The last few years has seen a lot of change to the Google search results as they have been refining the way that they display results to their customers. In particular, Google has been increasing the number of Featured Snippets that it displays for questions based searches. So, what’s a Featured Snippet and what do you have to do to appear there? We discuss this in our blog:

What are Featured Snippets?

Featured snippets are a type of Google search result listing which provide users with direct answers to questions entered into the search engine. We have provided an example below to show you what featured snippets look like, located just below the ad:

featured snippet

How can my website show for featured snippets?

As always, Google give little information away when explaining how websites can appear for featured snippets. Saying that, they have stated that featured snippets “programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question”, extracting information from a site’s web page and displaying the most useful information within the search result.

Google have made it clear that featured snippets are reflective of the information on a website, meaning that you can structure and optimise the content on your website in order to try and get featured. Featured snippets presents a real opportunity for smaller businesses to get featured within this area.

What impact will featured snippets have on my website?

The impact of featured snippets on organic site traffic is a widely-debated issue. It is feared that featured snippets hinder traffic as users are given the information they are looking for directly on the Google homepage, meaning the customer may not have any need to click into the site for more information.

On the otherhand, it is argued that due to the prominent positioning and often visual nature of the search result, more users are likely to click through to the site associated with the featured snippet.

A study conducted by Search Engine Land points to how a featured snippet led to a 516% increase in traffic. The case study highlights how smaller, less powerful websites can gain fantastic organic visibility through good content.

How to optimise your website for featured snippets

In order to appear for featured snippets, you need to carry out research to find out what your customers are searching for. These types of searches are referred to as “long tail searches”, something which we identify at the beginning of engaging with a new company.

Once you’ve found out what people are searching for, you need to create new content around this subject – this is where your blog can become extremely valuable.  You need to ensure that each page has sufficient on-page optimisation and formatting. You may have read our previous blog with our website and SEO checklist, but here we quickly summarise the most important part for featured snippets:

  1. Does your content answers the question identified in the research?
  2. Do you include the answer early in the content with a short and concise answer? (remember where this answer has to fit)
  3. Have you included the search query within the page URL?
  4. Have you formatted your content appropriately within HTML tags ( <table>, <p>, <ol> or <ul>).
  5. Have you ensured the primary question is included in the page heading (<h1> tag)
  6. Have you included related questions within sub heading and marked them up using <h2> tags
  7. Have you labelled all your images?

To Conclude

Over the past couple of years featured snippets have risen in prominence. With Google powered by the semantic and informational search-driven Hummingbird algorithm, we can only see search engine results evolving further to provide a much richer, quicker and more informative experience to users seeking out answers.

If you have any questions about your SEO strategy or need any research creating to find out what your customers are searching for, and who your customers are, get in touch with us today.