Do you wish to bounce to the primary place in Google with out buying backlinks or considerably updating your content material? Featured snippets may help you with that.

Featured snippets are items of data that usually seem on the high of Google’s search outcomes. They present solutions to the search question by pulling related content material from top-ranking pages.

You is likely to be questioning how that’s a very good factor for the web site that owns the featured snippet. Users see your content material within the SERP and which may imply dropping clicks, proper?

Well, sure and no. Check this instance:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

If this query have been attainable to reply totally in just a few sentences, most of us can be out of labor. So whereas the snippet tells you absolutely the fundamentals, you continue to need to click on to be taught any greater than that.

That’s only one instance. Featured snippets are one of the vital distinguished SERP options—and so they’re evolving on a regular basis.

In this information, you’ll be taught:

What forms of featured snippets are on the market?

It’s essential to know the kind of featured snippet Google reveals for search queries the place you wish to personal the snippet. There are just a few totally different varieties:

  1. Paragraph
  2. Numbered checklist
  3. Bullet checklist
  4. Table
  5. Video

1. Paragraph

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

2. Numbered checklist

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

3. Bullet checklist

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

4. Table

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

5. Video (usually from YouTube)

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

It’s additionally essential to notice that there are different “snippet-like” outcomes. You have to find out about to keep away from any confusion:

Knowledge panel

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Knowledge card

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Entity carousel

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

These three SERP options have one factor in widespread. They don’t pull solutions from simply one of many top-ranking search outcomes as they’re based mostly on entities within the Knowledge Graph. While they might comprise a hyperlink to the supply of data (music lyrics, for instance), it’s by no means within the type of a clickable title as we’ve in featured snippets.

How featured snippets affect search and web optimization

Google launched featured snippets in 2014 and I’d say that they’re one of the vital distinguished SERP modifications of the previous decade. There are fairly just a few issues that featured snippets modified for each customers and SEOs.

Shortcut to the highest natural place

If your content material is rating on the primary Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a search question that reveals a featured snippet, you possibly can “win” that snippet and shortcut your approach to the highest place. Let’s break this down.

Our research discovered that featured snippets come from pages that already rank within the high 10. Moreover, the overwhelming majority of featured snippets pages rank within the high 5.

In conclusion, the upper your content material ranks, the extra probably it’s to get a featured snippet.

Getting to the primary SERP is a extra manageable objective than rating primary for a key phrase. But if that key phrase triggers a featured snippet, it makes the primary place a bit extra attainable.

Fewer clicks… generally

Many SEOs imagine that featured snippets cut back clicks on the search outcomes. After all, if the reply to the question is within the SERP, why would you click on on a consequence?

While that is the case for some queries, it’s actually not the case for all of them. It relies on whether or not Google can present a passable reply within the snippet.

For instance, check out the featured snippet for the question, “when does the stock market close”:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

The reply is correct there. You don’t want any extra info than what the snippet gives.

And that’s probably why solely 23% of searches for this question lead to search consequence clicks.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Now check out the snippet for “how the stock market works”:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Although it provides a fundamental reply to the query, most searchers would wish to know extra.

That’s in all probability why 74% of searches for this question lead to at the very least one click on.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

The takeaway right here is that focusing on key phrases with a low variety of Clicks Per Search (CPS) is never a good suggestion.

Pay consideration to this when researching key phrases in Keywords Explorer.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Note

Google appears to be testing enhancements for some featured snippets. It seems to be like a mixture of featured snippets and People Also Ask packing containers:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

The instance above makes use of exterior sources for all 4 tabs. I’ve additionally seen featured snippets that embody further info from the identical page, for example, with the “How to” markup used for wealthy snippets.

I’ll reserve my judgment till issues develop into extra distinguished and steady, however they will undoubtedly affect the CTR.

Featured snippets as excellent branding alternatives

Clicks apart, featured snippets are the very first thing that customers see within the search outcomes. They’re much more distinguished on cell units the place they’re typically the one factor individuals initially see:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Mobile featured snippet view.

This is a really compelling argument in favor of featured snippets.

Increasing your share of voice in SERPs is arguably one of the vital essential web optimization KPIs. That’s as a result of brand-building is proven to be the first driver of long run progress.

The extra your model is seen in SERPs for related subjects, the extra you may be related as a market chief.

Our research confirmed that proudly owning a featured snippet at all times ends in extra clicks. But that was again in 2017. In January 2020, Google introduced featured snippet deduplication.

