Recently I did a webinar (one of many over the past month or so) trying to stay up to date and enhance how my content performs. This one happened to be with the great Britney Muller of Moz and she covered, in great detail, the power and tactics behind the ‘position zero’ featured snippet everyone is obsessed with.

Long story short, I took great notes and I wanted to share them with you. Not only did this help me better understand a bit about all the work that goes into unlocking this achievement, but I think the overall premesse can help your content as a whole – even if you don’t get the featured spot. 

Here’s How to Get Featured Snippets:

  • Pay attention to keywords that resonate with your audience
  • Give Google a helping hand by utilizing modification markups
  • Focus on your content and what you are providing to the reader

The basics on how you can get featured snippets:

Keywords

Like with any content, the key to success starts with understanding your searcher’s intent and the keywords they are most likely to use. With that in mind, know which words you currently rank for. Do you have any owned snippets? If not, which keywords would you like to have them for? This is the first step in building your strategy as understanding where you focus should be not only helps you pin-point goals and keep you on track, but also gives some great insight into how users and Google are viewing your current site and content.

Then, start leveraging what you find. Do some keyword research, no matter how tedious, and see what questions people are asking. What are common areas of interest? What problems do they have that you can solve? Identify these and then work to provide detailed, succulent answers – no willy-nilly responses here. Your responses to these topics and questions need to be lengthy and specific.

Ready to really have your mind blown? To take this step even further you can utilize Google’s Natural Language API to see how they analyze your content. This can help with articles themselves, metas, PDFs, and more to see how content would be categorized, scored, and so much more. 

Markups

I’ve known about keywords, content, and all those things, of course. In fact, I’d say I’m pretty versed on both of these aspects. However, snippet modification markups were something new. Something foreign that I had never heard of or realized was a thing. Well, it is, and they can be super helpful in giving Google a little bit of a hint on what you want. But first, what are they?

Snippet (or structured, in general) markups are:

…code (semantic vocabulary) that you put on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. – Neil Patel

There are many ways to use structured markups of all kinds, but the ones for snippets help you tell Google what you do and don’t want featured so they can provide the most information. To ensure you are doing this correctly, use the Structured Data Markup Helper from Google. By following the steps you can ensure all markups you want are done – including for featured snippets. But, how do you know which ones to add? Here are the 4 main markups you can use:

  • Nosnippet: to specify you do not want any textual snippet shown
  • Max-Snippet:[number]: to specify the max text length (in character count) of a snippet
  • Max-video-preview:[number]: to specify the max duration (in seconds) of a video preview
  • Max-image-preview:[setting]: to specify the max size of an image preview (none, standard, large)

Content

Here is where the fun begins. Or, at least for me since I love content. However, before we dive in, it’s important to know that there are many different types of snippets you can be shooting for.

  • Text paragraph
  • Lists (probably the most common)
  • Tables/charts 
  • Videos (Google will often splice to the section that answers the question at hand)
  • Accordion (stacking results on top of eachother)

If you are actively trying to go after a featured snippet it’s important you pin down which one of these you want to focus on (hint: this may also help you pick the type of markup you need). Then, you can work on formulating the perfect content, or even updating old content to fit one of these categories while answering questions. 

Now, let’s take things a step further. Great content, especially for featured snippets, isn’t always about just answering the best questions. If that is all it took the competition would be even crazier than it already is. No, in order to win, there are a few other things you need to add to your article or web pages to help them beat out the rest.

For example:

  • Add in a summary or TLDR (ya know, like I try to do at the beginning of my articles)
  • Use answer-type words like, “Here’s how…”
  • Remember page structure and use those common questions within your headers (oh hey, I did that too!)
  • Don’t forget simple math. Be detailed and provide accurate answers. Research has already shown that blogs over the 1500 word mark get more traffic and conversions. This doesn’t have to be the case for everything, but keep it in mind.

Before we end this, I want to point out two more things that will be critical in helping you succeed in your snippet endeavors: testing and monitoring. Not everything you do is going to work correctly, or bring in great benefits on the first try. Thats why, in order to stay ahead, you have to be constantly keeping track of what featured snippets you own, have gained, and lost. Then, start testing! Change titles, headers, markup, keywords, and so on to try and get better results than you did last time. There is always room for improvement, and the more time you dedicate to this the more success you’ll see.

Ppppssstttt… need someone to help your content thrive by using tactics like this? Look no further. Check out my marketing solutions to see how I can help your business!

Published by Stevie Howard

I am a digital marketer that has experience in a variety of fields including social media, SEO, SEM, lead generation, content strategy, and more.

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