Have you noticed that it is getting harder and harder to get traffic from Google?
And it is not just because of your competition. It seems that Google has implemented a scheme to make people stay on its search engine without the need to visit your website. Websites with top 10 rankings are already noticing the sudden traffic dive. This is a clear indication that your search engine optimization strategy must change.
One of the things that you can use to get more people into your site is Google Featured Snippets. This is useful because it instantly ranks you on top of the search engine results. All you need to do is answer your customer’s most pressing questions.
Today, you’ll learn about Google Featured Snippets and how it can help your site get more traffic. You’ll also learn how to optimize your ‘snippets’ for better search engine rankings.
What are Google ‘Featured Snippets’?
If you see those paragraphs on Google that doesn’t have a link or those images that show you what you need to know. Those are Google Featured Snippets.
Take ‘Brad Pitt’s Birthday’ for example. If you search for it, you’ll see this instead of the usual search results.
The picture, the direct answer to the question (his birthday) as well as the details on the side are examples of featured snippets.
In fact, if you will scroll down, you’ll find a list of questions that has a drop down.
This section answers all of the common questions related to Brad Pitt.
Why should you get featured in these sections?
You should get featured for instant exposure of course! As you can see, Google no longer displays website results as the answer to the question. Instead, it answers the question right away with a link to more details. Think about it. If you managed to answer one of these most common questions, then Google will instantly recommend your website and you’ll get instant traffic.
From here, you may be wondering if Google Featured snippets are really effective. Well, there are people who found some positive results with it. Ben Goodsell for instance found a whopping 677% increase in traffic and a 4% increase in his clickthrough rate. ConfluentForms.com, on the other hand, found a 30% increase in traffic just from having a featured snippet.
There are different types of snippets. There are paragraph snippets, image snippets, information snippets, table snippets and bullet snippets. Ideally, you’ll want a snippet with a URL. If it doesn’t have a URL, then it will hardly drive any traffic to your website.
Here is a brief explanation of each type.
These are the most common. This can come in the form of an answer to a question and can be contained inside a dropdown box as you have seen above. Almost more than 80% of snippets are paragraph snippets.
These are usually shown in the right-hand side of the search results. They are scraped from well known information websites such as Wikipedia.
A table snippet is simply a table answer to a question. This is quite rare and only comprise less than 10% of all snippets.
Bullet Snippets (or List Snippets)
There are instances where a list can answer the question better than paragraphs. In these instances, these snippets come in handy.
NOTE: There is also another type of Featured Snippet called Quick Answer Snippets. However, you should just ignore these as it will not give your website any form of traffic. An example of a Quick Answer snippet is Fahrenheit to Celsius Conversion.
Google will already have a built-in calculator that doesn’t feature any type of link. It may be best to stay away from these snippets for they will not give any traffic to your site.
Guide: How to Get More Traffic through Feature Snippets in 11 Steps
From here, you are probably wondering how to get your website featured as a snippet. In this section, you’ll learn about 11 steps that can increase your chances of getting featured. These are arranged in a chronological manner so you need to finish one step before you proceed with the next.
STEP 1: Get Your Website Pages Ranked on the Top 10 Search Engine Results
The easiest way to get your pages featured is to have as many pages on the front page as you can. It is not necessary that you rank first. According to the study by Gestat, they found that 70% of featured snippets did not come from rank one rankings. Instead, it came from authority websites that have top 10 rankings for multiple keywords. Ahrefs confirms this by stating that 99.58% of featured websites are already ranked in the top 10 for multiple keywords. This shows that having a trusted website is a necessity if you want to have more of your pages featured on the search engines.
STEP 2: Start with Keywords
If you don’t have an authority website, don’t fret. There’s still a chance to get a slice of Google Featured Snippets traffic. If you optimize your pages right, you may be able to rank for longtail questions in your niche.
For this, the best starting point is keywords. More than looking for keywords to rank for, you should look for keywords that you can build questions on. After all, getting your content featured on Google is not just about targeting the keyword but the question.
STEP 3: Transform Keywords to Questions
Now that you have your keywords, it is time to transform them into questions. I suggest that you move away from the usual ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions and just put yourself in the shoes of the person searching for the keyword. Think about the types of questions that they’ll ask. Think about the other things that they may be interested to know. This will help you in your ‘question brainstorming session’.
