How to Get Your Website to the Top of Google in 2020?
The “one position” on the search engine results pages is largely considered the holy grail of SEO marketing. But have you ever wondered exactly how to get your website to the top of Google these days?
It can seem nearly impossible, considering how high the competition is in SEO. Some of the top-performing keywords can cost hundreds of dollars per click in highly competitive industries!
But what you may not realize is that you no longer just have to worry about getting your link to the number one spot on the SERPs. There is a position that can bring you even more in the way of search traffic and success. This is known as Position Zero – or a featured snippet. You’ve more than likely seen this on Google searches.
It is interesting to note that the featured snippet link has a far higher CTR than the one position’s links. The average link in the one position gathers 25% of the clicks, whereas position zero has 34.2%!
Since the introduction of Google’s featured snippets, position zero is the place to be.
But how can you maximize your chances of getting your content featured at the top of the Google result page?
We’ve created a useful, informative guide to featured snippets to help you grab the prestigious spot.
What Is a Featured Snippet?
First and foremost, let’s explain what exactly a featured snippet is.
If you’ve used Google to search for something recently and phrased your query as a question, you may have been greeted with a page of results that was headed by a box at the top. This is known as a featured snippet – or position zero result.
Featured snippets are designed to provide an accurate, snappy, brief answer to your question. They occupy prime real estate at the top of the page, turning heads and catching eyes long before the user has time to glance through the best-ranking alternatives. Google introduced snippets, in their own words, to “enhance and draw user attention on the results page.”
Featured snippets come in several formats.
This is the most common and straightforward type of featured snippet, which merely takes a portion of the text that addresses the query—this makeup nearly 82% of all snippet results.
Paragraph snippets are often prompted by queries that ask “how-to,” “who is,” or “what is.”
Table snippets are created by collecting statistical data from a chart, which is often sorted by value. In some cases, Google will even create a graph or pie chart with the data. The table featured snippets may also be sortable lists, such as comparable costs or percentage changes.
This includes a bulleted or numbered list of results that are pulled from a link, such as different types of a product, ingredients in a recipe, or itemized variations. It may also be a specific order of ranked items, best-of lists, or other types of featured lists.
Another interesting featured snippet style known as the “carousel” appears when Google provides suggested keywords or additional snippet options. This commonly pops up if a query requires more information or if the answer can be changed based on preferences.
YouTube videos can also qualify for featured snippets, particularly if the title or description matches up with the query. Google knows that videos are quite popular and can be a great way to answer a “how to” type of query.
The Value of Featured Snippets
Position zero has become a priority for many marketers and content producers looking to increase web traffic. If a user enters a search term linked to the kind of content you create or the products you sell, you want a chance to be in that high-profile box.
But just how helpful is a featured snippet for increasing click-through rates to your site?
Does a Featured Snippet Guarantee Clicks?
According to Ahrefs, which analyzed 2 million featured snippets, 8.6% of featured snippets attract clicks. This compares to 26% of clicks for the highest-ranked URL when a snippet is not provided by Google and 19.6% of clicks when a snippet is featured.
This data indicates that if you rank high on the search results page, and you happen to be selected for the snippet, you could attract almost a third of the organic clicks.
Is it Hard to Qualify for Featured Snippets?
When it comes to determining the value of featured snippets, it’s crucial to realize that competition for clicks is fierce, especially among frequently used keywords and phrases. If you can create content that matches Google’s criteria and manage to rate highly and occupy the snippet box, increased traffic and lead generation and conversion are vast.
Typically, Google chooses high ranking links to appear in the featured snippets. According to the same report from Ahrefs:
- 31% of featured snippets also rank in the first position on the SERPs
- 23.5% are from the second link
- 16% are from the third.
Additionally, chances are quite slim that your content will appear in a snippet if you aren’t on the first page – as 99.58% of features are from one of the top 10 ranked results.
Is There a Secret to Featured Snippets?
It’s not possible to brand your page or your content as a snippet – so how do you go about trying to persuade Google to feature your content? The truth is that there are no surefire means of doing this, but there are steps you can take to maximize your chances and boost your click-through rate.
Google says that when a question is identified, “We programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.” Remember, snippets are designed to respond to questions and be in with a shot at the top spot; so, you need to ensure that you’re providing answers to user questions and responses to queries.
Ways to Optimize Content for Snippets
Perhaps the most important place to start is to figure out how Google chooses content to use for its sought-after snippets.
