Appearing in search results represents an unparalleled opportunity for reaching your audience.
Billions of searches take place every day on Google. And chances are some of the people conducting those searches are looking for information about what your organization has to offer.
The best way to deliver that?
Earning a “featured snippet” on Google’s search engine results page.
What are Google featured snippets
Featured snippets are an element of Google’s search engine results that provides people with a quick response to their question.
Here’s an example of what happens when I search for “who was Napoleon Bonaparte”:
It’s designed to make the experience easier for searchers to get the information they’re looking for.
But it also provides an opportunity for content creators to design pages intentionally so they can rank in featured snippets, which can in turn create a larger audience for your organization.
Why Google featured snippets are useful to marketers
The goal of search engine optimization is to make it easy for your audience members to find you when they search for relevant topics on Google.
That’s why trying to rank as close to the top of a page as possible is so important: The higher up your result, the more likely it is going to be seen.
One of the best ways to get to the top of those results is through a featured snippet.
This allows your page to “jump the line” – catapulting you to the most prominent place in the search engine results page (SERP) even if you don’t have the much-coveted top result.
For example: Here’s a featured snippet that Banfield has claimed for the phrase “voice marketing strategy”.
Not only that, claiming a featured snippet also gives your page a level of authority with your audience.
Out of all the pages writing about a subject, Google has chosen YOURS to provide a response.
That has to provide some thought leadership cachet with your audience, right?
Not only that: Featured snippets are only going to become more important as voice search grows in popularity.
How to target featured snippets on Google
Answer a question
One of the best ways to get a featured snippet?
Answer a question.
Many snippets are designed around providing people (and Google) with a page that provides a succinct and direct answer to a specific question.
Don’t overthink this. The clearer you can be, the more likely you are to show the Google algorithm that your page is the best possible answer to the searcher’s question.
Know what your audience is searching for
A key component of any marketing strategy is knowing what your audience wants.
In SEO, that means figuring out what your audience is searching for.
So before you design a strategy for claiming featured snippets, you need to figure out which snippets are going to have the most impact with your audience.
After all, it’s not worth putting the effort into developing a page for a featured snippet that the people you’re trying to reach won’t be looking for.
Design a page around targeting a particular snippet
Competition for featured snippets in Google search results has grown fierce over the years, to the point where grabbing prominent ones is now extremely difficult.
If you want to have any hope of claiming one, you’ll likely need to design a page for that express purpose.
Once you’ve done your research on the featured snippets for which your audience is searching, start to think about how you can design a page that will likely appear in one.
Featured snippets are another great implement to have in your marketing toolkit. They are informative, relevant to searchers, and position sources as thought-leaders.
How will you use them to reach your audience?
Mark Brownlee is a digital marketing strategist for Banfield Agency in Ottawa, Canada.
Article illustration by Stephen Pollock