How to Optimise Your Content for Featured Snippets

Joanna Humphreys

Have you ever wondered what those quick, bite-sized answers you sometimes see at the top of Google’s search results are? They’re known as featured snippets; getting your website’s content in one can transform your online visibility and website traffic.

What is a Google featured snippet, exactly?

screenshot featured snippet on Google

Firstly, let’s define featured snippets. A featured snippet is a way for Google to showcase the most relevant information to a user’s query in a simple, easy-to-navigate manner. They’re a massive opportunity for businesses to boost their visibility online by appearing as the first thing people see in SERPs. Consequently, this may drive more traffic to your website. And that’s not just because the top search results are the most clicked, but also because a featured snippet signals trustworthiness and authority.

What is the difference between “rich snippet” and “featured snippet”?

Before further exploring featured snippets, let’s clarify the difference between featured snippets and another popular type – the rich snippet. These two snippets are designed to enhance the user experience but serve different purposes.

In contrast, rich snippets are search results that provide additional information beyond the standard URL, title, and meta description. For example, a rich snippet may include reviews, ratings, prices, and other details that users can utilise to decide if the link is worth clicking.

Now that’s cleared up, keep reading as we get into the ins and outs of featured snippets and how to optimise your content to get one.

What are the different types of featured snippets?

There are three types of featured snippets:

  • Paragraph snippets: These provide a brief, concise answer to a user’s query in a short paragraph. They are usually at most fifty words long and offer a quick, straightforward solution to the user’s question.
  • List snippets: A list snippet does what it says on the tin – an answer in the form of a bullet-point list. List snippets can be particularly helpful for users hunting for quick, easily digestible information.
  • Table snippets: A table snippet answers the user’s question using a table. They can be handy for users who want detailed, structured information on a topic.

What is the best way to increase the chances of getting a featured snippet?

How do you optimise your content for a featured snippet? Now you understand what a featured snippet is, what it does, and the different types, you can tailor your content to better match the format Google prefers.

Conduct keyword research

You’ve probably noticed that featured snippets are answers to common search questions. If you’ve entered a search term that’s not a direct question, you might see featured snippets in the ‘People Also Ask’ list aiming to answer some FAQs. This is a huge opportunity for your content to be featured in searches for related keywords and phrases.

And that’s where keyword research comes in. Unsurprisingly, this process is essential to optimising your website’s content for featured snippets – you won’t get far without it. Research keywords that trigger featured snippets and discover the commonly asked questions around those search terms before planning your content.

The steps to take are as follows:

  1. Use a keyword research tool (Ahrefs, Screaming Frog, Sistrix, and SEMrush are some good options) to find the most relevant and high-traffic keywords in your industry.
  2. Search for those keywords in Google and see if any featured snippets are triggered.
  3. Note the type of featured snippet (if any) that appears and the information format.

Use structured data markup

Structured data markup is a method of providing Google with extra information on your website’s content. It can help the search engine better understand your content, increasing your chance of featured snippets.

There are several types of structured data markup. The most used for featured snippets, however, are the ‘How-to’ and ‘FAQ’ schema markup. Use ‘How-to’ for step-by-step instructions and ‘FAQ’ for commonly asked questions.

How do you win a featured snippet? Optimise your content!

Content must be informative, succinct, valuable, and well-structured to have a chance of Google featuring it in a snippet. The best strategies to achieve this are as follows:

  • Use header tags and subheadings: H1 tags and subheadings (like H2 and H3) help Google understand the structure of your content. You can create a clear information hierarchy using header and subheading tags, which makes it easier for Google to extract details for featured snippets.
  • Provide a clear answer: The entire point of featured snippets is easy answers, so ensure your content provides a clear, helpful, and concise answer to the query. Use simple language and steer clear of technical jargon that might confuse users.
  • Use tables and/or bullet points: Structure your content in a bullet-point list or table wherever you can. These formats can be an excellent way to provide information in an easily consumable manner.
  • Provide value: Most importantly, your content should be valuable to the user. That’s because Google favours helpful, easy-to-read content and is likelier to feature it in snippets.

Monitor and improve your performance

Once you have optimised your content for featured snippets, the next step is to monitor your performance. Doing this lets you know quickly when and where improvements can be made.

  • Track your featured snippets: Use a tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush to track your featured snippets. This will help you better understand which keywords drive traffic to your website and which featured snippets generate the most clicks.
  • Analyse your content: Look for patterns that stand out or provide further information. Are specific keywords or phrases triggering featured snippets? Does it use a distinct structure or format? Armed with this data, you’re in a better place to improve your content strategy.
  • Improve your content: Use the data you collect to continuously improve your content. Don’t just apply the improvements to new content you produce, either – also update and improve the existing content on your site to optimise it even further.

Trust Ink Elves for optimised content

Creating and optimising your own content isn’t always easy – that’s where we come in. While we can’t promise to bag you a featured snippet (nobody can!), we can guarantee we’ll do all the above to optimise your content. If your main goal is to get above organic search with a well-written, easy answer to a relevant question, we can help you get closer to your objectives with content that ticks the boxes. 

Plus, we offer fast turnaround times and full editing service, so you can have your content done, dusted, and ready to publish in no time.

Contact us today for well-optimised, well-written, helpful content for your brand or agency.

Learn more about our blog post writing service

For more content marketing tips, ideas, and advice, check out the Ink Elves Blog.