For a lot of digital marketers, the top number one spot on Google is like climbing to the peak of the tallest mountain in the world. Marketers sweat and toil as they trudge on, following countless recommended routes detailed in many blog posts.
But as you know, there is a way to bypass the carefully constructed formula to claim the top spot. It’s quick, but it requires some effort too — just not as much as the “regular” route.
All About Google’s Featured Snippets
Acquiring traffic from Google entails constantly keeping up with every one of Google’s features. And one of these changes that tilted the content marketing game was the inclusion of featured snippets.
You have seen featured snippets when you’ve typed something into the search bar. And if you’re like most people, then you’re one of the majorities that looks to these bite-sized results for easy and digestible answers.
The common benefits that come with landing a spot in Google’s featured snippets include:
- Higher conversions: If brands can attract potential customers to their site simply by answering customers’ questions, the chances of getting more organic conversions multiply.
- Better brand awareness: Getting a spot in position zero means easier and higher exposure to target customers. Overall brand awareness comes easier when your site is already armed with high-quality content.
- More site traffic: Perhaps one of the most obvious benefits to being in featured snippets is the bigger amount of traffic you get for your website.
That’s what makes featured snippets so important and so likeable for a lot of users. Not only does it accommodate voice-search, but it also gives answers to questions people are searching for in ways that are quick, convenient, and easy to read.
In a nutshell, you don’t even have to click through the first link to find what you’re looking for.
Another term used to refer to featured snippets is Position Zero. This term is used because featured snippets appear above the traditional ten search results on a page (which are referred to as positions 1-10).
Let’s say for example if you typed in “What to do during a fire” in the search bar.
Google will answer that question with a snippet that includes summarized information about the question — above the other links featured in the first page of search results.
What Google does is pull answers straight from the content that’s already ranked on top number one. But there are instances where Google will pull answers from lower-ranking SERPs. (We’ll tell you why, later).
Right below your initial inquiry is a list of related search suggestions too.
Google answers your questions in the form of bullet points, numbered lists, or a short paragraph — depending on the kind of inquiry you made.
How to Rank Blog Content with Featured Snippets
There is no such thing as a clear-cut way to rank in position zero. But there are a couple of practices that you can implement to increase your chances of appearing there and staying there (if you’re already on it).
Doing Keyword Research
However, there are a couple of types of keywords that you need to be aware of to successfully rank your blog content in Position Zero.
Figure Out which Questions Your Readers are Asking
This can be easily accomplished by taking advantage of the “People also ask” section that appears below Google’s featured snippets. This is an easy way of acquiring further insight into related questions for your main topic.
Take, for instance, a search query, “filmmaking for beginners.” You get related questions like these:
Clicking the drop-down arrows gives you even more related questions, and you can add those to your notes.
Researching Long Tail Keywords
Ahrefs conducted a study on 2 million search queries that involved featured snippets. They discovered that long-tail keywords are largely responsible for triggering a large majority of featured snippets results.
Long-tail keywords are phrases and they are very specific towards what you’re selling, or in this case, writing about.
They are very helpful for ranking on Position Zero because a member of your target audience who is looking for something ultra-specific will type in those long-tail keywords.
If your blog content pops in on search results and provides just what your audience is looking for, then that’s good. It shows Google that the content you produce is relevant and aimed at being helpful to users.
Find Comparison, Preposition, and Question Keywords
Google’s featured snippets program is unique because it caters to the query nature of voice-search — which has risen considerably these past few years. In other words, they are designed to quickly answer questions.
Moz published detailed research with the complete statistics on the importance of these three. But in a gist, here’s how it works:
- Comparison Searches (eg “what’s the difference between…”): These types of keywords generate tabled results.
- Searches with a Preposition (such as ‘for’, ‘with’, ‘like’ etc): These work best for providing answers that have lists.
- Question Searches: These types of keywords are best for generating paragraph featured snippets.
