What Exactly are Featured Snippets?Featured snippets can take a number of forms, depending on the type of information they are trying to convey. Featured snippets are text-based but can include images. A featured snippet usually includes the page’s title and URL (along with a link) with some combination of: email marketing” may return a paragraph of text with a definition: A search for “how to tie shoes” may return a numbered list of step-by-step instructions: By understanding the answers people are looking for when they perform a search and formatting your content with the featured snippet in mind, you can often easily snag a featured snippet.
How to Optimize for Featured SnippetsTo avoid wasting time, optimize strategically for featured snippets. The best approach is to target terms where your content already ranks on the first page of results and where your competitor provides the featured snippet on that page. You can do this via a tool like SEMrush, which lists featured snippets that a particular site ranks for. Start by targeting the low-hanging fruit, for example featured snippets that don’t give the correct answer or those drawn from poorly formatted or low-quality sites. Once you’ve decided on a list of terms to target, you can set about optimizing your content. While this article isn’t long enough to cover every scenario, there are a few general rules:
- Repeat the question (e.g., the search query or the question implicit in that search query) clearly and prominently on the web page.
- Provide a short and direct answer.
- Answer the question as fully as possible. For example, include a list of instructions, images or diagrams, data, or rankings.
- Structure your page in a logical way so both users and search engines can quickly and easily find the information they need.
- Remove all extraneous information, anything off topic.
- Concentrate on providing the clearest and most thorough answer to the question posed by the searcher.
Getting Ready for Voice SearchYou might ask what this all has to do with voice search. A recent Backlinko study found that 41% of Google voice search results came from featured snippets. Hence, ranking for a featured snippet gives you a better chance of appearing in voice search results. As searchers move into a more voice- and mobile-centric era, targeting featured snippets should become a key part of your SEO strategy. While featured snippets are obviously a large factor, according to the Backlinko study, several other factors should be considered when trying to rank for voice search, including:
- Page speed – the average voice search result loads in 4.2 seconds
- HTTPS – make sure your site is secure
- Concise answers or explanations – the typical voice search result is only 29 words
- Domain authority – obtain high-quality backlinks
- Social engagement –the average voice search result has 1,199 Facebook shares and 44 tweets
- Easy to read – the average voice search result is written at a 9th-grade reading level
- Long-form content – the average count of a voice search result page is over 2,000 words