Google Featured Snippets are commonly known as Position 0 properties on SERP if you come from a SEO background. If you are not from the amazingly beautiful (is it though) world of SEO, you might know it as Google’s Featured Snippet. Google also officially calls it as Featured Snippet so we will do the same.
Before we move on, let’s address that fundamental question.
What Are Google Snippets?
A Google snippet is a block of information that Google places on top of everything on a search query. The goal is to offer ‘users’ a summary of his/her query so that Google can save the user’s time. The Google snippet will almost always have a picture & an URL back to the website where Google got that information.
Here’s how a Google Snippet looks like as per Google:
Here’s how the snippet actually looks like in real life:
This is the first result you receive when searching for “what can my dog eat”. The result gives you a very brief information about the topic you searched for from mom.me and you can always go to that website to know more.
As you can see from the actual summary, it is not that informative. When I search for “what can my dog eat”, I want names of food items and not the name of a Ph.D. There’s a reason behind this though. As websites are getting more into Google Snippet, they have started to realize that if you give too much information on the snippet itself, a traffic might not click on the link to go to the actual website to know more.
That’s where it gets tricky and we will talk more about that later.
So you now know, what is Google snippet. Let’s talk about the importance of this thing.
Why Snippet Matters?
Why are we bothered about Google snippet? How is this important for us, the internet marketers? Search Engine Land actually ran a study few months ago and the results are very interesting. They used a sample website and analyzed their data before and after appearing on snippet. Believe it or not, the sample website received a 516% increase on search traffic which clearly proves the importance of snippets.
Some of my own websites saw positive jumps in CTR after appearing on Snippet and it is obvious. However, the importance of Snippet is a lot more than the usual CTRs and position 0s.
In case if you do not know already, voice is currently taking over all the searches and it is predicted that, within next 5 years, almost half of internet searches will come from voice. Desktop computers have almost went obsolete for common people and laptops are on the way. Most people now use cellphone to search information and when you are on your cellphone, you will obviously like to speaking to the assistant than typing in your search query.
This is not me speaking out of my intuition. Branded3 did an analysis recently and announced that almost all Google searches will come from voice within 2020.
Why are we talking about voice search in the middle of Google Snippet?
When you are searching using your voice and you have specific questions in mind, Google Assistant or Siri will often read out the Google Snippet for that particular search query.
Don’t believe me?
Go to Google Assistant or Siri and ask “What’s the Age of The Universe”.
You get the point, right?
Now it is time to address our main concern.
How To Get Into Google Snippet
Let’s talk about strategies that you can use to get onto Google Snippet. Before we talk about strategies, it is important to know that there’s no fixed rules to get into Google Snippet as per Google. But is it though?
There are still tactics that you can use to increase your chances to get into Google Snippet. I have done it personally many times and this worked both positively and negatively for me. Let’s talk about some of the strategies that you can use.
I want you to think about addressing Google Snippet as addressing someone who’s on mobile. This is technically not logical but this is eventually going to help you. Always write your articles to offer answers to people regarding their questions.
How would you know what people have in their mind as questions?
There are tools such as Answer The Public that you can use to find questions that people have regarding a particular topic. Let me show you how.
Suppose, I am writing an article about cat health. I want to appear on snippet. What questions do I address inside my article?
See a huge list of questions that Answer The Public gives me to address in the article? Obviously, I can’t address everything and everything is not going to be relevant either, so I take the ones I find important and goes with the topic that I have in mind.
I recommend that you do not only use this tool to get the questions that people might have regarding a topic. Put yourself in your traffic’s shoes and try to think about the questions that they might have. List down all the questions before starting the article and you will have better chances of getting into the snippet.
Regular SEO Still Works
Moz.com ran a study where they analyzed around a thousand snippet results to see the effect of regular SEO to get on there. The result actually matches with my personal experience so I am feeling confident about sharing this with you.
9 out of 10 times, Google is going to pick one of the results on the first page and give it a position on Snippet. However, ranking 1st on organic results does not mean that you will automatically guarantee a position in the snippets. There are websites that are ranked at the lower end of first page but are still dominating position 0 on snippet. But you will hardly find a website that is not on the first page organic result but is on snippet. That rarely happens.
So what do we do? We still follow our regular SEO strategies which includes primarily acquiring backlinks but don’t forget to focus on your on page SEO too as that’s getting more and more important in 2018.
Bounce Rate (Or Dwell Time)
Bounce rate has a direct correlation with appearing in Google Snippet and it makes sense. See how I made “makes sense” bold? In the SEO eco-system of 2018, you should not get involved in anything that does not make sense to do. What do I mean by that? Avoid creating Web 2.0 properties for backlinks or doing thousands of irrelevant blog comments a day as they don’t make sense. Get one backlink a week by emailing to website owners who will accept your guest post because that makes sense. See what I mean?
Anyway, the reason that bounce rate directly effects your Snippet is because once Google sees that people are spending time on your website, it makes sense to them to give you that position 0. If people are not spending time on that particular webpage, it gives Google a negative signal about the content quality of your page which eventually will decrease your organic ranking too.
Tweak Your Content
You don’t always need to create new pieces of content to get into the snippet. Sometimes, tweaking your content can do the trick too and I am now going to repeat myself again.
How do you tweak your content to target snippet? Simply add more question-answer parts within your page. Snippet loves q/a parts and some websites had great success with it too. Here’s Kids Health utilizing the strategy:
This page is ranking for countless Google Snippets and the reason is very clear. They address questions and THAT’s it.
Now, before I started writing this article, I did some research among Internet Marketers and found interesting point of views. One of which is that Google Snippet actually reduces your traffic instead of increasing it.
Is that true? If yes, how to opt out from Google Snippet? Is that even an option? Let’s talk about it.
Is Google Snippet A Bad Thing?
Let me first explain to you how Google Snippet is considered a bad thing among SEOs & Internet Marketers. Suppose, you want to know who are the judges of Shark Tank, alright?
Here’s what you get when you search for it.
Now assume you are the owner of Wikipedia. What will happen?
People will get their information without even clicking on your website. If they are searching from cellphone using assistant, the assistant is going to read out the same thing available on snippet which means that the traffics will not attend your website anymore.
Sounds bad, right?
Remember I told you at the introduction of this article that we will talk about this topic later? This is the time. So Snippet can cut you from both ends and if you really don’t know how to structure information in a way so that you can be in Snippet but still attract people to click on your site, one option is to opt out from Snippet.
How to Opt Out From Google Snippet, you ask?
According to Google, “You can opt out of featured snippets by preventing snippets on your page using the
<meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet"> tag on your page. This will remove all snippets on your page, including those in regular search results.”
Unless you are deliberately using this code to opt out from Snippet, you are automatically in consideration to be there from Google’s point of view.
What do I personally think about all these?
I am sure you understood by now, I am high on voice and as voice search is a real thing in 2018 and beyond, more and more search results are going to see Snippet. This means that less traffic are going to visit your website, especially with specific question queries. You have to learn how to play around these traffic to take them to your website.
We still don’t know how voice is going to disrupt the SEO industry. There is a huge chance that voice optimization will have a lot to do with Google’s snippet results.
More on that later.