By: NIls Evensen

The Featured Snippet

March 1, 2017

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Google has been showing featured snippets in search results for awhile now, and it’s definitely not going away anytime soon. Learning how you can build web pages to be used in Google featured snippets can allow you to quickly enter into new keywords and control the number one position in Google. The featured snippet is commonly referred to as “position 0” in Google as it is placed above the first position, once you understand how to reach “position 0” it will be possible to have more than one listing on the first page of Google. This in turn will lead to more traffic, and business for your website.

In fact if you really want to understand the importance of optimizing for featured snippets just take a look at the data Moz has put out. The number of searches that return a featured snippets has more than doubled in the past year:

% Featured Snippets on Google
What type of featured snippets are there?

There are a few commonly seen featured snippets and they all are treated a little differently by Google.

Question based snippets

Question based snippets are common in many industries and fortunately are easy to optimize for. Here’s an example of one:

Question based snippets

Company or branded snippets

Company based featured snippets usually show on the right side of Google. These often give company information such as address, phone number, and reviews from customers.

Company or branded snippets

Recipes

Recipe featured snippets are common for most recipe and cooking searches.

Recipes snippets

Video snippets

Google will often show video snippets for music videos and some instructional results.

Video snippet

Do featured snippets hurt web owners?

Some digital marketers will claim that featured snippets are bad for web owners. They are partially right, featured snippets allow searchers the ability to find an answer to their question without going to a site.

The flip side is that it is now possible to bypass all other websites and rank above the number one position. Not only that but searchers will view you as a trusted source that Google believes in, which generally leads to an increase in conversions.

The best part is by performing proper optimization you can bypass your competitors and rank in the featured snippet. Take a look at this data that Moz has provided on average ranking positions for sites in the featured snippets:

Featured snippets by ranking position

How to find keywords that contain featured snippets

Before you optimize for featured snippets you need to decide what types of keywords you would like to target. There are two ways to go about this. The first is to manually type in keywords related to your website and keep note of what results contain featured snippets. The second way is to plug your site into a tool such as ahrefs and pull what keywords you and your competitors rank for that contain featured snippets.

In order to pull all featured snippets that a site ranks for in ahrefs put your target website into their site explorer, go to organic keywords and then filter all feature snippets. This will give you a large list of keywords that you can target.

Finding snippets

Heading tags

The first thing you need to do to optimize for a featured snippet is put a heading tag above the information you would like to show in the snippet. The heading tag should contain your keyword and generally should be in a question form similar to the keyword you are targeting.

Even if your information is not organized to appear in featured snippets you can still appear there with a properly optimized header tag. Before you reorganize your information decide what header tag you would like to use, a h3 or h2 tag will do just fine.

How to organize data to optimize for featured snippets

The first thing you need to do to optimize for featured snippets is decide what type of snippet you are trying to get into. There are three different common ways to organize your content in order to appear in featured snippets.

Bullet points:

Bullet points are lists of information that can be used to describe products or answer a question that has multiple answers. Google likes to use information that has been organized into bullet points for their featured snippets.

If you are trying to optimize for a featured snippet based around a product, bullet points are often the answer.

Bulleted snippet

Numbered Lists

Numbered lists are similar to bullet points but are generally used for queries that require sequential steps for information. Use numbered lists to get into featured snippets that guide searchers through their answer.

numbered snippets

Tables

Tables are used to display data for searchers. Often you will see tables used in featured snippets that compare information between two competing products, companies, or services. You will also see tables used in search results that are related to data based queries.

Table snippets

Reverse engineering your competitors

The last thing I would like to remind you of in this article is that your competitors are a great example of what you should be doing. Take a look at the current featured snippet that you would like to rank for and then look at the website that appears in position 0. What are they doing to appear there? Why does Google like their website? Asking yourself these types of questions will give you a better understanding of how Google places sites in the featured snippet as well as how you can out optimize your competitors.

As always take an analytical approach and keep in mind that Google is a bot. Try to understand what the algorithm is looking for and properly prepare your data, the payoff can be staggering.

Written by NIls Evensen on March 1, 2017

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