In the previous, the page proudly owning the featured snippet would even be listed in the usual ‘blue link’ search outcomes someplace on the primary SERP. That’s gone now. Once your page will get elevated to the featured snippet, you lose that ‘regular’ search consequence.

Although the deduplication inevitably precipitated site visitors drops to pages in featured snippets, it’s not a site visitors killer. At least that’s what Kevin Indig’s study says.

While we intend to replace the research quickly, the least I can do straight away is to examine the impression of the deduplication on Marketing Media Wizard weblog the identical manner Kevin did.

Here’s what I came upon based mostly on the US search information for our weblog:

 Desktop site visitorsMobile site visitors
Clicks-2.41%-3.84%
Impressions+2.17%+4.39%
CTR-4.48%-7.89%

Not unbelievable, not horrible. It’s just like what I’ve seen different SEOs reporting.

Naturally, essentially the most important site visitors drops occurred for queries the place we beforehand ranked within the first place and owned the snippet.

You can opt-out of featured snippets (don’t do this although)

It was only a matter of time till somebody did an experiment by opting out of featured snippets after the SERP deduplication. Cyrus Shepard led the way and found that it led to a 12% site visitors loss.

That mentioned, in case you nonetheless wish to opt-out of featured snippets, Google gives numerous ways to do that. Just remember that a few of them additionally block your content material from showing in conventional ‘blue link’ snippets. I wouldn’t suggest utilizing these as a result of Google may then solely use your hard-coded title tag and meta description.

The best approach to take away your page from showing in featured snippets is to incorporate max-snippet robots meta tag. This tag specifies the utmost variety of characters Google can present of their textual content snippets.

And as a result of featured snippets are longer than descriptions in common snippets, you possibly can set the character restrict to the same old most size of descriptions. That’s round 155–170 characters.

You’d simply have to stick this code snippet into the <head> part of the page which you want to take away from featured snippets:

<meta title="robots" content material="max-snippet:170" />

Note that, in line with Google, this technique doesn’t assure removing from featured snippets. Only the more restrictive methods of utilizing the nosnippet robots meta tag or data-nosnippet HTML attribute do.

tip

If you’re considering of opt-ing out, it pays to first examine which place your page would rank for the key phrase with out proudly owning the featured snippet.

For instance, right here’s a featured snippet that we personal:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

If we append “&num=9” to the URL, ideally in Incognito mode, we will see the place we’d rank if we weren’t within the snippet:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

In this case, if we determined to opt-out, we might be within the second or third place (relying on the page that will take over the featured snippet).

Being in decrease positions and opting out can harm your site visitors. You’ve been warned.

How to seek out and optimize featured snippets that you simply already personal

Google Search Console doesn’t present any info relating to featured snippets. You’ll have to make use of third-party instruments like Marketing Media Wizard’ Site Explorer to dig into them.

Let’s keep on with Site Explorer. Paste in your web site, then head to the Organic key phrases report back to see the key phrases you rank for, then filter just for these the place Google reveals your page within the featured snippet:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Google is fairly sensible, however generally it doesn’t get issues fairly proper. I like to recommend checking the search queries your self to ensure that Google pulls the ‘right’ content material.

That mentioned, featured snippets have a tendency to seem for lots of long-tail key phrases. As you possibly can see within the screenshot above, Marketing Media Wizard ranks for 866 featured snippets within the US. There’s no manner that we might examine a whole lot of search queries manually.

We have to make a listing of a very powerful featured snippets for us. And we’ll begin by filtering the outcomes additional by search quantity:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

This narrows issues down to only 35 search queries, which is 4% of the unique quantity—and a way more manageable quantity to work with.

Note that when doing this your self, you need to mess around with the filter in line with your nation and trade. For instance, I labored in an trade the place a month-to-month search quantity of greater than 100 within the US was an indication of a fat-head key phrase.

Now, let’s say that you simply encountered a type of non-ideal options snippets like this:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Probably anybody can inform that this snippet isn’t proper. While it pulls details about YouTube and different web sites within the paragraph format, the following half doesn’t look so nice. I imply, what’s with the out of context point out of Craigslist?

It seems that Google pulled information from the inaccurate desk, and in reverse order too.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Why? My guess is that Google considers the context of this desk extra salient for the “most visited websites in us” search question than the desk containing the proper information:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

We have to make the article extra clear for Google to grasp. The answer right here seems to be simple: transfer the H2 tag to both proper earlier than the desk, or make it a part of the desk header:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Now all I’ve to do is to attend. I’ll make sure that to replace this text as soon as we get the snippet mounted.

