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Think about the last time you entered a search query into Google. Did you get an answer right away at the top of the results page without having to click on a website? If you did, you were shown as a Google featured snippet.
Google featured snippets are displayed in a way that helps people discover answers to their questions. They are especially helpful on mobile or searching by voice. Google’s automated system decides if a web page’s content would make a good snippet and displays it in the most sensical way. Law firm websites, just like any other business website, can benefit from being featured in snippet form in Google’s search results. Learn about the different types of snippets and how you can optimize your website to get included in this feature.
What Are Google’s Featured Snippets?
Google first introduced snippets in 2014. Featured snippets are the expanded snippets that you see on the first position of Google’s search engine results page (SERP). Snippets are supposed to answer users’ questions directly in the search results.
For websites, being featured in a snippet means additional brand exposure in search results. There are studies that confirm that claim. According to a report from Ben Goodsell in Search Engine Land, the click-through rate (CTR) on a featured page increased from two percent to eight percent once its answer was placed in snippet format. Eric Enge, of ConfluentForms.com, also noted a 20 to 30 percent increase in traffic when their website held a featured snippet.
To benefit from Google’s snippets, you need to understand how to optimize your content and what types of snippets make the most sense for the content you publish.
Types of Google’s Featured Snippets
Google’s featured snippets typically fall into three categories: paragraphs, tables, and lists. There are also video snippets. The snippet Google creates depends on the searcher’s question and how the search engine feels it can best answer it. The way you publish content on your website can impact whether it is featured in a snippet and what type is used.
Paragraph snippets are the most popular. This type of snippet is likely to pop up if a search asks a “who, what why, when, or how” question. Google will extract text from your webpage if it thinks it answers a searcher’s query. For law firms, paragraph snippets are most popular. That is simply because of the content lawyers tend to provide online. Consider chances of someone visiting your site from a paragraph snippet.
Table snippets are the second most popular snippet Google uses. The search engine pulls specific information the user is looking for and recreates its own table. Information may be static or dynamic and use one or multiple columns. Table snippets are popular for searches involving lists, rates, and data.
There are two types of list snippets—ordered and unordered. Ordered snippets, also called numbered lists, outline steps that explain how to do something. It takes the searcher through a step-by-step process and can encourage them to click on the hyperlink to learn more. They are most popular for searches involving recipes, DIY tasks, and “how-to” questions. Unordered snippets, also called bulleted lists, are often associated with listicle articles. They are used for searches involving ranked and unranked items, as well as feature lists.
Video snippets are pulled directly from YouTube. If your law firm posts content on YouTube and Google thinks your video answers a user’s question, it can pull a specific clip from the video or use text from your video description.
Regardless of the type of snippet your content shows up in, although it is likely in paragraph form if you land one, the search engine optimization (SEO) benefits are many.
How Google Featured Snippets Influence SEO
When a website’s content is optimized correctly, there is a chance Google will answer searcher’s queries with information from the site in snippet form. There are several SEO-related benefits to this, including the following:
- Improves rankings. If your content answers common queries potential clients have and Google recognizes that, it is more likely that your content will end up on the first page. According to a study by Ahrefs, featured snippets are most often pulled from pages ranking in the top five. The higher your content ranks, the more like it is you will get a featured snippet.
- Increases website traffic. If your content is included in a featured snippet, it is more likely that users will stop their search and click on your website’s URL to get more information. The snippet may give a basic answer, but it will likely be enough to convince users to head to your site to learn more.
- Builds your brand. Snippets are the first thing users see in Google’s search results. They are even more prominent on mobile devices. If users see your content pop up in a snippet, they will recognize that it contains valuable information and be more likely to visit your site to have their questions answered.
Now that you’re aware of how your law firm’s website can benefit from Google snippets, you need to understand how to optimize your content to increase the chances of getting featured.
How to Optimize For Featured Snippets
Now that you are aware of the types of snippets available, you need to know how to optimize your website and its content to rank for them. Best practices include the following:
- Research competitors’ snippets. Consider what potential clients may want to know and look at how competitors are answering those questions. Are any of your direct competitors have their content featured in snippets? What are they doing that you are not? By evaluating the competition, you will be able to create more relevant content that Google may feature.
- Do keyword research. Conducting keyword research can give you an idea of what potential clients are searching for in your area of law. You can include those long-tail keywords in your content when you have that research and encourage Google to include your answers in snippet form.
- Consider searcher intent. What do your potential clients want to know? How can you include that information in your content in a way that makes Google recognize it as authoritative and credible? Use your keyword research to determine what types of questions users may ask and consider how to optimize your webpage content to answer those queries.
- Leverage high-ranking content. If you already have content ranking high in Google, but it is not featured in a snippet, you may only need to make a few tweaks to your page to let Google know it should feature your content.
- Update on-page content. Remember to maintain and update your on-page content. As statutes or requirements change, you need to ensure the information you’re providing is factual. Google wants to provide the most up-to-date snippets to users.
- Optimize word count. Snippets appear in only a few lines of text, typically with 54 to 58 words. The goal is to answer a person’s question in an introductory way and let them dive deeper with webpage content.
- Utilize headers. Make sure you are properly using basic HTML tags so Google can easily scan your text. Regularly use
tags, as well as bullet points and paragraph tags.
- Add high-quality images and videos. Graphics can help increase rankings for featured snippets. Make sure that any images or videos you include on your site are functioning and high-quality.
- Comply with Google’s policies. To ensure snippets are helpful for searcher’s Google prevents showing snippets that feature dangerous content, deceptive practices, manipulated media, medical content, violence, and vulgar language.
Finding Snippets You Already Own
Google Search Console does not show any information regarding snippets. There are, however, third-party tools like Ahref’s Site Explorer you can use to determine if you already have snippets out there. With that tool, you can evaluate your website’s organic keywords and decide whether they are featured in snippet form for specific queries.
If you discover your content is being featured in snippets, but if it is not portrayed correctly, consider how you may be able to optimize that webpage’s content to clarify the issue with Google. You may need to rearrange content or add more HTML tags to the code.
How Law Quill Can Help
Crafting content that Google includes in featured snippets can take time. Not only does your website’s content need to be recognized as authoritative and high-ranking, but you also need to present content on your web pages in a way that Google can optimize into snippet form.
It can take a lot of research and planning to optimize your website for Google, and you can not always be sure you will see results. Fortunately, our digital marketing professionals can help.
We are here to help and would welcome the opportunity to visit with you for free regarding your law firm website’s content, and how we can take these tasks off your plate! Schedule a free visit with us by scheduling a quick phone or zoom call at your convenience on our calendar today. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.