Rob Bucci started his talk with his now traditional photo of the audience for his mum. Everyone waved. SEO’s are cool people.
His talk focused on the inclusion of featured snippets in the SERPs. This isn’t the same as Knowledge Graph; a featured snippet is an answer pulled out of a search result, where Google essentially tells us this is the best answer in the world for your query.
It’s Not All About Position 1
Rob and his team at STAT pulled 1,000,000 SERPs to analyse the occurences of featured snippets.
One of their most interesting findings was that the featured snippet rarely comes from position 1 search results. In fact, they came much more often from the lower results. This is exciting; by featuring in the featured snippets, we can bypass the other search result positions and occupy what is basically position 0, giving us a competitive advantage.
What Words Result in Featured Snippets?
The top line answer this this question is that terms which require a definitive answer generate results. Words like ‘definition’, maths terms like ‘how many’, personal terms like ‘who’ and so on generate the featured snippets.
Conversely, anything subjective doesn’t. Rob’s team saw the word ‘best’ come up over 20,000 times but never did it produce a featured snippet. This is because it’s opinion based.
There’s lots more information available on this; head over to the STAT blog to download their whitepaper.
How do we get into featured snippets?
1. Analyse your keyword opportunities
In STAT, ask it to show you all the keywords you’re tracking which include featured snippets (called ‘answers’ on STAT). Then show all those for which you appear on page one. You can then decide which of these to target first.
2. Create strategic content targeted at snippets
Look at the information on on page factors of featured snippets and focusing on creating content which meets the search need of a featured snippet and include the terms which the STAT research has shown delivers answers.
3. Bring in question and answer formatting
Google seems to really like this. Think about that kind of single purpose content if you can and create it in this format to make it clear to Google that this is a great answer.
Look at your pages that already have great organic visibility and think about how you can integrate question and answer formatting to generation the featured snippets for this page’s target keywords.
4. Splice up your copy with subheadings, lists and tables
Formatting your content in this way will make it much easier for Google to understand what content relates to what question and to extract that content.
5. Polish your existing snippets for higher CTR
Let’s say you were already appearing with a 4 step recipe on the featured snippets. Once you have that, you might choose to add two more steps to the recipe. This will force the snippet to truncate and improve CTR.
Check out Rob’s research in full here.