Want to feature your content at the top of the SERP? There are ways you can do this without being ranked number one.
You know when you type your search request into Google, you’re presented with a list of results (SERP – search engine results page) and normally, nestled near the top is a featured snippet?
Well, this is how else you get to the top of the SERP. You have your content included in the featured snippet.
What is the featured snippet?
Google are constantly striving to improve the UX for their users, and in a way to provide quick and accurate answers to search requests, they introduced the featured snippet a few years ago.
Essentially, this feature of the SERP provides the answers the user is looking for, right there, at the top of the page. Thereby negating the need for the user to actually click on the link, because the information is readily available to them.
So you might then ask yourself – why should you aim to get your content in the featured snippet if the users aren’t actually going to click your link and head on over to your website?
Why get content included in the featured snippet?
Well, the truth is, having your content appear in the featured snippet doesn’t mean you’re going to get less organic traffic, far from it.
Research has shown that you’ll get more traffic if you’re featured (one site revealed how they got a 516% increase in organic traffic simply by having their content in the featured snippet).
The content in the featured snippets are the ‘quick answers’ to the questions users are asking. The information in the featured snippet will typically take two forms – it will either appear as a featured snippet, set in a box at the top of the page directly below the paid results, but above the first organic result (and will generally be the response to a complex query). Or it will be a direct answer to a question in the ‘People also ask’ box underneath the featured snippet.
For the featured snippet, Google will take snippets of what it deems ‘relevant content’ from web pages which have presented the data in a semantically sound and ordered fashion, most notably in list forms, allowing for easy presentation of the information.
So how do you get your content to appear in the featured snippet? Here are 3 ways:
1. Know what common questions your audience is asking.
Do your research and compile a list of the most common questions your audience are asking, and aim to answer them as succinctly and clearly as you can.
If you want to improve your position in the SERP you should be doing this already, but to get content in the featured snippet, it has to be incredibly specific to answer the exact question asked.
Once you have your list of questions, ask them, verbatim, in your content. Treat your users’ questions as keywords and phrases and sprinkle them throughout your content.
Don’t forget to incorporate the exact question in at least one of your headers, preferably H1 or H2 tags. Using keywords in your headers should be part of your SEO practice anyway as it is a great way to tell Google (and your readers) what is contained in the copy below.
2. Provide a clear answer to the common question.
You need to provide a clear and concise answer to the question being asked. Don’t waffle on, short content is what generally appears in the featured snippet because it is quick and easy.
Keep your answers short and sweet, no more than 2-3 sentences and provide it directly underneath the heading containing the question.
Bear in mind that the average word count in the featured snippet is just 56 words, so if you provide an answer longer than this, it won’t be shown.
The best way to display your answer is in list format as it allows readers to scan your content quickly, thereby enhancing their UX. One of the easiest ways to display content that could be included in the featured snippet is to create Q&A pages on your website. That way you have a list of specific, user-focused questions and answers on your site already, easy for Google to use.
3. Optimise your content.
Having said keep your answer to the specific snippet question short, you should ensure the rest of your page contains more in-depth information.
At the end of the day you’re optimising your content to be ranked as highly in the SERP as possible, and even if you don’t make it to the featured snippet, ensuring your content gives your audience as much relevant information as possible should be your number one priority.
Essentially, yes you only need short content to feature in the snippet, but you need more in-depth, longer content to rank in the SERP.
If you already have pages that are ranking highly, don’t reinvent the wheel, simply re-optimise them so they contain content that could feature in the snippet.
If you aren’t sure how your pages are doing, check out their analytics via Google Analytics and focus on those pages that are ranked in the top 5 places for their keyword or related questions.
If you aren’t sure how to optimise your content, don’t go it alone. Enlist the services of a search engine optimisation agency in London who can help you out. Market Jar are a London based SEO company and we offer full SEO consultancy services.
So if you have any questions regarding bespoke SEO or website design, reach out, anytime.