If you are wondering how to get your website to the top of Google SERPs for a featured snippet, your first step is to understand how to structure your web content. Google is looking for specific features so it can easily extract information from your page. This will then fit into the featured snippet based on certain criteria.
There are several ways to properly create and structure your content to optimize it for featured snippets. Let’s dive into the details
Use Keyword Research Tools
If you’re on a mission to improve your search ranking, you’ve probably already conducted keyword research. But you can (and should) adapt the way you work to cover Google snippets too.
Using keyword research tools, you can modify the settings to see which words and terms appear most frequently in snippets that are linked to the kind of content you produce and the topics you cover. This data should drive your marketing strategies and determine your content topics.
Some of our favorite tools include:
- Ubersuggest (free)
- Ahrefs (paid)
- SEMrush (paid)
Analyze Your Competitors
Research competitor snippets and high ranking keywords, question words and search terms. You can use analytics tools like SEMrush to evaluate your use of keywords and keep an eye on your rivals and which terms they are ranking for.
Analyzing competitors comes down to three key tasks:
- Find the keywords they are ranking for (which you want to rank for)
- Examine their content – which is ranking for those keywords.
- Make your content better.
It’s beneficial to peruse the ‘People Also Ask’ sections that follow the snippet to see what related queries are available that you can target. These may appear in the carousel feature and the section directly below the originally featured snippet.
Optimize Specific Sections
Use your FAQ section, customer feedback, and reviews to determine the types of questions your customers are likely to pose, particularly concerning your product or company. You can also use resources like Answer the Public to gather information.
These could be queries like:
- How do I determine my size?
- Why choose X over Y?
- What is the contact number for X?
- How do I use this product?
- Is this product safe for___?
Keep Your Answers Short
According to SEMrush, the optimum word count for Google snippets is 40-60 words. Therefore, you want to create content that has specific paragraphs offering a clear, concise explanation to the question. This paragraph should be near the beginning of the page. The rest of your content can go into further detail.
Create Snippet Bait
The best way to nab the snippet is to create content that would work well with different types of snippet formats. If you have an article that could easily be converted into a list, a punchy paragraph, or a table, your chances of landing that position zero spot could increase.
Additionally, try to format your pieces into clearly defined paragraphs that address a topic or query. This way, Google can easily pluck that paragraph and create a featured snippet.
Format Your Pages Correctly
You can also optimize keywords and terms that are likely to impact using headers, titles, and tags. This provides signals to Google on the page’s overall topic, which can provide numerous SEO benefits.
Focus on Detailed Explanations
Create content that responds to multiple queries: it’s often better to produce a meaty, informative piece that answers several questions, rather than numerous articles that each focus on a single question.
Build FAQ Pages for Your Industry
Most companies create an FAQ page to address questions specific to their business, such as “How do I contact customer service?” or “What is the return policy?” But, you should also add an FAQ section to your site that addresses topics specific to your industry which customers may be researching.
If you’re attracting more traffic with Google snippets, it’s wise to maximize your chances of converting those leads. Since you attracted web users with questions, it makes sense to provide them with more information when they reach your website. It’s well-documented that users abandon carts and leave sites if they have queries to which they cannot find an answer, so adding FAQs is a great idea.
Diversify Your Content Offerings
Use different types of content, including optimized, high-quality images and video clips. This not only provides more options to webpage visitors – it gives Google a lot more to work with. Incorporating a visual into the featured snippet makes it more eye-catching – and will likely attract more clicks than just a text-based box.
Don’t Forget About Voice Search
Did you know that Google often utilizes featured snippets for voice search results, too? Digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home – as well as Siri and Samsung’s Bixby – state answers that come directly from featured snippet results. Google is even building more snippets to optimize results for a voice-enabled search.
Google’s focus has shifted from sending users to websites to providing them information right where they are. This has led to a drop in organic traffic for many businesses.
For smaller business websites to remain relevant, they must create optimized content that can be used in featured snippets to attract more interested traffic.
If you’re looking to climb the search results page, it’s well worth turning your attention to Google snippets. The first place is no longer the ultimate goal for many marketers and businesses, with the opportunity to reach the peak and occupy position zero.
Now, to reiterate, there is no guarantee that you’ll make the featured snippet if you do all the action items listed above. We are not Google – we don’t have control over their algorithms. If anyone promises you the snippet, they are lying.
Published: Jun 12, 2019
Updated: September 3, 2020