Those who do not delve deeply into search engine optimization probably haven’t come across the term featured snippets. Landing a featured snippet on Google, however, can vault your website into a new level of success.
What Is a Featured Snippet?
Google created featured snippets, which is a concise answer to their search query that appears on the search page. It’s drawn from a specific search results page with “structured data” properly configured on that page. Along with AdWords and organic search results, a snippet helps enhance the results of the search. It also provides a quick answer to a question that does not require them to click through to any pages. Google does, however, include a link to the webpage. On the snippet, it quotes the text from the website that comprises the answer.
How Featured Snippets Appear on Google
The featured snippet does not threaten your place in the organic or paid results. It appears just above the organic search results and below the AdWords block. Rather than eradicating an organic result from the page as Universal Search integrations do, the featured snippets complement organic and paid results.
Google has created three snippet types depending on the kind of search, i.e., text, graphics, or video. The snippet types include:
- Text snippets
- Video snippets
- List and table snippets
- Review snippets (show star ratings)
Text snippets, also referred to as paragraph snippets appear most commonly. They account for 82 percent of featured snippets. List snippets appear 10.8 percent of the time, and table snippets do 7.3 percent.
Gaining Featured Snippets
You cannot buy a featured snippet, and you cannot request a featured snippet. You can only hope that Google decides your website best answers the query… based on relevance (the godlike principle that search engines and SEOs live or die upon).
Here enters the importance of implementing proper SEO. Your SEO nets you better Google search results. The better your results, the more likely your website will get featured. Featured snippets typically come from the top five results on the first page. If your website shows authority and popularity, then you’re more likely to show up higher in the “SERPs” — Search Engine Results Pages. Page one is pretty much all that matters, and that’s where your featured snippet will be… at the top.
Increase your chances of becoming the featured snippet by creating content that uses strong SEO (check out what MOZ recommends) to answer commonly asked relevant questions in your industry. Adding these pages to your website draws better results. It can provide relevant information that solves a problem better than any other site.
Featured Snippets Plugins for WordPress
WordPress is one of the most popular site development platform online, powering about 34% of the internet in 2019, a 4% rise from last year. That’s one of the reason Webdirexion specializes in custom WordPress development, but another important reason is that not only is WordPress optimized for SEO out of the box, but there are a number of plugins that focus on different tactics to help you win organic search traffic. Features snippets is one example of focused WordPress plugins (out of thousands of others). Here are three WordPress featured snippets plugins for your review:
- Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets: Get eye catching results in search engines with the most popular schema markup plugin. Easy implementation of schema types like Review, Events, Recipes, Article, Products, Services etc. There is also a pro version of this plugin.
- RankMath SEO: This is our SEO program of choice. We used to like Yoast for SEO (and we still use it for some clients), but we think that RankMath has more helpful features. It has a range of “intelligent features” and there is also a pro version of the plugin which we use for our Business Growth and Care clients. One feature is the Rich Snippet tab which automatically creates snippets plus allows you to craft custom snippets.
- SNIP Structured Data Plugin for WordPress (premium): This is available for purchase at CodeCanyon for $77. The developers state that, “snip is an innovative structured data plugin for WordPress that adds JSON+LD formatted snippets to your website. This is needed to help search engines understand the content on your page and give them explicit clues about the meaning of it.”
Featured Snippets are Chosen Based on Structured Data
What the heck is “structured data”? It is data a search engine can read, but usually is not visible to site visitors. The maker of the SNIP Plugin (last one on the list above) has a training course with some good videos if you need to understand this further. He notes:
- Search engines try to mimic human beings. They want to find the best search results for a search query.
- Normally SEO consists of a great uses experience, great content, Social Media and much more.
- But technical SEO is also very important. Things like page speed matter as well.
- Structured data is meta data. Data that is hidden to the user but readable by search engines.
- Structured data will not influence the experience on your website but is used on search engines because those engines sometimes create enriched search results. These results are then called “Rich Snippets“.
Here’s more about structured data from Florian the SNIP developer:
Smart Appliances and Snippets
Smart appliances, including the Google Home device, use voice search. More than 100 million Alexa devices by Amazon are also presenting voice search. So far, snippets do not work with voice search. Voice search does not provide a list of results – just one. However technically, the result often DOES come from a featured snippet, but you won’t see that — just hear it. This means that when you achieve a featured snippet, often it will be the one that Google, Alexa and possibly Siri (by Apple) reads to millions of listeners.
Other searches result in no snippets. These include Google OneBox. Examples of when this appears in a search result are when you look for a specific video, such as for Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.” A OneBox includes the artist, album, genre, and a list of cover versions of the song. The box information comes from Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Avoid a Post Becoming the Featured Snippet?
We’re not sure why any company or individual would want to avoid the free advertising that a featured snippet provides, but Google does offer this option. You can do this by putting <meta name=“googlebot“ content=“nosnippet“> into the header of your page.
Going for featured snippets is a powerful organic SEO tactic that can boost your traffic and establish your voice as an authority for specific topics. Strategically, you need to pick terms with certain recent search volume and that are likely to be keyed in your business prospects. For that research, we like to use SEMrush and will report on this is future how-to articles and videos.
Webdirexion provides services that increase your chances of having Google share a snippet from your website. We’re always focused on the three words in our slogan — Optimize, Promote, Convert — and featured snippets is an optimization tactic that will increase conversions. Contact us for more information!