Featured snippets are the first thing people see when they’re doing an online search. This is an important part of your search engine optimization strategy.

Their prominence can give you and your content priceless visibility, and the chance to drive more traffic to your site. And you don’t have to be ranked in the number one spot to get there. When responding to voice searches Google reads featured snippets out loud, including the source (your website) giving you tons of exposure and brand recognition, further sweetening the deal. There are four types of featured snippets:

Paragraph featured snippets

Paragraph snippets include a few lines of text next to an image, with a direct answer to a query. You’ll get paragraph snippets for keywords included in terms like-how to, who is, why is, what is…To optimize your content keep it short, the average length of a paragraph featured snippet is 45 words so when you’re creating content you want to be recognized as a featured snippet, aim for 40-50 words max. To further improve your chances put your question as a heading and answer the question below it.

List featured snippets

List snippets come in numbers and bullet form and appear when the query implies someone is searching for a step-by-step process to complete a task, like how to make a quiche for example.

To optimize again keep it short –answer the question in 40 to 50 words and include the question as a heading. You can also put your list in a table format.

Table featured snippets

Table snippets include an introductory line followed by a table of data.  Google will do the formatting for you but many experts recommend that you format your data into tables yourself to make it easier for site visitors to peruse.

This also makes it easier for Google to find your information. Make sure you have an appropriate heading immediately followed by the table and data.

Video featured snippets

Video snippets come up most often in featured snippets for ‘how-to’ searches. For this Google pulls in the relevant video, highlighting the clips that answer the questions, like how to change a flat tire. Google is fond of video content so optimizing is straightforward.

Organize your content in the expected step-by-step format. Upload a script for the video’s closed captions and use long-tailed keywords to optimize the description.  Studies show that paragraph snippets are the most prevalent format but each one leads to increased site traffic.

Featured snippets generated from the top 10 results

Since pretty much all featured snippets are generated from the top 10 results, it’s important that you optimize your content to rank on page one of the search results. Ranking among the top 5 is ideal. The quality of your content matters so make sure you’re offering valuable information to your audience.

Search Keywords

Perform a search to find featured snippets opportunities for keywords you already rank for.

Just answer the question!

People use Google to find answers so your job is to answer questions your audience is likely to ask in the search engine. With voice search and in general, more people are now using queries in question format, for example: how do you optimize your content? Or what are featured snippets? So try to establish what questions your content answers by anticipating the who, why, what, and how’s of searches.

Structured content is best

Google loves well-organized lists, steps, and numbered posts, so keep your information structured and precise, while still providing value, keeping in mind the ultimate goal of being the best at answering the searcher’s question.

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