How many times have you searched for something in Google and found the answer displayed on the top of the page? This is a featured snippet. It’s one of the more coveted areas of the search engine giant, and it makes a big difference in regards to how people view the site.
Getting into the illustrious “position zero” comes with a variety of benefits. The most notable is that it appears before all other content in a search result page. Unfortunately, not all types of content are capable of making it into this “power zone” of sorts. That shouldn’t stop you from trying, though.
Here are just a few reasons I’ve discovered why you would want the site to be included as a featured snippet in Google.
Bringing Traffic to the Website
Appearing near the top of search results is a good way to bring in traffic. However, you may increase your numbers tremendously by appearing at the very top of Google search itself. This puts your site right out there in the open for everyone to click from the get-go.
Although Facebook Instant Articles can help grab social attention, the effects of position zero in Google are more important to many.
According to SearchEngineLand.com, there is a significant increase in traffic to a site that has a snippet in Google. While there is no doubt that there will be times when a snippet helps the user to the point he or she doesn’t visit the website, the trade-off is far more beneficial.
Many developers will go deeper into detail behind the information, which is what drives many to click on the snippet. However, this may be problematic as snippets require just a short burst of relevant and informative information. You need to find the right balance that improves the ability to become a snippet, which I will cover a bit later.
In any case, a snippet gets the site in the top of search results. This means it is the first thing people will see when looking for specific answers or other important data.
Beating Out the Competition
One of the most prolific things a snippet feature in Google provides is the ability to surpass the competition. Even businesses that are ultra-small in comparison to the big boys can out-perform others in Google. Because people are searching Google for local businesses as well as general information, this is a game changer for success.
The snippet is just one example of how this can be done.
One of the biggest forms of competition online is when it comes to eCommerce. When you start an online store, there is a lot to be done for SEO to keep competitors from grabbing your shoppers. However, that’s the beauty of optimization. With the right elements, the smallest stores can easily overcome large ones. This is especially true if a company blog post can appear as a snippet.
In the past, I’ve seen small health blogs featured on Google as a snippet while established counterpart websites ranked number one in search results. Although this isn’t a common element, it does go to show that improving SEO on any site comes with profound rewards when competing with larger companies.
Possibly Help Cut Marketing Expenses
When a piece you develop appears as a snippet, you can pretty much dump the pay-per-click campaign for that particular page. No matter what your bid is for keywords, your site is already in the highest position available in Google. This has potential to save quite a bit on advertising costs.
Generally speaking, the average cost for pay-per-click campaigns in the US is just over $2.30. Of course this also depends on various factors including:
- Industry type
- Specific keywords
- The level of competition for those words
When your content appears as a featured snippet, many of these advertising costs can be eliminated. After all, your page is already in the top position in Google and can’t get higher in regards to answering a search term.
In essence, this could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year depending on how long you can keep position zero.
Have you ever thought about creating a landing page that is feature-snippet-ready? Because many PPC campaigns target these kinds of pages, it would be a cost-saver to appear at the top of search results without spending a dime. I’m not saying that it’s a guarantee that your content will rank in this spot. However, it makes you think about what can be saved by working to that goal.
Works On All Devices
Being featured as a Google snippet isn’t merely restricted to desktop computer systems. In fact, this is actually part of how Google works. Which means the same snippet is available on mobile devices as it is on a laptop or office computer monitor.
According to statistics, 77 percent of people in the United States own smartphones. This means that more people are using search engines to find everything from local coffee houses to buying shoes online. While this puts pressure on the need for responsive design, don’t underestimate the value of a snippet. Anyone using Google from a smartphone or tablet has potential to see the snippet before anything else.
Because this is a Google-based addition, claiming position zero in search results also works on any browser. The only thing I’ve noticed in platforms such as Internet Explorer is how the “People also ask” section. When I tried it with an older version of IE, the windows simply did not expand very well. Which also demonstrates why you should keep your software updated.
One of the best side effects of working to feature your content this way is becoming authoritative. As a result, page ranks increase as well as the possibility for incoming backlinks. This also provides a bonus to social media sharing, which can then play into engaging a wider audience.
Authoritative sites are those that demonstrate a higher level of quality. Not only do these sites appear more attractive to search engines, but visitors value them more. It should be the goal of every website owner to reach this level of perfection.
