Google is the most widely used search engine across the globe. As a universally recognized and reliable search engine, Google provides access to all kinds of valuable information and search resources. To maintain this high standard, Google constantly updates their search features and business owners need to learn to adapt their content creation and marketing strategies accordingly.
The introduction of the featured snippets tool has revolutionized the way most people conduct online searches. Since the featured snippets tool was launched, users have come to expect quick answers from reputable sources to all of their search queries. With that in mind, online marketers need to learn how to optimize featured snippets within their content to stay competitive.
What Are Featured Snippets?
Featured snippets are tidbits of website content that provide quick and digestible answers to common search queries based on industry and subject. Featured snippets typically appear towards the top of the search engine results page, just below the paid advertisements. The main difference between Google’s answer box and featured snippets is that the latter links directly to the source of the information whereas the former is provided by the search engine itself (e.g. Google Translates or measurement conversion charts).
Common forms of featured snippets include:
- Textual content such as paragraphs and sentences
- Tables or charts
Featured snippets are typically taken from content that’s already ranking in one of the top 10 spots on a search engine results page (SERP). Structuring content in one or a combination of the abovementioned schema formats not only makes it easier to read and digest, but it’s also been proven to help boost visibility and ranking potential.
After all, the main goal of using featured snippet formatting in your content is to gain more visibility. In SEO, this is what’s known as zero position optimization.
Here are some great tips to boost your Google search optimization and ensure your content reaches featured snippet status.
Structure Subheadings in Question Form
Google typically targets phrases that are in the form of a question when searching for answers to user queries. So, try to structure as many of your subheadings in the form of a question as possible.
Under these subheadings, provide clear and concise answers to the questions posed to increase your rankability on search engine results pages. Use “what” and “is” structured questions to generate greater visibility since these are the most common question formats people use in their search queries.
Optimize for Voice Search
Over the past few years, voice search has seen a massive surge in popularity. More and more people are using tools like Google Assistant, Alexa, and the like to perform voice to text searches. Make sure your content takes on a conversational tone that matches people’s natural speaking patterns to increase your chances of ranking high.
Write Brief Topic Summaries
Topic summaries are introductions to the subject matter your content will be covering. They provide an opportunity to incorporate more keywords into your content, which can help increase your ranking. Topic summaries are meant to captivate your readers and give them a small taste of the information to come without giving away the whole kit and caboodle. You should be able to succinctly describe the topic of your content piece in about two to three sentences.
Avoid Including Your Brand Name in Featured Snippet Content
Unless you’re writing landing pages or static pages for your website, try to avoid mentioning your brand name throughout your content pieces. When users are searching for specific answers to a question, the last thing they want is to be directed to content that reads exactly like a pushy sales pitch. Users just want to get the answers they were searching for from a reputable source.
Don’t use blog posts as an opportunity to advertise your brand, products, or services. All this does is it diminishes your credibility and makes user suspicious that you’re trying to push a certain narrative or agenda. A better way of establishing yourself as an authority figure in your field is to stick to providing factual and useful information on the given topic(s) of your blog posts. If users want to contact you directly or are interested in your company, they can refer to your call to action at the bottom of each content page.
Avoid Using First Person Narratives in Blog Posts
Keep in mind that voice search is currently the most prevalent form of search. Voice search devices only read featured snippet text aloud to users without mentioning their links or sources that they come from. That means that all of your content has to make contextual sense based on the keywords used and the user’s search intent, not just the context of the content itself.
For instance, if a user asks for the nutritional information of a banana, it makes more sense to say something along the lines of “Bananas are a great source of potassium” rather than “Our bananas are a great source of potassium”.
Even if you run a grocery store or work in the food service industry, the user who’s conducting a voice search query doesn’t know that. Providing general accurate information on a given subject yields the following positive results in your favour:
- It reduces the chance of confusion from the user
- Improves content quality and flow
- Establishes you as an authoritative figure in your industry
- Increases your SERP rankings
Condense Featured Snippets in Content
One trend we’ve seen in recent years is that Google has started automatically condensing or scaling back content from reputable sources to turn it into a featured snippet on their SERPs. H3 tags and subheadings are being presented in list or bullet format on SERPs to provide quick answers to users. But when users click on the link, each bullet point is presented as its own subheading with more detailed explanations underneath.
This action taken on by Google suggests that the entire content markup can be mapped out in such a way that whole articles can be presented as minimized featured snippets to boost zero position optimization.
Numero Uno Web Solutions is one of the most trusted SEO companies in North America. We provide results-driven SEO and web marketing strategies that are geared toward helping small- and medium-sized businesses improve their local and organic search rankings. Contact us today to learn more.