I describe the method of accelerating the prospect of stealing and holding onto featured snippets in additional element later within the article. For now, this was a very good instance of fixing your on-site issues.

However, don’t fall into the lure of considering that you are able to do something together with your featured snippets.

While you would possibly come throughout featured snippets that might do with a little bit of sharpening, I wouldn’t suggest modifying issues except Google pulls poorly formatted, deceptive, or simply plain incorrect info as proven above.

It’s higher to personal an imperfect featured snippet than to threat dropping it to a competitor by revising it.

How to rank for extra featured snippets

Winning extra featured snippets is an easy approach to doubtlessly enhance natural site visitors to your web site. Below, we’ll talk about just a few methods to try this.

Leverage content material that you have already got and rank for

Here, we’ll be taking a look at pages that already rank within the high 10 for a specific time period, but don’t personal the snippet. It’s attainable to win the snippet simply by making just a few tweaks to your page.

How to seek out these alternatives? It’s simple.

Go to Site Explorer and filter key phrases that set off featured snippets the place your web site is rating in positions 2–10.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

You is likely to be questioning why I used the two–10 place filter and never 1–10. Since the SERP deduplication happened, featured snippets turned one of many high 10 positions, not simply an additional characteristic on high.

Therefore, the overwhelming majority of featured snippets present within the first place. In truth, solely 2 out of our 866 featured snippets are in positions under 1. So that is a straightforward approach to take away practically all of the featured snippets that you simply rank for.

In different phrases, you get a listing of low-hanging alternatives to steal featured snippets out of your opponents. Let’s get you ready for the heist.

We have to prioritize. Stealing 6,000 featured snippets directly is a mission not possible.

I decreased the checklist to 72 key phrases by prioritizing these with greater search volumes the place we rank in positions 2–5.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Now issues look far more manageable.

The search quantity filter is an apparent one, as there’s no level in focusing on long-tail key phrases at this level. Regarding the positions and referring again to our research, the likelihood of proudly owning a featured snippet will increase together with your natural place for that search question.

Again, these filters can be totally different for you. However, in case you don’t rank for a considerable quantity of key phrases already, I’d recommend specializing in creating extra nice content material and constructing hyperlinks.

So, we’ve obtained the checklist. What’s the battle plan?

In our case, I’d prioritize additional by manually checking for key phrases with stable enterprise worth. For instance, the search question “most popular websites” is much less worthwhile for us than “how to get backlinks” despite the fact that the primary has 5 instances the search quantity. People who wish to construct hyperlinks are more likely to develop into our prospects.

Taking that question under consideration, that is what I see:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

We can inform that Google prefers a listing format right here. Unfortunately, the one appropriate reply to this question is within the navigational sidebar in our submit about “how to get backlinks.” And that’s clearly only a UX aspect:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

The sidebar stays in your display screen as you scroll down the article solely on desktop. That’s an issue on condition that we’re on this planet of mobile-first indexing. On high of that, there’s no supporting context that will information Google into pulling it.

Let’s examine this to how the pulled content material seems to be on a opponents web site:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

My intestine feeling tells me that every one we have to do is to repeat the navigation checklist into our intro. Something that we do quite a bit today anyway:

Not solely do I imagine that our checklist would offer extra worth within the featured snippet, it’s additionally what the article is definitely about. The checklist from our competitor incorporates inner hyperlinks to their different posts, however the featured article doesn’t describe these ways additional.

In brief, you could make sure that your content material incorporates snippet-worthy info and does so in a manner that Google can simply parse, perceive, and interpret.

Create new content material with featured snippets in thoughts

Let’s make one factor clear from the beginning:

You shouldn’t create content material simply to focus on a featured snippet. You goal key phrases as a result of they’re in demand and are related to your enterprise. If your content material occurs to win the featured snippet, properly, that’s the icing on the cake.

That mentioned, it nonetheless is sensible to maintain featured snippets in thoughts when creating content material.

For instance, let’s assume that you’ve a meals weblog and plan to write down a submit about easy methods to make pizza dough. You can use the identical filters from Site Explorer in Keyword Explorer to seek out potential featured snippet alternatives. Just enter the seed key phrase “pizza dough,” then go to the “Also rank for” report and apply the featured snippet filter:

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

What we’re seeing listed below are key phrases that the top-ranking pages for “pizza dough” additionally rank for, which additionally occur to set off featured snippets. If we will incorporate a few of these subtopics into our pizza dough recipe, we could possibly rank for them within the snippets.

