If you’ve been using search engine optimization (SEO) to land on page one of Google, you know it takes time…a long time. I often tell clients it’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you want quick results, buy ads.
Well, that’s not the only way to land on page one these days. You can use featured snippets. The best things about them are they are free and are shown before the first ad, and are not hard to create. What’s not so great, is they can be time-consuming to procure.
What’s a featured snippet?
According to Backlinko, “Featured Snippets are short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google’s search results to quickly answer a searcher’s query.” Common forms include definitions, tables, steps, and lists.
Here’s what one looks like for forensic accounting.
Why are they important?
Featured snippets appear before the first search result, often called position #0, which gives your content an opportunity for more organic clicks than other content. According to Search Engine Land, featured snippets get about 8 percent of all clicks.
Featured snippets are also considered zero-click searches or “no-click searches” because users find their answers without clicking a link.
Finally, only about 12 percent of all search queries have a featured snippet, according to SEMRush. That leaves a lot of room for opportunities.
4 Types of Featured Snippets
Four types of featured snippets appear in Google’s search results, including:
- The definition box: A snippet of text with a direct, concise definition or description (like the forensic accounting example above). This type answers a questions query “what is.”
- The table: Data is pulled from a chart or table, e.g., tax brackets.
- An ordered list: A list of items shown in a specific, numbered order or ranking, such as How to Make a Chart of Accounts in 3 Steps (by the way, this doesn’t exist as a snippet…there’s an opportunity for you!). It often answers “how to” queries.
- An unordered list: Presenting a list of items that don’t need to be in order, such as the best accounting software tools (again, no snippet for this one!).
How to Find Keywords for Snippets
Here are some tools to find opportunities – SEMRush, Ahrefs, Serpstat, and Google Search. The easiest one is Google Search. Simply enter a question and view the search results. If there’s a snippet for that questions/keyword combo, then it’s already taken. If not, hello opportunity!
Looking for the questions people ask? Use AnswerThePublic.com. It’s a great resource filled with questions.
How to Create Featured Snippets
There are four steps to earn featured snippet status for your content.
- Do your research. Find out which keywords have low keyword difficulty (KD) and high audience relevance. You can easily find this using Ahrefs. You’ll want to think about how the keyword ties to a pain point your brand solves. You can often see a list of pain points using search and viewing the “People also ask” list.
- Organize your content with the keyword as a question in a heading tag, for example, What Are Internal Controls for Construction? Also, include what internal controls are –keeping the snippet to between 40-60 words.
- Make sure the content you’re generating (you’ll need more than one piece on a keyword topic) is high quality, comprehensive, engaging, and user-focused.
- Keep your end game in mind. What do you want users to do when they click on the snippet link? Does the link lead to a conversion, such as watching the video replay, downloading the checklist, registering for an event, etc?
Bonus: If you’re using WordPress, there are free plugins, including All in One Schema Rich Snippet and Yoast SEO. Visit WPExplorer for details on how to use either plugin.
It’s not easy getting a keyword snippet for your brand, but it’s worth the effort to hold onto a top, organic search spot on Google.
What keyword do you want to rank for? Focus on creating several pieces of high-quality content to help you get there.
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