Today's digital marketer must constantly learn new methods about being on the forefront of the latest SEO techniques and digital marketing trends.
That’s because ever so often, Google puts a new spin on a marketing technique that many digital marketers and business professionals have grown to rely on.
Unfortunately, techniques such as SEO, short for Search Engine Optimization is one of them. Because Google continues to refine the way it provides results for its users, a digital marketer's job is never over.
For example, Google offers Featured Snippets that now appear in the search results. Marketers and business owners must become familiar with this recent trend so that they can capitalize on it's opportunities and continue to create content that is well optimized for these Featured Snippets.
What are Featured Snippets?
If you are somewhat new to this process, you may be wondering what Featured Snippets are in the first place. Well, a Featured Snippet appears in the search engine results page (SERP) as a result of questions being asked but in more of a question- based query format. In other words, if you ask a very specific question in the search results, only a snippet of that answer is displayed that addresses the specific answer that the user has inquired about.
In some cases, this process is so effective that the user does not have to click through to the web page containing the original answer, plus additional information. This actually raised some concerns among marketers who feared that there would be a decrease in SEO related click-through rates.
Most people’s concerns were validated because the Google’s Featured Snippet that appears in the search results were very effective. However, as it turned out, the click-through rate has increased, contrary to what some marketers may have previously believed.
How to Jump on the Featured Snippet Bandwagon?
If you are a business owner or a digital marketer, it is important for you to stay fully engaged in the SEO process, even if there are changes made to it. So how do you remain informed and make sure that you jump on the Featured Snippet bandwagon and not get left behind? Well to address this area, there are several questions that must be answered.
For example, what role does SEO play in the Featured Snippets results (if any) and its ranking, and how does a marketer properly optimize its content for high Featured Snippet rankings? Below are some answers to some of the most common questions that marketers have to ensure their Featured Snippets receive high rankings in the Google search results.
How Content Marketers Can Rank Higher In the Featured Snippet Search Results?
Based on some recent research that has been performed, researchers have found that Featured Snippet results that took place as a result of queries containing words or phrases that included
- What is
- How to
- How does
- How do
were present in the search results. These terms were much more present in content that did not contain these phrases. In fact, 29% of the question based queries resulted in a Featured Snippet.
Without a doubt, Google is apparently looking for certain bits of information that it uses to produce answers to queries that resulted in high Featured Snippets rankings.
In performing this research, researchers have come to the conclusion that several strategies and techniques have been present in the content that received high rankings in the Featured Snippets results. They are outlined in more detail below.
- Placement of answers to queries:
The placement of the content that answers specific questions to queries that search users have should be placed directly below its header in a <p> tag. The placement of the answers to these queries should also be placed within a header, such as h2, h3, or h4, etc.
- Length of answers to queries:
The length of the answers to the queries should only be between 54 to 58 words in length.
- Chronological steps or list based answers:
Content containing a list that begins with either step one, step two or step three etc. or a list that has been put together in another format that is in chronological order, which is also preceded by a relevant (h2) sub-heading tend to get picked up by Google for use as a Featured Snippet.
- Good page structure:
Having a good page structure is another way that Google identifies and pulls information from paragraphs when no step-by-step process is present. Queries that do not directly involve question-based terms are identified more so in highly structured content.
- Answered based formatted content: content containing structures that provide answers to queries in a logical format is likely to appear as a featured snippet than those that do not appear in this format. These types of paragraphs are more instructional in nature. For example, they may begin with terms such as
- start by…
- then select…
- click on…
- rule number one…
- step one etc.
- Final Recommendations
You may have noticed that you have been spending time learning about the latest SEO techniques to not only remain aware of the latest trends and techniques but also to continue to receive high rankings in the search engines. However, every marketer’s greatest fear is sinking to the bottom of search results without really understanding why.
As a marketer, performing ongoing research is important for maintaining high rankings in the Google search results. In fact, without it, is almost impossible to maintain high rankings as Google’s requirements often change.
Wrapping it all up:
If you are adamant about increasing your visibility within Google’s Featured Snippet search results, it is critical for you to modify your approach and change the way you think about search engine optimization because Google certainly has.
To increase your visibility, first consider analyzing the keywords that you currently use that rank well, when using your current SEO campaign. Then determine which of them could be answers to question based inquiries. From there, simply drill down on the structure of your content. It may require minor adjustments before your content is formatted in a way that is recognized by Google as well optimized content suitable for high rankings in the Featured Snippet results.
About the Author:
The SEO-Alien is a project started in 2009 regarding all things online marketing. The site started out more of a diary of predictions, suggestions and references to things I frequently used for online marketing... before social media marketing was even an option.
I hope you find the information and tools presented here useful and something worth sharing with others.
If there is anything else about online marketing or any online advertising strategy you think would be helpful, please let me know.