The evolution of positioning strategies and the growing competition between companies in all sectors keep Google’s machinery in constant motion and force SEO experts not to fall asleep. Because it is no longer enough to appear in the first position of the first page of searches, now the objective has become position 0. A complicated mission, although not impossible, in which some of the keys that we offer you in this article will help you.
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What is a featured snippet?
Also known as a featuredsnippet, a featured snippet is the direct response that Google offers to a given query from the data it obtains from a web page using intelligent algorithms. These snippets usually appear squared just below ads and above organic searches,hence their denomination of ‘position 0’ and their relevance to Search Engine Optmization (SEO) strategies. Its advantage is that it may be the case that the same page does not appear even among the top ten results of the SERP (the organic pages of the search engine).
Featured snippets do not appear in all searches, but it is common to find them in queries of economic data or recipes.
Google is constantly working to improve the usefulness of these fragments and for this reason has enabled a suggestions option open to all users at the bottom. The possibility of sending comments means that the results can vary over time and stimulate in turn the work of SEO experts, who can work to get one of these valuable ‘0 positions’.
Types of featured snippet
We have already commented that the featured snippet appear squared at the top of the searches and, although the most common are those of text, there are different types.
They appear in paragraph form, often accompanied by images. They are the most informative and usually respond to what in journalism is known as the 6W (in Spanish, the questions what, how, when, where, who and why). In this type of snippet it is common to find answers from Wikipedia.
It’s less common, but sometimes featured snippets are formatted as a video, with an image linking directly to the source web page. However, from the point of view of SEO they seem less useful, since YouTube tops the results in these cases.
Lists and tables
Here Google’s artificial intelligence works at full capacity to ‘manufacture’ the list or table from the information of a certain page because it is not necessary that the data be structured in that format on the original site.
Lists frequently appear to explain step-by-step processes, and tables often answer questions about data comparisons. As in the case of text snippets, they can be accompanied by an image.
Differences between featured snippet and OneBox
It is common to confuse featured snippets and what is known as Google OneBox. Although their format at first glance is very similar and both appear above the organic results, they are not the same. A OneBox is a visualization box in which the data does not come from a specific page, but from the knowledge graph of the search engine.
Google ensures a greater permanence of the user with this format because its links link to other pages of the search engine. It appears in searches on sports results, meteorology, local geography or stock market data.
Am I interested in my page appearing in a featured snippet?
Once we’ve thoroughly figured out that it’s a featured snippet, let’s take care of what’s important. Is it worth concentrating my effort on getting one? It seems obvious that being in a prominent place in Google searches should be considered an achievement by any administrator of a web page, but it must also be borne in mind that the more complete the information that appears in the featured snippet, the less chance there is of them pricking in the link.
However, it is always positive that our site appears in a featured snippet, and we will explain below why. The ideal when working on the SEO of a site is not to focus only on direct or immediate traffic and take into account other factors that can make us move up positions in the SERP.
This is related to RankBrain, the algorithm that learns from artificial intelligence to help Google process search results and which we can seduce if our site appears in a featured snippet. How? If the RankBrain values that a page responds to a query unknown to the search engine by appearing in one of these fragments, it will help you climb in the list of organic results.
Keys to getting a featured snippet
Google makes it clear that there is no direct way to mark your page as featured snippet, but that does not mean that you can not work to get position 0. We tell you some useful tips to achieve this.
1. The importance of the first paragraph. It is important that the main idea of the text appears at the beginning to be detected by Google. Here digital marketing appropriates a journalistic structure that curiously current journalism has almost discarded: the inverted pyramid. In this sense, it is very valuable to formulate in the subtitle the question that the user could ask and include in the entry or lead an answer of about 50 words, similar to the extension of these fragments.
2. Note the 6W rule. Related to the previous point, we must not forget that this type of format is very useful for direct queries, which ask what, how, when, where, who and why. Make your answer solve these specific questions. To find out what are the most frequently asked questions on a specific subject, we recommend the ‘Answer the public’ tool.
3. Discover the keywords. Before starting to write it is very important to consult what are the best keywords to get a featured snippet and not overlook the synonyms.
4. Use a close and simple language. It is difficult for a fragment of a text written in excessively technical language to appear in a prominent fragment. That’s why it’s much more useful to use a colloquial (though always correct!) tone on your site to earn Google’s trust.
5. A format tailored to Google. Just as the ‘spider’ of the search engine finds it easier to recognize the very well structured sites, with the highlighted fragments the same thing happens. Include lists, tables and subtitles to earn points and become one of the chosen ones.
The Future: Voice Search
If appearing in the zero ranking was already a fundamental objective for any page, this presence will become even more relevant with the generalization of devices that use voice search, such as Google Home or Amazon Echo. What happens in these searches is that the device reads only the answer that appears in the highlighted fragment, ignoring all the others, even the one that occupies the first place of the organic results.
Keep in mind that 71% of the questions asked to these devices begin with the aforementioned what, when, how, etc., according to Dr. Peter J. Meyers, so it will be easier for the answer to come from a featured snippet.
The fact that the information does not always appear complete in these fragments (it is difficult for an extensive cooking recipe to fit that space, for example) will force the user to expand the information by going to the reference page.