The goal of all content is to attract new audiences, generate more traffic and reach the business's overall goals. With Google’s algorithms and practices constantly evolving, it pays to adapt to the changes coming your way. One such new development in recent years is the use of featured snippets on the search results page. If you succeed in optimizing your content for Google’s featured snippets, you can increase the traffic to your site and even become recognized as a trusted source on the subject in question.
To help you do this, here are four infallible ideas to optimize your content for Google’s featured snippets.
What Exactly Are Google's Featured Snippets?
Also known informally as answer boxes, Google’s featured snippets are exactly what they sound like – they’re featured pieces of content that appear in a distinct box right at the top of the search-results page. They precede the organic search results and come in second only to advertisements. Here’s an example of a featured snippet.
You see that recipe in the box? That’s a featured snippet. Featured snippets are generally in the form of paragraphs, lists, or tables, and typically show up when people search for specific things like questions, recipes, statistics, and lists.
How to Optimize Your Content for These Snippets?
Optimizing your content for Google’s featured snippets may seem daunting until you do it. Following are a few pointers to get you started with the best practices to hop on to the featured snippets bandwagon:
1. Research Your Keywords Thoroughly
Keyword research forms the basis of creating content that shows up as a featured snippet. Why you ask? Because Google’s featured snippets are most often triggered by long-tail keywords. Begin by using trusted research tools to identify keywords which contain question words in them, such as “what,” “where,” “when,” and “how.” Google’s Keyword Planner can help you pick and use the right keywords to get your content noticed. Serpstat is another tool that helps with both keyword research as well as featured snippet research.
2. Create Content That Answers the Right Questions
Your content needs to be useful and informative. Only then can it qualify for the searches that trigger Google’s featured snippets. So, identify the topic you want to write about, and find a unique angle that people are actually interested in. Use public forums or social media to find out what people are asking and create content that’s relevant to what’s in demand. Or better yet, create a poll and ask your followers what they’d like to read about, or what they’d like to know the answer to. These tips can help you write about things that people want to read.
3. Structure Your Content Well
Once you’ve zeroed in on the right keywords, you need to ensure that you create content that’s easily scannable. For instance, if your content can be done up in the “how-to” format, it’s best to opt for this style. You could also opt for long-form content that’s at least 1,500 to 2,000 words wherever possible. It’s no secret that Google rewards long and informative posts, but don’t just stop with the word count. Mix it up by adding relevant images, infographics, and videos. Also, remember to make your titles descriptive and to format your title tags well.
4. SEO - An Important Piece of The Puzzle
No matter what you hear, SEO is not going away anytime soon. It’s always relevant. This is why you need to keep your SEO game on point if you want to make it into the big leagues and have your content featured in a snippet. If you’re new to SEO, here are some of the best practices you need to focus on.
- Easy-to-read content
- Meta descriptions and keywords
- Title tags
- Elimination of duplicate content
A Final Word of Advice: Build on Your Strengths
Here’s a quick tip before you get started: Get better at what you’re good at. Identify the topics where you already rank high on search results and build on the dimensions of those subjects. For instance, if you rank high on search results for “best ways to lose weight,” optimize the relevant content pieces for the answer boxes. This way, your chances to have your content show up as a featured snippet get improved.