Tag Archive | "Snippets"

Featured Snippets: What to Know & How to Target – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Featured snippets are still the best way to take up primo SERP real estate, and they seem to be changing all the time. Today, Britney Muller shares the results of the latest Moz research into featured snippet trends and data, plus some fantastic tips and tricks for winning your own.

(And we just can’t resist — if this whets your appetite for all things featured snippet, save your spot in Britney’s upcoming webinar with even more exclusive data and takeaways!)

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday.

Today we’re talking about all things featured snippets, so what are they, what sort of research have we discovered about them recently, and what can you take back to the office to target them and effectively basically steal in search results.

What is a featured snippet?

So to be clear, what is a featured snippet?

If you were to do a search for “are crocs edible,” you would see a featured snippet like this:

Essentially, it’s giving you information about your search and citing a website. This isn’t to be confused with an answer box, where it’s just an answer and there’s no citation. If you were to search how many days are in February, Google will probably just tell you 28 and there’s no citation. That’s an answer box as opposed to a featured snippet.

Need-to-know discoveries about featured snippets

Now what have we recently discovered about featured snippets?

23% of all search result pages include a featured snippet

Well, we know that they’re on 23% of all search result pages. That’s wild. This is up over 165% since 2016.

We know that they’re growing.

There are 5 general types of featured snippets

We know that Google continues to provide more and more in different spaces, and we also know that there are five general types of featured snippets:

  1. Paragraph
  2. List
  3. Table
  4. Video
  5. Accordion

The most common that we see are the paragraph and the list. The list can come in numerical format or bullets.

But we also see tables and then video. The video is interesting because it will just show a specific section of a video that it thinks you need to consume in order to get your answer, which is always interesting.

Lately, we have started noticing accordions, and we’re not sure if they’re testing this or if it might be rolled out. But they’re a lot like People Also Ask boxes in that they expand and almost show you additional featured snippets, which is fascinating.

Paragraphs (50%) and lists (37%) are the most common types of featured snippets

Another important thing to take away is that we know paragraphs and lists are the most common, and we can see that here. Fifty percent of all featured snippet results are paragraphs. Thirty-seven percent are lists. It’s a ton. Then it kind of whittles down from there. Nine percent are tables, and then just under two percent are video and under two percent are accordion. Kind of good to know.

Half of all featured snippets are part of a carousel

Interestingly, half of all featured snippets are part of a carousel. What we mean by a carousel is when you see these sort of circular options within a featured snippet at the bottom.

So if you were to search for I think this was comfortable shoes, you have options for women is a circular carousel button, for work, and stylish. What happens when you click these is it recalibrates that featured snippet and changes it into what you clicked. So it starts to get very, very niche. You might have started with this very general search, and Google is basically begging you to refine what it is that you’re looking for. It’s very, very interesting and something to keep in mind.

People Also Ask boxes are on 93.8% of featured snippet SERPs

We also know that people also ask boxes are on 93.8% of featured snippet SERPs, meaning they’re almost always present when there’s a featured snippet, which is fascinating. I think there’s a lot of good data we can get from these People Also Ask questions to kind of seed your keyword research and better understand what it is people are looking for.

“Are Crocs supposed to be worn with socks?” It’s a very important question. You have to understand this stuff.

Informational sites are winning

We see that the sites that are providing finance information and educational information are doing extremely well in the featured snippet space. So again, something to keep in mind.

Be a detective and test!

You should always be exploring the snippets that you might want to rank for.

  • Where is it grabbing from the page?
  • What sort of markup is it?

Start being a detective and looking at all those things. So now to kind of the good stuff.

How to win featured snippets

What is it that you can specifically do to potentially win a featured snippet?

These are sort of the four boiled down steps I’ve come up with to help you with that.

1. Know which featured snippet keywords you rank on page one for

So number one is to know which featured snippet keywords your site already ranks for. It’s really easy to do in Keyword Explorer at Moz.

Animated gif of using Keyword Explorer to search crocs.com

So if you search by root domain and you just put in your website into Moz Keyword Explorer, it will show you all of the ranking keywords for that specific domain.

From there, you can filter by ranking or by range, from 1 to 10:

What are those keywords that you currently rank 1 to 10 on?

Then you add those keywords to a list. Once they populate in your list, you can filter by a featured snippet.

