If you want to maximize organic search engine traffic to your website, you must keep on top of all of Google’s search page features.
Google is always experimenting with their search results, and one of the latest to grace the search results page are featured snippets. What are featured snippets, and why should you optimize your site for them?
What Are Featured Snippets?
Even if you aren’t sure what a featured snippet is, there’s no doubt that you have been exposed to thousands of them over the last few years. Google first began displaying featured snippets in 2014, and since then, they have increasingly dominated the top of the search page.
Featured snippets are useful pieces of information the Google algorithm has deemed to be the most appropriate response to a search query. In general, snippets are very brief and cover only the essential information.
However, they can be useful by providing immediate answers without you having to click through to the full website. Checking the current exchange rate for your nation’s currency against another or finding out what time it is in NYC are good examples of the usefulness of featured snippets.
Snippets can take a few different forms, including a paragraph, bulleted list, table, video (almost always YouTube), or numbered list.
At first glance, it might seem like snippets are doing your website a disservice by directly giving people information on the search page. For general information like the weather and currency exchange rates, this is true, but consider a bulleted list or a short paragraph.
Brief snippets of information will not satisfy a searcher’s quest for more detailed knowledge, but they do amazingly well at getting the searcher’s attention. So, let’s look at seven different reasons why you should be optimizing your site to take advantage of featured snippets.
1. Featured Snippets Occupy the Highest Organic Position
When your site occupies the featured snippet space, you are above the number one search result, which is why snippets are said to occupy position #0. Snippets outrank all other listings, including ‘People Also Ask’ boxes, videos, and top stories.
2. Higher Click-Through Rates
Many content creators have the mistaken idea that featured snippets will negatively impact their traffic numbers, but they have the opposite effect.
A featured snippet is brief and concise, but it often fails to deliver all the information a searcher requires. What it does do, is provide motivation to click through to a site to get all the details.
Google has confirmed that a featured snippet can significantly increase search traffic to your website.
Moz [* https://moz.com/blog/featured-snippets-experiment] has the data to back up this claim, which they gathered during an experiment on featured snippets. When they switched them off, they witnessed a 12% drop in traffic.
A Hubspot study [* https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/how-to-featured-snippet-box] discovered that searchers were more than twice as likely to click on featured snippets over any other type of organic listing.
3. You Can Siphon Traffic from the First Listing
Moz and HubSpot have both completed studies which conclude that featured snippets pull in more traffic. It’s important to note that this may not always the case and can depend on the topic.
However, snippets in position #0 will still give you a traffic advantage. Even though they may pull in less traffic than the number one search result below them, they are still siphoning off the traffic you would not otherwise receive.
If your site has a lower listing, you have gained an edge over the top spot by appearing above them as a featured snippet.
4. Snippets Create Authority
Having the information from your website appear at the top of the search pages goes a long way to building authority for your brand. It’s not just the number of clicks on search results that tell Google your site is worth visiting.
It’s also the number of impressions your website receives, and snippets can dramatically improve your impression metric while also building up its desirability.
5. Both Google and Bing Implement Featured Snippets
Google and Bing are both using featured snippets in their search results. The lesser search engines are often ignored in optimization strategies, but even a small percentage of visitors from the other sites can add up and improve your profit margins.
DuckDuckgo.com has also started to implement featured snippets in its search results. Optimizing your website for snippets can potentially improve your results on three of the major search engines.
6. Featured Images
If you aren’t currently focusing too much on using images in your posts, then the traffic potential of featured snippets should change your mind.
A page optimized for featured snippets may showcase the page’s images at the top of the search results. When a user clicks on a picture, they are taken to either Bing Images or Google Images.
Each of the displayed images will have a link to the source page, which creates the potential for more searchers to arrive at your site.
Bear in mind, you may be listed alongside your competitors’ images but that is a small sacrifice for the extra exposure you would not normally be receiving.
7. Take Advantage of Voice Search
The increasing popularity of Google Home and Alexa smart speakers means that there are now millions of voice-enabled assistants in homes all over the globe. Smart speakers are not the only devices supporting voice search, as smartphones and laptops are also capable.
It all adds up to an increasing reliance on people using voice to ask to search for information and have it delivered through a voice-enabled assistant like Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
When it comes to featured snippets, Google will regularly pull data from this area for its voice search results.
Not only will it provide the searcher with the information, but it will also relay the source web address and send links to enabled devices, making it easy for the searcher to continue their research in more depth.
Voice search is steadily gaining traction and may even take over traditional search volume soon. Optimizing your site for snippets will help you increase traffic from this relatively new form of search traffic.
As you can see, there are many great reasons to optimize your site to gain a featured snippet listing. There is also one other important fact that we haven’t discussed. Snippets improve the user experience and delivering a great user experience is always a positive move for your business.
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