Featured Snippets: Hero Or Hype?

Featured snippets are a neat way for marketers to nab the top spot on Google but are they worth the effort of evaluating how you track clicks?

Brett McGrath

Brett McGrath

May 24, 2021

The click. 

We are addicted to the click as marketers who focus on search. We will do whatever we can to satisfy this itch. It’s an addiction and has led to even more bad habits as digital marketers. 

What does this have to do with featured snippets? I’m in click recovery and writing about it helps. 

Because, as it turns out, that 50% of Google searches no longer result in a click-through to a website or other content. How is this possible? The featured snippet.

For a long time, we’ve focused on tactics like keyword salad blog posts, click bait headlines, and god forbid dumping your entire marketing budget on competitive keywords.

All for the click.  

The first step is to admit that we are powerless to click and find a better way to get attention through search. 

How would this change how you approached gaining attention through search? 

In this post, we will cover:

  1. What is a featured snippet?
  2. What are the types of featured snippets?
  3. How do you identify a featured snippet opportunity?
  4. How do I get a featured snippet?

What is a featured snippet?

Featured snippets are the search responses that Google spits out that rank ahead of search result #1 and come ready with a nice little preview highlighting content from the result. 

Typically, featured snippets are created to answer questions and make it easy on the consumer when trying to siphon through all of the listings that can result from just one search. 

Check out the featured snippet from e-commerce Goliath, Shopify when I asked Google, “how to build a brand?” 

How to build a brand featured snippet

Featured snippets can lead to a reduction in clicks for brands, but deliver unbelievable placement that can result in other marketers linking to your brand in blog posts like this one. 

How long can a featured snippet be?

According to SEMrush, featured snippets can be between 40-50 words. 

This means when trying to earn a featured snippet placement you should be concise “if you’re not into that whole brevity thing”. 

That said, there are some longer examples of featured snippets in the wild. So, it does look like Google is true to its word on rewarding kick ass content.

 

What are the types of featured snippets?

Featured snippets come in different shapes and sizes:

  • Paragraphs
  • List form
  • A definition box
  • A table
  • A video

Different types of featured snippets

They are delivered to enhance the experience of those searching, which can result in unbelievable placement for brands who understand how they work. 

 

How do you identify a featured snippet opportunity?

Before you start to find featured snippet opportunities, it’s important to understand why you might target a featured snippet.

 

Why target featured snippets?

Let’s run it back to that statistic that kicked off this post. 

If nearly half of website searches don’t result in a click through then it’s our job as marketers to optimise for the new way.

It’s time to throw out your preexisting mentality on how to get clicks and shift your mindset to how you can help.

Featured snippets offer the most important opportunity for marketers even without a click. They give your brand the ability to build immediate trust with someone who didn’t even know you existed before they typed in their question to the search box.

It can take marketers years to build trust with our audiences and featured snippets offer us the ability to earn the fast pass to the hearts and minds of the unknown in an instant. 

Brand is all well and good, but how about revenue? 

Wheelhouse did a study of all of their e-commerce clients and found that pages who earned snippets saw a 213% YoY increase in organic revenue, an incremental gain of $146,209.

Featured snippets can serve as the glue when aligning marketing and sales teams around delivering results. 

 

Identifying featured snippet opportunities

You can go buy a subscription to gain more insights on how to earn featured snippets or you can start by doing what I like to do best — talk to your customers. 

Your customers, future customers, and audience members hold all of the information that you need in order to get to work on earning featured snippets. 

As you are in the process of detoxing from the click, you can expedite the recovery process by having conversations with your audience to unlock gems. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Create a list of 10-20 audience members who deeply understand the problem that you are working on 
  • Send them all a list of the same questions about your topic (e.g. What was your life like before using our product?)
  • Synthesise responses and start answering questions in your content based on the themes you pick up on 

This is not only great for earning featured snippets, but can be a great tool to develop cross-functional alignment around the problems that your company is working on. 

Featured snippets are built for the consumer and it’s our job as the marketer to adapt. 

This is the mindset that we have when building The Juice

It’s consumer first and we want it to be the place you go to search for B2B content and learn. 

 

How do I get a featured snippet?

Now you know the ins and outs of featured snippets, it’s time to go nab your first one!

There is no “hack” to earning a featured snippet. The best way to start showing up above all of the other results is to be consistent with your content and answer the questions that really matter to your audience.

The more you focus on topics, themes, and interests that you hear from your customers in conversations the better chance that you will have getting your content featured.  

 

How do you steal a featured snippet?

If, during your identification stage, you find a featured snippet you’d love to take from a competitor, what do you do?

Most featured snippets are ripe for the taking. It takes some research and work, but there is a ton of opportunity to take featured snippets away from your competition. 

You’ve focused on answering the questions that matter to your audience, you see a competitor currently has the featured snippet, and now you are wondering what to do next?

Create great content that responds to that question that you already know is important….duh!

But what else?

Make sure you use images in your posts. If you can use images to explain each step that answers the question even better.

example of featured snippet

Most featured snippets are accompanied by an image. Google likes them and it’s in your best interest to think about how images can enhance your post before you hit publish. 

Using alternative text (alt text) and being savvy with titles and anchor tags goes a long way too. And it only takes a few seconds to add these to your blog posts.

 

How do I get more featured snippets?

While it’s not a volume game, the more content and the more comprehensive content you produce, the higher the chance of obtaining featured snippets.

For content marketing teams with unlimited resources, this is bread and butter.

But, for smaller teams or solo marketers, volume is an issue. There’s only so many blog posts you can write, right?

What’s the number one blocker to starting your next blog post? The dreaded blank canvas.

Rather than starting your next blog post with no plan and hoping for featured snippets, try our free brief writing service. 

Get your first 500 words written for just £250, or your first 100 words completely free.

Brett McGrath

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