How to Get Google Featured Snippets in 5 Steps


How to win Google featured snippets
Win Featured Snippets

Want more Google traffic?

Well then, you should optimize for featured snippets.

The #0 position steals significant traffic from the top organic results, including #1.

And they may be easier to rank for...

What are featured snippets?

Featured Snippets are a short answer to a user query (displayed in a block) at the top of a search results page. They make it easier for users to find information without having to click-through to a specific site. Featured snippets include: an answer from a web page, title, and URL.

The Steps Covered In This Blogging Guide

There are five steps you need to do in order to win a #0 Google ranking.

If you follow this guide exactly, you’ll go from zero to hero.

Below, I’m going to show you exactly what you need to get featured snippets. ☕

Let's dive right in!

How to Get a Google Featured Snippet in 5 Steps:

  1. Keyword Research (focus on user questions)
  2. Write content that specifically answers a question
  3. Use clean HTML code
  4. Optimize answer length
  5. Your post should already rank on page one in Google
Without further ado, let’s jump right in.

Step 1 – Keyword Research (focus on user questions)

THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM 👑:

The key to ranking #0 (and on page 1) in Google is low-competition keywords.

The brutal truth about SEO is that Google hates new blogs.

It's true:

New blogs take longer to rank, don't have any SEO juice (like backlinks), or authority that older blogs have.

It's essential to choose low-competition keywords in the beginning.

Skip this step and your new blog is doomed.

So find the right keyword opportunities for your site. Studies confirm that most featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords anyway.

Long-tail keywords = phrase that contains at least two words. They are used to target niches (like "tropical underwater photography"). And they're way less competitive than broad keywords (like "photography").

When doing keyword research for featured snippets:

  • Start with questions (containing words, like “what,” “why,” “how,” etc)
  • Target intent. A lot of user searches that trigger featured snippets are long-tail queries with no question words in them.
  • Check what your competition is ranking for

Step 2 - Write content that specifically answers a question

Google is in the business of answering user questions.

Keep this in mind when writing your blog posts.

It’s also a good idea to structure your content with featured snippets in mind. Always keeping user experience  first and foremost.

Ideally, answer question(s) with an introductory sentence or two, then dive in deeper.

Devote a complete page to a single question, if possible, and find a way to incorporate FAQs into your content.

Try and get this content as close to the top of the page as possible.

Google LOVES numbers, steps and lists.

Adjust your blogging style a bit:
  • Ask the question in your post
  • Immediately follow the question with a one-paragraph answer
  • Elaborate more in your post

Step 3 - Use clean HTML code

Format your page using simple HTML tags so Google can understand it better:
  • Place the user question or bullet points in <h2> or <h3> tags.
  • Use <p> paragraph tags for the answer text. Include the answer directly below the <h2> or <h3> heading.
  • Use <ol> or <ul> and <li> for list items.
  • Include priming phrases such as: "Here are..."; "Follow these steps…"; "Start with…" etc

Step 4 - Optimize Answer Length

Paragraph answers should be roughly 40 to 50 words, or around 300 characters according to Moz.com. A study by SEMrush also showed 40 to 50 words to be the optimal length for paragraphs answers.

When creating a list, it’s a good idea to make it longer than the eight-item maximum (when possible). This prompts Google to display the “More Items...” text, which can lead to higher click-through.

Bulleted items should also have enough words in them so Google truncates each item. This can also help if your list is shorter than eight items.

Step 5 - Your post should already rank on page one in Google

According to Ahrefs, 99.58% of featured pages already rank in the top 10 of Google Search. You have a good change of getting featured if you already rank on the first page for related search queries. If you are a new blogger or not currently ranking in the top 10 it will take some time for Google to rank your posts. Factor this into your expectations and consider starting another free blog in the meantime.

FEATURED SNIPPET FAQs

How Does Google Choose Featured Snippets?

If you don't see a featured snipped that you can "steal "from your competitors, you can still create a new one.

"If you write it, they will come".

