With a constant need to top the ranking game, have you ever wondered what is the new deciding factor today anyway? Well, it is your “featured snippets”. Masking organic search results that appear at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages and making your way into the Google Answer Box simply means increased number of clicks followed by higher traffic to your website.
So, in this blog we have made an attempt to explain the three different types of snippets and tips to best position your site to appear in the Google Answer Box.
All geared up to rank for the position “zero”?
Now let us get started without any further delay.
Have you ever wondered why Google Answer Box is so important?
This is simply because Google Answer Box is a blessing for the search users as it immediately answers their queries without presenting them with any additional links to click to visit a website.
There are 3 major types of answer boxes or snippets, which appear in Google’s search results page on both desktop and mobile.
These are “Tables”, “Paragraphs” and “Lists”. We have provided an example of each of these.
The image below provides a clear picture of how a list looks like:
For instance, let us say, our search query is “strengthening lower back”.
When we do this, we will be presented with a list of “back strengthening exercises”.
This might have – number one – do simple pelvic tilting; number two – do some hip bridges; number three – some floor swimming etc.
Well, this sounds both exciting yet painful. The search results showing in the hyperlink are from the article named “How to Strengthen the Lower Back”.
Surprisingly it is on the wikiHow’s URL.
Lists like this can either be in the form of bullet points or in numeric formats.
List snippets account to 19% of the Google Answer Box.
Looking for some sort of comparisons? Well, then be prepared to see some tables like the one below:
Yes, if you are looking out for some comparisons then you will be presented with a table.
For example, when we search for the phrase “WordPress hosting Comparison”, then you will get tables.
So, basically tables tend to appear in a number of places wherein you come across a view that is in the for of a chart or a comparison.
In our case, we could actually find a visual of a graph along with the performance of the top WordPress hosting businesses – the names and types of their accounts as well as the cumulative expense per month.
Refer the image below”
Now, we got the results from “wpsitecare.com”.
Once again this was a high ranking site – may be number two, number three and even ranking for the number zero.
Now, this is kind of great.
Although we do not remember which site was ranking for the position one, this site was ranking a head of the “number one” position by ranking at the position zero.
Table snippets account to 16% of the Google Answer Box.
Here, we just tried to reach out for the history of Istanbul. Crazy right? Well, it’s ok. . .
When we typed our search phrase “Istanbul History”, we were not only able to see that the Wikipedia was ranking for the position “number one”, but they were also ranking for the position “zero”.
So, this made it easy for them to appear as a nice featured snippet.
Here, an image of a photo appears above the text in case of mobile sites and on the right hand side in case of desktops.
Then the snippet will try to give a brief or a quick answer to your question.
Now, we do understand that our query is pretty broad and we are looking for a lot more information on the history of Istanbul.
Probably more than the fact what the snippet fetched us. At least definitely more than the fact that Istanbul was a human settlement for over 3,000 years.
Nevertheless, if you are looking for some quick answers, then you can certainly get those in Google Answer Box.
You can get paragraph answers for every type of query.
Paragraph snippets account to 63% of the Google Answer Box.
Now, this has covered pretty much everything that you should be knowing about the featured snippets.
So, if you want to rank high and get featured in these snippets, then we have put together some best practices for you.
Best Practices or Top Tips to Feature in the Answer Boxes or Appear As Snippets
By getting into the Google’s Answer Box, you can easily win the users’ attention, as you will be the one that users will see first.
Besides, these tips will let you to get featured in the snippet box even though you rank 5, 6, 7, etc. in the SERP.
Now, isn’t that a good news?
Okay, without any further delay, let us quickly look into each of these best practices.
Look for Queries that Make a Query
Try looking out for queries during your keyword research, which explicitly or implicitly ask questions.
Here, you will actually have to do your research and then identify search phrases that specifically ask questions.
Note that, the questions you look out for should be a little broader than what exactly Google can directly deliver right out of the Knowledge Graph.
So, for instance, let us say you want know “how old is Istanbul”, you might just get the answer “3,000 years old”.
You might not even be able to find any citation to the Wikipedia or any alternative credible website.
Again, if you end up asking “how old is Rand Fishkin”, you might again get the answer “37”.
Absolutely no link back or no citation back at all or absolutely no credit to the source page on the web.
Frustrating, isn’t it?
Now, these are the types of queries that you should look for in your keyword research, which are slightly broader than a single piece of knowledge or a single line.
However, it should demand a question that it is being answered.
You can find these pretty easily in your keyword research.