Developing any site that demonstrates authority in a topic experiences a “snowball effect.” Small additions that are added today begin to roll into greater and greater possibilities. The more you can keep this proverbial ball rolling, the more speed and strength it picks up over time. Eventually, the website may take over other established sites for top positions.
Page Ranking Doesn’t Really Matter
It’s interesting to me that page rank doesn’t play as prominent of a role in creating snippets as you might think. Don’t assume that position zero in Google belongs to the top site in a search result. The reality of it is that snippets can be created from sites as far back as page seven in a Google search.
Of course, this is completely dependent on how the content is created and if the format fits within the dimensions provided by Google. What this has potential to offer is the ability to show your material ahead of everyone even if your site isn’t all that well known for the topic.
You still want to create quality work and strive for the first position. Just keep in mind that Google may just reward your efforts by showing that perfect answer to a common question before your biggest competitors. All it takes is developing the best quality material you can.
Brand recognition and reputation plays a pivotal role in the success of any online business. Getting as many quality sites in front of search results as possible strengthens those elements. Part of this comes from the fact that the links to the site are place in snippets as well.
This is another great side effect of creating snippet-worthy information. Not only does your domain name get seen by more people first, but it’s also proof from Google that it’s delivering quality content. It’s a great boon for branding and reputation. For one thing, it shows others that your site delivers quality answers even if it’s further down the result list.
While it’s unlikely that every piece of content you create will be featured in Google as a snippet, it’s still a worthy goal for the brand.
How to Get Your Content Featured in Google
Although you might be practicing optimization to improve your search position, there are a few things you can do to make your content more attractive as a snippet. Easy to read, quality material is only part of the process. You might be able to improve chances of appearing in position zero by further enhancing your content.
Step 1: Provide Answers to Questions
One of the most prominent ways snippets are used is by answering questions visitors are going to ask. Now, this part of the process takes a bit of time to develop. There is quite a bit of research that goes into common questions and perfect answers.
Don’t assume that simply answering a question will automatically give you position zero in Google. Remember, there are many other web developers out there who are also striving for that same position.
Another thing to keep in mind is developing the answer as more of a teaser solution. Some may simply get what they need from the snippet and move on. Developing it in a way that encourages visitors to click the link for more information is ideal. However, don’t try to cheat the system.
If the content doesn’t reach a certain level of quality, the answer isn’t going to show as a snippet. It’s as simple as that.
Step 2: Go Into Details
One way to improve the quality of your content is by going into further detail regarding the topic. For instance, try to break down steps and procedures as far as possible to make it simple. One of the best ways to gauge your content is by analyzing it from a beginner’s perspective.
Will a beginner be able to follow the instructions?
Not only does going deeper into details help being in the zero position of Google, but it also improves overall SEO. Visitor engagement, reputation and authority can all be an addition to SEO in a featured snippet.
Providing as much detail as possible without seeming like a novel can be beneficial for visitors as well as snippets. For instance, many searches in Google will bring up the “People also ask” window. If someone uses the term, “how many calories in a banana,” Google will also provide snippets for “how many kilojoules are in a banana” and “How much carbs are in a banana.”
Coincidentally, these snippets can also lead to sub-snippets. When a user clicks on one of those other questions, Google may include another set of questions people ask in relation. The more data you can provide, the better the content will be.
Step 3: Make the Content Friendly for SEO in a Featured Snippet
Search engine optimization is more than just finding good keywords. Images, headers and type of content also weigh heavily on how your site is seen by Google and Bing. When it comes to a snippet feature, these lessons are also part of the process.
Many snippets will come in a form of step-by-step instructions based off of heading and subsection information within the content. For example, creating a how-to article and then naming headers to start with something like “Step 1:” or even just, “1” have potential to be listed as a featured Google snippet.
Include More Lists
Some experts also believe that including more bullet and numbered list content in the site will also be greatly beneficial. While this is already a common practice to improve SEO, it may also be easier to get your content in the zero position in a search.
Add More Internal Links
A lot of functionality in snippets comes from internal linking. Someone looking for a specific food product may also view the nutritional info provided in a snippet thanks to how the content is linked on the website.
This is only one of the many uses for creating internal links, and it has potential to vastly improve SEO in several ways.
It’s All About the Quality
Because search engines are focusing on quality results, you need to deliver that level of work in your content. It’s more about giving users what they want: information. Now, I can’t guarantee that your content will instantly be placed as a featured snippet, but these methods will definitely improve your chances.