Preparing page content for featured snippets
Some of you may still use the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button on Google. It sends you directly to the website of the first result, regardless of what that is, and bypasses the search results page.
Featured snippets, or instant answers as they are also known, are really just a development of this idea. They are designed to create a quicker, more productive user experience by reducing the time it takes to find the right answer.
So how can businesses benefit from featured snippets?
Traffic to pages that have been included in featured snippets have seen huge increases. This understandably makes it a major incentive for marketers.
Looking at one high volume page, we noticed traffic increase by 162%, by comparing 4 months before the snippet appeared, to 4 months after. It’s a considerably large increase when the page already appeared at position 2 for the phrase.
It can also give companies the opportunity to advertise their prices on here. Providing the content on the page is presented correctly, and gives the user the information they need.
The snippet below shows how Trans Global Express have presented their information in a table, for quick results.
From a user perspective, this table helps users compare prices for parcels of different sizes. This is a prime area to advertise your services, and one that you don’t need to pay for.
This is why the space is now such an attraction to businesses.
What can be done to optimise a page for featured snippets?
There are several things Google is looking for on your page:
- An instant answer – such as a definition or quantitative figure. This can be just body text, but make sure descriptive H tags are added above the content to help add context. Exact matches with search queries could help improve the chances of getting featured.
- A method that solves a common problem. This can be presented as an ordered list or as instructions.
- Comparison data. This is often best presented in a table.
Bear in mind that if a user finds everything they want in this section, they probably won’t visit your site. It’s far better to drip feed information by adding a few extra points and letting Google truncate your list. After around 7 steps they will usually add a ‘More items’ button, which will then direct users directly to the page.
Many have argued that Schema.org markup helps to make your content more visible to search engines and easy for them to order. This is true, but there is no evidence out there to suggest adding Schema to your pages will increase the chances of appearing in featured snippets.
How can we measure success?
For big sites tracking thousands of phrases, it is a lot more difficult to monitor performance of featured snippets.
SEMrush is a tool that has rolled out a whole load of features recently, and quickly established itself as one of the most versatile SEO tools out there.
One feature lets you track featured snippets and see which pages appear. This can then be organised by URL, search volume or a whole range of other variables.
The dashboard lets you see how many search results are showing featured snippets that link to your domain.
It also shows you how many search results are showing them, but your domain is not the one featured. This gives us an idea about the size of the market and which pages we can improve to challenge for this spot.
SEMrush also has a handy column named ‘SERP’, that shows a screenshot of your result, in case it’s difficult to find.
Ahrefs also has the same feature that can be applied to organic keywords, although their database doesn’t return as many results as SEMrush. It does however let you track all sorts of other features, like Tweet boxes, Google shopping results and image packs.
There is no sure-fire way to achieve more featured snippet results. Like many things, it requires equal measures of experimentation, analysis, adaptation – and maybe even a dash of luck.
Search engines can now process and understand information like humans more capably than ever before. So it is important that when we create pages, we are creating them for people and improving their experience.
If you want our team to help you with an SEO strategy, contact us today.