Optimize Content for Position Zero
Google is pretty smart when it comes to uncovering data from a web page and translating that into a featured snippet. And for blog writers and content marketers, you need to capitalize on that opportunity and optimize your ontent to be as attractive as ever to become a Position Zero candidate.
Invest in Long-form and Engaging Content
Ranking for Position Zero starts with writing relevant and engaging content that both your target audience and Google’s bots will love. Keep in mind that your blog content needs to rank in the top 10 Google search results before you have a shot at ranking in Google’s featured snippets.
And everybody knows that in order to appear in the first page of Google’s search results, you need to have good content — commonly, they’re long-form and engaging.
Other traits of high-quality content include being:
- The answer to people’s problems or questions.
- Accurate in facts and exceptionally informative.
- Engaging, entertaining, and interactive to the reader through multimedia means.
- Consistent in providing a great user experience.
- Trustworthy, interesting, useful, remarkable, and high-quality.
Observe Proper Blog Content Format
In content marketing and optimizing for rank, blog appearances mean a lot. Taking the time to properly format your articles into readable posts is the difference between site visitors, and leads that convert into returning customers.
Proper formatting contributes plenty to your post earning social shares and gathering natural backlinks. For sure, your relevant and high-quality posts are loaded with lots of information. So breaking them up into bite-sized and digestible chunks ensures that your readers can truly understand what you’re saying.
The basics of formatting that are worth remembering include:
- Subheadings: The use of an H2, H3, H4, and so on is always a must and the first step to proper blog content formatting. Include keyword-rich subheadings as well.
- Bold or italicize important points: The purpose is to grab the reader’s attention. And if you want one point to stick with your readers and mark it as an extremely crucial fact, emphasize those points through bold and italicization.
- Go visual: The right images, graphs, and statistical data in visual form helps your readers understand what they’re reading better. Visuals also draw people’s attention. So always remember to include images or videos that are appropriate for the blog content.
- 3-4 paragraph lines: Writing blogs aren’t demanding when it comes to paragraph composition. Short paragraphs are ideal and emphasize important points too.
- Make lists: Readers on the internet rarely read an article word for word. If they’re looking for specific info, they’re more likely to skim in search of that specific answer to their query. So include bullet points and numbers to convey crucial messages to readers who skim.
Formatting Blog Content for Different Featured Snippet Formats
Earlier, we mentioned that there are different types of featured snippets. And each of them requires a different approach when it comes to formatting content. The number of words need to be considered, and also how you answer specific queries.
- Comparison: Google showcases a maximum of 3 columns and 9 rows in featured snippets table. [insert screenshot]
- Preposition: Lists are a good idea, and when you make them even longer than the maximum of eight items, you’ll see Google add a ‘More items…’ text underneath. [insert screenshot]
- Question: Ask the user questions in the subheading and immediately give a one-paragraph answer. You can elaborate even further in the body of the article. [insert screenshot]
Edit Already Ranking Blog Content & Optimize for Featured Snippets
Another option you can take aside from writing fresh and brilliant content is to find your articles that are already ranking well on Google’s result pages. As long as they’re on the first page of the search results to keywords that you’ve targeted, you can tweak them a little bit so they can move up to Position Zero.
You can find your best-performing pieces via Google Search Console.
Make Sure You Stay in Position Zero
If you’re already ranking on Position Zero for a couple of featured snippets, you need to ensure that you keep that position. You can use Serpstat to see which of your pages or keywords have snagged a spot on Position Zero.
- Make sure that both questions and answers are short enough to fit in Google’s featured snippet box.
- Update your blog content to match the current format of the snippets.
- Keep your content freshly updated.
Snagging a spot in the first page of Google’s search results is a significant achievement for digital marketers. And claiming position number one on the SERPs requires slow but sure steps — with the involvement of various factors.
On the other hand, snagging Position Zero is a free and open chance for everybody in the niche to shine. And it’s perfectly possible with high-quality and well-formatted blog content.
Time to boost those conversions and attract more visitors. You have your answer in ranking blog content for featured snippets.