Everyone wants their website to rank first in Google search results, but have you ever tried to appear in position zero? Exactly, you read that right. Since 2014, Google has been adding featured snippets (or “featured snippets”) and response boxes that appear in the “zero position” just above typical search results. The response boxes are helpful, easy to click, and have a primary location that helps increase traffic. Is it possible to get that prominent place for your own website?
In this article, we will tell you what a featured snippet is, what it is useful for, and how you can make your web page appear in a response box.
What is a Google featured snippet?
A featured snippet is a reply box on Google that appears above other search results and below ads. You can see them in a small frame, with a short paragraph and an image.
Not all searches have a featured snippet, but they appear more and more frequently. Most featured snippets look like paragraphs, but they can also include lists, tables, and videos. They usually appear when you type your search as a question.
Why is a featured snippet important?
Currently, only 15% of searches have this type of response box, but more and more will be seen. Featured snippets make it easy to find the answer we’re looking for quickly, which is why they’re so cool. And above all, they are very helpful for visitors with mobile devices, which cover most of the online traffic.
They are also useful for digital voice assistants, since Siri or Alexa can read the response box for you to hear.
However, is there a chance that people will read the answer and not click through to the web page? According to Google, featured snippets do not decrease traffic per click. Other types of search engine optimization agree that getting your website to appear in the top location is worth it when it comes to brand awareness, even if not everyone clicks on it. If you’re interested, Google has more information here on how featured snippets work.
How do I get my website to appear in a Google reply box?
- Think of common questions from your customers.
- Check if those questions already have featured snippets.
- Write your own response in a featured snippet format.
- Include the answer on your web page in the proper format.
Unfortunately, you can’t flag your website as a featured snippet or request it from Google. The decision to index your website is up to Google and, as with most SEO advice, getting it done is an art.
However, with a few simple tweaks, you can make your content more attractive and have a better chance of being featured in a featured snippet. This is so even if your page does not appear in the first position in the search results.
This happens because Google also takes featured snippets from lower ranking web pages, as long as it is a safe and reliable web and the text answers the question. So it is possible to do it!
1. Think about common questions from your customers
For many people, this means searching for keywords, but don’t let that put you off or slow you down. If you run your own business, you may already know many of the questions your potential customers have.
Don’t focus on closed questions that can be answered in two or three words, or specific questions about your business, such as “Is the store open on Saturdays?” It’s best to think of broader questions that someone in the market might ask about the type of product or service you offer, even if they’ve never heard of your business before.
If you sell hats, you can play with a question like “how do I know what my hat size is?” If you run a plumbing, the question may be “how to fix a water leak from a tap?” You can also provide definitions for certain common terms in your industry.
When you write this type of high-quality general content, people will find it and be directed to your website. And so they will get to know you and know about the work you do.
2. Check if those questions already have featured snippets
Once you have some question ideas, it’s time to do a competitor analysis and see who has the answer box for these questions. Are they good answers?
If they aren’t (and some aren’t, even by Google’s standard), this is your chance to take the podium away from them. If there are no answer boxes yet, then try a different question.
According to SEO research, it is better to work with existing answer boxes with poor quality content than to try to write content for an answer box that does not exist yet and wait for Google to create one.
3. Write your own response in featured snippet format
Now is the time to sit down and answer your objective question bluntly, accurately, and literally.
Google looks for obvious and clear answers, not far-fetched information. Ultimately, that’s all that matters in an answer box. Try to write between 50 and 75 words.
Use simple language without technicalities, that is, words that anyone can understand. Write accurately and directly, with no intention of selling. This is not the time to come up with a one-size-fits-all answer that no one else has. You will do better if your answer matches other reliable sources online.
4. Include the answer on your web page with the appropriate format
Now that you have written your answer, it is time to include it on your website. And if you do it in a simple format, Google may recognize your content as useful and include it in an answer box.
- Use the H1 or H2 format (large and medium title on CWT) for the question and then the normal text or paragraph format for the answer. Following this organizational model makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your content.
- Also optimize your images with alternative texts and captions.
- Place the title with the target answer as close as possible, as this indicates that you may be a good candidate for an answer chart. For example, write “How to teach your dog to sit” vs. “Basic Dog Training Tricks”
Where should you put these answers on your website? It would be best to include them in the FAQ section or in the shopping guide section of your product pages. However, you can answer these questions anywhere on the web. Just be sure to put the answers in a logical place and introduce them with a title.
While getting a featured snippet takes trial and error, it’s worth it!
Trying to get an answer chart can be a fun experience and it will work for your website. Even if you don’t get the long-awaited featured snippet after following these steps, you still make sure that your website is of good quality and has useful content. And that, in the long run, is tremendously positive for your business, your SEO and your clients. For more information on the subject, take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to SEO.