STEP 4: Look at Google’s Featured Questions
To get more ideas for questions, you can just input your keywords on Google and look at the existing featured questions. From here, you can employ the ‘make it better’ approach by simply solving the problem better than your competitor. Of course, you’ll still need to promote your web page for your solution to be featured on Google.
STEP 5: Look for Questions on Twitter
There is a tool called Cyfe and this allows you to monitor all Twitter updates that you follow. This gives you a place to search for questions in your niche.
Finding question ideas is as simply as logging on to Cyfe and accessing its archive. It even has a keyword tool so that you can record the questions as you find them.
Now, Cyfe is only effective in uncovering ideas. However, you really cannot depend on it when it comes to assessing traffic potential. You may need to use other tools such as SimilarWeb or Ahrefs to determine if the question or keyword is worth pursuing.
STEP 6: Look for Questions on Forums
Another source for questions are forums. Forums are usually communities around a particular niche. Since it is niche-focused, people with the most pressing questions would come there to look for answers. The best part? These people have already tried searching for an answer on Google and failed. So if you will answer their question, there is a high chance for you to get ranked.
STEP 7: Look for Questions in Facebook Groups
An evolved form of the forums are Facebook Groups. Like forums, Facebook groups are often niche-focused. Because of this, you’ll find some niche-specific questions in here. This will give you some ideas on what questions to include in your content.
STEP 7: Directly Ask People
If all else fails, just ask. People are not that scary. In fact, they would be happy to give feedback if the topic matters to them. Just ask them about their most pressing questions. These are the questions that they are desperately looking for an answer but have not found it yet. It may take some probing but this is the most authentic route when it comes to uncovering questions. It may even give you some ideas that you would not have found if you stuck with search.
STEP 8: Compile Your Questions
By now, you should have a list of questions ready. You should then categorize your questions based on their subtopic. This will allow you to create multiple pages in your website that addresses a certain set of questions.
STEP 9: Check your Competition?
Before you proceed with content (or answer) creation, you should take the time to check your competition. This will tell you if the question is worth pursuing. As a rule, you should avoid any question that has a Wikipedia information snippet. Wikipedia is a very popular authority website. Ranking higher than them is often impossible no matter how detailed or ‘better’ your answer is.
Also, check for other authority websites that are ranked for snippets. Try to see if they have already answered the questions in your list. If they have missed some questions, you should pursue those instead. There is no use answering a question that has already been answered by a more popular website.
STEP 10: Optimize Your Page
You cannot expect your content to get ranked if it doesn’t have basic onpage SEO. Google’s search engine robots still need to know that your content is truly about your target question. Even though Google Featured Snippets tend to rank first in a search engine query, that doesn’t mean that the answers forego any form of onpage optimization. Optimizing your page is a must. So do it and don’t get lazy.
STEP 11: Don’t Forget about Structure
It seems that Google also has a desired ‘answering’ structure. It has nothing to do with schema. Instead, it focuses on certain attributes of the ‘answer’ page that makes it worth featuring.
The first attribute is brevity. Google want short and straight-to-the-point answers to questions especially in the first few sentences of your answer. According to AJ Ghergich, the average length of a paragraph snippet is only 45 words. This is shorter than its maximum length of 97 words. So if you make your answers as short and straight-to-the-point as possible, there is a chance that Google will feature it.
But this doesn’t mean that the whole answer should be short. The longer answer should be uncovered when users click on the website’s URL.
The second attribute is factual. Google values facts over opinions. If your answer is supported by data and research, then they’ll rank it higher.
In this section, numbers may help. You may also want to list the answers or organize them in a table.
Third, you need to organize everything. Be sure that you are not repeating answers to questions. Avoid similar questions in one page if you can. Don’t try too hard to get your page featured.
Structure is one of the most important parts of getting your content featured as a snippet in search engine rankings. Be sure to have a very organized ‘question-and-answer’ page before you proceed with promotion.
STEP 12: Add some Images
We now live in a world that thrives on visual content. It is a sin to not include images in your content even if it is a ‘question-and-answer’ content.
Images have a way of enticing people into your website. Think about it. If you answer the question with just text, there will be no image to get people to click on the URL. With an image, the content seems to be more exciting to click on.
NOTE: Be sure to only use images that you have the license to use. While the Internet is a great place for free images, only use royalty free images if you don’t want to get sued.
As you can see, getting more traffic with Google Featured Snippets is not that hard. If you focus on answering the most pressing questions in your niche, then Google would be more than happy to include your answer on the top of its search engine results.