Ranking for Google’s Featured Snippets: Highlighting your Keywords
Not even a pandemic can sway Google from not updating any of its features. And considering the low-key rollouts, the people at Google have been very busy.
And to keep your head in the game, you have to know how these new updates work to keep ranking.
When you now do a search, Google will show you a Featured snippet on the top of the page and if you click on the link, it will lead you to the website page with the keywords and phrases highlighted in bright yellow.
What are Featured Snippets?
Featured snippets can give you a direct answer to your search question by pulling out the relevant content you need from a website. This could be a paragraph, numbered list or bullet list. This is pretty common if you are searching for a How-to or step-by-step tutorial.
The thing with featured snippets is that it doesn’t redirect you to a webpage, but Google has chosen to post the direct answer to your queries right on the search results page. With that, you get an accurate and concise overview of the information without even bothering to click on the link.
You may think- won’t I lose traffic over this?
Not really, featured snippets won’t kill your traffic, sure there’s some losses, but this is still to your advantage as owning a featured snippet will results in more clicks (lots of gains!). Users seeing a portion of your website on the search page, automatically clues them in to what Google is signaling, that your website has top authority. That the information it offers can be trusted. Simply put this means customers automatically are more trusting of your site, without even knowing you!
Another thing that may surprise you, Google has taken it a step further by highlighting content from featured snippets. This is fairly recent, but this explains why some websites have their text highlighted yellow when you go click on them. Yes, yellow! (We were hoping for the 1768degrees.com purple, but hey – what can you do?!)
Also, Google hasn’t officially announced this ‘highlight’ feature yet, perhaps this was intentional as they wanted users to discover the ‘highlights’ themselves. However, this highlight update does not yet take effect across all searches. For now, it will only take effect on snippets that Google deems practical, those topics that can bring users right into the content or the exact reference point of the snippet on the source webpage.
You don’t need to learn new code or any special tools to create a featured snippet. But expect longer URLs or web links with a featured snippet, this is due to Google tracking the traffic and the performance of the highlighted text. This may also enable Google to track the number of visits to a website and makes it possible for publishers to track referrals from Google more accurately.
A little interesting tidbit: you can recreate the highlighting effect on your own web page using a tag that’s often used in the new URL parameters.
The tag “#:~:text=” is the one that makes the highlighting effect possible. To make good use of it, you must include that URL parameter to your own webpage URL and add the words you want to be highlighted from that webpage after the equal sign (=). This will highlight the words you have indicated.
This feature previously could only be only found on AMPs or Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an HTML framework that allows mobile users to see content in a way that it is faster to load and consumes less data.
SEO should take heed
When you are implementing Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) you should pay close attention to what Google is doing with its featured snippets and how it can affect your keywords. But the basic rule here is to make your content as informative and useful as possible to appeal to Google.
It is important to keep tabs on the number of featured snippets you now have. If you find any, consider this like being given a gold star by Google. Simply, this is equal to dominating the number one position for a keyword. You can further build on this and use subtopics that can extend your ranking reach.
Featured snippets will shape the way we do search queries now, until the next Google update comes around.
Need to prioritize your keywords so you can rank for a featured snippet? Now that’s a goal worth having! Consult with us, email firstname.lastname@example.org