Are Featured Snippets Good or Bad for Your Dealership’s Website?
Just about everyone hates going to the dentist, but we sure are glad we have them around when they are needed. And Google’s featured snippets are a lot like that dreaded appointment for a root canal.
The ideal alternative would be that everyone and their teeth remain eternally healthy, but that isn’t the world we live in. Oral health issues are just harsh realities that everyone must face. And just like a visit to the dentist, in Google’s digital world, the harsh reality is that featured snippets do exist and must sometimes be sought after.
For those unfamiliar with this idea, featured snippets pull content from a webpage that concisely answers the users search query and displays it in the form of a paragraph, bullet point or table at the very top of the search results. Since featured snippets are separate from the usual list of website links, this unique position in the search engine results page (SERP) is known as position zero. A link to the webpage containing that content will be provided with the snippet, as well as within the list of organic website link results.
As digital marketers, and as businesses that rely on traffic from Google users, none of us want to rely on featured snippets. Sure, they enhance Google as a product and therefore benefit Google users, but for websites trying to pull in organic traffic, featured snippets can result in fewer webpage visits since the search query is answered up front without the user needing to click into a website. But again, the harsh reality is that we need to rely on featured snippets if we are to remain competitive in the digital space.
There is some value to be found in featured snippets, and it comes from the simple fact that you have to be competing for featured snippets in order to maximize your visibility in search. If you don’t own the featured snippet, then someone else will. In the end, you don’t want to be the one left out.
The Necessary Evil of Featured Snippets
As you can imagine, even though a link to the webpage is provided, there will be users who immediately have their search query answered and have no reason to click on the link. That can mean a lower potential click-through-rate (CTR) for your webpage. But remember how we said you don’t want to be the one left out when it comes to featured snippets? That’s because even though featured snippets create CTR concerns for pages with snippets, the CTR outlook is far more abysmal for websites that don’t own the featured snippet.
In addition to making your webpage more visible in the SERP, owning a featured snippet also gives your result a higher authority in the SERP due to the fact that it has been picked out as the best answer to a given search query. Again, this makes the snippet a more appealing click than the organic results further down the page.
How Often Does Google Use Featured Snippets?
Exactly how often are featured snippets appearing in search results? According to recently published data from Moz, 23% of all search results include one, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see that number continue growing, just as it has for the past few years.
With almost a quarter of every SERP displaying a featured snippet these days, you’re going to want a piece of that pie. Moreover, you really can’t avoid competing for that piece of the pie, as not doing so means effectively removing yourself from the competition for a quarter of the keywords that may be vital to your website’s organic search success.
How Your Dealership Website Can Get Its Very Own Featured Snippet
So, it should be clear by now that you want to obtain these featured snippets with your website content. If you don’t, your competitors will, and you don’t want to so easily give your competition the kind of visibility and authority featured snippets provide.
But, acquiring featured snippets isn’t as easy as just telling Google you want to show up in position zero. They aren’t ads, so you can’t pay for them. Instead, they require careful crafting of the content on a given webpage and targeting of keywords that have a higher likelihood of displaying a featured snippet.
It takes skill and experience to do this effectively, and even then, there are no guarantees. But here is DealerFire’s quick-tip guide to how you can attempt to gain these featured snippets for your website:
- Target long-tail keywords, ideally in the form of a question, for which concise answers can be provided.
- Instead of dragging users down the page to get that answer, which could improve the time-on-page metric, provide a concise answer to the keyword you are targeting high up on the page. The location on the page lets Google know its importance to the content subject and limiting that answer to one or two sentences (or a bullet point list) makes it easy for Google to display that content in a featured snippet.
- If it makes more sense to display that information within a bulleted list versus a paragraph format, then do so. This makes it easier for the user to find the information, and again, easier for Google to display the content in a snippet as well.
- If featured snippets already exist for keywords you want to target, consider creating better content for them. Google frequently changes these snippets, so if you find one that doesn’t do a great job of answering the search query, create something better.
- Within your one or two sentence answer to the search query, hint to users that there is more they should know about the topic in attempts to earn a click.
- Don’t end your content page after addressing your primary target keyword. Move on to related topics as well. For example, if your primary target keyword is “what is the best car tire psi,” you can answer that very quickly at the beginning of your blog post. But, you should also have subheadings addressing related topics like “is it possible to overinflate care tires” and “factors that affect car tire pressure.”
[Read more: Do Your Keyword Research Before Writing SEO Content]
How to Get Clicks On a Featured Snippet
That last part is particularly important. Not getting clicks is like enduring that discomfort of the dentist’s chair without the payoff of shiny, healthy teeth. Getting the featured snippet but not the click means you’ve put in the extra effort to play Google’s game but received none of the value that comes from doing so.
So, what can you do? Well, as mentioned, if you can leave some indication that there is more the user should learn within those one or two sentences that provide an answer to the keyword you’re targeting, Google may end up including that within the featured snippet. For example, if you were targeting the keyword “what is the best car tire psi” you may say something like the following:
“The typical car tire operates best around a psi between 30 and 35, however, this can vary by the type of vehicle you drive and the vehicle manufacturer. You’ll want to know where to find the recommended psi listed on your vehicle.”
The two sentences above not only do a nice job of putting the page in position to gain a featured snippet, since the answer to the keyword is provided clearly and concisely, but it also indicates to the user that there is some important information they need to learn yet. In this case, it’s the need to learn about psi differences between vehicle types and manufacturers, as well as the need to know where the recommended psi is marked on a vehicle, that will hopefully earn you that click.
There is a lot that goes into finding the right keywords to target and the best way to organize your content in order to give a webpage a shot at acquiring a featured snippet. If you need help, we have a team of experts that would love to assist. Click below to schedule a demo of our DealerFire digital marketing services today.