How to Rank Within Google’s Featured Snippet

16 May 2016

How to Rank Within Google’s Featured Snippet

If you’re a search professional or work within a search team, then the chances are you will have heard of Google’s featured snippets. These featured snippets essentially provide the searcher with a direct answer to their query. The answer is pulled directly from the site in question, and is displayed at the top of Google’s search results.

What is the Answer Box?

These highlighted ‘snippets’ of information are chosen and highlighted by Google for their relevance to the search query of the user. Most commonly, these boxes serve to provide the most relevant answer to the search query. It therefore stands to reason that often these boxes appear when the user is using Google to ask a question:

As you can see above for this particular query ‘How to Make Banana Bread’, the user is served a highlighted piece of content directly from the site that ranks first.

This is incredibly beneficial, and more valuable than simply ranking first for two core reasons:

1.The website which is promoted into the answer box has a vastly increased amount of real estate on the first page of Google

2.The user will have a high propensity to click through to the website within the featured snippet, as they will have already started to engage with the content

If we take a look at the page which is ranking here, you’ll notice that the content within the featured snippet is taken directly from the website:

As you can see, Google hasn’t included the entirety of the content within the snippet. In this example, only part of the second step is shown. Essentially this adds even more value, as it means that should the user find what they need within the snippet that Google provides, they’ll need to click through to the website to get the full answer to their query.

What Effect Does Ranking within the Featured Snippet have on Your Traffic?

I’ll demonstrate this point with a recent client example we’ve seen here at DBD:

At the point of the red arrow, our client’s piece of content was promoted to within the snippet. As you can see this had a huge effect on traffic, and more importantly the effect is ongoing.

How Can your Content Rank Within the Featured Snippet?

So we know that Google is ranking content within featured snippets, and we know that being featured is incredibly valuable. The obvious question now, is how can we start optimising for this?

There are a few simple steps that you can take to optimise your content for the featured snippet:

Step One: Develop a list of relevant topics, which are interesting to your audience. Ensure the topics you chose are within areas where you can provide real value

Step Two: Create content for each topic, which is engaging, relevant and truly useful for your audience

Step Three: If the topic allows, provide a ‘quick steps’ guide at the start of the content to give Google something simple to populate the quick answer box with

Step Four: Ensure SEO best practice is implemented, and that the final page is clear and concise in terms of usability

Though you can optimise your site to appear, there are no guarantees. Google will choose the what is deemed as the most relevant piece of content to rank within the featured snippet. Implementing the recommended process when choosing what to produce content on is good practice anyway, and doing so won’t hurt! I’d start by putting a process in place to discover where your website may have a feasible chance of ranking within the snippet, and working through the steps above.