Featured and rich snippets generate high attention in the Google search results list. This can have a positive impact on your brand’s awareness and your website’s traffic. Optimise your B2B content to account for these snippets and thus set yourself apart from your competitors on the search result pages.
Featured snippets and rich snippets: the difference
Snippets offer a rapid answer to many search requests. The snippets consist of a title, a URL and a description, and are automatically generated by Google based on the site’s content.
- Featured snippets show a small framed section of content from websites or PDFs in the form of text, a list, a table or a video as a highlighted search result. They are often enriched with images, but these do not have to come from the same website like text does.
- Rich snippets, in contrast, answer user questions by providing additional, concrete added value like review stars, product prices, results or other information. They are shown as an enriched search result on the first page.
Up to the year 2019, featured snippets appeared in position zero; in other words, above the results in organic searches or on the right. Additionally, the result was listed as one of ten search results on the first page. At the start of 2020, however, Google eliminated position zero and since then featured snippets appear in position one in the search results on page one, without any additional mention of the source on the same page. Since mid-February, these snippets have increasingly been disappearing from the right margin.
Pros and cons of snippets in the SERPs
The pros of featured snippet boxes and rich snippets for website operators:
- The positioning and the frame of the featured snippets is a guarantee for attention. This reinforces brand awareness and creates trust. After all, featured snippets are only generated from pages which have a high relevance for a certain search request.
- Featured snippets are also advantageous for voice searches. A study by the British digital agency Rabbit&Pork shows that about 80 per cent of questions which are answered by Google’s voice assistants come from featured snippets.
- The cons of featured snippets: when it comes to simple questions, there is risk of losing traffic. If the search request can be answered enough in two to three sentences in snippets, the user often does not visit the website. Generally speaking, the positive effects of featured snippets more than outweigh any possible traffic loss.
- Rich snippets generally have a better click rate than featured snipes and therefore lead to more traffic to your website.
- What’s more, rich snippets score points by their transfer of detailed knowledge as well as the option to provide products and prices directly in the search.
- There are no cons associated with rich snippets – except for the effort needed for implementation.
Text optimisation for featured and rich snippets
Relevant and current content are the most important criteria for a positioning as a featured snippet. A situation that allows even small B2B companies to stand out from the competition or big brand names – as long as they provide the respective solutions for the search requests on their pages. A study by the software provider Ahrefs, however, shows that particularly long-tail search requests with low search volumes, typical of top B2B products, trigger featured snippets.
What’s more, website operators essentially have two options for optimising content for snippets:
- Formulation of powerful titles and meta description tags for featured snippets
- Use of structured data for generating rich snippets
Optimisation for featured snippets
For the optimisation of page titles and meta descriptions, Google provides tips – like for activating search result functions, which allows the search engine to generate snippets in the first place.
As featured snippets are frequently shown during concrete searches, the right search request should be identified using a keyword analysis. The Google Search Console or Google Analytics helps you to find the right question-based keywords. Tools like Ahrefs checks if a featured snippet appears on the search results list during a search request and what type of snippet it is. Each of these formats (text, lists, tables or videos) must be specially optimised, whereby the text snippet is the most frequently shown featured snippet. In general, the following is recommended:
- Set up a separate meta description for each HTML page, using short sentences and paragraphs
- Answer questions as directly as possible
- Structure content using logical sub-sections and use tables for data
- Generate images, graphs and diagrams based on the keyword and adapt their descriptive text to this (Alt tags)
Optimisation for rich snippets
Rich snippets are generated from the structured data of a website, which is integrated in the source text. They ease search engines in understanding websites. The integration can take place with the help of a plug-in from schema.org or by embedding so-called mark-ups directly in the source code. For this, Google recommends JSON-LD’s mark-up and provides details on how structured data works and which guidelines must be considered for the use of mark-ups.