Writing featured snippets for Google ranking is a conscious process. Featured snippets have changed the way SEO ranks content. Featured snippets are content that directly answers questions that you are looking for. Snippets are pinpoint answers to the search query of your readers. Deliver what your readers want and provide content that satisfies their query. Make sure you emphasize quality and write to answer instead of explaining all sorts of irrelevant points. Let’s find out how you as a beginner can write a featured snippet for Google that ranks?
What Is A Featured Snippet
A featured snippet or sometimes called a rich snippet in Google is the first text content result below the ads which you get when you type a question in the search bar. Google searches through its entire database of contents and brings you the content that directly answers your question. This ‘Featured Snippet’ was officially introduced by Google in 2016 although they have been dabbling with quick search results for a long period of time.
What is a snippet in SEO?
A snippet in SEO is content that is ranked at position 0 which is at the top of the first page because Google feels it answers a specific question that a reader wants. A top-ranked content has a more click-through rate hence gets more free organic traffic.
Featured snippet has completely opened up the competition for free organic traffic. You can a post that ranks #15 in the search result but if you have a rich snippet, it will rocket all the way up to the first page. This opens up a bigger playing field for anyone to rank #1 provided there is a precise answer in the content.
That does not mean you can have 95% of your content as irrelevant and hope the 5% to rank. Your overall content still needs to provide value and quality. However, with a rich snippet, you can jump the line.
According to AHrefs in a recent article, a study was done on 14 million keywords in their database and found 14 million of them had featured snippets. That amounts to 12.3% which is a big number. Let me remind you that this number is going to keep growing.
How do featured snippets help?
- Helps readers get the exact answers which they are looking for quickly
- Readers do not have to search through tons of content which may be irrelevant to what you want thus wasting a lot of time
- Forces content creators to provide more quality in their writing by really answering what the readers want.
- Further establishing Google’s position as the go-to search engine in the world.
- Providing free organic traffic to any content that meets the question and answers criteria.
How many types of featured snippets exist currently?
The whole idea of a snippet result is to ensure the readers get the most precise answer that they are looking for. With that in mind, Google primarily uses 4 types of snippets which are paragraph, list, table, and videos.
In general, from my own search experience, here are some instances where these type of snippets can be useful:
Paragraph content is usually displayed when a reader is looking for an explanation that is not complicated and can easily be described in words.
List is generally displayed when you are looking for answers that require sequence in an orderly manner or instructional.
Table snippets are displayed when a reader is requesting comparison and data-related information.
Finally, videos are displayed when the answer cannot simply be explained in a simple paragraph but requires demonstration.
So if you are writing a post, please make sure you know exactly what your post is answering and use the right content for your viewers to get their answers easily.
How do you rank a featured snippet?
In order to get the best result out of your content, here are 10 ways that show how to write featured snippet for Google that ranks.
- Write intentionally to win snippets
- Format your answer section
- Write your snippet in an independent manner
- Do not write your snippet in a casual manner
- Use Google to find the right snippet ideas
- Get the right snippet ideas from the question and answer sites
- Keep the word count to the minimum
- Keep your post instructional with images and videos
- Target the WWHC (What, Who, How, Can)
- Write content that answers multiple questions on the same topic
(1) Write intentionally to win snippets
When you write your post, make sure to create specific sections of your post to answer what your audience is seeking. The first few sentences of your post should be a teaser to the actual answer that you are about to give. Your first few sentences should tell Google that you know the answer and it is coming in the next few sentences or next paragraph. Most snippets come from the first 500 words of the first paragraph. So make it count.
(2) Format your answer section
Create headers and subheaders that will allow you to write easy to read specific answers. When you bold your header, it tells Google that the content is important.
(3) Write your snippet in an independent manner
What do I mean by that? When you write your content for the snippet, make sure that the paragraph contains only the answer and don’t mix it with anything else. Let Google know that the paragraph is only about the answer that you are providing. In other words, make your snippet stand-alone content.
(4) Do not write your snippet in a casual manner
Your snippet represents authority. Google regards that content as expert advice which is worthy to be ranked as number 1. Therefore, please ensure you write in a professional tone and avoid treating it like a personal blog write up. Slang and grammatical error will lower the chance of your snippet to be picked up by Google.
(5) Use Google to find the right snippet ideas
Google is the best free place to find out what people are asking. These questions will give you an idea about the specific content that you should be writing. This specific content tells what exactly to write featured snippet for Google that ranks. Let’s say you want to write something about SWOT analysis. Type ‘what is SWOT analysis’ into the search bar and will find the featured snippet. You can improvise on the existing snippet by providing a better paragraph, turning it into a list, or making a video.
Alternatively, you can also check out the ‘People also ask’ section and find more questions to answer there. These are real questions that people type into the search bar and it provides a great opportunity for you to write specific answers to those questions.
(6) Get the right snippet ideas from the question and answer sites
Question and answer sites are another resource that you can tap on to get potential snippet target answers. Sites like Quora and Answer The Public are full of people asking all sorts of questions on a daily basis. All you need to do is to type in the topic which you want to write and look at the question that is being asked.
Once you identify the question, run them through the Google keyword planner tool to make sure these are SEO friendly keywords. It is equally important to make sure these questions get enough search volume.
(7) Keep the word count to the minimum.
Keep your snippet word count to no more than 60 words. More than 60% of the featured snippet is about 40 to 60 words in length. You should write your answers within the entire word count. Although Google may pick the answer within the first 500 words of your post, the answer needs to be complete within the 40 to 60-word count. Remember, you are providing a direct answer to the question that is being asked.
(8) Keep your post instructional with images and videos
65% of the world population are visual learners. Images make your post more instructional in an easy to understand format. Therefore, while writing your content you can supplement it with high-quality images and videos. This increases the quality value of your content in the eyes of Google. Creating the right images is quite simple using Canva. If you have difficulty creating your own images, you can also outsource it for a small fee.
(9) Target the WWHC (What, Who, How, Can)
Questions that target What, Who, How, and Can need a more complex answer. This gives you an opportunity to write snippets that has the potential to rank. Most searches on Google and even on Q&A sites starts with these words and typically presents tons of topics that can be targeted for snippets.
(10) Write content that answers multiple questions on the same topic
Composing a post that answers multiple answers in different paragraphs and headers is highly encouraged. People have different types of questions to ask about the same topic. For example:
- What is a SWOT analysis?
- How can I do a SWOT analysis?
- Who is the SWOT analysis for?
Positioning your entire post to answer these questions will increase your chances of getting your snippets ranked by Google.
The 10 steps outlined above show you how to write a featured snippet that ranks in Google. Snippets are extremely important for SERP (Search Engine Result Page). It is an intentional process where short content provides an authoritative direct answer to a question that a user is searching. Formatting your content the right way and finding out from Google or Q&A sites which questions have the most potential snippet helps you move to the top of search results faster. If SEO is not your main source of traffic, you may not be interested. However, for those who want free organic traffic, this is a great opportunity to go after. Spend 10 minutes of your time after writing a post to make sure you have a good snippet on your content.