The introduction of Google Snippets, changing the face of search engine results, raises the bar for marketers to drive traffic to websites. In fact, in a 2015 study by Search Engine Land, more than 19% of queries included snippets. The explosion of voice search has also added to the increased popularity of snippets. If you are reading this, you likely understand how important it is to be shown on Google’s page, preferably as close to the top as possible, and are ready to understand how you can improve your chances of reaching snippet “status”.
Google Searches--The World of Queries Has Changed
There was a time that marketers would base web content on keywords, and only keywords. However, times, they are a ’changing, and along with them, online searching. More one-word (definition style) questions are being performed, and these don’t move traffic. They are not deep queries and don’t often require the visitor to go to another site. Searchers have been trained to getting an answer immediately, which is the main reason for the snippets in the first place! With those queries involving a more detailed response, the ones in the featured snippet will steal a large share of the traffic as searchers are looking for the answer, and even rise above the rich snippets.
What is the difference between a Featured Snippet and a Rich Snippet?
Also known as the quick answer box, this is kind of like being the “star of the show” in an online search. Google chooses which, among many websites providing answers to a specific query, offers the most complete answer. Ranking high with Google organically is hard enough; achieving this premiere spot is even more difficult, although not unattainable. Remember, the Featured Snippet even draws traffic away from the #1 spot! A rich snippet, on the other hand, simply enhances the organic search result, providing a little more detailed information using structured schema data, which may include product or service ratings, as well as pricing options.
Types of Featured Snippets
This most common type of snippet Includes definitions. It can also be a descriptive sentence or a shorter paragraph. Utilizing an FAQ page on your site helps your company answer the question found in the box.
In response to “How to,” this type represents a numbered or bulleted list. The numbered list is often used in process-type queries, such as steps to preparing a recipe or completing a task in multiple stages. The bulleted list snippet is used for rankings and features (like those of a product).
This style, used more for data and statistics, is very popular, but it is one that levels the playing field for marketers. Your tabular information doesn’t have to be presented in a fancy format, and you can be free with the information since there is more freedom in space and amount of data, as Google will create its own simple table with the data.
Optimizing for Snippets
Now that you understand what a featured snippet is and how important the use is to your marketing success, let’s look at some methods which can improve your chances of being in the featured snippet box:
- Find the question you are wanting to rank for and see what Google currently shows. Find the type of snippets so you can modify your website content to be geared towards that type. This is where good long-tailed keyword use comes into play. Additionally, aligning your FAQ with the answers found in featured snippets helps you to optimize your information.
- You should already be optimizing for top rankings, as most featured snippets come from the top 10 rankings. Discover what searchers are saying, their approach and language.
- Format your content using “clean code”, with query placed in an H2 or H3 tag, with the answer (between 54 and 58 words) right below it in paragraph tags.
- Format list and table contents with the right tags.
- Use “priming phrases” to show the visitor that an answer is included. Remember the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY and HOW.
- Track and measure your content over the next few days and if you aren’t getting the performance you need, make modifications to improve your ranking.
Hubspot’s Findings in Support of Achieving Featured Snippet Location
Hubspot’s team found that using “clean code” on already existing URLs resulted in a 10.5% increase in search engine clicks and an overall 10.13% increase in click-thru rates, as well as a positive impact on traffic.
Using Clean Code Formatting in H2/H3 Headers
By adjusting the layout of H1-H2-H3 headers, cleaning up the format and removing unnecessary tags, Hubspot achieved snippet location for 10-15% of the posts they modified.
Style of Snippet Preference
Hubspot performed an experiment to determine which type of snippet Google preferred, and determined that the list style, versus the paragraph style, performed slightly better.
Don’t Give Up on the Featured Snippet Spot
Use the featured snippet code no matter what. Remember Google changes featured snippets regularly so even if you aren’t successful now, you may find success later. Find something that makes your rich snippet stand out. The competition is fierce, but all the players have equal ability to win the top spot! Since Google is continually modifying (evolving) the functionality of featured snippets, provide as much detail as possible; Google may have multiple options for the product/service you have, and one variation could make the difference (location, model, provider, size, etc.). Always submit your pages in the Google Search Console for Google’s Index. This way Google can crawl your site to find a snippet and begin ranking. This may take time!
Search Strategy for Google Snippets
If you are looking to review and modify your current web content and strategy, look to the team at Digital Impact Agency. From design to analysis, branding to performance management, our experts can help you analyze what you have in place, walk you through options for optimization, or even take the reins and lead you into an innovative approach!