Featured Snippet Optimisation – Everything You Need To Know in 2020

Have you ever wonder how to be featured on top of Google? This article will talk about how you will be featured explicitly in the search snippet that Google has on top of most results.

We hope that you will find this article useful, especially to those who are just starting up in SEO and would like to know the basic knowledge behind it.

We will share you some tips and guides on how Google looks at your keywords and how you need to best position yourself to get the ranking you are longing for. 

What is Google Featured Snippet?

Search snippets are the answers that appear on top of the Google search result. A lot of people call this rank number zero. You have the organic listing below, and this is the first thing that people see, and it takes up most of the page. It is a perfect thing to have.

Almost, every single Google search term these days has a search snippet result. If it does not have the search snippet result, a lot of times, you could almost trick it into getting a short snippet result. I believe that the search snippet is the new number one result. 

featured snippet example

The question is, how could you take over the top section of the page? Again, the wonder of this snippet is that it takes almost half the page and beside it, is a crazy amount of advertisement. These advertisements will be the first thing that you will see. 

If you are not showing in the snippets, that means that you are not ranking in Google. No one will not see your listings. This is the only organic listing available. This is your free traffic, and again, it takes most of the page. It attracts attention from users looking for a reputable source of information. They trust the search snippets even more. 

How Do The Search Snippet Rankings Work?

Search snippets use artificial intelligence, and it looks for patterns of information, facts and unique entities to gather information about what the answer is. Google search engine is looking for answers to the questions people are asking. If you could provide Google with a formula of content that it recognizes, you could feed the AI with what it is looking for. It is going to accept your answer, and it will show your answers. Google artificial intelligence is not super smart yet. They are getting there, but it is not super smart. That is why we can predictably feed it with information that we know going to respond favourably. 

Google selects the search snippets and selected the sites showing on the page when someone types in a question. The user will automatically assume that Google trusts the site, and he or she can trust the site as well. If you are selling anything or doing an affiliate or e-commerce, this will be a strong selling proposition. People will click more on your website, and they will trust you more. 

Most people do not know and realize is that search snippets also have rankings. Google also searches for snippet rankings. Google will rank all the potential answers and search snippets. The best-ranked result will end up showing on top of the page following by the other results. You will need to beat the best result and the best search snippet if you want to rank number one.

How to outrank all other websites using the search snippets?

If you want to see the number two, three, four results, you have to block the first site. You have to search for the keyword that you are searching for, and then you do minus the site. Once you had blocked the first result, it will show you result number two. This becomes useful to know if your website is in contention for the search snippet. You need to start from blocking the sites to see if you are in contention. This will give you the result of the search snippets and show you if you are in the position to replace the number one spot. 

The way it works is if number one is removed, the number two result replaces it. Your website has to have a better answer. We will have to change the content of your site so that you can get to the search snippet. 

How to rank for specific queries by answering questions?

Featured Snippet Queries

This is the principal philosophy behind ranking for search snippets. If you do not listen to anything else, remember this, and you will be okay. It would be best if you answered the questions. When you see a query or whatever people are typing into Google, some people call these keywords, and you need to transform whatever people are typing into a form of questions. Once you are done translating the keywords to questions, you have to provide the answer to these questions for you to rank in the search snippets. It is not that difficult, but there are specific ways of doing it. 

Sometimes there are more than just one answer, and you can only play around with it or maybe answer both questions to increase your chance of landing in the search snippets. 

Google is searching for specific patterns to determine what the answer is, and that is how these search snippets become. These answer patterns can be anywhere on your page. Google gets the information from your page. The answer does not need to be on top and in your code. It does not need to be specific like a meta code or anything as long as Google finds it and crawls it, then it will be in contention. 

However, testing has shown that the higher your ranking is, the more priority you will get. If you have a page with 3,000 words in it, try to put your snippet in an answer format near the top. You will have better chances that Google will give that more priority. 

You may also want to focus your answer in one single section in one specific area where Google is going to pick up that area and say this is the answer. If you are writing a whole article about it, Google is going to get confused, that is why you need to answer in a particular area having everything together. 

Here are some patterns that Google understands and even favours for search snippets.

The AI is in the early stage, and it looks for specific patterns that they understand. 