This is sort of the good stuff. This is your playground. This is where your opportunities are. It gets really fun from here.

2. Know your searchers’ intent

Number two is to know your searchers’ intent.

If one of your keywords was “Halloween costume DIY” and the search result page was all video and images and content that was very visual, you have to provide visual content to compete with an intent like that.

There’s obviously an intent behind the search where people want to see what it is and help in that process. It’s a big part of crafting content to rank in search results but also featured snippets. Know the intent.

3. Provide succinct answers and content

Number three, provide succinct answers and content. Omit needless words. We see Google providing short, concise information, especially for voice results. We know that’s the way to go, so I highly suggest doing that.

4. Monitor featured snippet targets

Number four, monitor those featured snippet targets, whether you’re actively trying to target them or you currently have them. STAT provides really, really great alerts. You can actually get an email notification if you lose or win a featured snippet. It’s one of the easiest ways I’ve discovered to keep track of all of these things.

Pro tip: Add a tl;dr summary

A pro tip is to add a “too long, didn’t read” summary to your most popular pages.

You already know the content that most people come to your site for or maybe the content that does the best in your conversions, whatever that might be. If you can provide summarized content about that page, just key takeaways or whatever that might be at the top or at the bottom, you could potentially rank for all sorts of featured snippets. So really, really cool, easy stuff to kind of play around with and test.

Want more tips and tricks? We’ve got a webinar for that!

Lastly, for more tips and tricks, you should totally sign up for the featured snippet webinar that we’re doing. I’m hosting it in a couple weeks.

Save my spot!

I know spots are limited, but we’ll be sharing all of the research that we’ve discovered and even more takeaways and tricks. So hopefully you enjoyed that, and I appreciate you watching this Whiteboard Friday.

Keep me posted on any of your featured snippet battles or what you’re trying to get or any struggles down below in the comments. I look forward to seeing you all again soon. Thank you so much for joining me. I’ll see you next time.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Algorithm Update, Core Update Advice, Fresher Featured Snippets, Google Ads, Bing Guidelines & Negative SEO

This turned out to be a pretty busy week in the search space. We had a possible, unconfirmed, but yet really heating up…


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

The Influence of Voice Search on Featured Snippets

Posted by TheMozTeam

This post was originally published on the STAT blog.


We all know that featured snippets provide easy-to-read, authoritative answers and that digital assistants love to say them out loud when asked questions.

This means that featured snippets have an impact on voice search — bad snippets, or no snippets at all, and digital assistants struggle. By that logic: Create a lot of awesome snippets and win the voice search race. Right?

Right, but there’s actually a far more interesting angle to examine — one that will help you nab more snippets and optimize for voice search at the same time. In order to explore this, we need to make like Doctor Who and go back in time.

From typing to talking

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and queries were typed into search engines via keyboards, people adapted to search engines by adjusting how they performed queries. We pulled out unnecessary words and phrases, like “the,” “of,” and, well, “and,” which created truncated requests — robotic-sounding searches for a robotic search engine.

The first ever dinosaur to use Google.

Of course, as search engines have evolved, so too has their ability to understand natural language patterns and the intent behind queries. Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update helped pave the way for such evolution. This algorithm rejigging allowed Google’s search engine to better understand the whole of a query, moving it away from keyword matching to conversation having.

This is good news if you’re a human person: We have a harder time changing the way we speak than the way we write. It’s even greater news for digital assistants, because voice search only works if search engines can interpret human speech and engage in chitchat.

Digital assistants and machine learning

By looking at how digital assistants do their voice search thing (what we say versus what they search), we can see just how far machine learning has come with natural language processing and how far it still has to go (robots, they’re just like us!). We can also get a sense of the kinds of queries we need to be tracking if voice search is on the SEO agenda.

For example, when we asked our Google Assistant, “What are the best headphones for $ 100,” it queried [best headphones for $ 100]. We followed that by asking, “What about wireless,” and it searched [best wireless headphones for $ 100]. And then we remembered that we’re in Canada, so we followed that with, “I meant $ 100 Canadian,” and it performed a search for [best wireless headphones for $ 100 Canadian].

We can learn two things from this successful tête-à-tête: Not only does our Google Assistant manage to construct mostly full-sentence queries out of our mostly full-sentence asks, but it’s able to accurately link together topical queries. Despite us dropping our subject altogether by the end, Google Assistant still knows what we’re talking about.

