Search engines love frequently updated sites. But more important than that, users do. A site that’s updated consistently tells users you’re serious about providing good content, which makes it worth it for them to invest their time into reading it.
In 2016, Google introduced featured snippets. These enriched results aim to answer a searcher’s question directly on the results page, meaning that they never need to leave Google to find the information they need.
It’s possible that recent Google features like featured snippets and the knowledge graph mean fewer people are being sent to your website via search engine results. But it doesn’t have to be that way. HubSpot’s Matt Barby found that organic traffic actually increased after appearing in a featured snippet.
Smart structure and content are key to increasing organic traffic with featured snippets. You’ll also push competitor results down the rankings, gaining brand exposure.
Like sitelinks, featured snippets have to be won. You can’t request that search engines give you a featured snippet. You can, however, follow some steps to increase your chances of appearing in the snippet.
Google has several different types of featured snippet formats, including short paragraphs, lists, and tables. With that in mind, follow these steps to increase the chances of winning a featured snippet:
- Identify keywords that produce featured snippet results and that your site is already ranking on page one for. Sites not on page one will not appear in a snippet.Snippet-friendly keyword phrases usually answer a what, how or why question. The content you produce must answer the question, the earlier in the post, the better.Structure the answer for crawlers. Reiterate the question in an H2 subheading, and answer it in the text directly below the heading with <p> markup, or try out an ordered or unordered list.
- Drive clicks from the snippet by formatting the content as steps. For example, the snippet below answers the question “how to do a vword process in excel.” By formatting the answer in too many steps for the snippet to show, the content creator has increased the chances of people clicking through to the post.
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