You’ve almost certainly seen Google featured snippets when performing a search online. Usually it’s a short two or three sentence answer to a “how to…” or “what is…” type question.
The content that shows is compiled from one of the pages that ranks highly for your phrase in the search results, and is placed just above the first organic result in SERP and just below paid ads. In addition to the brief answer to your query, the featured snippet also provides a link to the page with this content.
Here’s an example of the Google featured snippet/answers box shown for the search term ‘how to invest in gold’ on Google.co.uk: Google Featured Snippet It isn’t a paid advertisement and you don’t have to rank number one organically to appear here.
In the example above, MoneyWeek are ranked number two in organic search for this term, but are showing in the Google quick answer box. This featured snippet stands out a lot more than the ad above it and the search results below it, meaning eyes are going to be focused on the content in the box, which should ultimately lead to a higher click through rate to the associated webpage.
The importance of the featured snippets increased even further recently, when Google removed right hand ads and placed an additional ad at the top of search results for some search terms. This reduced the amount of screen space/real estate available above the fold for organic results, meaning that optimizing content for answer boxes is now an even greater opportunity for SEO’s to get their content in front of potential customers.
As you can see in the image below, there are four ads, the answer box, and only one organic result above the fold: Four Ads at the top and featured snippet Using the above image, picture this: Imagine if you ranked number one in organic search for a term, but you also featured in the Google quick answer box, and not only that, but you also had a paid ad in fourth spot.
SEO and Paid Search working together, hand in hand, dominating more than 50% of the screen. Now there’s an opportunity worth exploring… Add some Adwords, Facebook & Native Ad Network remarketing to your webpage and your potential customer will be seeing your product in their sleep.
Contact us for more information on what a mutli-channel/integrated marketing strategy can do for your business. That all sounds great, but how do we optimize content for these boxes? Here’s the thing. To rank in the answer boxes is an art rather than a science. There’s no set rulebook to follow that will work 100% of the time.
However, there has been a recent study of over 5,000 searches by Matthew Barby, SearchEngineLand.com author and Head of SEO at Hubspot. This study found that for high volume keywords, click through rate increased by over 114%. Mathew’s research also produced seven great takeaways to help you rank in the answer box section of the search results page.
Here they are: Back-links matter much less for ranking in the Featured Snippet when you already rank on page one. There should be an area on the page where the search query appears in a header (h2, h3, h4, etc.). The content you want to appear in the Featured Snippet (the answer to the query) should be placed in a <p> tag directly below the header mentioned above.
This answer should be between 54–58 words long. Google doesn’t always just pull through a whole paragraph of text into the Featured Snippet. If you add “Step 1,” “Step 2,” “Step 3,” etc. to the start of each subheading within a page (h2) then Google will sometimes just pull through the subheadings and list them chronologically.
This is particularly prevalent in question-based queries. Featured Snippets for the same query often have different content within Google.com, Google.co.uk, Google.com.au, and Google.ie. Try “how to search on Google” as one of many examples. For shorter, less question-orientated keywords that display a Featured Snippet (e.g. “Inbound Sales”), it’s much more likely that Google will pull through a paragraph of text as opposed to a step-by-step.
Page structure is incredibly important here. Google tends to prefer ‘answers’ that begin logically as an answer would. Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I mean by this: Using the above information, you should be able to rank in the featured snippet box for some of your high volume keywords which should lead to a higher click through rate, and ultimately more conversions. However, like with every new online marketing strategy, there is a caveat. What works for the majority may not work for your business.
That’s why it’s important to test things for yourself. You should analyze and compare traffic to the page over a set period of time—say one month—before and after you appear in the Google answer box to make sure that the traffic has increased, and is still as valuable as it was pre-answer box.
The bottom line is screen real estate is becoming very limited above the fold for organic search. By making some simple technical adjustments to your current highly ranking content you can increase the amount of visitors to your site and ultimately increase the amount of leads/revenue your site brings in. For more information, on Google’s featured snippet’s, or any element of your marketing strategy, please get in touch..