snippet text definition
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Remember playing an old video game and getting excited when you gained an extra life or bonus points? Well, featured snippets in search engines are the “power up” bonuses SEO strategists need for smart search engine optimization.

With many marketers experiencing a general reset this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, re-evaluating SEO to strengthen website or app page content can be a smart play.

A featured snippet is preview text in a search query result page based on a webpage. It's designed to highlight page content that best relates to the query. The advantage is a larger footprint on the page than the other results, drawing the user’s attention and raising the likelihood of the user visiting to your site.   

Featured snippets usually appear for search queries typed on a laptop or spoken in a smartphone. Search engines treat the query as a question, or a partial question. Thus, pages that provide informational text and images are most likely to be treated as a quality answer and assigned as a featured snippet.  

Search engines often pick the page content that likely answers the query. Header tags <H1>, <H2> and so forth usually appear in results as an immediate answer. Text within the paragraph element tags that follow the header tags are treated as further information. So a header tag and paragraph element can look like this:

content from model page

As an example, let’s say a customer has heard of a recreational vehicle model, Wonder, and asks, "What is a Wonder RV?" A customer would see the following  content taken from the model page.

header tag and paragraph element

The result shows just enough content to tell the customer what it is and answer the question. Clicking on that top result takes the customer to the webpage describing the model. Customers arrive to specific website pages through featured snippets, a boon for firms with multiple products and services.

Related Article: CMO Speak: Is Voice Search Important Yet?

How to Improve Your Chances of Getting a Featured Snippet

Ultimately, you should evaluate the on-page SEO strategy to arrange page content to answer a common question that your leads may have. Customers gain more confidence in your offering because the page content appears to fit the question being asked.

Website owners cannot request the search engine precisely arrange page content in a snippet. Unlike sitemaps, there is no submission process. SEO strategists must instead focus on arranging content to provide guidance for potential search queries. 

Consider the following steps for featured snippet consideration:

1. Examine how content topics can be related.

For example, an oil change shop can have various oil brand and types together and associated secondary auto services together on another directory. 

2. Develop questions that customers or leads will likely highlight.

Plan a paragraph or two but work to have the first few lines really answer the imagined question.  

3. Examine website elements to spot content opportunities.

HTML header and paragraph tags are not 100% necessary. Sometimes it is possible for just a text element to appear in the first paragraph or two. Yet leveraging HTML elements like a list or table is possible. Additional information can be in the form of a list, using the <li> tag for a number of items, or <ol> for an ordered list — useful for instructions or ranked items. Tables use the <table> tag. All of these elements are helpful for multiple details of an answer, like explaining RV features.

Related Article: How to Outrank Your Competition With a Smart Image SEO Strategy

Staying on Top of SEO Trends

All of this is an evolutionary approach to increase page exposure, positioning content to better fit today’s search behaviors such as voice search context. SEO strategy with multiple keywords is of course still a starting point. But search engines have become savvier over the years in discouraging websites that play the algorithm with keywords rather than try to give people what they need. The use of voice search from smartphones has encouraged more of a balanced use of keywords for SEO. 

Moreover, search trends may have shifted since the onset of the pandemic. Investigating if there have been shifts in your search strategy may help identify your best alternative choices for marketing through the rest of this year. It can also raise the quality of data for a customer data platform (CDP). A CDP integrates customer data from various campaign sources. Incorporating questions and answers into a SEO strategy can lead to a better view of the customer journey in a CDP system.

With featured snippets, companies offering a variety of services and products increase the likelihood that customers search and discover a relevant aspect of their brand. That discovery can be the game changer in building the first steps of a great customer experience.