Of course, we’re not above pointing out the fumbles. In the string of: “How to bake a Bundt cake,” “What kind of pan does it take,” and then “How much do those cost,” the actual query Google Assistant searched for the last question was [how much does bundt cake cost].

Just after we finished praising our Assistant for being able to maintain the same subject all the way through our inquiry, we needed it to be able to switch tracks. And it couldn’t. It associated the “those” with our initial Bundt cake subject instead of the most recent noun mentioned (Bundt cake pans).

In another important line of questioning about Bundt cake-baking, “How long will it take” produced the query [how long does it take to take a Bundt cake], while “How long does that take” produced [how long does a Bundt cake take to bake].

They’re the same ask, but our Google Assistant had a harder time parsing which definition of “take” our first sentence was using, spitting out a rather awkward query. Unless we really did want to know how long it’s going to take us to run off with someone’s freshly baked Bundt cake? (Don’t judge us.)

Since Google is likely paying out the wazoo to up the machine learning ante, we expect there to be less awkward failures over time. Which is a good thing, because when we asked about Bundt cake ingredients (“Does it take butter”) we found ourselves looking at a SERP for [how do I bake a butter].

Not that that doesn’t sound delicious.

Snippets are appearing for different kinds of queries

So, what are we to make of all of this? That we’re essentially in the midst of a natural language renaissance. And that voice search is helping spearhead the charge.

As for what this means for snippets specifically? They’re going to have to show up for human speak-type queries. And wouldn’t you know it, Google is already moving forward with this strategy, and not simply creating more snippets for the same types of queries. We’ve even got proof.

Over the last two years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of words in a query that surfaces a featured snippet. Long-tail queries may be a nuisance and a half, but snippet-having queries are getting longer by the minute.

When we bucket and weight the terms found in those long-tail queries by TF-IDF, we get further proof of voice search’s sway over snippets. The term “how” appears more than any other word and is followed closely by “does,” “to,” “much,” “what,” and “is” — all words that typically compose full sentences and are easier to remove from our typed searches than our spoken ones.

This means that if we want to snag more snippets and help searchers using digital assistants, we need to build out long-tail, natural-sounding keyword lists to track and optimize for.

Format your snippet content to match

When it’s finally time to optimize, one of the best ways to get your content into the ears of a searcher is through the right snippet formatting, which is a lesson we can learn from Google.

Taking our TF-IDF-weighted terms, we found that the words “best” and “how to” brought in the most list snippets of the bunch. We certainly don’t have to think too hard about why Google decided they benefit from list formatting — it provides a quick comparative snapshot or a handy step-by-step.

From this, we may be inclined to format all of our “best” and “how to” keyword content into lists. But, as you can see in the chart above, paragraphs and tables are still appearing here, and we could be leaving snippets on the table by ignoring them. If we have time, we’ll dig into which keywords those formats are a better fit for and why.

Get tracking

You could be the Wonder Woman of meta descriptions, but if you aren’t optimizing for the right kind of snippets, then your content’s going to have a harder time getting heard. Building out a voice search-friendly keyword list to track is the first step to lassoing those snippets.

Want to learn how you can do that in STAT? Say hello and request a tailored demo.

Need more snippets in your life? We dug into Google’s double-snippet SERPs for you — double the snippets, double the fun.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Report: Google Showing More Search Snippets With Images

STAT, a search analytics tool shared a graph on Twitter Friday showing that they saw a 10 point lift in the number of search results snippets that include images in the snippets. Now almost 65% of the queries they track show images in snippets in the top 100 results.


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

SearchCap: It’s all about Google today–political ad transparency report, local packs, featured snippets launched & more

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Google FAQ, Q&A and How-To Snippets Requires Schema

Google has confirmed they are testing new snippets around showing FAQs, Q&As and How Tos. These are powered by new schema and Google should be opening an interest form for publishers soon.


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Core Update Confirmed, New Search Snippets, Bing API & More SEO

This week in our weekly recap, we had a very big Google update that Google ended up confirming as a broad core update. Google said there is nothing to fix or specific here to do and I go through what is going on with that messaging.


