Every content marketer and SEO expert wants to get noticed by Google and obtain that coveted #1 spot in the search rankings. Doing that, however, is no easy feat, especially considering that your competitors are constantly generating new content and optimizing their websites in an effort to do the same.
Thankfully, appearing first in search rankings isn’t the only way to get your content noticed by your target customers. An even better way to get your content in front of your audience is by earning a featured snippet spot in Google search. Unlike the list of search results that usually appear below this highlighted content, featured snippets provide a more thorough answer to a user’s search query. When you achieve a featured snippet, Google will literally feature a snippet of the body of your content that it deems valuable enough to highlight as a quick overview that addresses the problem at hand — as you can see below.
Achieving a featured snippet is actually better than attaining that coveted #1 spot because it emphasizes your content in a unique way and puts it right where your audience will see it. Unlike a simple meta-description, this improves your chances of catching your audience’s attention and getting them to click through.
Now that you’ve learned what a featured snippet is, you might be wondering what you can do to increase your chances of getting your content featured front and center. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Today we’re sharing a few tips that will help you on your way toward improving your SEO, as well as your odds of getting a featured snippet on Google.
Aim to Answer Questions That Are Relevant to Your Audience
Featured snippets provide a quick and easy answer to a user’s question. Therefore, you should aim to structure pages on your blog and website in a way that provides brief and concise answers to the key phrases/questions your target audience is looking for.
There are a variety of ways that you can accomplish this. To begin, you can look for opportunities to revise your existing website content to answer commonly asked questions related to your product or service. Start this process by looking at your analytics, using Google Keyword planner, or typing in various industry-related searches into Google to see what keyphrases appear. Based on the insights you gather, create a list of key phrases and keywords that your target audience constantly searches for. Then, using this list, look for product and solution pages that you can revise to address and answer related questions.
Another way to answer your audience’s most pressing questions is by creating unique explainer pages or blog posts. These types of pages go into detail about a specific topic by covering a variety of related questions — and can drastically improve your chances of landing your website content in that featured snippet spot. By going into a lot of depth on a specific topic, you can increase your keyword usage, which helps with SEO. And you can also show both Google and your audience that you’re an expert in your field and know what you’re talking about.
Provide Information in a Useful Way
How you answer questions is just as important as answering them in the first place. Thought leadership can be invaluable in helping you secure press coverage and stand out on social media platforms such as LinkedIn. Unfortunately, this type of content doesn’t deliver the type of straightforward information your audience is looking for during a quick Google search.
If your goal is to get your content highlighted in the featured snippet box, you should aim to create detailed and informative content pieces that provide clear and concise answers to commonly asked questions. Unless you’re referring to a term that is unique to your organization, try your best to stick to definitions that exist within your field or industry and receive a lot of traffic. For instance, when we developed our Marketing as a Service solution, we wrote a blog focusing heavily on answering the most common questions around the topic.
Format Your Content in a Way That Is Easy to Consume
You can’t expect to get noticed by Google or have your target audience read what you have to say if your content isn’t formatted in a way that is easy to follow and consume. This is crucial for any type of content but particularly important if you want to rank high in Google search and have your content appear in a featured snippet box.
To start, a good rule of thumb is to include your question as an H1 or H2 tag within the body copy of your content. This will help Google easily know which keywords and topics are covered on each page of your website. Furthermore, it will help your audience easily find what they are looking for, which is particularly helpful if their question only relates to a specific part of a much broader topic.
How you format your answer is equally important. While strategizing the best way to present your content, consider whether it’s easier for your audience to consume as a paragraph, list, or table. In many cases, the type of question being asked will probably provide you enough guidance to decide the best way to format your answer. For example, if your question is “What is content marketing?”, you’ll probably want to provide at least one paragraph answer that defines the term. Whereas a chart might be more appropriate if you’re answering the question “What type of content do I need to nurture my leads?”
Make Sure to Include Relevant Keywords
Whether you’re trying to appear on the first page in the search rankings or land in that featured snippet spot, you have to make sure your content is relevant to your audience. Writing copy that includes high-ranking keywords is good practice for SEO and will ultimately motivate your target audience to click through.
Aside from helping you rank higher in search and getting your content in the featured snippet box, including relevant keywords enables you to create content that is valuable to your audience. Using everyday language will help you relate to your audience, increase their confidence in you, and help them see value in what you have to offer. Ultimately, the goal is not only to get your audience to visit your website but to motivate them to keep clicking through and provide you with the contact information you need to begin the lead nurturing process.
Review Your Content Marketing Strategy to Achieve Featured Snippet Positioning in Google Search
It’s important to remember that good content marketing (and marketing in general) involves so much more than driving visitors to your website. Effective content goes beyond good SEO practices. Whatever content you create should provide value to your customers, engage them in a way that makes them want to learn more about what you do, and effectively guide them from one stage of the sales funnel to the next.
If you’d like more tips on how to create a content marketing strategy that helps you attract, nurture, and convert your target customers, please check out our eBook, “Creating a Content Marketing Strategy: 6 Best Practices (linked below).”