Ahrefs.com recently published an interesting study on Featured Snippets, a type of organic listing that Google may display for selected queries that meet certain criteria. Featured Snippets, Google explains, are “extracted programmatically from what a visitor sees on your web page,” and may be displayed “when we recognize that a query asks a question.”
The study validates the general notion that providing content designed to appear in Featured Snippets is a good idea. Its results also provide a detailed look into how appearing in a Featured Snippet can change search behavior in your favor.
Here are 3 things that should be of interest to digital marketers, content marketers, digital PR professionals, and others engaged in the production of content intended to be consumed by search engine users:
- Featured Snippets steal traffic from top-ranking organic SERP resultsAccording to Ahrefs.com, if the link to your website happens to be #1 on the SERP, about 26 percent of your site traffic will be attributable to this link. However, when a snippet appears above this #1 listing, it will steal a significant number of clicks from the topmost listing. “When there’s a featured snippet at the #1 position,” writes Ahrefs.com, ” it only gets ~8.6% of clicks (on average), while the page that ranks right below it will get ~19.6% of clicks (on average). The lesson here is clear: even if it’s impossible to obtain a #1 listing for a power keyword phrase, you can still steal clicks from your competitors using one or more Featured Snippets. This is hopeful news for those engaged in tight battles for organic SERP position.
- YouTube Content is In the Mix
While many marketers make the mistake of believing that YouTube is just a place for videos, its content is often “snippetized” just like regular web pages. Ahrefs.com’s researchers write that “Google is happy to feature the descriptions of relevant YouTube videos, even when they are just a few sentences long.” The lesson for marketers is clear: as much thought and effort needs to go into optimizing the meta data surrounding YouTube videos as currently goes into web pages and posts.
- It’s OK if most of your queries are long-tail Although Ahref.com’s team of researchers expected that the incidence of Featured Snippets would strongly correlate strongly with keyword search volume, it found that the opposite was true: the majority of Featured Snippets were generated for low-volume, long-tail search queries. This is excellent news for digital marketers, particularly content marketers in niches where query volume is limited. As Ahref.com notes, “if you stick to writing detailed in-depth articles that fill all possible blank spots that people might have, you’re increasing your chances to rank for a bunch of long-tail featured snippets.”
Ahref.com’s findings underscore the importance of Featured Snippets as a key mechanism for gaining entry into Google’s Knowledge Vault, and validate the proposition that great content, properly structured, is an effective tool – even for industries (e.g. B2B) – where search query may be low. Make sure that you’re optimizing all forms of content – not just web pages and posts – for Featured Snippets – because the rewards – in terms of SERP visibility — can be very great.