Apparently, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. If you want to hit those top spots in the SERPs but are facing mountains of intense SEO marketing competition, why aim for No. 1 when you can aim for no number at all?
What is a featured snippet?
Otherwise known as ‘position zero,’ the featured snippet is that box of handy info occasionally thrown up by Google that seems to exactly respond to the question you’ve just entered into the search field. Sitting above all the list of ‘normal’ search results, the featured snippet will often be comprehensive enough to ensure that you don’t actually have to click on any of those results because your query has already been dealt with. Case closed.
But despite a featured snippet’s ability to often end a search query in one fell swoop, it’s still great to achieve position zero for a number of very good reasons.
Firstly, the featured snippet identifies your site as the authority on the subject in question, and secondly, you can expect to hoover up the vast proportion of clicks that are made, with snippets reportedly more than doubling the click-through rate for first-page ranked URLs. For some, however, an even more compelling reason to aim for zero is the fact that, in theory at least, your page doesn’t have to rank particularly well in order achieve it.
This is because position zero is not recognition of link metrics, but of the content itself. So while, yes, most featured snippets are from URLs ranking on the first page, they can also come from page 2 or even lower. In a highly competitive market, where inching upwards in the SERPs for your most relevant keywords is a long and arduous process, the featured snippet can shoot you to the top of Google irrespective of your backlink profile and all the time and effort that goes into growing and optimising it.
What kinds of content become a featured snippet?
Before we get into how to get position zero, we need to decide where there is potential for it. Here, you need to consider where you have content that is a candidate for a featured snippet. So, you’ll need to bear in mind a few position-zero basics:
- Featured snippets generally include high-volume search terms.
- Longer, specific queries most often yield a featured snippet in the results.
- These queries will often begin with question words, such as ‘when,’ ‘who,’ ‘how to,’ ‘where,’ etc.
At TrafficSource, we use a number of different software packages to perform our keyword research, but to keep things simple, SEMrush is a great online tool which will help you recognise the best search terms for your purposes. Once you feel you have identified potential for position zero within your content, search out the possible queries that your content would be responding to and see what comes up. Where a featured snippet appears, review the information, and see what you could do better.
Catering content for a featured snippet
Let’s assume you’ve accurately identified where your content could be used by Google for a featured snippet – now you’ll need to optimise it. Here are a few pointers:
- Include the key search term within the H1, H2 or H3.
- Have your answer directly beneath this header, going up to no more than 60 words in length.
- Where your answer is presented in a series of steps, also limit these to a total of no more than 60 words.
- Make sure that your answer is simple, logical and clearly structured. Where applicable, use bullet points or short, numbered lists.
People also ask
You may have seen that below a featured snippet, there is a box of further related questions, ‘People also ask’.
Related keywords and queries that yield featured snippets are shown in the ‘People also ask’ section.
Here you’ll find further related questions and search terms that have brought up featured snippets. Use these to inform how you present your answers; you may even wish to build a page that presents this kind of information in a question-answer format to maximise your chances of achieving position zero. This way, you’ll be covering the topic in depth and showing yourself as an authority on the matter – and as long as you formulate your questions and answers in a logical way, you’ll be providing real value to the reader.