Looking for a nice and easy shortcut to bring extra traffic to your blog? Then you’ll probably be interested in discovering how to get the featured snippet in Google search results.
Here are the steps in brief:
- Find featured snippet opportunities
- Choose your target snippet
- Identify snippet type
- Analyze the ranking page
- Find the weak points
- Devise a plan of attack
Stealing featured snippets has helped me rank important pages at the top of search results and boost my blog traffic significantly. Once you know the clear process to follow, it becomes pretty straightforward.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at exactly how it’s done.
What is a Featured Snippet?
Google explains featured snippets as “special boxes where the format of a regular search result is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first.”
Snippets rank in what’s known as ‘position 0’, above all the other results. Google’s goal with snippets is to give the user the info they want – fast! If you can get one of your blog posts ranking for a snippet, then you’ll usually get a large influx of traffic.
However, in some cases your click through rate might go down, because the user can sometimes get the answer they want without actually clicking on your site. This can happen when definitions are used as snippets, e.g. for a “what is” keyword.
Types of Featured Snippet
- Steps (i.e. “how to”)
How to Get the Featured Snippet in Google
Step 1: Find featured snippet opportunities
I normally use Ahrefs or Semrush to identify featured snippet opportunities for my websites.
Here’s the process I follow each time.
First, open the dashboard and head over to the Organic Keywords report for your site (I’ll use an example site here). You’ll get a list of all the keywords your site is currently ranking for.
Apply filters to the resulting keywords to identify the ones that have featured snippets (Note: not every keyword has a featured snippet). Filter by SERP features > Featured snippet.
I normally add a filter for Top 20 positions too, as this is a great way to find the low-hanging snippet fruits. If my posts are ranking in the top 20 position for a keyword, it’s usually not that much of a stretch to grab the featured snippet.
Little quote marks next to the URL means your page already ranks for the snippet. No quote marks means there’s a snippet, but someone else ranks for it. Click on the SERP dropdown menu to find out which page has it – as that will be who you’ll steal it from.
Step 2: Choose your target snippet
The next step is to select which snippet you want to target. You want to choose one that’s easily attainable and also makes sense for your business goals.
Target featured snippets with the following features:
- Decent traffic volume
- Useful and relevant for your business
- One where you’re already ranking in top 10 results
For this example, we’ll target the snippet for the keyword “remote worker programs”.
Clicking on the SERP drop down menu reveals the top 10 sites currently ranking for the “remote worker programs” keyword. As we can see below, this blog post from Owl Labs currently has the featured snippet.
Step 3: Identify snippet type
Next, we need to find out what type of snippet this page is featured in. To check this, open an incognito browser window and Google the keyword.
It should be easy enough to figure out what sort of snippet is being featured: definition, list (usually in the form of bullet points), a table, a set of steps, or a video (on YouTube). Whichever format it’s in, that’s what you’ll need to emulate with your own article.
Below we can see that the snippet for our target keyword is in list format, as a set of bullet points. That means, to be in with a chance of stealing it, we’ll need to create a section with the same format on our own page.
Step 4: Analyze the ranking page
Now we need to analyze the ranking page itself, to figure out exactly which part is showing up in the featured snippet.
Here we can see that Owl Labs has an H2 header “Remote Work Travel Programs” with the target keyword included.
There’s also a clear list of bullet points placed directly under the keyword header. Next, the page uses H3 headings further down the page to create the list – one for each item.
Step 5: Find the weak points
To have a chance of ranking for the featured snippet, we not only need to add a similar section to our own page, but we also need to find a way of somehow improving upon it.
In this case, the first thing we can see is the article’s publication date, October 2019. That means it’s already extremely out of date.
Also, the title doesn’t include a year, meaning this article lacks any signs of freshness. People searching for remote work programs would certainly expect the latest information. This is a major weak point.
What’s more, Google prefers to show fresh and relevant information, so we’ve already got a strong idea of what we can do first to steal this featured snippet.
Step 6: Devise a plan of attack
We’ve now analyzed the top-ranking article. Based on the information we gleaned, we now know what format what we have to emulate, as well as a strategy to make a better page and steal the snippet.
Here’s exactly how I’d target this snippet:
#1. Add a section to my page with the same format:
- Use an H2 heading with the exact keyword placed close to the beginning of the article.
- Include a bullet point summary of the list right under the H2 heading.
- Write a full list using H3 headings for each new entry in the list.
- Make sure my article provided fresher and more relevant information.
- Make sure the title included the correct year, e.g. “12 of the Best Remote Worker Programs for 2023”.
- Consider writing a more extensive list, e.g. if the competing article included nine entries on the list, I’d probably aim to include 11 or 12 entries on mine. That would likely involve doing some additional research to make sure my article provided better, more comprehensive content for the user. That’s what Google likes best and will reward.
#2. Next, I’d manually submit my edited and updated page via Google Search Console’s “Inspect Any URL” tool, so it could get re-crawled.
Then, I’d wait a few days for the bots to crawl the new page….
During this time, I’d be keeping an eye on the SERPs to see how my page progressed. With any luck, it would soon grab that featured snippet. This process has worked for me many times before. I hope it will work for you as well.
Actionable Next Steps
In this post, I showed you my exact process for how to get the featured snippet. I’ve gotten lots of snippets using this method. Targeting featured snippets is an easy and fun way to drive more traffic to your blog.
My full guide on SEO competitor analysis includes everything you need to look for, beyond just featured snippets.
It’s worth going through your organic keywords every so often, to check what’s ranking for the snippets, and see if you can get ahead of them. Following this process will make it easy, and you’re sure to get a nice boost of traffic as a reward!