We are all about helping other small businesses. That’s why, when we discovered that some of our top ranking content was showing up in the form of featured snippets at the top of search results, we decided to share the wealth and tell others how to get a featured snippet on Google search, too.
Ranking first in search isn’t necessary to be a successful business, but it certainly helps. The higher up your content ranks in search results, the more people that will see your content and click on your website. The more eyes on your website, the more potential buyers you’ll get – and the more potential buyers you have, the more you’ll sell. It’s a science (sort of).
Featured snippets can be like a shortcut to ranking on the first page of search results, and as you’ll see below, they include a special, enticing bit of your content to help lure more people to your site.
It’s actually not as challenging as it might sound to get a featured snippet, and Google offers a few tips and pointers for getting content to rank high enough to become a featured snippet. We’ve summarized their tips and added a few recommendations that have worked for us. Happy ranking!
How to get a featured snippet of your content
Check out the screenshot above (yep, that’s our content ranking first – happy dance!) Notice a few elements of the featured snippet, which shows up when you search the keywords “virtual receptionist features“:
- The search keyword is in the title of the featured snippet article
- The search keyword is in the URL of the featured snippet article
- The article answers the specific question asked in the keyword (“Virtual receptionist features”)
- There aren’t many other search results with the same title or keyword
With these elements in place, we’ve found that Google is much more likely to choose your content as a featured snippet.
Below is another example of our content that has been selected as a featured snippet on Google. This time, the search keywords “How to handle rude customer” were used. Our blog post, titled “How Should You Handle a Rude Customer?” ranks first for these keywords. This might be due to the fact that we’ve used the keywords themselves in the blog post title, the blog post URL, and within the content itself.
Now, what makes Google choose and/or reject content for a featured snippet? Let’s look at their own explanation.
What Google looks for when creating featured snippets
Google isn’t dodging questions about the featured snippet criteria – in fact, they’re very upfront about what reasons they’ll display content as a featured snippet rather than a regular search result.
Answers to common questions
One such reason is that the content in question answers common user inquiries or searches. “When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.” – Google Help
Content body and length
We know that Google looks for content to feature as an answer to a common question by checking out the content’s body, title, URL, and internal links – we’ve seen our content displayed as a featured snippet many times due to these factors. It also seems that longer, meatier content is chosen to be displayed as a featured snippet more often than shorter articles.
Optimizing your content to get a featured snippet
What’s the most important question your customers are asking about your product, service, or industry? Write content answering that question, and don’t rush it. Write long, informative, well-supported and cited content that answers a common inquiry your customers have. Start from the basics and go into the complex.
Make sure you include the keywords you’re looking to rank for in your content title and URL. It also needs to be included throughout the body of the content (but don’t overdo it. Google can penalize you for keyword stuffing).
Include a photo or two in your article – when you do, Google will include it with your snippet, making it even more eye-catching. Win-win!
Do some research of some of the top keywords and search terms in your industry and see what featured snippets currently come up. Don’t be afraid to imitate! Write down any common threads you find in featured snippet articles and try to include something similar in your content.
It’s not hard to get a featured snippet of your content on Google, and it’s easier to send people to your website when Google recommends your well-written content in such a visually appealing and eye-catching way. It’s worth optimizing your current content and keeping in mind as you create new content. A featured snippet could help you get your content on the first page of search and in front of millions!