You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about rich and featured snippets in recent years.
They’re now a big part of digital marketing and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. So, understanding what they are and how you can acquire them should quickly become a big part of your SEO efforts.
Put simply, rich and featured snippets give those using search engines more information than the standard title tag, meta description and URL. And even though they are both snippets, they differ substantially and require different techniques for implementation. Read on for our quick guide to what they are and how to get them.
What is a featured snippet?
Featured snippets are information boxes that sit (usually) at the top of the SERP. They take a slice of your landing page content and present it to those searching Google for a similar query. They usually appear for long tail queries – especially those around questions, instructions and comparisons. Technically speaking, they are a type of rich snippet, but their prominence on-SERP – and the different approach to acquiring featured snippets – has led many digital marketers to place them in their own category.
What is a rich snippet?
Rich snippets use specific code from your website page to alter the appearance of the search result. By including SCHEMA Markup on your page (more on this later) you can help Google identify its purpose and present that information to those searching. This can include anything from thumbnail images to user ratings with plenty more in between.
In the example below you can see three results which use SCHEMA markup to enhance the display of their search result. All based around pancake recipes, each result has a range of information such as: how long the recipe will take; a preview of how your pancake should look on completion; ratings; calories and more. All this information has been set within code on these pages, allowing Google to properly identify and present the information.
As well as rich snippets for recipes, there are a bunch of other options. These include articles, reviews, businesses, products, events, music, video content and more. How Google presents that information will depend on what type of post and information you choose to mark up. There’s a vast amount of rich snippet formats which can be split into the following categories:
1. Sponsored Content
Paid-for advertisements which result in a rich snippet on-SERP. This includes AdWords and Shop on Google listings.
2. Local Business Features
These include map packs, branded knowledge graphs, and lists for top places and similar places.
3. Knowledge Features
These include answer boxes, knowledge graphs, and featured snippets.
4. Media Features
As the name suggests, these types of rich snippets include image carousels, video, top stories, job postings and app ratings.
5. Rich Results
These rich snippets appear as part of a search result. Underneath your title tag, users will see star ratings, upcoming events, prices and stock information to name just a few.
6. Search Query Features
These types of rich snippets will appear as part of a top carousel or in the form of related searches, similar questions, and more.
Why are they valuable?
Both rich and featured snippets have their own benefits and achieve different things. That said, they do have similar advantages too. Most importantly, they make your result stand out from the rest of the SERP results. This improves click through rate and helps drive traffic.
The advantages of featured snippets
According to a study by Ahrefs, featured snippets take 8.6% of traffic from the rest of the search results, including position-1. On high-volume keywords, this can have a huge impact on traffic for your landing pages.
What’s more, only 30% of featured snippets are taken from pages that are in position-1 on the SERP. This means you can actually jump above your competitors without having to first beat them to the position-1 spot.
On mobile, now the most common device, featured snippets often take up the whole screen and are therefore the first and only thing a searcher will see. This will usually result in no-click SEO (their question is answered on SERP) or drive them to your page for more information.
The advantages of rich snippets
Rich snippets, while not quite as traffic-driving as featured snippets, do also have their benefits. The fact users can see the ratings of your page, the author of the post, and the time it’ll take it to complete if it’s instructional, amongst many other things, can help improve click-through-rate. It will also help bulk out the space you take up on the SERP. This will help you stand out and draw users to your result.
How to acquire rich and featured snippets?
As with most things SEO, there’s no one answer for getting rich or featured snippets. Analysing and optimising your content will get you most of the way, but ultimately it’s up to Google’s algorithms whether or not you get the snippet. That said, there are certain steps you can take to make sure you’re challenging.
How to get featured snippets
- Identify content that ranks in the top 10 positions on Google.
- Optimise that content for Featured Snippets – providing answers to relevant questions.
- Check, record results, and repeat.
Clearly, these are very brief steps for acquiring featured snippets. For more information, check out our comprehensive guide with examples on How to Find and Acquire Featured Snippets.
How to get rich snippets
To acquire rich snippets, you first need to understand SCHEMA Markup. This code is added to your site or page and helps Google understand the purpose of your content and present it to users on-SERP. SCHEMA Markup is available for everything from local businesses to articles and software applications to events.
- Identify all the required data markup properties for your page type.
- Develop your Structured Data Markup
- Test the Structured Data Markup
- Add the SCHEMA code to your page or site.
It’s worth noting that adding this code won’t guarantee your result will acquire a rich snippet. Google will decide how best to present your result using algorithms based on information such as a user’s location and search history. What’s most important is the fact that your chances of acquiring a rich snippet will be very slim without the relevant code. For more information, check out the SCHEMA guide on how to mark up your content using microdata.
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