digital marketing
By Carrie-ann | Jun 14, 2017 | Search Engine Optimisation

A guide to featured snippets

Search engines like Google have been changing the way they display information in search listings. In recent times, featured snippets have been gaining increasing prominence in search results.

What Are Featured Snippets?
Essentially, a featured snippet is an answer to a user’s query that appears in the search results. It’s also known as a ‘direct answer’ or a ‘rich answer’, and Google introduced these in 2014.
With the rise of mobile and voice search, more people are submitting search queries as questions on Google, so a featured snippet reflects this growing trend, providing the answer in a direct and clear format.

How Can Featured Snippets Benefit My Business?
Research has shown that those sites that gain the highest rankings from using featured snippets are not necessarily those that achieve top results in the standard organic listings. This gives lower-ranking sites, especially those of smaller businesses, an opportunity to rank higher by using featured snippets.

Important: By appearing higher up the search listings, you can also attract more visits to your site.

How Do Featured Snippets Appear?
There are three types of featured snippets, all of which include a direct link to a website’s URL:
– Paragraph snippets that include an extract from a site that best answers a user’s query. These are the most common type of snippet, but also the most competitive.
– List snippets that extract lists from a page, using ‘ol’ or ‘ul’ HTML tags.
– Table snippets extract content from ‘table’ HTML tags.

Did you know that paragraph or list snippets can also include an image from your site?

How to Get Featured Snippets
There are several strategies you can follow to optimise a webpage to get your featured snippets ranking highly in search listings.
Key considerations: Ask yourself what sort of questions your target audience may ask relating to your content, and provide clear and concise answers to these in your content. Present information on your site using a question-and-answer format to increase your chances of getting featured snippets. Add value to your answers with additional information. Common query themes relate to DIY, health, finances and mathematical topics.

Other Considerations
– Answers should be no more than 50 characters in length.
– Include answers as early in the copy as possible.
– Incorporate the search query within the URL page.
– Put your content within ‘table’, ‘p’, ‘ol’ or ‘ul’ HTML tags, where appropriate.
– Your primary question should be incorporated in the ‘h1’ tag page heading.
– Include your image as close to your text as possible.
– Include the primary query in the image alt text and file name.

Will My Featured Snippets Rank?
There are no guarantees that your featured snippets will get chosen for a top place on search listings, although following the above procedures can increase your chances.
Important: Even if you do earn a top place on search listings, you won’t necessarily stay there for the long term, especially if Google’s changes its algorithm preferences, so you need to keep refining your strategies.