In recent years Google realized the need to accommodate the various ways in which people search. An abundance of searches are queried in the form of a question, which influenced the way results are now being displayed. The search engine ranks results based on page optimization and its confidential algorithms.
The goal of SEO used to be simple. Rank high on the list, ideally within the top four or five results. However, today that is not enough. Google has introduced page snippets that influence rank position, traffic, and credibility.
Page snippets are the answer boxes that appear at the top of Google search results. It is generally a block of text that is extracted from a webpage to answer a question. Upwork explains featured snippets are arranged in the following formats:
- Paragraphs – a short excerpt of text, normally between 40-50 words. This is the most prevalent format for featured snippets. A thumbnail image often appears alongside the text snippet.
- Lists (ordered or bulleted) – snippets formatted as lists are very common when presenting a list of items, the steps of a recipe or a process.
- Tables – tables frequently appear in response to queries that request comparisons or pricing for different models, i.e., when the data is best presented in columns and rows.
- Videos – a YouTube video player that often appears in response to searches for popular songs or movies.
How do you make your content “snippable?”
Achieving “position zero” in the search rank requires content optimization and formatting. First, investigate which format is already being displayed in Google. From there, cater your content to match the format (list, tables, videos).
Focus on a revamped longtail content strategy. Perform SEO keyword research in Google Analytics for words that best promote the content. Write in a natural conversational tone, and make sure your site copy includes key phrases that zeros in on exact information. For example, “coffee shops near Nationals Park” instead of “best coffee in D.C.”
Your site’s HTML will also influence your snippet. According to Hubspot, each page should have code that is properly tagged at the top of the page for Google to crawl. Some sites may require experimenting with HTML. Hubspot discovered that “Google prefers <li> elements for its list snippet” after a week of URL submissions.
During your next content marketing audit be sure to include page snippets in your strategy. Your site’s long tail content and html are initial places to begin. Reaching rank “position zero” will increase visibility and click through rates.
And stay tuned, as our next SEO discussion will explain Google’s user experience improvements and how to take advantage of Google’s “rich cards.”
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