Those rectangular boxes are at the top of a search engine results (SERP) page are called Featured Snippets. How can you get your website’s information to appear in them. To get your website to appear there you need to have the most relevant answer (to a search question) and it must be formatted properly on your website.
Here are three good reasons why you should strive to have your website content show up in one of them. But first, let’s examine featured snippets more closely.
What Are Featured Snippets?
Snippets are answer summaries, extracted from a web page in response to a direct user query, and are presented at the top of a search results page.
Essentially, they are Google’s way of presenting you with the best answer they could find for the query you entered into their search engine. Snippets are fast, accurate answers to very specific questions.
No need for you to browse through site after site for a particular answer. Google presents the answer front and center, no muss no fuss! And the side benefits of having a Featured Snippet on Google are that it can boost website traffic.
How Can Featured Snippets Boost Website Traffic?
There are three ways that Snippets can boost website traffic for sites that have the answer Google feels is the most efficient for the query that was searched.
- An excerpt from the web page containing the Featured Snippet will be shown at the top of the search engine results.
- The page title and link to the website URL will be shown in the Featured Snippet.
- A hyperlink to the website page from which the Featured Snippet was extracted will also be presented beneath the Featured Snippet on the results page.
Essentially, you receive 2 links to your website, a summary, and a page title all on 1 search results page if you are able to develop a succinct answer to the question in the format the Google is looking for.
Is it time to pursue Featured Snippets as part of your SEO Strategy?
How Can I Get Snippets on Google?
If you can answer a question in a specific way (table, graph, or list) that Google feels is more significant than any other answer they can find, you own (temporarily) the top position in the SERPs for that specific question.
The key word here is specific.
Determining what question to answer, and how to answer the question, takes some research and persistence, but I feel any effort you put into it will be well worth it.
Start by examining your website content and the keywords you used on your website pages. Determine if you can re-arrange some of that content into an answer form that Google prefers to see (table, graph or list) without disturbing the content significantly.
Keep reworking the content until you answer what you feel to be a very specific question related to your industry, company or organization. It may take a bit of literary massaging to shuffle the words into a concise answer.
As you develop this content, try searching the questions you come up with and determine if a Snippet already exists for the query. Continue to do this throughout the process.
Once you’re satisfied that you’ve answered a question which meets all of Google’s criteria, you should also ensure that you have the correct Schema Markup in place to support the answer you have developed.
Schema Code and Featured Snippets
Along with reshaping your content to more directly address Featured Snippets, you should also be including Schema.org on your website to help the search engines better understand the page content you have developed.
There have been numerous discussions and articles indicating that Schema Markup isn’t necessary to secure a Featured Snippet listing on Google at the moment. And that seems to be true for the most part. But only because Google has not as yet focussed on the Schema Markup requirements that closely. They seem to have chosen instead, to monitor the usefulness and long-term success of Featured Snippets. But that doesn’t mean Google has forgotten about Schema.
It is still on Google’s table, and when the time is right they will inevitably address Schema Markup as it applies to Featured Snippets and move it more prominently into play.
By addressing Schema Markup alongside your Featured Snippet plan now, you won’t lose any ground later if your Featured Snippet gains traction and Google starts enforcing the Schema Markup at a later point, penalizing your Featured Snippet content if there is insufficient Schema Markup to support it. Check out this moz.com article on SEO Best Practices Using Schema.