How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets to Build More Traffic

The writer’s views are solely his or her personal (excluding the unlikely occasion of hypnosis) and will not all the time replicate the views of Moz.

Google’s featured snippets began as an experiment almost a decade ago.

They’ve since turn into an integral a part of Google’s SERPs, displaying up for a number of queries.

In truth, featured snippets at the moment are thought of natural place #1, so it’s a part of any search engine optimisation technique.

What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are chosen search outcomes which are featured on high of Google’s natural outcomes under the advertisements in a field.

Featured snippets intention at answering the person’s query straight away (therefore their different well-known identify, «reply containers»).

The current research reveal that featured snippets have a mean 35% click-through fee.

Being featured means being on high of the whole lot (besides for advertisements), in probably the most distinguished spot:

Sorts of featured snippets

There are three main sorts of featured snippets:

  • Paragraph (a solution is given in textual content).

  • Listing (a solution is given in a type of a listing)

  • Desk (a solution is given in a desk)

Every kind may also embody a picture, and that picture might come from a third-party web page that’s not featured. There could also be 2 pictures included contained in the featured field:

An older examine from STAT: the preferred featured snippet is «paragraph» kind.

Featured snippets or reply containers?

The terminology should be fairly free right here. Many individuals (together with myself) are inclined to refer to featured snippets as «reply containers,» clearly as a result of there’s a solution offered in a field.

Whereas there’s nothing flawed with this terminology, it creates a sure confusion as a result of Google typically offers a «fast reply» (a definition, an estimate, and many others.) on high with out linking to the supply:

To keep away from confusion, let’s stick to the «featured snippet» time period every time there is a URL featured within the field, as a result of these current an additional publicity to the linked web site (therefore they’re necessary for content material publishers):

Do I’ve an opportunity to get featured?


In accordance to one other older research by Ahrefs, about 100% of featured pages already rank in high 10 of Google. So in case you are already rating in high 10 for associated search queries, you’ve gotten excellent probabilities to get featured.

Featured snippets seem and disappear for the identical queries however you’ve gotten increased probabilities to get featured if there’s already a featured snippet displaying up for your goal question (i.e. Google has already recognized search intent for your question as informational).

Clearly, primarily based on the aim of the search part (i.e. to give a fast reply), you’ve gotten a better probability of getting featured when you reply a number of questions in your content material.

Determine every kind of alternatives to be featured

Begin with good outdated key phrase analysis

A number of research affirm that almost all of featured snippets are triggered by long-tail key phrases. In truth, the extra phrases which are typed right into a search field, the upper the likelihood there can be a featured snippet.

It is all the time a good suggestion to begin with researching your key phrases. Moz’s Keyword Explorer is an efficient place to begin.

When performing key phrase analysis with featured snippets in thoughts, word that:

  • Begin with question-type search queries (these containing query phrases, like “what,” “why,” “how,” and many others.) as a result of these are the best to determine, however don’t cease there…

  • Goal informational intent, not simply questions. Whereas featured snippets intention at answering the person’s query instantly, question-type queries aren’t the one sorts that set off these featured outcomes. In accordance to the aforementioned Ahrefs examine, the overwhelming majority of key phrases that set off featured snippets had been long-tail queries with no query phrases in them.

It helps when you use a key phrase analysis device that exhibits instantly whether or not a question triggers featured outcomes. SE Ranking gives a pleasant filter permitting you to see key phrases which are at present triggering featured snippets:

You may also run your competitor in Serpstat after which filter their best-performing queries by the presence of featured snippets.

This can be a nice overview of your future competitors, enabling you to see your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses.

Browse Google for extra questions

To additional discover the subject, make certain to research popular niche questions.

Instruments like Buzzsumo and Text Optimizer may give you a superb perception into questions folks have a tendency to ask round your subject:

Determine search queries the place you already rank excessive

Your lowest-hanging fruit is to determine which phrases you already rank extremely for. These would be the best to get featured for after you optimize for reply containers (extra on this under).

