What's better than ranking #1 on Google? Ranking in a featured snippet (also called “position 0” or an “answer box”).
Featured snippets and answer box rankings (like the one shown in the section below) get the largest percentage of clicks just like any other first-position ranking. In fact, featured snippets see a 20.36% average click-through rate, compared to 13.74% for “People also ask” results, and 8.46% for the first standard result below “People also ask,” according to AWR data). In addition, it also builds trust for your brand by providing knowledgeable answers to potential customers' questions.
What is a featured snippet on Google
A Google featured snippet is a text and/or image snippet that appears directly on Google’s search page without the user having to click on the linked website to read the answer. This is commonly seen for many queries (although not all)Google compiles these answers by designating a snippet of text from a top-ranking website for this featured position.
This is how a Google featured snippet/answer box display appears:
How to get a featured snippet on Google:
To get a featured snippet on Google, follow these steps:
- Use the exact keyphrase/question as the section heading (it can be a subheading)
- Then directly answer the question, like "How to get a featured snippet on Google: To get a featured snippet on Google, follow these steps…" (See what we did there?!)
- If it's an answer that could or should include steps or a list, format that as a numbered list or bulleted list
- Continue to elaborate on the question, including other “People also ask” questions (more on that in a minute)
- Aim to write at least 1,000 words total on the page (more if possible).
Look at the “People also ask” questions too
The ideal Google answer box or featured snippet strategy is about more than answering just one question. There are almost always other top-related questions that people are asking about any given topic, too, which may also be showing on Google in featured spots (i.e., the answer box or “People also ask”).
For reference, the “People also ask” questions appear on Google search results page like this:
How to use the “People also ask” questions in your content
To maximize your Google featured snippet strategy and increase your chances of being featured in more of these spots, use each “People also ask” question as a subheading in your article, and then directly answer the question just like you would for Google featured snippet optimization (as outlined above).
Do you have to answer every single “People also ask” question?
No, you don’t have to answer every single question that shows up. Although you shouldn’t shy away from answering a question that may not use the exact terminology you use for your brand, you don’t have to answer all of them.
Choosing which questions to answer will take some critical thought. Is this a question that your target audience may be asking? Is this a question you can provide a clear answer for?
You should also answer other questions your customers ask. Just because it isn’t a Google featured snippet/answer box or “People also ask” question yet, doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future, especially if you’re the first one to answer it!
OTHER GOOGLE FEATURED SNIPPET OPTIMIZATION TIPS
- Exactly match the keyword/keyphrase whenever possible, with the exceptions being to avoid incorrect grammar or spelling or poor wording
- Don’t forget that your ultimate goal is to meet the customer where they’re at in their process or journey and provide information that is actually helpful
- Sometimes this means delicately balancing machine algorithm optimization with human optimization. For example, someone might search “how to wash a pillow in the washing machine.” If you’re a bedding or pillow brand, you might not want to answer that question at all if you would never recommend a customer wash your product in the washing machine. Instead, you could balance the direct answer like this: How do you wash a pillow in the washing machine? Washing a pillow in the washing machine is not recommended. Instead, we recommend you follow these steps when washing your pillow…”
Should you have a dedicated page for each question?
No, you don’t need to have a dedicated page for each featured snippet or “People also ask” question; however, the keywords on a single page should be related and/or variants of each other.
Although you can create separate pages for each question if you think that would be more helpful for your customers, like in a FAQ section or customer support section, you don’t have to. Check out the article template below to see how related keywords and questions can be grouped on a single page.
EDUCATIONAL ARTICLE TEMPLATE (optimized for questions)
Main Topic/Main keyword
- Most common question about this topic or keyword (main featured snippet opportunity)
- A common question you get from your customers
- A “People also ask” question
- Another “People also ask” question
So, the mattress-buying guide example from above might look like this:
- How to Buy the Best Non-Toxic Mattress
- What Chemicals Are in Mattresses?
- What Are Non-Toxic Mattresses Made With?
- Are Mattress VOCs Toxic?
- How to Find a Non-Toxic Mattress
- How Can I Protect Myself from Mattress Chemicals?
- [Add additional sections based on other customer questions]
How do you know what questions/keywords to optimize for?
All of our Google answer box and featured snippet SEO tips thus far assume you already know the question you want to show up for. So how do you figure that out? The answer is keyword research.
If you have access to or familiarity with keyword research tools (which tell you what exact keywords people are actually typing into Google), one of our favorite software/tools is the Semrush Keyword Magic Tool.
Or, if you currently work with an SEO marketer, you can also ask them to conduct keyword research about a specific topic. For example, if you are a mattress company and customers frequently ask whether one of your products contains a certain chemical, you can ask an SEO pro to do keyword research around that question to find out what exact keywords or keyphrases are being searched most commonly.
For example, perhaps people are searching “non-toxic mattress” or perhaps they’re phrasing it like “mattresses without flame retardants.” You might also find that people ask “what chemicals are in mattresses?” You would use this information to structure your article and prioritize the highest volume questions/keywords (in other words, prioritize the keywords/questions that get the most number of searches).
If you don’t have access to a keyword research tool or an SEO professional, we do recommend this DIY keyword research method:
4-step DIY keyword research template (no software required)
Here’s our recommended process for conducting keyword research on your own without software:
- Start with the top 5 questions your sales team and/or customer service team gets
- If real people are asking this question of your brand, there is a very high chance many more people who aren’t your customers yet are typing that same question into Google
- For each question, write down the Google autocompletes that show as you start to type
For each question, write down the “People also ask” questions that show upThen format your article with all of the logical autocompletes and “People also ask” questions as your sub-sections and use the keywords/phrases in your subheadings and other key sections of your article.
Download this free PDF template for our DIY keyword research template.
By gathering some initial data and applying these key tips for a well-organized, SEO article, your company website can start appearing in more Google featured snippets and answer boxes and earning more organic traffic — the upshot for both being potential for attracting new customers and conversions.