Search engine optimizers make countless attempts to improve rankings. They spend weeks and months reorganizing internal linking structures to ensure that important pages have optimum support. They also spend tons of dollars on creating the perfect link bait. Moreover, you will find SEO experts spend numerous hours complaining about renowned website pages outranking theirs despite having terrible writing and categories.
Most of these SEO “pros” rarely appeal searchers with optimized meta descriptions and page titles. It increases the click-through rate (CTR) by tenfold and is a big reason why so many websites have a high ranking despite having average content.
Have a word with any Pay Per Click expert, and they will tell you that their job is not just paying for top ad positions or coming up with keywords. They also have the responsibility to increase their ad copy's click-through rate.
The main job of a search engine optimization specialist is usually to make sure that they begin with a target keyword and that meta description and page titles exist as well. In case you do not know, a search engine only shows seventy characters in a single page title, to be specific 512px. The meta description has 150 characters. Rarely does anyone worry about the meta descriptions and title’s human aspects.
Think of it like this: you are getting free ad space every time your page gets ranked by Google. Although meta description and page title optimization have existed in the SEO landscape for a long time, they are not given too much importance. Scrolling the web to read generic recommendations is not enough; you also need to try out some variations, even if they are in forged environments as Google doesn't have a split-testing feature yet.
Google regularly optimizes its search algorithms. Taking a deep look at the updates will make you realize that the reason behind constant algorithm optimization is for improving user experience. It ensures that users can avoid spammy and low-quality results and get the exact results for what they are looking for. The search engine is now giving a lot of importance to featured snippets to look up the correct results within a few seconds. Snippets are a valuable commodity in the digital real estate, which is why you should know the right ways to make your brand visible in them.
Featured Snippet Explained
A featured snippet appears in virtually every question-related search. "How to" search is a common example where you will come across a featured snippet. A snippet's function is to pull the most pertinent content from linked pages to provide users the exact answer they are looking for without going away from Google's result page. Snippets provide quick overviews on the top of SERPs (search engine result pages) and are extremely helpful for customers.
Importance of Optimizing for Featured Snippets
As mentioned earlier, featured snippets are the most profitable and desirable part of search engine result pages. Since they are visible directly underneath the query of the user and often give answers, a huge traffic drop has occurred for the top spot.
Snippets are eating the search traffic up since they have become a red hot commodity. They are even making lower results that appear on the first page obsolete. Capturing the featured snippet spot is crucial if you are looking to maintain your traffic for a long period (months and years). If you don’t, not only will your site slowly get out of the user’s sight, you will also risk losing a lot of traffic to your competitors.
So, the million-dollar question that everyone probably has right now is how they can snap up the traffic they desire by ranking for featured snippets. Well, we are about to get there, but first, there is an important thing you should know before you begin optimizing for Snippets.
Considerations before Featured Snippet Optimization
By now, you are probably thinking of diving straight into your content. You may also be thinking about making something new. However, before doing all of this, it is important to make sure that the existing frameworks for your company’s content creation have SEO built in it. If it isn’t the case, then it is crucial to make sure that all the stakeholders involved receive intermediate or at least basic SEO training.
Basic optimization training for featured snippets could potentially teach you to identify high performing articles that do not show featured snippets yet- but are good enough to do so. Ideally, you should dedicate your efforts to articles that appear in the top ten results for specifically chosen search terms. Ahrefs, a popular analysis tool, suggests that more than 99 percent of featured snippets appear in the top ten ranked articles. Therefore, there is no need to waste precious time optimizing content that has a low performance. Dive straight into the articles present on the first page.
Since you know about important things to consider before snippet optimization, let us look at the various types of snippets and how they increase click-through rate.
Different Featured Snippet Types
1. Multifaceted Featured Snippets
As the name suggests, this snippet has multiple facets. Sometimes a single snippet is not sufficient for covering all of the possible solutions that a user could require. Google countered this problem by implementing multifaceted featured snippets.
The word a person enters for asking a question could sometimes have various interpretations and broader meanings. Multifaceted featured snippets are capable of properly understanding and recognizing a user’s query when there is a chance that it could have multiple interpretations.
So essentially, Google Is covering any bases that have ambiguous search terms. The changes are beginning to show on mobile, and desktop is not too far behind either. There is not any definitive data that displays how easy ranking is possible for multifaceted snippets. But, the ideal thing to do would be to optimize for numerous scenarios on a single topic with a specific keyword. To simplify things, optimize your target keyword for intent.
