Getting a Google featured snippet could put your blog at the top of the first page of results. This article explains why you need to pay attention to your blog content optimization strategy and what steps to take.
How proper blog content optimization can land you a featured snippet on Google: 4 Strategies
- Keywords matter: Go after keywords with specific search intent.
- Answer questions for your audience: Figure out what people want to know, then help them solve real problems.
- Good structure is essential: Know the four main types of snippets and structure accordingly.
- Optimize URLs: More than three subfolders in a URL is too many.
Google is always trying to improve user experience to give people the best, most helpful information. When the search giant introduced the featured snippet, many people saw it as a way to not only give users quick, easy to digest answers but also level the playing field.
For small businesses that can’t compete with the SEO budgets of their large competitors, featured snippets are a humungous opportunity.
What is a featured snippet and why should I go after them?
Featured snippets give bite-sized, easily digestible information at the top of the first search engine results page, as well as within the “People also ask” dropdown results that appear toward the top of the page. As any content marketer can tell you, when your webpages appear toward the top of the first page, you are more likely to get traffic from online searches.
Here’s an example of what a paragraph-type featured snippet (more on this later) looks like that ZenChange Marketing got for one of our clients:
Compared to in-depth SEO tactics, claiming a featured snippet is relatively easy. But make no mistake—getting your content featured still requires a clear blog content optimization strategy.
In short, you should go after featured snippets because they can increase your traffic and get you more business. To get started, follow these tips.
Critical Aspects of Proper Blog Content Optimization for Featured Snippets
Long Keyword Phrases = Specific Keyword Intent
The keywords you choose to go after in your blog content matter, especially when you are trying to snag a featured snippet. According to SEMrush, which has an excellent keyword research and SEO tool, the longer your keyword phrase is, the more specific the intent behind it is. Keywords that only include two or three words may not be specific enough in their intent to unlock a snippet.
In a study they published in 2020, they found that keyword phrases between five and 10 keywords long are included in featured snippets more often than shorter keyword phrases. Compare the 55.53% of keyword phrases containing 10 words that get featured against the 4.34% of single-word keywords, and you’ll see how big of a difference your choice can make.
The good news—longer keyword phrases lend themselves to the question format!
Questions Asked and Answered
In that same study, SEMrush found that keyword phrases beginning with question-based word—can, does, what, how, why, etc.—are much more likely to trigger a featured snippet for your content.
How much? About 29% of all featured snippets that the study investigated employed question formatting.
Blog Content Optimization for Snippets Means Good Content Structure
Proper content structure is crucial for on-page SEO, but if you want to grab a featured snippet for your page, you need to know a few things.
First, Google has four primary types of featured snippets that you can try to claim: paragraph, bulleted/numbered list, table, and video. For each of these snippet types, you should place the section that you want to appear in the feature box on Google toward the top of your blog page. This is a chance to provide readers with a brief overview of the subject you are covering in your content—you can go more in-depth and provide examples later in the content.
Next, consider your headings. As with any blog that you write and publish on your site, you should break up your content with H2 and H3 headings. Be sure to place a heading directly above the content you want featured and, if possible, write it in question format.
Let’s take a look at another example from our work at ZenChange. If you visit the page, you will notice that the content included in the featured snippet, pictured below, appears toward the top and is preceded by a heading in the form of a question.
Also note how the keyword (a less common three-worder) addresses a common problem for boaters. If readers click on the link, they will see a possible solution—the client’s product.
While proper structure for blog content optimization is not a guarantee that you will be featured, it will increase your chances.
Optimize Your Blog URLs
One final thing to consider from SEMrush’s study—the fewer subfolders your page’s URL has, the better. Subfolders are the slashes that you see within the URL in your browser’s navigation bar. For example:
- 1 subfolder: yoursite.com/topic/
- 2 subfolders: yoursite.com/topic/subtopic/
- 3 subfolders: yoursite.com/topic/subtopic1/subtopic2/
According to the study, 1-3 subfolders are ideal for going after featured snippets, with 21.9% of URLs with a single subfolder, 21.2% of URLs with three, and 37.3% of URLs with two being featured.
Takeaways for Optimizing Content for Featured Snippets
Going after featured snippets with your blog content can be a valuable SEO strategy for small businesses. With the right keywords, question-centric titles and headers, proper page structure, and optimized URLs, you can stand a chance against your biggest competitors.
It’s critical to understand, however, that optimizing your content for featured snippets is only one piece of the puzzle. Depending on your business’s needs, you may be better off with other forms of online marketing.
Need more blog content optimization tips? Check out our other posts for inspiration!
Need help figuring all this out? Get in touch with us today for an introductory call. In the meantime, check out our other valuable content on writing eye-catching headlines and finding your ideal audience.