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Google confirms new FAQs, Q&A and How-Tos for search results snippets

New markup from Schema.org including HowTo, QAPage and FAQPage can be used to potentially show your content in Google in a brand new way. Google previewed this in Singapore a couple weeks ago.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Search Buzz Video Recap: Google Ranking Shifts, Google Snippets Shorter, Personalized Search Dead & Google News Updated

Earlier this week, we reported on more Google algorithm changes with web sites fluctuating in the search results. Google also confirmed they cut down the search results…


Search Engine Roundtable

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Monitoring Featured Snippets – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

We’ve covered finding featured snippet opportunities. We’ve covered the process of targeting featured snippets you want to win. Now it’s time for the third and final piece of the puzzle: how to monitor and measure the effectiveness of all your efforts thus far. In this episode of Whiteboard Friday, Britney shares three pro tips on how to make sure your featured snippet strategy is working.

Monitoring featured snippets

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans. Welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going over part three of our three-part series all about featured snippets. So part one was about how to discover those featured snippet opportunities, part two was about how to target those, and this final one is how to properly monitor and measure the effectiveness of your targeting.

So we’ll jump right in. So there are a couple different steps and things you can do to go through this.

I. Manually resubmit URL and check SERP in incognito

First is just to manually resubmit a URL after you have tweaked that page to target that featured snippet. Super easy to do. All you do is go to Google and you type in “add URL to Google.” You will see a box pop up where you can submit that URL. You can also go through Search Console and submit it manually there. But this just sort of helps Google to crawl it a little faster and hopefully get it reprioritized to, potentially, a featured snippet.

From there, you can start to check for the keyword in an incognito window. So, in Chrome, you go to File > New Incognito. It tends to be a little bit more unbiased than your regular browser page when you’re doing a search. So this way, you’d start to get an idea of whether or not you’re moving up in that search result. So this can be anywhere from, I kid you not, a couple of minutes to months.

So Google tends to test different featured snippets over a long period of time, but occasionally I’ve had experience and I know a lot of you watching have had different experiences where you submit that URL to Google and boom — you’re in that featured snippet. So it really just depends, but you can keep an eye on things this way.


II. Track rankings for target keyword and Search Console data!

But you also want to keep in mind that you want to start also tracking for rankings for your target keyword as well as Search Console data. So what does that click-through rate look like? How are the impressions? Is there an upward trend in you trying to target that snippet?

So, in my test set, I have seen an average of around 80% increase in those keywords, just in rankings alone. So that’s a good sign that we’re improving these pages and hopefully helping to get us more featured snippets.

III. Check for other featured snippets

Then this last kind of pro tip here is to check for other instances of featured snippets. This is a really fun thing to do. So if you do just a basic search for “what are title tags,” you’re going to see Moz in the featured snippet. Then if you do “what are title tags” and then you do a -site:Moz.com, you’re going to see another featured snippet that Google is pulling is from a different page, that is not on Moz.com. So really interesting to sort of evaluate the types of content that they are testing and pulling for featured snippets.

Another trick that you can do is to append this ampersand, &num=1, &num=2 and so forth. What this is doing is you put this at the end of your Google URL for a search. So, typically, you do a search for “what are title tags,” and you’re going to see Google.com/search/? that typical markup. You can do a close-up on this, and then you’re just going to append it to pull in only three results, only two results, only four results, or else you can go longer and you can see if Google is pulling different featured snippets from that different quota of results. It’s really, really interesting, and you start to see what they’re testing and all that great stuff. So definitely play around with these two hacks right here.

Then lastly, you really just want to set the frequency of your monitoring to meet your needs. So hopefully, you have all of this information in a spreadsheet somewhere. You might have the keywords that you’re targeting as well as are they successful yet, yes or no. What’s the position? Is that going up or down?

Then you can start to prioritize. If you’re doing hundreds, you’re trying to target hundreds of featured snippets, maybe you check the really, really important ones once a week. Some of the others maybe are monthly checks.

From there, you really just need to keep track of, “Okay, well, what did I do to make that change? What was the improvement to that page to get it in the featured snippet?” That’s where you also want to keep detailed notes on what’s working for you and in your space and what’s not.

So I hope this helps. I look forward to hearing all of your featured snippet targeting stories. I’ve gotten some really awesome emails and look forward to hearing more about your journey down below in the comments. Feel free to ask me any questions and I look forward to seeing you on our next edition of Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Posted in IM NewsComments Off

Advert