Today, you need to be a lot more proactive then just dropping in a few well-place keywords. Your optimizing can be given a strong boost with featured snippets. Best of all, you don’t have to be an “industry leader” in terms of sales to benefit from featured snippets. As with most content, when it comes to snippets Google puts quality above all else.

Featured Snippet 101

Featured snippets are classified as rich search results. They will pop up on a search engine result page or SERP in their own designated box. A featured snippet will often be position just below a paid ad (you can’t beat those!) but above the list of organic search results.

Featured snippets utilize those targeted keywords in such a way to increase the click-through-rates. That is the whole ball game. There are three forms of featured snippets that can be a part of your optimization goals.

  • Paragraph
  • List
  • Table

The paragraph featured snippet is just what it sounds like: A paragraph of copy. These are the kinds of blurbs that will most often pop up in answer to a question search like, “How to make fresh pasta” or “How to change a flat tire.” The paragraph will provide a short answer to the question.

The list featured snippet will also attempt to answer the question is a concise manner but by taking the user through the various steps of the process. Everyone likes a good list!

With the table featured snippet, information is conveyed that directly relates to the query. This might not be applicable to all types of queries. However, anything involving prices, sizes or other data points can use the table featured snippet to great effect.

Optimizing Featured Snippets for a Search

As you might have guessed, Google doesn’t explicitly tell content providers which results are best for featured snippets. That would be too easy. The good news is that there have been plenty of analytic studies performed that offer substantive approaches for utilizing the featured snippet.

Creating target long-tail keywords questions is a good place to start. That means creating evergreen content that broaches a question such as:

  • What is/are
  • Why is
  • How do you
  • How to

Of course, if you pose a question, then you have to provide a clear and concise answer on your page. Be sure that highlighted question is its own subhead with the proper <h2> designation. Then provide the answer in the supporting paragraph with a <p> designation. The answer to the question should include organic placement of the essential keywords that started the whole search.

If you are opting for the list approach, then be sure your list is properly formatted with subheading tags. You want to make it easy for the search engine to “pull out” what you are creating.

Content that is original and using quality SEO keywords will generate featured snippets. You just have to imagine what that will look like and create the content accordingly. In other words, short paragraphs and lists are preferred. It will also help to use quality images at part of your content. Google picks up on the images and recognizes those items as benefits for the users. Google is all about making sure their users don’t feel “cheated” with content that is subpar. Bottom line: If a question is asked, then make sure you have an engaging answer.