Google Search Console exhibits which search queries send you clicks. To search out that report,

Notice that Search Console labels featured snippet positions as #1 (search engine optimisation used to name them place 0). So if you see #1 in Google Search Console, there’s nothing to do right here. Deal with #2 and decrease.

You may then use the filters to discover some question-type queries amongst these:

Transcend conventional key phrase analysis instruments: Ask folks

All of the above strategies (albeit nice) deal with already found alternatives: these for which you or your rivals are already rating excessive. However how about venturing past that? Ask your readers, clients, and followers how they search and which questions they ask.

MyBlogU: Ask folks outdoors your speedy attain

Transfer away out of your audience and ask random folks what questions they’ve on a selected subject and what can be their issues. Searching of the field can all the time give a contemporary perspective.

MyBlogU (disclaimer: I’m the founder) is a good way to do this. Simply publish a brand new challenge within the » Brainstorm» part and ask members to contribute their ideas.

Seed Keywords: Ask your mates and followers

Seed Key phrases is an easy device that enables you to uncover associated key phrases with assist from your mates and followers. Merely create a search situation, share it on social media, and ask your followers to kind within the key phrases they might use to clear up it.

Strive not to be too main along with your search situation. Keep away from guiding folks to the search phrase you assume they need to be utilizing.

Here is an example of a situation:

And listed below are the options from actual folks:

Clearly, you may as well create comparable surveys with instruments like WP Forms or Google Forms.

Set up questions and key phrases

I take advantage of spreadsheets to set up questions and key phrase phrases I uncover (see extra on this under). A few of these questions might turn into an entire piece of content material, whereas others can be subsections of broader articles:

  • I don’t strive to analyze search quantity to resolve whether or not any of these questions deserve to be lined in a separate article or a subsection. (Primarily based on the Ahrefs analysis and my very own observations, there isn’t any direct correlation between the recognition of the time period and whether or not it’ll set off a featured snippet).

  • As a substitute, I take advantage of my finest judgment (primarily based on my area of interest data and analysis) as to how a lot I can be in a position to inform to reply every specific query. If it’s quite a bit, I’ll most likely flip it right into a separate article and use key phrase analysis to determine subsections of the long run piece.

Optimizing for featured snippets

Begin with on-page search engine optimisation

There is no such thing as a magic button or particular markup which can be certain your web site will get featured. In fact, it is a good suggestion to begin with non-specific search engine optimisation finest practices, just because being featured is barely potential if you rank excessive for the question.

Randy Milanovic did a good overview of tactics of constructing your content material findable. Eric Brantner over at Coschedule has put together a really helpful search engine optimisation guidelines, and naturally always remember to undergo Moz’s SEO guide.

That being stated, the easiest way to get featured is to present a greater reply. Listed here are a couple of actionable ideas:

1. Goal at answering every query concisely

My very own commentary of reply containers has led me to assume that Google prefers to characteristic a solution which was given inside one paragraph.

An older examine by AJ Ghergich cites that the common size of a paragraph snippet is 45 phrases (the utmost is 97 phrases), so let it’s your guideline as to how lengthy every reply needs to be so as to get featured.

This doesn’t suggest your articles want to be one paragraph lengthy. Quite the opposite, lately Google seems to give desire to long-form content material (also referred to as » cornerstone content,» which is clearly a greater approach to describe it as a result of it is not nearly size) that is damaged into logical subsections and options attention-grabbing pictures. 

Even when you don’t imagine that cornerstone content material receives any particular remedy in SERPs, specializing in lengthy articles will enable you to to cowl extra associated questions inside one piece (extra on that under).

All you want to do is to alter your running a blog type only a bit:

  • Ask the query in your article (that could be a subheading)

  • Instantly observe the query with a one-paragraph reply

  • Elaborate additional within the article

This tactic might also lead to increased person retention as a result of it makes any article higher structured and thus a a lot simpler learn. To cite AJ Ghergich,

Whenever you use knowledge to gasoline subject ideation, content material creation turns into extra about assets and fewer about brainstorming.

2. Be factual and set up properly

Google loves numbers, steps and lists. We have seen this time and again: More typically than not, reply containers will listing the precise substances, variety of steps, time to prepare dinner, 12 months and metropolis of beginning, and many others.

