How To Optimize Your Blog Posts for Google’s Featured Snippets

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How to optimize your blog posts for Google Featured Snippets
Google changes the way it shows search results all the time. With every iteration, bloggers and content creators learn tricks to optimize content for what Google chooses to show in its Search Engine Result Page or SERP. One of the things that Google has been showing for some time now is featured snippets.

If you understand what featured snippets are, it is rather easy to optimize your blog posts for them. After all, don’t we all want our blog posts to stand out on Google’s SERP? I mean, what’s better than free and organic search traffic to our blog posts, right?

So, as a blogger whose posts have often come up in Google’s featured snippets, let me show you how to optimize your blog posts for these featured snippets yourself!

What are Google Featured Snippets?

Featured Snippets are short snippets of a web page (blog posts, pages, articles, etc.) that Google shows at the top of its search result page that quickly answers someone’s search query. Because these featured snippets are shown at the top of the search result page, they often drive more organic traffic to the respective websites.

Example of Google's featured snippets.
Example of Google’s featured snippets from The Side Blogger.

In the image above, you can see a featured snippet from this blog on Google’s search result page. When you search for “what is a blogger media kit,” this is what Google shows at the top position of the search result page, also known as “position 0.” This particular featured snippet is called a definition featured snippet.

There are four different types of featured snippets. Let’s take a look at each of them.

The 4 types of featured snippets in a Google search result page

  1. A definition
  2. A list
  3. A video
  4. A table

The definition and list type featured snippets are the most common types you may use as a blogger. Some bloggers may incorporate the table type featured snippets as well. Videos are primarily for YouTube creators.

[Related: How to write a blog post: An ultimate guide]

A definition featured snippet

A definition featured snippet is just that: a definition.

Often people search for definitions or quick explanations of a term or concept. That’s when Google likes to show a quick definition. For example, in the image above, when I searched for “what is a blogger media kit,” Google showed me a featured snippet from my blog post about blogger media kits.

Another example is what you see in the image below. When I searched for “digital marketing,” Google showed me a definition excerpt from a webpage on MailChimp’s website.

Definition featured snippet on Google for the search term: Digital Marketing
Definition featured snippet on Google for the search term: Digital Marketing
How to optimize content for a definition featured snippet

It is best to use a header before writing the definition (h1, h2, h3, etc.) It is also best to write this header as clearly as possible. For example, in my blog post about media kits, my definition of a blogger media kit follows this header: “What is a blogger media kit?”

For the example of a definition for digital marketing, MailChimp had this header: “What is digital marketing?”

Here’s what this definition looks like on MailChimp’s website (the definition text directly follows a clear header):

Write a clear header stating what definition is about to follow, and then follow it up with the definition, to optimize content for the definition featured snippet.
Write a clear header stating what definition is about to follow, and then follow it up with the definition, to optimize content for the definition featured snippet.

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SEO blog post template for sale.
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A list featured snippet

A list-type featured snippet is much like a definition featured snippets, but for lists. For example, if you search for “digital marketing tips,” you’ll get the following list featured snippet from Sprout Social.

A list featured snipper on Google.
A list featured snipper on Google.

If you search for something that hints at a list of things, you will likely see a list featured snippet as the first item on Google’s search engine result page (SERP).

For example, in the demonstration above, we searched for the term “digital marketing tips.” And Google showed us exactly that: a list of tips for digital marketing.

Note that when we type “digital marketing,” we see a definition. But adding the word “tips” in that search query changes the result and shows us a list of tips instead of a definition.

How to optimize content for a list featured snippet

Similar to a definition featured snippet, you should have a header (h1, h2, h3, etc.) stating what type of list will follow.

The list itself can be added in two different ways:

  • It can be a numbered or bulleted list: First, use WordPress’ (or whatever platform you’re using) native header tag (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to write a clear header stating what the list is that follows. Then, use WordPress’ native number or bullet list tag to create a list.
  • It can be nested headers and subheaders. Once again, use a header that states what kind of list is about to follow. And use subheaders to itemize your list. Each subheader can be followed up with paragraphs. Just make sure that the subheaders you wish to be shown as an itemized list all have the same header tag. For example, if your main header has an H2 tag, then the subheaders may be H3. But it cannot be another H2 tag, or even an H1 tag. It must be a header tag below H2. You must maintain a hierarchy.

See the video below for a quick guide to the definition and the list featured snippets and how to optimize them in the backend (WordPress editor):

A table featured snippet

I see tables rarely, but that may have something to do with the type of content I search for. But in short, if you’re searching for something that could be shown in a table (for example: comparing flight prices from Denver to Miami on a specific date, a table of data, etc.), then Google may show that to users as a featured snippet.

A video featured snippet

This is ideal for video content creators because Google loves to show videos, when relevant and available, as its featured snippet. Ideally, you’ll have these videos hosted on YouTube (because Google owns YouTube, so they show videos from there.)

That’s all for featured snippets, but you may also want to read up on how to write a blog post and a complete guide to blog SEO, linked below:

How to Write a Killer Blog Post: The Ultimate Guide You’ll Ever Need

Blog SEO for Beginners: How to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Posts

As a blogger, the most relevant types of featured snippets are the definition and list snippets, so your goal should be to always optimize your content for these two types. Because, if you can manage to show your content as a featured snippet, trust me, your organic traffic will go through the roof!

I also recommend that you read my post on how to write a killer blog post that can help you build an audience of potential email list subscribers, buyers, and lifelong fans.

Questions? Leave them in the comments area below. Also, make sure to sign up for my newsletter!

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