The downside is that there are literally thousands of key phrases right here. It wouldn’t make sense to include all of them. Instead, we wish to filter for related ones with respectable month-to-month search volumes that present indicators of being simple to rank for.

Let’s add just a few filters to do that:

  • Keyword Difficulty (KD): <=30
  • Minimum month-to-month search quantity: 100
  • Keyword consists of: “pizza”
  • Keyword doesn’t embody: “menu” (there are many “pizza menu” key phrases that set off featured snippets)

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Now we’re left with 176 related and simple to rank key phrases that additionally set off featured snippets. All that’s left to do is eyeball the checklist for subtopics that will make sense to incorporate in our article.

One that instantly stands out to me is “can you freeze pizza dough.” I’m fairly a cook dinner however I’d by no means take into consideration mentioning this within the recipe.

Unfortunately, if we have a look at the present featured snippet for this question, it’s fairly good.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

So, on this case, it could be a little bit harder to ‘win’ the snippet as we will’t actually enhance on the present one, however it nonetheless is sensible to incorporate one thing about freezing pizza dough in our article. Even if we by no means win the featured snippet, it’s useful info for readers.

Just keep in mind the “rules” of ‘successful featured snippets when creating and optimizing your submit:

  1. Format and construction your content material accurately (H1-H6, and many others.)
  2. Try to keep away from overcomplicated sentences. Succinct explanations win.
  3. Use the language of your viewers. In the tip, Google makes use of featured snippets as answers in voice search.
  4. Use the Inverted Pyramid Method (the place it is sensible).

How to maintain monitor of your featured snippets

Getting a featured snippet is the same as rating first for a key phrase. You would possibly already be monitoring key phrase rating positions, so let me assist you broaden it to monitoring featured snippets.

Enter Rank Tracker.

First of all, you need to add the entire queries the place you already personal the featured snippet.

Just to recap, right here’s how you’ll find these: Site Explorer -> Enter area -> Organic key phrases -> SERP Features -> Featured snippets -> Only linking to focus on.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Export this report back to CSV, then copy all of the key phrases and paste them into Rank Tracker.

Rank Tracker -> choose venture -> Add key phrases

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Next, add any key phrases with featured snippets that you simply’re actively pursuing, i.e. “how to get backlinks” in our instance.

I like to recommend tagging them with one thing like “featured snippets” (this simply makes it faster and simpler to filter them in future) earlier than including the checklist into your Rank Tracker venture.

Hit “Add keywords” on the backside of the page and also you’re set to see while you win or lose a featured snippet—right here’s how:

Rank Tracker -> choose venture -> Overview -> filter for the snippets you’re monitoring with the “tag” filter -> click on “SERP options” tab -> choose “Featured snippet”.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

As you possibly can see, from the key phrases I’m monitoring, the web site misplaced 11 from 61 featured snippets, whereas 60 from 644 featured snippets disappeared from the SERP. This is only a week-over-week comparability; the SERPs are actually unstable today.

Here are the important thing elements to regulate:

  1. the variety of featured snippets you at present personal (plus the +/- change within the chosen interval);
  2. the variety of featured snippets in whole for the key phrases you’re monitoring (plus the +/- change for the interval);
  3. the share of all queries with featured snippets that you simply at present personal (e.g., if there are 100 tracked key phrases exhibiting featured snippets and it says 10%, then you definately personal ten featured snippets);
  4. a graph exhibiting your progress over time.

To delve deeper into the specifics on the key phrase stage, simply scroll right down to the key phrases checklist and see the time comparability information (7 days on this instance):

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

We can see two new featured snippets on this view, with the underside one being elevated from the fifth place. That’s the shortcut I’m speaking about.

To isolate the successful instances, we’ll want to use two extra filters:

  • Position: improved (you rank greater than at the beginning of your chosen interval)
  • SERP options: You rank for the featured snippet

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

Again, scroll down and see the featured snippet winners of the week (or no matter interval you select):

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

To see misplaced featured snippets, simply apply reverse filters -> decline in positions within the high 10 and solely present featured snippets that you simply don’t personal. Unfortunately, you possibly can’t at present isolate instances the place you misplaced the snippet, so that you’ll see all declines within the high 10.

svg%3E - How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets in 2020

You would possibly wish to contemplate checking the place drops no matter featured snippets anyway. Sort the desk by site visitors as proven above and take note of big site visitors drops.

However, now you recognize the whole lot you could crush SERPs together with your featured snippets. I imagine there can be extra inexperienced than pink positions any more.

If you have got any feedback or questions, don’t hesitate to ping me on Twitter.