04 Dec 2019 15:39 IST

What is a featured snippet and how can your page rank for one?

Google Answer Box is the most desired position for a brand’s blog; these formats work the best

The Google Answer Box, aka featured snippet, is the top box you see on the first results page on Google. It has become the most desired position for a brand’s blog, as it gives them organic visibility. So how do you get the featured snippet, and ensure that your blog stays there?

Why it is important to stay on the featured snippet

The Answer Box provides quick and easy answers to user queries, hence, most users would not scroll down to see other results. It is also a great way to gain more visitors to your website, as Google Answer Boxes get a 2x higher click-through rate. This is the best way to gain organic traffic on your website.

How to get on the Google Answer Box

The Google Answer Box selects answers from content ranking on page one, but not necessarily the top-ranking content. Thus, first of all, you need to optimise your content to reach page one ranking.

To appear on the Answer Box, the following content formats work the best:

1. Paragraphs

On search queries related to the ‘why’ or ‘what’ questions, the most displayed featured snippets are paragraphs. For instance, if someone googles “Why does biomagnification occur?” The answer would be a paragraph explaining the occurrence of this phenomenon. This paragraph can be longer on the source page, but Google displays 50 words that best answer the question.

So, ensure that your content is both explanatory in 40-50 words yet still inviting the user to click on the page. These 50 words should directly answer the question and contain the required keywords matching the query.

2. Lists

The “how to”, “which” and “where” questions usually display list or bullet point answers on the Answer Box. For instance, a “which areas in Mumbai are the best to buy a house” query will display answers like this:

The best areas in Mumbai to buy a house are:

○ Panvel

○ Kandivali

○ Bandra

○ Juhu

To feature on the list or bullet Answer Box, your content should first be formatted in the form of a list or bullet points. You should also keep the query as the main title and answer it directly below on your blog article. This maximizes your chances of getting in the Answer Box. Or, you can outline the subheadings below the title and explain each separately in the blog. This will encourage users to click on the blog to read the full article.

3. Table featured snippets

Table formatted snippets are used to display a collection of data. Say, you are a travel company offering packages to a particular destination. Having a table with all your packages, their rates, and what cities you visit under each makes it easier for Google to display it when a user asks for packages for that destination. You also don’t necessarily have to format your content in the form of a table, in most cases, Google does it for you. All you need to have are appropriate headings and relevant data under each.

4. Video features

Many times, for a “how to” question, Google displays a particular clip of a video that answers the query. This is usually true for longer queries that require a visual tutorial like “how to drape a saree”. Ensure your video title and description are optimised and the content in it is relevant. This will increase your chances of getting featured.

Different queries require different formats. See what query your brand is most suited to answer, and tailor content to the best format for that query.

More ways to further optimise your content to make it to the featured snippet

● Optimise for voice search

Voice Search is on the rise in India and it is imperative to tap into the potential of this feature. Such queries have more longtail keywords, so your content must be adaptable to that. These queries are also most likely to be searched for by smart assistants like Siri or Alexa, who will pick the answer from the featured snippets. Thus, ensure that your content is easily readable.

● Have clear and concise answers

For content to be easily readable for Alexa or a user, it should be clear and concise. Ensure that you you use keywords specific to a particular query and the query is answered in a simple and relevant manner.

● Target queries that already have an Answer Box

Look at what queries have an Answer Box already. You can then focus on giving better answers to those queries since you know you can be featured there. Do your research on what keywords are most relevant to such queries (both question queries and long-tail queries with no question word), and optimise your content according to that. This way, you can have good long-form content that answers most of these queries in an understandable manner.

● Have a good UX

A good experience for visitors on your website, through good ‘crawlability’ and UI and UX, will go a long way. Not only is it a signal to Google to rank your website pages higher, but it also increases your chances of getting featured on the Answer Box.

● Keep monitoring the Answer Boxes

Featured snippets change in a matter of minutes if Google finds a better answer to a particular query. Hence, once you make it, ensure that your answers are regularly updated and optimised to stay there longer. If you have slipped down on the ranking, see what makes the other featured snippet better, and try different formats of content. The more you stay on the Answer Box, the more organic visibility you will get.

To summarise, tailor content format and keywords to specific queries you want to get featured for and ensure your content is simple to understand, updated, and to the point. These strategies, when implemented, boost your ranking on Google and increase the chances of your content being featured. Keep up with the latest trends in digital marketing to see more ways of ranking higher and staying relevant.