Since inception, content marketing seems to take precedence over conventional marketing. The race to rank high in SERP has been tough, and likely to get more challenging day by day. The motive behind a cut-throat competition to achieve higher ranks in SERPs is pure; enjoy more visibility than the competition and perhaps benefit from a high number of clicks that come with it. If you can stay at the top of Google search engine page for long, expect high levels of traffic to your landing pages.
According to a survey done using the AWR ranking tool in 2016, those that rank first on the SERP enjoy at least 34% of all clicks emanating from all searches. If your site happens to sit at the third spot, it attracts about10% of all the clicks, hence the reason behind the clamor to sit on top. Sitting at the top accords you three times the visibility than if you ranked third. Hypothetically, more visibility brings more leads, which translates into more sales and sustained business success.
Climbing the SERP ranking
Before you think of claiming the first position in the SERP, think about millions of sites pursuing a similar goal and at the same moment. The chances are that some have the financial muscle to sustain a well-coordinated campaign enough to keep them at the top. Nonetheless, the journey is full of challenges, and if you are lucky to rank first, it takes twice the effort to keep the spot for a few more days. Anytime you backtrack your SEO efforts; competitors will be ready to creep above you with no guarantee that you will fall second.
It takes more than just regular posts to rank for a competitive keyword, as you have to work better than your competitors perhaps in a million different ways. You must work towards attracting high-quality and authority links, develop a robust internal structure as well as create relevant, engaging, original content that is not only precise but also simple to read. You must optimize the page keywords and ensure that the page loads within the shortest time possible. All these are just a guide to what you need, hence not enough to make your site sit pretty at the top.
While you may not know what the snippets are, you have interacted with featured snippets of your daily online interactions. Every time you search for a query, you will get a summary of the answer derived right from a website, which according to Google is the most important information for the user’s query. It’s the snippet if the text that answers the questions often accompanied by some info graphics. Above the first organic result comes the featured snippet box that provides a snapshot of content that relates to the keyword query.
With the featured snippet, you will rank higher than the sites that do all the SEO to get there. Basically, Google ranks your site to the Zero position as it considers your site an authority website, giving you the lion’s share of the entire attention.
Getting featured snippets
Unlike other technical tasks required to rank your Keyword competitively, you do not need to be tech savvy to get your page marked as a featured snippet. The mission is beyond you, and only Google can programmatically determine which page contains relevant answers for the users, and characterize it a featured snippet. You just need to produce content that coincides with the user’s intentions, while SERP will do the rest. Unlike the organic answers provided in familiar blogs, users might not necessarily want a single answer but an array of ideas answering a single query. It could be a few bullet points that meet to answer the question while enhancing the urge to engage further.
It might sound tough to get through to the novice marketers. The best part is that no one has the right formula since the concept is mostly new and unknown to the users. Nevertheless, you may have to embark on a thorough research since link profiles, domain authority and other conventional metrics do not seem to influence whether one gets the snippets or not. The blog could rank 10th and still get a snippet as the ones on the lead. As it stands, Google seems more inclined towards selecting short, simple and clear answers as opposed to walls of texts that present ambiguity and confusion.
The ultimate approach
For many brands, featured snippets remain unfamiliar waters that seemingly present a new wave of opportunities. The potential is untapped, and the ways to tap it remains a mystery. Even when you can find the snippets of your searches, a vast majority are not aware if they happen for their sites, and if they do, they have done it by sheer luck. Unlike the primary SEO, the content that attracts Google might not be high for human engagement hence the need to focus on SERP friendly content.
In some instances, the SERP has selected information which is not helpful to the readers based on the structure and simplicity. Nonetheless, numerous engagements from the users seem to be shaping Google’s selection criteria setting the stage for better days ahead. If you can master the art, you are likely to propel your site to positions Zero. You may opt to check what appears on the box and of you have a better answer, topple your competitor to the position. When it’s time to crack the code of the featured snippets, consider the following
1. The questions being asked
As a primary rule, search queries that are of interrogative nature are likely to generate featured snippets. They are best suited to allow Google provide answers to your queries within the SERP. While you would want to be the chief architect of your content marketing campaign, may do not have to try to boil the ocean. You can utilize the question wheel to mine for potential snippets, as it presents what is most searched. The ‘how’ question provides an unmatched potential to generate snippets while you do the answering.
2. Analyze topically correlated phrases
While it sounds engaging, your primary and sole objective is to laconically and correctly answer the user’s queries. Compiling and analyzing a giant list of terms helps you to narrow the topic by excluding the unrelated words. You must learn the art to avoid some terms if you have to provide value to the target audience or risk getting lost in the sea of fellow participants. You may also consider combining with audience profiling to deduce value. Whatever the intention you have, you must learn to adapt to a multi-pronged strategy that entails:
• Content that provides concise and clear answers to the queries such as ‘how to,’ ‘how do’ and ‘what is’ question formats.
• Simple and clean coding as well as tags that Google can read and interpret through subheadings, tables, and lists.
• Signs of positive engagement between the audience and the content
• Imagery and infographics on a need basis
Unlike the primary SEO components, snippets allow you to act laterally and introduce new but competitive answers to keywords of your choice. However, you may have to do a keyword search to ensure that your solutions provide direction to a given client group. Going forward, brands have to make snippets acquisition top priority of their content strategies. It will be critical to audit the existing keywords know the ones that could earn you a snippet. As Google continue developing more featured snippets, you need to make sure you get a better share pointed to your brands.