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What is a Google featured snippet and how do you get one?

Ever heard of a Google featured snippet?

In the world of digital marketing, content and SEO go hand in hand.

They both rely on each other to drive traffic, increase conversions and improve brand awareness – amongst other things.

So, how do you know when your content is good?

There are countless ways that Google establishes whether or not the content of a site is high-quality, or not. One such way you can know whether you’re getting it right is to regularly check the ranking positions of your content.

Ideally, we all want our pages to be ranking number one on Google, right? While this is a never-ending struggle, there are a few methods you could use to optimise your content for search results.


What is a Google featured snippet?

What’s better than ranking first in Google – well, coming in at zero, of course.

Position zero is the first piece of content that Google shows users in their search result. It tends to pop up in a separate box above all the general results.

Position zero goes by another name – featured snippet.

A featured snippet is essentially a quick snapshot of a piece of content that Google deems to be the best and most useful resource for the user’s query.

You might be wondering how you can get featured snippets. Well, as with anything Google-related, there isn’t a simple and easy formula.

However, there are a few best practice strategies you can use when writing your content to increase your chances of a featured snippet.


Understanding the different types of featured snippets

There are actually four different types of featured snippets that cater to different forms of content.

The definition box is a snippet of text that gives the user a direct and accurate description or explanation of something. For example, the definition of a word or phrase. Definition boxes also usually appear for search terms that start with ‘what is’.

The ordered list is typically a featured snippet for content that uses a step-by-step guide. This could be a recipe, a how-to guide or listicle.

The unordered list featured snippet is much the same as the ordered list but will be used for content that doesn’t specify a numerical order. For example, ‘7 essential outreach tools for link building’.

Finally, a table featured snippet will usually appear in response to a size-related question. For example, ‘what size jeans do I need’. This is especially useful for fashion and home décor industries.


How to optimise content for the different types of featured snippets

Firstly, a bit of research and background will massively help your efforts. Generally speaking, you should already have a content plan that you work with. If you don’t, get brainstorming to come up with some landing page and blog ideas.

Once you’ve got a few titles in mind, type these into Google to see if any content in that area is currently ranking via a featured snippet. If it is, that’s good news as Google already deems this to be a good topic area. If not, don’t worry, there’s a first for everything.


Description box featured snippet

If your content would be best suited to a definition box, make sure to include a direct definition within your content. It’s best to do this by using the long-tail keyword or search phrase as a heading and provide the answer below.

Make sure to always use an H2 tag with your subheadings so that Google can easily identify what your content is about. It doesn’t matter where in the content your definition is, although, nearer in the top tends to help.


Ordered list featured snippet

It’s rather self-explanatory but when attempting to get a featured snippet using an ordered list, you should format your content as a list. Again, using H2 tags, or even H3 tags, make sure your subheadings are written in a step-by-step guide style.


Unordered list

As with the ordered list, the importance of H2 tags shouldn’t be overlooked. Although not in any kind of numerical order, the H2 tags for your subheadings tell Google that this is a listicle piece of content. Make sure that the number of subheadings you use correlates with the number in the title. For example, ‘7 essential outreach tools for link building’ shouldn’t have 9 subheadings.


Table featured snippet

As with the other featured snippets, formatting is everything. The name of the game is ‘table’, so make sure your content features a table that concisely explains whatever the topic is. Whether that be clothes sizes, prices or measurements, style these into a table. You’re essentially doing Google’s job for them by making it easier for the algorithm to categorise your content.


As with most things, site authority and trustworthiness play a massive part on rankings for featured snippets. However, we would recommend optimising all of your content, in particular blogs, with featured snippets in mind. The more high-quality content you publish, the more Google will start to push you up in the rankings.

Are you looking for support with your SEO strategy? Drop us an email for an informal chat:

Morgan Mitchell - Modo25
Morgan Mitchell
Morgan Mitchell - Modo25
Morgan Mitchell

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