You Google something. An answer pops up before you even click. You’ve just experienced a featured snippet. Also known as “instant answers,” these are the results that appear with detailed information about your query above the search results. This is Google’s way of providing the best user experience by saving the user a step and a way of simplifying and advancing voice search results (see the new Google Home).
For many in the SEO community, featured snippets spelled doom and gloom, as Google was providing a way for users to avoid clicking on a result. But, the savvy digital marketer sees opportunity in a challenge. This is the philosophy for DealerSocket’s DealerFire digital marketing team. After all, adjusting approach and leveraging new opportunities is what the game is all about. If you or the agency you work with doesn’t have this mindset, it may be time to re-evaluate.
Featured snippets offer the chance for your brand to be the top result for a given search term above the No. 1 SERP position. This is search gold. Even though you do lose some traffic for users that get the answers without clicking, that “above the top” position naturally turns into much more traffic than any other result on that SERP. Plus, you will typically still receive a No. 1 or at the very least first page SERP result as well. So, you’re essentially double-dipping, and the branding that is obtained from being seen as the authority on a given topic is incredibly valuable.
While many brands have gotten lucky with a featured snippet, not many are even aware that they obtained them and even less are leveraging the knowledge gained from earning one. This is where we stand out as the premier content marketers in automotive. We understand that what worked for one can potentially work for others – it’s all in the structure.
Many snippets are simply pulled from the copy of a specific post – but not all. In addition to this “paragraph” snippet, there are also “table” snippets and “list” snippets. According to a study done by STAT Search Analytics, the number of search results with featured snippets has increased from 9 percent to 15 percent since January 2016. The results with table and list results also have grown exponentially, with lists increasing from 10 percent to 19 percent frequency and tables increasing from 7 percent to 16 percent. Especially with table and list, adding some structure to your post can reap the reward of a featured snippet. With that information, you can then scale to other related terms, using unique and relevant content with similar structure.
Another opportunity comes with using the clues that Google provides along with many snippet results. When a snippet exists, Google will often provide “People Also Ask” or PAA results. Essentially, Google is telling you what they would like to see as a result.
If a snippet does exist for a query relevant to your brand, there is potential to steal the position as well. What is displayed often is there simply because it is the only result for a query Google finds relevant enough to reward with a snippet. Creating a piece of content that is better than what currently exists in the slot is a simple conquest tactic.
In the end, there is no guarantee of obtaining a snippet, but the opportunity is certainly there for the taking. If you don’t have a way to track, gather, implement, and repeat the structure that is providing featured snippets, you are basically throwing darts in the dark and hoping to land one.
At DealerFire, we’ve embraced the existence of featured snippets and found a way to best leverage them for our dealerships. The positive effects are more traffic, better brand recognition, higher domain authority, and everything good that comes with having Google-approved content on your website — all of which leads to selling more cars.
Occasionally, the result is not only an effective snippet, but a hilarious one. Below is one of my current favorites from our collection. Finally, someone cleared up the fate of the “Mazda Zoom Zoom kid.”