Move over #1, here comes #0
In the world of SEO, our challenge has always been to get to that prized number 1 position. With Googles' featured snippet', the new goal for us SEO wizards in 2021 may be to start setting our sights on number 0.
So, what is a featured snippet?
Featured snippets are short lines of text that come up at the top of the search results page, in an attempt to answer the searcher's query. The content is taken directly from the pages that are indexed with Google, with the algorithm choosing the most relevant content based on the search query. It can include a range of things, from tables to lists:
Why are they important?
As well as beating the number 1 search result, you can expect more clicks. Studies show that the featured snippet gets around 8% of clicks on a search results page.
But this also means that the first result organic will suffer. In the instance that a snippet shows on a search results page, you can expect the first organic results CTR to drop below 20%.
Other benefits of a featured snippet include boosting website traffic, higher conversions, increased brand awareness & better keyword rankings.
How can you earn a featured snippet?
There are multiple ways in which featured snippets can be picked by Google's algorithms. Here are some of the top ways in which you can earn your very own feature:
- Keyword length – 10 is the magic number. Keywords with a single word showed results of 4.3% featuring in a snippet, whereas a keyword with ten words showed 55%. Anything over ten words starts to fall off, however.
- Keep it short and simple – the current guide to content length is 40-50 words (250-300 characters), but this could change in future.
- Think of the question – as well as thinking of what keywords to use, you should also think about which question keyword to use. The top 5 performing questions are; why, can, do, are & how
- Use video – YouTube is featured in more than 1 million search queries, so featuring a video on your page can help increase your chances of getting a snippet.
- Improve your organic rankings – studies show that around 90% of snippets are taken from the top-5 organic results. So, if you are in the top 5 but not on top, now is the time to beat your competitors for that #0 space and undermine their #1 result
- Dating your content – as well as reducing reader confusion, dating content gets a preference from Googles algorithms – 70% of featured snippets were from content posted within the last three years.
- Structure your page content – using subheadings not only helps break up your on-page content, Google often uses on-page subheadings to locate the answer to the search query, using these headings to display summarised content to the searcher