2. YouTube Snippets
Although written content and images are well and good, video content has taken over them in recent years. In fact, it would be fair to say that it is the most engaging of them all. Utilizing YouTube featured snippets is an excellent way of answering any of the user’s questions regarding the video or channel they are engaging with.
In case someone tries to look up a “how-to” search, Google will display relevant videos, followed by highlighting sections that are likely to give the best possible answer. Read the following recommendations to improve the chances of your video showing up on YouTube:
- Put the content together step by step
- Use long-tail keywords for description box optimization
- Upload a script or utilize a transcription tool for closed captioning the video
3. Table Snippets
Table feature snippets are an excellent optimization option for sites that rely on data publication. They provide a summarized view of results from particular data sets, which includes prices, dates, and lists. There is no need to sweat about providing the information table by yourself as Google will take care of it.
4. Paragraph Featured Snippets
This is among the most popular snippet among users. Google pulls a page’s text for providing an immediate answer to a certain question with the paragraph featured snippet.
Paragraph snippets are often used for the following kinds of searches:
- How is
- Why is
- What is
Although it is extremely efficient, there is a challenge – and that challenge is that Google extracts a specific section from the text. If you are looking to rank for small queries, you will need to have complete control of your page structure and give the answer in forty to fifty words.
Here are a couple of things you can do to rank for these snippets:
- Provide a logical answer directly below a question
- Use an H2 heading for reiterating the question
5. List Feature Snippets
Whenever you search Google for a process that contains numerous steps, the snippets you will mostly come across provide the first few points or lists regarding the directions you had looked up. Queries like “How to,” DIY questions, and recipes are usually the ones that provide list featured snippets.
The list feature snippet may have a similar appearance to paragraph snippets, but it uses two different ways of pulling information. The first one has similarities with paragraph snippets as you repeat targeted search queries as a subheading for H2, followed by the pertinent steps.
The second one would be to write the details in a table. Google populates the snippet by pulling out all the steps. In case your listicles are in the top ten results, provide a summarized version of steps at the beginning of your post. You can also establish a content hierarchy by establishing a subhead for every new step.
Do These Things for Excellent Snippet Optimization for Maximum CTR
Snippet Optimization Checklist
- Use call to action for improved click rate
- Unique selling propositions increase desire among users and strengthen your offer
- Checkmarks highlight unique selling propositions by catching the attention of users
- Make sure your description is around 100 to 135 characters
- Keep the title length below 65 characters
- Use the main keyword at the beginning of your title
Shorten the Length of the Description and Title
The user's device is the main determinant of the description's title and length. You will notice that mobile snippets are significantly small, and desktop snippets are far bigger in comparison. Instead of characters, pixels are used to measure a snippet's width. This is why no fixed limits are there for characters displayed within the title or description. An alphabet like "E" will obviously take more pixels than "I." The following guidelines will come in handy:
- 135 characters are the approximate length that the description allows
- 65 characters are the approximate length for title displays
It would be advisable to use a minimum of one hundred characters for two-line descriptions. One-line descriptions reduce the chances of gaining attention significantly. The reason for it is that it does not take as much space as other snippets.
Avoiding Short Clicks
Although making huge claims and promising to back them up sounds really tempting, it is a bad idea. You should utilize a snippet for encouraging users to click and improve the click-through rate (CTR). In contrast to meta descriptions, the click-through rate directly impacts your website's ranking. However, keep one thing in mind: you will only be harming your reputation if you fail to fulfill your user’s expectations on the landing page.
Sure, irresistible promises could increase the click rate significantly. However, if you do not fulfill those promises, the users will leave without giving your site a second thought. Reputable search engines like Google pay close attention to short clicks. They consider most short clicks as bad signals from the user. Therefore, a high click-through rate would go in vain and ultimately cause your ranking to drop significantly.
Have you ever tried to understand the reason behind someone ranked below you winning a featured snippet for a particular query? You could attach &num=X-1 at a Google search query’s end, where the X is proportionate to the organic SERP position of your competitor. This specific parameter will limit the number of results that the search engine will display in your Google search. Therefore, it will come up in the next URL qualified for a featured snippet. A wise thing to do would be to copy all the results of featured snippets that do not belong to you. Put those results in a spreadsheet and reverse engineer all of the components after thorough analysis. Reverse engineering will help you to find out how a user's need is addressed and whether the content was responsible for it or not.