According to John Mueller from Google, featured snippets are algorithmicallydetermined. Meaning, as long asyou have content that matches a user question AND provides a great answer, Google's algorithm is happy to feature it.

SEO nerds will recognize Google's John Mueller interviewed in the Edge of the Web's podcast below (the full interview is available on their website):

When Did Google Start Using Featured Snippets?

Back in 2013 featured snippets were called "quick answers".

Around 2015 Google started showing "Quick Answer" boxes and the SEO community started referring to them as featured results.

In 2016 the number of quick answer boxes and featured snippets were officially announced by Google as Featured Snippets.

According to Google, featured results adapt search to mobile and voice search. Since featured results are being spoken to users when they use voice search.

The "People Also Ask" results seem to be closely connected to the featured snippet algorithm.

Google wants to keep you on Google.com. Which is WHY they created featured snippets.

Take time to research your new blog niche and article topics thoroughly before starting.

One important fact about featured snippets is that they give answers for users on the search engine results page (SERP).

In other words, the user doesn't have to click-through to a website for certain niches (like travel, weather, sports results).

For example:

If you type "weather NYC" in Google Search box, you will get the weather and current temperature right there on the SERP. You don't HAVE to click-through to weather.com to find out the weather. That's bad for weather.com's traffic.

What types of featured snippets are there?

  • the paragraph featured snippet
  • the numbered list featured snippet
  • the bulleted list featured snippet
  • the table featured snippet
  • the YouTube featured snippet
A study by AJ Ghergich found that comparison tables and lists win Google featured snippets way easier.

In fact, Google loves tables so much that even when users research a brand, Google will pick up a table from another site (not the answer from the brand itself) if that other site has a table.

What are the most popular featured snippet topics (aka niches)?

According to a Gestat study, the following are niches with the most featured snippets:
  • DIY processes
  • Health
  • Financial
  • Mathematical
  • Requirements
  • Status
  • Transitional

What niches don't have featured snippet opportunities?

Google wants to keep you on Google.com. Which is WHY they created featured snippets.

Take time to research your new blog niche and article topics thoroughly before starting.

One important fact about featured snippets is that they give answers for users on the search engine results page (SERP).

In other words, the user doesn't have to click-through to a website for certain niches (like travel, weather, sports results).

For example:

If you type "weather NYC" in Google Search box, you will get the weather and current temperature right there on the SERP. You don't HAVE to click-through to weather.com to find out the weather. That's bad for weather.com's traffic. ⛈️

Also, according to Moz.com, categories that don't have featured snippets include:
  • Images and videos
  • Local
  • Shopping

What types of searches have the most featured snippets?

According to Moz.com:

The questions group is great at winning featured snippets, especially paragraph snippets.
“How” questions earn (46.91%) of list featured snippets
“Have” questions earn (17.71%) of list featured snippets
“Which” questions earn (16.20%) the most table featured snippets

How to find featured snippet opportunities?

Stop paying for keyword tools!

Paid tools like SEMrush & Ahrefs provide very limited useful featured snippet analysis, are difficult to use, and expensive.

Why are these paid keyword tools recommended by SEO blogs online? Affiliate commissions.

Save your money!

THE BEST KEYWORD TOOLS IN LIFE ARE FREE

Discover featured snippets with Google Search box.

The best way to find featured snippet opportunities is to type "How to" (or other question) in the Google Search box.

Google's suggested results will return a featured snippet, no matter how far you drill down (as long as the suggested result starts with "How to").

What is the average featured snippet length?

Google prefers to feature an answer which is given in one paragraph. The average length of a paragraph snippet is 45 words (the maximum is 97 words).

What percentage of search queries include featured snippets?

Nearly 30% of search engine queries now include featured snippets. It's becoming more important to optimize your content for these answer boxes.

Snippets also feed voice search responses. And half of all searches are predicted to be voice searches by 2020.

FINAL TIPS + FURTHER READING

featured snippets = (MORE) traffic

Do your site a favor. Start creating content targeted toward featured snippets.

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