Five Things You Need to Know About Ranking in Google’s Featured Snippets

April 30th, 2018

If there’s anything that is certain in the digital world, it’s this: Google is always changing.

Google changes its algorithm alone at least 500 to 600 times a year, which can frustrate any marketer that may have had a change in ranking and organic website traffic. If it wasn’t difficult enough to gain rank, sometimes it seems that you can lose it on a whim.

It’s even harder to reach that coveted “Featured Snippet” feature. But here at Cobalt Digital Marketing, we know a thing – or five – about getting there, and we want to share that knowledge with you.

What is a Google featured snippet?

Google’s featured snippet isn’t anything really new. You may have already seen one when using Google’s search engine.

Let’s say you are searching for “How to have a crawfish boil.” Once you type in your inquiry into the search bar and hit enter, Google populates with their top ranking pages.

A featured snippet is that top search result that usually has an image with a snippet of information of what you searched for. Regarding the example above, you would see the steps to take to prepare crawfish for an ol’ fashion mudbug boil. Delicious!

The information in the snippet is generally pulled from the first results page, but in some instances, it can be pulled from a lower ranking search engine results page (SERP).

The position where you’ll find a featured snippet is referred to as “position zero,” and this is prime real estate. Why? Position zero is at the top of the results page because featured snippets take quite a bit of room, and these little bits of joy rake in the traffic.

To add to that, position zero is the best spot to take on the SERP because it will grant the most exposure of your website without any advertising. It establishes your expertise and credibility before a visitor even clicks your website’s link.

Now, that’s value!

In order to get into this spot, you’ll want to:

  1. Keep an eye on the competition and what featured snippets they are ranking for.  
  2. Yes, we realize that this sounds a little “stalky” but if you want to succeed in digital marketing, you have to be up-to-date on trends, as well as what your competition is up to.

    SEMrush helps you do just that. It is a great analytic tool that can help you find snippets your competitors have earned, as well as find out which featured snippets you are already ranked in.

    If that wasn’t enough, Google is another great tool to use for some industry insight into snippets. Consider your business from a consumer’s standpoint, and ask yourself questions that your customers are trying to find answers for.

    Doing this is a quick way to find out who your competition is and what kind of snippets they are running, and hopefully, it will give you some ideas on making your own kind of content that will get Google’s attention

    @Google processes over 40,000 search queries a second on avg.#FeaturedSnippets #PrimeTime Share on X
  3. Content quality, SEO, and keyword research matter.
  4. Google is all about quality, and if your content isn’t up-to-par, you can kiss that snippet spot—and any decent ranking, for that matter—goodbye.

    To really flesh out those blog posts, ask yourself the Five W’s:

    1. Who?
    2. What?
    3. When?
    4. Where?
    5. Why?

    From those, choose one. Usually, a snippet is the result of a question that is searched. Whatever your subject is, tie it in with one of the five w’s and create a detailed post that addresses that question and also goes in depth on other questions clearly related to the original topic.

    You want your pieces to be informative, to show value to your visitors. At the same time, you are going to want to ensure that you are using the right keywords to help you get featured snippets. You would have to use a tool or two like Serpstat to see if the keywords you are using are indeed pulling up featured snippets on the SERP.

    On the plus side, if you already rank high in a particular keyword, you can see if it brings up featured snippets.

  5. The length of your content and the way it is formatted matters.
  6. Real estate on a webpage is limited, so concise content is key. When it comes to getting your content featured on a snippet, the rules remain the same.

    It’s a smart idea to keep your paragraphs, lists, and steps short. As per SEMrush, most snippets that are featured are within 40 to 50 words, and your best bet to get into this spot is to abide by that rule.

    Ensuring that your paragraphs, etc., are between those two numbers is ensuring that your content is formatted into nice, little bite-sized nuggets of information with their own headers if applicable, which is then more likely to become a featured snippet. To achieve this, you can use the “Paragraph styles” section in Google Docs or WordPress.

    Also make sure that, if needed, you are formatting your post in chronological order. Google also really digs that.

  7. Optimize your website to feature a “How-To” or Q&A section.
  8. Having well-optimized content for your business website to gain rank with Google is smart. Having well-optimized content in the form of a “How-to” for your business website is even smarter. Google’s featured snippets lives for this kind of stuff, so it would do you well to redesign your site in a way that allows you to optimize this kind of content.

    Or if you provide a service that is a little obscure, having a Questions and Answers subsection on your website can work ideally to get your content (and your business) in the much desired featured snippet spot.

    #Google processes over 3.5 billion search queries and 1.2 trillion per year #worldwide Share on X
  9. Add high-quality imagery and video.
  10. Nice visuals really tie up a blog post very well, and since most people are visual learners, images and video can help you reach that coveted snippet spot. Especially with video.

    Video gets visitors engaged, and studies have shown that 65 percent of people watch at least three-quarters of a video. In fact, 59 percent of executives believe that, when combining text with video, people are more likely to watch it.

    The easiest way to do this is to cook up a video transcript for every video you do. Then you just kick back and let Google do all the work for you, i.e. Google recognizes the text in your transcript and may choose it as a featured snippet.

    You’ve just maximized your SEO and keyword plans with your video!

    As for images, Canva can do wonders for your website. It enables you the ability to create your own images. There, you can upload your own images, pick a free Canva stock photo, and choose from an assortment of shapes, icons, and more to spice up any images that may need it.

If you need help getting your business visible on Google’s first-page search results, we have got the perfect Cobalt Digital formula for you.

Digital marketing isn’t easy, and with tons of features and algorithms constantly changing, you need an experienced digital marketing team that can roll with the punches to ensure that your business website can reach that sweet snippet spot.

We’ve got the perfect Cobalt Formula™ just for you, and all you have to do is make that call. We’ll handle the rest.