In the past, Google has refined how it displays results to users, and the notable change has been the featured snippet boxes it displays before the search results. A featured snippet box appears when users input a question-based query in the search bar. The snippet displays content from one of the pages ranking high on the SERP that directly gives answers to the question-based query, without the user having to visit the page. The featured snippet box appears before the results on the SERPs, and a section of the people call them answer boxes.
While many SEO specialists complain, that featured snippet boxes may have a negative impact on site traffic since fewer people click to the pages with the content. However, this could is further from the truth. Statistics show that it increases the click-through rate.
How to Optimize Content for Google’s Featured Snippet Box
Featured snippet boxes are the forte of sites that rank on page one; read our post for tips on how to optimise your content to rank higher on SERPs.
There are the five proven ways you can optimise your content for Google’s featured snippet box.
Answer Common Queries Asked By Your Target Audience
You might have some of the most valuable content, but if it fails to answer the questions asked by your target audience, your content will not be included in the featured snippet box. Get a focus group and brainstorm on the common questions your potential site visitors will ask, and include them in your post. Ensure to include words and phrases such as ‘uses of’ or benefits, which statistics show that they help content feature in the snippet boxes.
Do not forget about keyword density, which increases the chances of drawing more traffic and are considered for a place in the featured snippet boxes. Make use of forum threads in your areas of specialization, to get ideas of what your target audience will ask.
Make the Search Query Part of Your Header
While creating your content, optimise it for Google’s featured snippet box, by ensuring that the query is under heading tags, that is <h1><h2><h3> et al. The answer to the search query must be directly under a paragraph <p> tag following the header. Google sometimes pulls the sub-headings as an answer to a search query.
Give Logical Answers
Content creators have the difficult choice of creating logical arguments in their posts. Ensure that you make the answers as logical as possible having researched the trend that users answer the questions. The answers must be easy to understand and avoid industrial jargons. Lengthy introductions will reduce your chances to rank in position zero (featured snippet box). Include tables, lists, or steps when possible.
Attend To the Number of Words
Google also considers the word count when including a post in the featured snippet box, according to a study involving 1.4 million featured snippets. The results of the study found out that the optimal length of a featured snippet ought to be a maximum of 97 characters which is around 40-50 words. The number of steps ought to be a minimum of 4 to 5 items and a maximum of 8 steps, with 3-4 rows for a table.
Study Your Competitors Already Ranked In a Featured Snippet Box
The ultimate way you can optimize your content for Google’s featured snippet is to learn from competitors in your industry. Make a list of the search results that your content rank between position 1 to 10 and not in the snippet box and use the above tips. However, you can still make notes on the strategies used by your competitors then apply them wisely in your content.
In conclusion, Google’s featured snippet box is an equalizer, and it gives small sites and low authority domains to rank above the big industry players. In most cases, the content in the featured snippet boxes is from sites ranked in position 5 and below. Follow these tips, and they will help you rank higher than the high authority domains and hence increase your CTR.