feature as seen below.
Or, you can use the ‘Include / Exclude’ smart filter and include all the question-based words you like, such as “what,” “why,” “how,” etc.
Understand the user-intent and then start shortlisting and adding keywords to your database or keyword target list. Once the keyword target list is created, you can start writing the contents.
Images break the monotony of textual information and keep the readers engaged. And if you use related images in your content, then your chances of getting featured in double-featured snippet increases. Moreover, crawlers read the images and their alt-texts as well before featuring them. Therefore, you must use relevant and high-quality images in your content and make sure to use relevant and descriptive alt-text.
Providing a structure to your content helps the crawlers index and rank your domain effectively. In addition to this, it improves the User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) of your website. Structuring the content includes the utilization of appropriate heading tags, title tags, etc. It also includes dividing the content into points and paragraphs while breaking the monotony of texts with visuals.
Dividing your content into pointers and steps or lists increases its chances to get featured in form of lists and tables on SERPs.
There are numerous ranking opportunities when optimizing for question-based keywords. You can not only earn the opportunity to achieve the featured snippet but also the “people also ask” section. This section includes other relevant queries associated with the searched one. Google lists these questions because users search for them. You add an FAQ section in your site’s content to increase the potential of your website to rank in “people also ask,” if not the featured snippet.
You need quality links pointing to your content to boost its potential of ranking on SERPs and the featured snippets. Link building can increase the traffic driven to your website, followed by the domain authority. And if your site has a higher Domain Authority (DA) and its content follows the optimization techniques as mentioned earlier, then it will become easier for your content to acquire a featured snippet.
Once you are done with the optimization, wait for a month or two before monitoring whether your target keyword acquired a featured snippet or not. Furthermore, you can increase your chances of achieving it further by keeping the word count of a definition within your content between 54 to 58 words.
For instance, if you are writing on SEO and one of its headings is “what is SEO?”, then you should define SEO within 58 words. It is seen that most featured snippets have content limited to the mentioned word count. So, it is time that you optimize your content for featured snippets and improve your SERP performance.
After reading this post, if you have any doubts or suggestions, please mention them in the comments below.
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