Google officially introduced featured snippets in 2016 (AKA answer boxes) as a new way to display search results. These are featured at the top of organic search results in a box below ads.
Which means people searching for information can get immediate answers to their questions, without having to click through to a page of content. So, are FAQ pages redundant? Well, not quite, FAQ content can be useful for snippets as can any web page.
This means that any high ranking FAQ pages need to be handled with care as they could become excellent sources for snippets. But you’ll need to ensure the content is well structured and optimised correctly.
There are three main types of featured snippets
1.Paragraph – the answer in text that appears either in a box with text inside or a box with text and an image inside
2.List – the answer is given in the form of a list and these are great for step by step instruction
3. Table – the answer is given in a table format
According to Ahrefs’ data, 12.29% of search queries have featured snippets in their search results. Featured pages are those that rank highly – so optimising your content for snippets is useful for pages that already rank well.
As a general rule click-through rates increase when a snippet or featured page is present – but not in every case. And, Search queries don’t have to be in a question format to return a snippet but the more words used in a search query the more likely a snippet will be returned
The importance of featured snippets for voice search
People have adapted to typed search by truncating their search queries and leaving out words like ‘of’ ‘the’ and ‘will’. And, search engines adapted to typed search by developing natural language queries.
Now, with the arrival of voice search we can’t expect the same kind of adaptive behaviour. People won’t change how they ask a question when searching for answers online and they’re more likely to ask full questions (long tail queries) than they would be if they were typing their queries.
It’s predicted that 50% of search queries will be voice by 2020 . Featured snippets are the best form of content for search engines to return because they’re short, simple, answer the query immediately and digital assistants find them easy to read out.
Getting content right for voice search is a work in progress for most businesses so getting your content optimised for featured snippets is great way to get a step ahead.
Getting your content right for featured snippets
If you already rank high for related search queries, you’ll have a good chance of getting your content featured. MOZ reported that “Getstat claims that 70% of snippets came from sites outside of the first organic position. So it’s required that the page is ranked in top 10, but it’s not required to be #1 to be featured.” Therefore, you have chances to get featured for the terms that your pages are already ranking well for. So you’ll need to be focused on improving your overall rankings in order to retain this influence and optimise your content for featured snippets.
According to Content Marketing Institute, the best way to get a featured snippet is to understand the answer people are looking for and optimise the content with a featured snippet in mind.
How to optimise your content for featured snippets:
Optimise strategically for snippets by targeting terms your pages already rank highly for
Start with the high ranking pages that display incorrect snippets or are pulled from poorly formatted or low quality content and optimise the content
Repeat the actual or implied questions people ask in google prominently on the page
Provide clear and simple answers to queries that you are answering
Answer the question fully by providing lists, images or diagrams or data
Structure your page so people and search engines can read it easily
Format the content with simple HTML elements like lists and tables