In order to maintain a consistent flow of website traffic from search engines, you have no choice but to keep up with Google’s ever-changing features. This includes not just algorithm updates, but Google snippets as well.
What are Google Snippets?
Sometimes, when you search for something on Google, you’ll see a descriptive box at the top of the results page. This is known as a “featured snippet,” and it’s meant to help Google searchers discover what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Featured snippets are comprised of website content from around the internet that Google considers helpful and relevant to the search made by a user.
Why Try to Have Content in a Featured Snippet?
Increases Website Traffic
Google snippets are prominent pieces of content that take up large portions of space at the top of search engine results pages. It’s much more likely that someone clicks a featured snippet before even scrolling down to view the rest of the results.
Great for Voice Search
More and more people are using virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri to conduct internet searches—a process known in the marketing world as “voice search.”
It’s tricky to optimize a website for voice search, since most voice searches are phrased as questions, such as, “Siri, where’s the nearest restaurant?” However, Google snippets often serve as answers to question-based searches, making them great for searches done with voice.
Better Search Engine Authority
A web page that seizes a featured snippet helps its domain achieve higher authority. Domain authority is a predictive measure of how well websites will rank on search engine results pages. The more high-ranking web pages a site has, the better its domain authority overall.
In other words, as you grab more featured snippets, your website as a whole will rank higher.
4 Key Elements of Featured Snippets
1. Answer Questions
Google snippets are typically triggered when someone phrases their search as a question. It is more likely for a blog post entitled “Why is SEO Important?” to be featured in a snippet than one entitled “The Importance of SEO: Understanding the Ways to Rank Better on Google.”
2. User-Focused Content
Content must not only provide a clear answer to a searcher’s question, it must also be formatted to provide a favorable user experience.
You’re probably not actually reading this blog post—just skimming it. Most web pages that land in Google snippets have subheaders, bullet points and other formats that break content into small blocks of text.
3. Secure URLs
Although this is anecdotal rather than research-backed, nearly every single featured snippet links to a website that is secured via an SSL or TLS certificate.
This makes sense, because Google gives a small boost in ranking to websites that take security seriously.
4. Linking Scheme
Links, both inbound (to other pages on your website) and outbound (to other websites), are critical for boosting your website’s authority. Inbound links serve as votes of confidence for other pages on your site, while outbound links show that you’re citing sources for your claims.
A study conducted by SEMrush discovered that the average page worthy of a snippet has an astounding 33 outbound links.
Fulfilling this criteria doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll be awarded Google snippets for every piece of content. However, the more content you produce, the more chances you have of earning a snippet.