Use Google’s information on writing meta descriptions to get a good suggestion what sort of summaries and solutions they’re trying to generate snippets (together with featured snippets).

Google loves well-structured, factual, and number-driven content material.

There is not any particular markup to construction your content material. Google appears to decide up <desk>, <ol>, and <ul> properly and would not want every other pointers. Utilizing H2 and H3 subheadings will make your content material simpler to perceive for each Google and your readers.

3. Make certain one article solutions many associated questions

Google is excellent at figuring out synonymic and intently associated questions, so needs to be you. There is not any level in making a separate web page answering every particular query.

Creating one stable article addressing many associated questions is a a lot smarter technique when you intention at getting featured in reply containers. This leads us to the subsequent tactic:

4. Set up your questions correctly

To mix many intently associated questions in a single article, you want to set up your queries correctly. This will even enable you to construction your content material properly.

I’ve a multi-level key phrase group technique that may be utilized right here as properly:

For instance:

Serpstat helps me quite a bit when it comes to each discovering an article thought after which breaking it into subtopics. Take a look at its » Questions» part. It is going to present tons of of questions containing your core time period after which generate a tag cloud of different common phrases that come up in these questions:

Clicking any phrase within the tag cloud will filter outcomes down to these questions that solely have that phrase in them. These are subsections for your article.

Right here’s one other good information on identifying your keyword modifiers (groups) and utilizing these to construction your content material.

Here is a superb instance of how associated questions might help you construction the article:

5. Make certain to use eye-grabbing pictures

Paragraph featured snippets with pictures are ridiculously eye-catching, much more so than common featured snippets. Truthfully, I wasn’t in a position to determine how to add a picture in order that it is featured. I attempted naming it in a different way and I attempted marking it as «featured» within the WordPress editor. Google appears to decide up a random picture from the web page with out me having the ability to level it to a greater model.

That being stated, the one approach to affect that’s to be certain ALL your in-article pictures are eye-catching, branded, and annotated properly, in order that irrespective of which one Google finally ends up that includes, it’ll look good. 

Optimizing and branding your pictures properly is essential for featured snippet optimization as a result of pictures are sometimes included in featured containers, and in lots of instances these pictures come from completely different domains.

Clicking pictures inside featured pictures enlarges that picture inviting the person to go to the linked web site. In different phrases, this generally is a traffic-building alternative for non-featured websites.

Google is pulling these pictures from Google Photos search outcomes, so image optimization is necessary for driving site visitors from featured snippets.

Additionally don’t overlook to replace and re-upload the pictures (on WordPress). WordPress provides dates to picture URLs, so even when you replace an article with newer data the pictures might be thought of type of outdated.

Monitor your progress

You might be already monitoring your organic positions, and featured snippets are tracked as #1 place lately.

In your most necessary key phrases, it’s your decision to set up closer monitoring to be alerted when Google modifications something:

How about structured markup?

Many individuals would recommend using (just because it has been a «factor» to advocate including schema for something and the whole lot) however the aforementioned Ahrefs examine exhibits that there is no correlation between featured outcomes and structured markup.


It takes a number of analysis and planning and also you can’t be positive if you’ll see the outcomes (particularly if you do not have too many high 10 rankings simply but) however take into consideration this manner: Being featured in Google search outcomes is your incentive to work tougher in your content material. You may obtain different necessary objectives in your approach there:

  • You may uncover tons of of recent content material concepts (and thus will rank for a greater diversity of assorted long-tail key phrases)

  • You may be taught to analysis every subject extra totally (and thus will construct extra incoming hyperlinks as a result of folks have a tendency to hyperlink to in-depth articles)

  • You may be taught to construction your articles higher (and thus obtain a decrease bounce fee as a result of it will likely be simpler to learn your articles)

Replace: Now we have launched a featured snippet optimization tool. With it, you may see precisely what your featured snippet alternatives are and what it could take to seize every of them (primarily based on the place the featured web page ranks organically, the place your web page ranks and what kind of featured snippet to optimize for.)

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