Search engines offer other types of unpaid placements where your website can rank, one of the most valuable being featured snippets. This guide will cover why it’s important to optimize your website for featured snippets
It would be best if you didn’t restrict your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy to only targeting traditional organic listings.
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Also known as a position zero listing, a featured snippet is an alternative listing containing an expanded excerpt of text related to a search query.
The featured snippets answer a user’s search query by displaying relevant text pulled from a web page. Featured snippets still contain a title and description, but unlike traditional organic listings, they show the description at the top and the title at the bottom.
Why should you optimize your website for featured snippets?
1) Highest Organic Position
A featured snippet is the highest organic position in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Depending on the specific search query, search engines will display a single featured snippet above all other organic listings.
They even rank higher than People Also Ask (PAA) boxes, which is another type of alternative organic listing.
Because they outrank all other organic listings, including traditional and alternative types, featured snippets tend to have high click-through (CTR) rates.
A HubSpot study found that search engine users were more than twice as likely to click a featured snippet than other types of organic listings.
Using a tool like SEMrush, someone can see which phrases are being awarded featured snippets as well as which featured snippets that website has earned.
2) Supported By Google and Bing
Both Google and Bing support featured snippets.
Google began experimenting with featured snippets in January 2014. Later that same year, Bing followed in the Mountain View company’s footsteps by including them in its SERPs.
Google and Bing have tweaked their own feature snippets over the years, but they still display them for many search queries.
Although it doesn’t call them featured snippets, DuckDuckGo displays a similar type of listing.
Known as Instant Answers, it consists of a large and high-ranking box with an excerpt of relevant text from an indexed web page. DuckDuckGo’s Answer Boxes are the equivalent of Google’s and Bing’s featured snippets.
Therefore, optimizing your website for featured snippets will help it rank on three of the most popular search engines.
3) Showcase Images
Optimizing your website for featured snippets allows you to showcase images in the SERPs. Traditional organic listings only consist of text.
Featured snippets are different in the sense that they may include images as well.
Some featured snippets contain a single image at the top, whereas others contain multiple images displayed in a horizontal slider.
Clicking one of these images will take the user to Google Images or Bing Images, where there’s a link pointing to the web page where the picture was published.
As a result, each image displayed in a featured snippet is a new opportunity for search engine users to visit your website.
It’s important to note that search engines may display images from other websites in a featured snippet.
If your website ranks in a featured snippet, for instance, search engines may add images to it from either your site or a competitor’s site.
Conversely, search engines may add some of your website’s images to a competitor’s featured snippet.
4) Reach More Voice Search Users
You can reach more voice search users by optimizing your website for featured snippets.
According to a study conducted by Adobe, nearly half of all U.S. consumers use voice search to find information online.
The voice search refers to the use of a virtual assistant to perform an internet search by speaking the query rather than typing it.
From desktop computers and laptop computers to smart speakers and smartphones, many internet-connected devices support voice searches.
The virtual assistants used in voice searches don’t just return a list of indexed web pages. Instead, they pick an excerpt of relevant text from a single indexed web page, after which the virtual assistant will read it aloud to the user.
While virtual assistants may pull this text from any indexed page, they often choose text included in a featured snippet. Google Assistant, for instance, regularly pulls text from Google’s featured snippets, whereas Amazon Alexa pulls text from Bing’s featured snippets.
6) Increasingly Common
Featured snippets have become increasingly common. According to Moz’s SERP Feature Graph, about one in 10 search queries now show a featured snippet.
Featured snippets haven’t always been this common.
In the past, featured snippets appeared for questions. Search engines, however, now display them for all types of queries.
Failure to target featured snippets in your SEO strategy means other websites; potentially, your competitors will rank in these high-value placements.
Your website may have high organic rankings, but it will never outrank a featured snippet.
7) Improved User Experience
By optimizing your website for featured snippets, you’ll promote a positive experience for your site’s visitors. Featured snippets provide users with a better understanding of what an indexed web page covers.
If a user is interested in the information conveyed in one of your website’s featured snippets, they can click it to visit the web page.
Google’s featured snippets are particularly user-friendly.
Clicking a featured snippet in Google will often take users to the specific section of the indexed web page from which the text excerpt was pulled.
In other words, visitors don’t have to aimlessly scroll down the web page to find the section about the featured snippet. When the web page loads, it will show the appropriate section.
Furthermore, Google may now highlight the text excerpt as it appears on the web page. When a user clicks a featured snippet, the text excerpt will be highlighted on the web page.
Several web browsers, including Chrome and Safari, support Google’s autoscrolling and highlighting of featured snippets.
You can still optimize your website for traditional organic listings, but don’t exclude feature snippets from your SEO strategy.
Because of the unmatched value they offer to users, featured snippets are here to stay.
If users didn’t respond positively to them, Google and Bing would have removed them long ago.
Regardless, targeting featured snippets will help your website succeed in the SERPs.
How To Optimize for a Featured Snippet
Google will often use structured data on a page for the snippet. These are lists, tables, recipes, for example. Sometimes, Google will simply pull a text excerpt, an image, or a video. Using Schema Markup can help.
- Create great content that ranks on page 1 of the search engines.
- Use numbered lists (like this blog post does).
- Include a table of contents.
- Use Video on your web pages.
- Use FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).
- Include images on the page.
- Use Schema Markup (Most SEO WordPress Plugins offer this).
- Include the answers to top questions within your blog content.
- Use On-Page SEO Best Practices.
- Include Facts.
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