Featured Snippets – What They Are and How to Rank Them

One of the buzzwords in content marketing right now is ‘featured snippets’.

Carry out a Google search and you’ll see an informative box at the top of the first page of the search engine.

More importantly, when marketing, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to get your web page up there in those lofty heights.

The answer is featured snippets, and, yes you can!

So what are featured snippets exactly?

In essence, they are brief extracts from a website page displayed at the top of Google search results to provide a quick answer to a question entered into the search engine.

These excerpts – also called answer boxes – are essential in search engine optimisation (SEO). Snippets are regarded as Position Zero (P0) because they appear above the traditional #1 spot in search engine results pages (SERP).

To put this into perspective, a web page in the first position in the SERPS typically achieves 71% of all website clicks for that particular query. So imagine being above that?

A featured snippet includes a link to the web page it came from. This means that if a Google snippet highlights your dental practice, it drives significant traffic to your website at the expense of the top organic search results.

Here’s is the good news,

Unlike paid-for Google Ads, appearing in organic, “natural” results costs you nothing.

Organic results are free listings shown when a web page is relevant to someone’s search query.

The strong visibility of featured snippets in Google rankings attracts a high click-through rate (CTR) – the percentage of people who click on a link to a site.

Research shows that when a featured snippet is present on a search results page, the first organic result suffers a substantial drop in CTR.

So, if you’re looking to outdo your competition, ‘Position Zero’ is where it’s at!

Hostile welcome

But it hasn’t always been this way.

When featured snippets first arrived on the scene back in 2014, marketeers were more than a little sceptical.

The problem is that snippets give an instant answer to a search query.

Now that’s great for the searcher as they find what they want quickly without having to trawl through pages and pages of content. Furthermore, as Google bases its entire ethos around serving the consumer, this is hardly surprising.

But what about the poor website owner?

They need the searcher to click through to the web page itself, but why would anyone do that if the answer to the search query is front and centre on the screen?

Some marketers even believed that it was a conspiracy by Google to steal clicks from websites, but Google persevered and rolled it out at the back end of that year.

So, what happened? 

What happened was the complete opposite.

Web pages linked to featured snippets saw a 68% increase in website clicks.

If you’re still a little sceptical, consider this.

The Power of Google Snippets

To maintain the best possible user experience, Google constantly fine-tunes its algorithms and the way it displays search results. This has resulted in an increasing number of featured snippets that push organic results further down the rankings. The number of featured snippets has doubled year upon year.

As of mid-2021,  12% of all search queries come with a featured snippet – A figure that is set to double year-on-year.

Now we know that featured snippets are here to stay, let’s take a closer look at the finer details.

Types of Featured Snippets

In essence, there are three main types of featured snippets based on the kind of information required.

  • Paragraph snippets – account for 81% of all snippets. Information is provided by a concise definition of the search query.
  • Snippet lists – Usually in bullet form, snippet lists show the steps of a process, rank order, or different products in “best of” types listings. Snippet lists account for 11% of all featured snippets.
  • Snippet tables – Tables represent 8% of the featured snippets available and visualise data (pie charts, graphs, that kind of thing.)

So now you know all about Google snippets, how do you rank for them?

How to be a Featured Snippet Star

Step 1 # Creating the best content

When ranking for featured snippets, consider that Google – the world’s largest search engine –  continually strives to give its users the most relevant information.

So, the first step in getting a featured snippet is to create the best content for your web pages. Moreover, ensure it comprehensively answers a question or query in detail.

 

Step #2 – Understanding keywords and search intent

It isn’t enough to create authoritative content. It’s also important to understand keywords and search intent.

Keywords are the phrases people plug into a search engine to find information on a subject. Search intent – or user intent – is the main objective of a person using a search engine.

When trying to rank for a featured snippet, an essential factor is informational intent – Why?

People are always looking for answers to questions.

Remember – 81% of all featured snippets are informational for a reason.

This is why you’ll find many dental blogs with titles such as:

  • “What is Periodontitis?”
  • “What are Dental Veneers?”
  • “What are Dental Implants?”

Not all informational content uses a question in the title. For example:

  • “Causes of Gum Recession”
  • “Benefits of Overdentures”
  • “What You Need to Know About Dental Sedation”

Dental blogs that give readers exactly what they’re looking for will appeal to Google as it searches web content for snippets to feature.

 Step #3 –Optimising Your Content for Google Snippets

Once you have a quality piece of content based on informational search intent, you can optimise it to increase the chances of Google pulling a featured paragraph or list snippet from it.

Focus on long-tail keywords – phrases that are specific rather than generic and usually longer than more commonly used keywords. Long-tail keywords trigger most featured snippets.

Here are a few other tips to rank for Position Zero:

  • Have a clear page structure with relevant subheadings (Any section of content can be used to make up a featured snippet)
  • Target question-based search terms
  • Include steps for solving a problem
  • Keep answers within the content to around 50 words
  • Ensure you answer the question or query right off the bat

Finally, just so you know that ranking for snippets can be done, here are some examples of snippet-worthy content already available in the dental niche.

Paragraph snippet

Why Are My Gums Bleeding?

If your gums have suddenly started bleeding for no apparent reason, the most likely cause is gingivitis (gum inflammation). This infection stems from an accumulation of plaque around the gum line. Plaque is the sticky film that builds up on teeth, and it contains millions of bacteria.

List snippet

Benefits of Invisalign

Benefits of Invisalign compared with standard braces include:

  • No discomfort from sharp wires
  • No risk of injury from broken brackets
  • Results that are easy to see during each phase of treatment
  • Greater convenience, with fewer visits to the dentist

Snippet tables – Dental Implant Success Rates

Need Professional Help to Get Featured Snippets?

Dentists don’t have the time, resources or skills to create snippet-friendly content.

That’s why they turn to Dental Writers – We’re specialists who understand what people are looking for when they search information online.

Get in touch now to find out how we create dental blogs and procedural content to give your practice optimal chance of getting snippet-worthy content.

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