What is a Snippet Box
You must have noticed a box-like structure while trying to type in a search query, especially on Google search. It is also quite possible that you may also find the content in the box and the immediate ranking page below to be exactly same. These, mostly appear from any of the top 5 listing pages in SERPs, having said that it can also appear from pages, not in top 5 ranks. It can be a paragraph, a list (bullets, numbers) or a table snippet as well.
Google terms this box as a “Snippet Box” often called as Quick answer box or direct answers, rich answers in search too. IT was launched by Google in 2014. This should not be confused with knowledge graphs which directly pulls relevant information from Google’s data sources. It is a normal search result, emphasized with the special layout to provide quick answers to users.
What can it do to your brand?
Great things, more visibility on top of all Search results, standing out from clutter and crowd, more clicks to your website and better CTRs as Google is saying to the world that your results are best, Google trusted you so will users, thus better CTRs. Most importantly, a simple direct answer to a user’s questions without having to scroll through multiple pages.
The catch is able to influence the competition ranks
While all being said is good, I noticed that a user can actually provide a feedback or know more about a how the results appear in general. Since this is a new development, the intention of Google involving users to provide best accurate results to other users is fairly understood. The ability to submit feedback leads to a safe assumption that competition may try to submit negative feedbacks deliberately to avoid you being there. Google, though, on record confirms that “it may not lead” to a change in ranks, I don’t see people not trying this out to influence. (At least from different IP addresses)
Here is an example of the process you need to go through while submitting a Feedback to google on snippet box results. I tried a simple Query – How to plant a tree
I provided feedback as “this is not useful” from the options Google provides as below, notice that out of 4 options given by Google, only 1st one “This is useful” positively contributes to your brand” more of all other options as user feedback, may lead to losing out on this snippet box.
The screen you see after submitting the feedback.
Okay great, I am listed in one of those snippet boxes. What’s next?
With the recent launch of google penguin 4.0 update changes are real-time now. If you are ranking in Google snippet boxes today, tomorrow it may be different. Competition may try working smarter than you, Google may find a more relevant and better content to award with snippet box view, multiple reasons you may lose out.
What should I do to remain in those Snippet boxes?
Actually, it’s difficult to follow Google algorithm all the time, we can only try to understand it more and try being as close as possible.
What if I don’t want my pages to be featured in a snippet at all?
Simple, Use <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your pages of interest. This will remove all snippets on your page, including those in regular search results.
How can I optimize for visibility in Google’s Snippet Boxes?
Now, this is the most important part, it’s not that complicated. It’s called 5 Ws and 1H formula 🙂
Here are few quick tips:
1) Find out questions users are asking across online media related to your product, offering or service – One can also using the keyword tool, social media listening tools, and direct suggestions in google search and so on to do so.
2) Who, what, when, where, Why and how (the 5Ws & 1 H) – try organizing your content using these to answer most probable questions your target group of customers might be asking online. One can also look at having a product/services focused dedicated FAQ section on homepages of each product/services or offering you may have. the primary objective should be to make your answers as explicit as possible within your content, web pages, paragraphs, infographics, and charts.
3) Old is Gold – IT won’t be surprising to see that you already have featured snippet box awarded by Google to your web pages. You can get this info by using SEO tools such as SEMrush, you can find this in organic research> RHS of the screen as featured snippet if any. Maintain more FAQs in such pages to retain them for a longer period.
A last year’s study confirms Snippet boxes accounts for about 19% of total queries in search engines. Surely, with growing importance for brand awareness that too organic listings, this trend is bound to increase. The openness of Google to allow users to share feedback may not continue for long asGooglee will, over a period of time, know they judge the content best. Nevertheless, it can get you more visibility, clicks and better organic growth, its time you have a focused strategy in place to obtain Google featured snippets. Do it before your competition does. Remember, boxes are never guaranteed, you can always aim, test & try though! Let me know your feedback or suggestions in the comment section below.