  1. Having a headline – supported by paragraphs or texts 
  2. Table 
  3. Ordered list 
  4. Unordered Lists
  5. Paragraph Hierarchy 
Types of Snippets % of Total Snippets
Paragraph Snippets 81.95%
List Snippets (Bullets and Numbering) 10.77%
Table Snippets 7.28%

What are the factors in ranking, specific responses and the exact codes you should be using?

If you want to rank for how-to queries, Google is going to look for a subheadline with the list. There are different types of search terms, questions, answers, and for each one of them, Google is looking for slightly different codes. There are different codes to use if you want to talk for reviews and for listings too. Ultimately, it all comes down to one compelling format. In every single way, we are answering the keywords with our headlines.

Whatever the answer is, it will end up being the headline. Then we put our answers to the content. 

  1. One main headline to answer the keyword
  2. Strong content (Answer)
  3. Images with keywords in the file name

Again, you could put this anywhere in your page but placing it near the top gives you a bit more priority. 

In terms of the image, we did a bit of research and Google recommends an ideal image size. They prefer a three by four ratio aspect and if it is a thousand pixels wide. Even though Google will not show that big image, that was the recommended image size that came back to me. 

Google also prefers PNGs. If you want to improve your chances, having a PNG might help you a bit more than having a JPEG. Although I see tons of tons of JPEGs ranking as well. 

Writing a headline that answers the question being asked by your search snippets

As mentioned earlier, whenever there is a question, you need to transform the keywords into a question format and then answer the question as a headline. Your H2 will be your subheadline. We make it blatantly obvious and spoonfeed it to Google. We do not try to trick them by making complicated subheadlines. We provide the most straight forward answer possible. 

What controls your search snippet ranking on Google?

Search Snippet Ranking factors are: 

  • The number of facts you present in the answer 
  • The number of trigger words 
  • The importance of the page (natural organic rankings) 
  • The freshness of the answer 

When Google looks into these ranking factors, the one with the highest relevant score and will rank the highest is the one that satisfies all these factors. The best thing about this is that you can play around with as much as you want until you get that number one position.    

Google looks for the answer with the most facts. It understands statement. The statement has to be very simple in structure. They can undoubtedly crawl through text and comprehend what you are trying to say. Complicated sentence structure will screw this up. You have to write effortlessly. 

Trigger words are also needed to rank in the search snippets. In fact, this is the secret ingredient and the most potent ranking factor. The more related words inside the answer, the higher the score will become. Every single keyword has its own set of trigger words, and you want the most trigger words as possible inside your answer to getting the best ranking. 

Your page has to be relevant to the query that Google is listing. Typically, Google displays the result from number one to eight. They are the ones who ranked the highest in the search snippet. If you landed on page two, three, or four, you will not get the search snippet. You need to be on the first page. 

The new answer is also one of the factors that Google considers. If the answer has been changed, Google will go after that and will try to give that priority in a search snippet. If your search snippet is not doing well and you are not ranking well, you can update your page, and your answer and that will automatically give you a boost. 

Tricks for near Instant Search snippets ranking

You need to optimize your page by answering a query. You can use some of the exact codes you already prove to be effective. Find all the trigger words and all the related words and get your page to rank.

Once you are confident that your page is ready with the right answer, do this: 

  1. Go to Google Webmaster Tools 
  2. Click Crawl – Fetch As Google 
  3. Crawl only this URL 

After you completed the steps above, within minutes, Google will recrawl your page and will put you in contention for search snippets. This is the easiest way to get the best exposure on Google. 

What do you do when you are being outranked?

It would be best if you worked hard to improve your ranking scores. Your search snippets maybe number two or four because Google found that other search snippets are better than yours.

For you to improve your ranking, you can: 

Add more trigger words and facts to your snippets

Answer the question in a more precise way 

Add a relevant image 

Build additional quality links to increase your organic rankings 

If you follow all these, you will end up taking an entire top page of every single Google result. You can even push out existing search snippet results with your own. How crazy is that? You can get a massive amount of traffic. If you put your search snippet at the top, it has a higher priority. If you combine these search snippets with the traffic research on page templates, authority links, and user experience, you could dominate the market with your website.

If you want a new opportunity and want to get traffic, sales, and leads differently, check out the Proven Digital Marketing Agency in Australia. If you think that this article is helpful and practical, please feel free to drop a comment below.

By Patric Laurens

Patric at Proven Digital Marketing offers smart, fast and affordable digital marketing services that drive traffic, sales and growth for our clients.

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