Want your content to appear on Google’s Featured Snippets? Here’s what you should know

29 September 2018
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Google Analytics
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Among the most promising SEO achievements of 2018, winning the ‘Position 0’ is perhaps the biggest. Featured snippets can take your content all the way to the top within the consistently changing landscape of search results of Google.

A few facts-

Position 0’ has been nicknamed as such because it appears above the ranking of Position 1. Winners of the featured snippet get an opportunity to witness their standard organic ranking also on the Serp ensuring it will be seen twice on page 1.

‘Position 0’ does not rank for AdWords but allows the advertiser to rank in both.

The info chart appearing next to the organic search results is just a knowledge panel providing information from the knowledge graph which has at sometimes the ability to appear as a featured snippet.

Featured snippets are considered volatile because they can appear and disappear for some keywords that are being tracked. The fluctuations can be huge on a weekly basis.

CTR and Website Traffic of keywords ranked in Position 0

CTR for featured snippets, in comparison to regular search results is not significantly higher, but since many users get an “answer” to their question within the featured snippet-it does result in lower CTR rate for the 1st position.

Is There a Difference between the CTR of a featured snippet or a rich snippet and how is the traffic differentiated in analytics?

It is easier to categorize the CTR of a rich snippet because it is provided in the search console under search analytics. You have the ability to choose just rich results under the search appearance filter and export the CTR after considering position ranking. Unfortunately, no filters are available to view queries of featured snippets and therefore you consistently need to keep track of your Position 0 results and combine the data to assess their performance.

Differences between desktops and mobile devices-

Featured snippets are often viewed on desktops more than mobile devices and it was around August that a drop in featured snippets on mobile devices was witnessed.

Featured snippets on mobile devices and desktops are both different according to certain keywords and the reason for this is because the intent for the search and context are frequently different and therefore it would be sensible to witness some difference even in the featured snippets. These are similar to normal organic SERPs where differences can be seen in the rankings on different devices. As the intent for the search varies as compared to a desktop from mobile devices which are consistently competing against the content of different types the differences become more prominent.

Featured snippets across different countries, languages and search engines-

Having a multilingual website in one country with featured snippets does not guarantee any help in getting the feature snippet in another country which may have the website in different languages. It must be understood that the competition will be greater in other countries where the search engine may not have any impact on the winning features snippet. Therefore a popular multilingual website should be used wherever possible hoping for the best results despite no evidence being available that it may be helpful. Popular search engines, however, have featured snippets presenting different opinions for controversial topics on the same page and in most cases, they are varying versions of rich results which are also expandable and can show you the entire information on the page without even clicking the link. Therefore it can be suggested that different search engines have featured snippets of various kinds according to their individual needs.

It is, however, unknown whether Google displays featured snippets throughout the globe and in all languages. They are however prominent in the US and the UK and some other countries.

Types of Search queries that appear in featured snippets results-

Features snippets are most often likely to be triggered by queries requesting information like questions and comparisons. In most cases, they will not feature transnational keywords because they are likely to yield better-paid results for shopping, advertising which Google understands they can easily monetize.

Within the US, the health and finance sector is witnessing a higher prominence of featured snippets as compared to e-commerce, media, and travel. This is not an indicator that featured snippets are not relevant in certain markets especially when certain categories of the industry are considered. It is essential to understand whether the featured snippet is relevant to a domain and to enter the information into the search metrics research cloud to gather information about how many keywords exist for this domain of features snippets. Featured snippets may not be the main priority for certain markets such as job boards where they may appear for just 4% to 8% of the keywords as compared to websites offering information of health which may have a value range of 30%-36%.

-There might be correlation between a domain, having high SEO visibility, to one that generates the most featured snippets.

Best Practices For Using Structured Data, Tables & Lists-

If you have a large table with many empty fields, it is suggested to consider breaking it down by repeating table headers. Users on occasions need reminders to tell them what every column is depicting and when the view large tables they often need to scroll back to refresh their memory. Breaking the column with headers makes it easier for them to understand the table to be pulled out for the featured snippet.

Alternatively, you can search for formats which are frequently being displayed for the queries you are targeting. If you do not find any featured snippets which are current you may need to test for a couple of months to determine the kind of impact they may have.

Is a short introductory sentence essential for a table or a list? You can determine what best suits your website after considering the content it has because this is considered as one of the best practices to explain the list or table to the reader.

You may decide to use bullets or points and even numerical lists but you must understand that irrespective of what is used it can get picked up by Google. Therefore you are advised to stick to the most relevant list type for the content you have without trying to include awesome font icons. Google will ensure that the icons are not displayed in SERP and are replaced with anything they consider suitable.

Despite integrating specially prepared tables at the beginning of the article Google still includes H3 headlines in some of the featured snippets.

If you are using structured data you must ensure it should be exactly as it is on the landing page of the website. Google is specific about structured data guidelines and the fact that it can be manipulated easily for Rich results and therefore monitor the same carefully. Marking up content which is not on the page can result in manual penalties and can cause you to lose all enriched results from your domain.

Can Google impose penalties for using a large quantity of structured data? As long as Google is able to understand and classify the content on the web they do not impose any penalties for using a large quantity of structured data. However, it is essential for you to pay attention to the guidelines they have specified in order to avoid incorrect representation of your data or spamming around your markups.

Features snippets are not always the answer during a voice search if the content on the page is concise and easily readable. Optimizing the featured snippets is certainly a step in the right direction for voice search. However, it is not the only factor which is considered except for smartphones.

Is it possible to check your current featured snippets and the queue for featured snippets? You can check the currently featured snippets by searching for the keyword with the “_” search function to avoid the domain which is leading in the race for the featured snippet. If you witness a set of normal organic results it gives you an indication that no one is eligible for the top spot.

To summarize the best way to achieve and enhance your featured snippets is to comprehensively analyze your potential placements and create well-structured content which is tailored for the needs of your users. You can consider looking at some of the top domains if you need more hands-on advice and examples of successful case studies.