In the previous article, we explained how you could increase the snippet’s CTR and thereby increase traffic to the site. We propose to continue the topic and consider in more detail the featured snippets that are part of any SEO strategy and bring additional transitions from Google SERP.
Based on the material of Ann Smarty (Brand & Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, co-founder of Viral Content Buzz, and founder of MyBlogU), we have prepared an article that will help to understand the principles of building featured snippets that are displayed at Position 0.
What are featured snippets
Any snippet is a response to a user’s search query. The featured snippet is a site page preview that looks more attractive and contains more valuable information than the standard block.
Zero-Click blocks are usually displayed before contextual advertising and organic results, sometimes to the right of them.
According to recent studies, the CTR of some featured snippets reaches 35%.
Types of featured snippets
The Zero-Click blocks are presented in three main formats:
- paragraph (unlike the standard snippet, the text is displayed above the title and link);
Do not confuse the featured snippet with the informer, which is also placed at position 0.
The website page’s block contains the URL that leads to the resource.
Which are displayed at the top of the SERP, includes Rich Snippets, which are created using structured micro-markups and can be at any position. This article deals with Featured Snippets.
How to get to Zero-Click
A website with a clear answer to the user’s question can get to the Zero-Click block. And resources from the Top-10 ranking have a chance to take a favorable position.
Keyword research using SEO tools
The Keyword Explorer tool will help you to start working on featured snippets. It is worth considering that long-tail keywords trigger most Featured Snippets.
Keyword research is better to start with queries containing the words “what”, “when”, “why”, “how”, and so on. Interrogative elements are easily identifiable, however, do not limit to such queries. Focus on the user’s information intent rather than on the question.
You can use SEO tools to see how the search engine responds to the keyword. SE Ranking has a filter that displays keywords that trigger featured snippets.
With Serpstat, you can analyze and filter successful keywords that competitors are using. It is also possible to dive into the subject and study the questions people ask in Google using BuzzSumo and Text Optimizer tools.
Search for keywords the website ranks high
In the article about increasing the CTR, we explained how to use the Google Search Console to find pages ranking well in SERP.
Collaboration with people
After using modern digital tools, it is worth going beyond the standard research and asking customers, subscribers, and random people how they are looking for answers to their questions. This way, you can get valuable information that will help you move away from the trails and find new solutions.
Use spreadsheets to organize collected keywords. Determine which keywords can be a topic for content creation and which are suitable as structural elements of articles. Focus not on the popularity of the search phrase but on the possibility of providing a detailed answer. According to Ahrefs research, the keyword popularity criteria do not affect getting to the Zero-Click block.
Optimization for featured snippets
No tool that would 100% guarantee the webpage a Position 0. At the same time, promoting resources to the Top and constant work with content significantly increases the chances of being in the featured block.
The most effective way to get into Zero-Click - give the best answer to the query. How to become a candidate for getting to position 0? Here are some practical tips.
1. Brief answers. Google prefers concise answers within one paragraph — 45-97 words. The now popular long-reads allow many questions to be covered within a single material. Split the text into logical blocks and complement them with images to get a high rating from the search engine. The optimal structure of the blog article: question in the subtitle - brief answer in the first paragraph - disclosure of the essence in more detail in the text.
2. Structured content. Google welcomes the use of lists, numbers, and tables. The presence of subtitles H2 and H3 facilitates the perception of content for the search engine and readers.
3. Related questions. The search engine recognizes related and similar questions well. Therefore, if you are going to get into the answer box, it makes sense to create helpful content consisting of a group of inquiries related to the same topic.
4. Streamlining keywords. For the logical allocation of keywords in one article, use the strategy of organization of multi-level keywords:
- the main keyword determines a section or category of the blog;
- the specific keyword - title;
- particular keywords - subheadings that form a single article structure;
- closely related, synonymous keywords can be used under one subheading.
The Serpstat service (section Questions) will help you to define the main idea and develop the textual structure. The tool can generate hundreds of questions related to a given topic and create a tag cloud from related keywords.
Clicking on any word in the cloud opens detailed lists of keywords that can be selected as article subheadings.
5. Using images. Featured snippets with photos are more attractive than standard blocks. However, Google often pulls a random image from the page to the snippet, not allowing one to choose the best option. Therefore, take care of good quality and optimization of all pictures at the stage of content placement.
Image processing, branding, and annotation by displaying related results can provide additional transitions from the search without hitting Zero-Click.
Tracking the performance
It is crucial to constantly monitor whether the site is ranked by keywords, whether it gets into the Zero-Click block, and to follow any changes in Google and respond to them quickly.
Do you need schema markup?
Such a tool as Schema.org is necessary when creating standard descriptions. At the same time, as the Ahrefs study showed, structured markup does not affect the display of the featured description.
Creating featured snippets and moving pages to position 0 is a complex and unpredictable process that requires detailed research and planning. It is impossible to predict the result, especially if the site has not yet hit the Top. However, by focusing on content, you can get into the answer box and achieve other goals - discover new topics for articles, immerse yourself deeply in the subject, and increase your content expertise. Properly structuring materials will make them more user-friendly and help reduce the bounce rate.
Finally, we recommend using the new tool to optimize featured snippets. Based on the search queries and the position that the page occupies in the SERP, you will be able to assess the possibility of its getting to the Zero-Click and understand what type of featured snippet should be chosen to optimize the content in your case. If you still have some hesitations contact manager of our SEO agency for small business, and you will get the best offer for your website.