For instance, just get into Keyword Explorer and try using the filter for suggestions for all your queries.
Virtually all these will be your implicit and explicit queries. Then try and get featured snippets for all those queries.
Identify Queries that are Already Using Google Answer Box
Keep an eye for the queries that are already using Google’s Answer box.
It will can be surprisingly easy for you to grab these queries if your competitors are not doing a great job.
First you should identify the queries that use the answer box.
So, again you will have to leverage tools like Keyword Explorer. We believe even STAT also does this.
These will help you to quickly identify specific types of results that are present in the queries.
So, the type of results you will be looking for is the answer box or the featured snippets.
Are they already out there and one of your competitors are already using it?
Then here is your opportunity to overtake them by providing more complete, more accurate, better formatted answer that ranks higher.
Let us say you are ranking number four or number three while the number one or number two results are making that kind of answer box.
You can simply reformat the content on your site to meet any of these elements, you can easily overtake your competitors.
Now, you can easily take that number zero position from your competitors and rank for it.
This becomes particularly easy when they have a weak results displaying.
Optimize Your Site to Stay on the First Page So that Google Can Pull You to the Top
Ranking for the number one position can be extremely helpful. But relax, it is not necessary.
If your content is good, then Google will pull you up even if you are there on the first page of the SERP.
If you want you can easily test this yourself.
Very often, when you do the query which pulls up the Google Answer Box, just take that particular query string and add “&num=100” to it.
Alternatively, you can also change the settings in your Google Search so that Google displays 50 to 100 results.
Once you do this, you will see that Google pulls from a lower or down results, which could even be the bottom ones such as the 30th or the 40th results instead of the top 10 results.
So what does this imply?
This simply means that Google essentially triggers these answer results from any site that appears from the first page of the SERP.
Now isn’t that awesome?
Yes, particularly because even if you are ranking for positions such as 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 etc. you will still stand the chance to get the answer box, if you continue to do other stuffs correctly.
Focus On Language and Format and Provide Logical Answers to Query Terms
Format and language are essential.
When it comes to language, use the phrases and the terms more literally. This is because Google picks up pages with content that are simple and direct.
For instance using “strengthen lower back” is much better than “back strengthening for newbies”.
Google takes everything much more literally than you expect them to be.
Next, it is important to maintain your answer to match the table, paragraph or the list format.
However, your answer can be present in any if the following parts of your web page:
- Title of your web content
- Caption of a specific image
- Label of of a particular section
Google pulls the answers from the inside of the pages.
So, keeping your well-structured, accurate and logical answers anywhere in your web page can be extremely helpful.
Therefore, by being a little more structured and accurate you can appear in the Google Answer Boxes without much hassle.
Accuracy is Supreme
Yes, there is not shortcut to being accurate and precise in your answers.
Google actually favors results that are highly accurate.
Your next question would be – “how can I know whether my answers are accurate or not”?
Well, that is subjective.
But the fact is that Google chooses sources which they trust and look out for structured information and phrases that match the query maximum.
Google compares your answers with numerous other trusted sources before choosing your answer.
For instance, your core data should match that which is present on the actual source sites or other trusted sites.
If your data varies from that present on so called “trusted sources”, then the chances are that Google might trust you a little lesser, thereby decreasing your chance of appearing in the Google’s Answer Boxes.
Making the Most Out of the Google’s “Maximum Snippet Length”
We will make one thing very clear here. This trick will not help;p you to rank higher or anything of that sort.
But, it is mainly aimed towards increasing the traffic to your website.
So, if you are already ranking for the position zero, the chances are that you might be frustrated because Google may just take away your clicks by providing the readers with the answers they are looking for.
However, this is just a small part, when you rank zero, you can expect the double traffic because you will organic traffic as well as the traffic due to your high ranking position.
The best way to entice the clicks is to make the most out of the Google’s maximum snippet length.
So, what does this mean?
It means that Google will not pull all the answers from the exhaustive list. They will only choose the first four or five.
Next, if you have a long list, then Google picks only the first 7 or 8 points.
Similarly, if you have high paragraphs that run into one another, then you will be able to draw the clicks rather than allowing Google to take your traffic away.
With this kind of information at your disposal, we are sure that you are now geared up and are ready to leapfrog some of those position zero results, get featured in answer boxes and grab some featured snippets to your side.
Over to You
We look forward to hear your questions.
If you have already appeared in the answer box or have some featured snippets, then we would love to know more about it.
Share your thoughts and queries in the comment box below.