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October 01, 2021
Featured snippets have been one of the most sought-after and visible changes to Google’s SERPs. For many brands and content creators, featured snippets offer a gold mine: highly visible, highly clickable links directly to their sites.
Good copywriters know it is important to be as clear as possible. Many B2B brands keep writing blog posts just for the sake of getting ranked as a featured snippet at the top of the search results. However, in a world where 7.5 million blog posts are published every day, ever wonder how you can get one for your business?
Don’t worry we will get there. In this blog post, I will introduce you to 2 different approaches that I have tried to optimize two websites for featured snippets.
And of course, I will share the story of how I have managed to win 38 featured snippets and visibility for 1032 keywords with only one blog post in the B2B sector.
What are Featured Snippets?
For the people who will come across this article and may ask “What is a featured snippet?”, let me explain it briefly.
Google’s featured snippets are short pieces of text that appear at the top of search results in order to answer a user’s query quickly.
How can Featured Snippets Help Your Business?
Just think of a new store you have opened in a new neighborhood. You have incredible discounts on your high-quality products, but you don’t have any banners or messages in front of your store while your competition across the street has huge banners. Will people visit your store? Probably, not.
A featured snippet is actually just like that store across the street. If you don’t have them, the percentage of traffic you get from organic search results will go down. According to Ahrefs, a featured snippet is displayed, it gets 8.6% of the traffic and this data belongs to the times when featured snippets were considered as rare and named “Position 0”. Imagine the traffic they can get now.
Now, I can talk about the approaches I have tried to find the perfect solution.
First Approach: Target Only the Long Tail Keywords
As recommended by a Semrush case study from 2020, featured snippets appear more often for long-tail keywords indicating certain intent and the average length of keywords triggering a featured snippet is 10 in the USA market.
Just like any other content marketer, I got really excited when I first read this article.
I just ran to one of my B2B brands whose area of expertise is company establishment. I created 8 detailed blog briefs including the long-tail keywords with monthly search volumes up to 50. Then I was ready to go.
What was the result?
The result was different from what I expected.
This was the visibility of the brand when they got the briefs.
And this was the result one month after they published the last of the 8 articles.
Instead of gaining visibility for featured snippets, the brand gained 37 rankings for “People Also Ask” questions.
In this test obviously, something was not right.
What did I miss?
Actually, there were a few problems during the creation of the blog briefs. The brand wanted to target short-tail, high-volume keywords with the hope of quick results.
That’s why I tried to combine my long-tail keywords with short ones so that I could make a test. That’s why the main intent of the articles became a little different than I expected.
The second thing that made this harder was the high competition the brand was exposed to. Hundreds of brands from SaaS companies to banks struggle with strong competition.
The brand’s audience was a combination of finance, tax, and start-up sectors and the topics chosen were really hard to get an even ranking for the top 5 results. So:
- The sector
- The choice of topic
- The uniqueness of a topic
These three factors definitely affect the possibility of a featured snippet.
Of course, it was not a total loss because the brand got visibility from People Also Asked questions. And I learned a lesson.
What is the Secret Sauce for Winning Featured Snippets Then?
On my first try, I tried to aim for keywords with low volumes and difficulty and got 37 PPA visibility, so aiming long-tail keywords was not a total loss, but I had to try something different.
So I will tell everything step by step from now on:
Step 1: Know The Brand & Product Really Well
This time I chose a B2B brand with a niche level of competition. The brand’s area of expertise is providing meal card service so that companies could provide a lunch option to their employees.
Then instead of stuffing long-tail keywords into a blog brief, I decided to get more knowledge about the brand. I asked a lot of questions, read different articles, even the tax regulations.
I read the tax regulations because I realized that the brand’s service also provides tax benefits to the companies. And that was my “Eureka!” moment: I needed to target employers looking for basic information about their meal payment responsibilities in Turkey.
Step 2: Find the Questions Potential Users Asking
At this point, I started my research with the keywords important for the brand in this category. Instead of using tools to find question-type keywords, I wanted to dig a little deeper.
I started to make some research and find the PPA questions in the search results.
Instead of directly using them in a brief, I copied each one of them to Google and hit the search button, because I need to find the real search intent gap.
If there was not a proper answer or a competitor’s ranking within the search results to a specific question, I added that question to my ready-to-use list. If I would really provide an appropriate answer to those questions, my possibility to get ranked for that results was higher.
When I checked the monthly search volume of these questions they were either 0 or 10, but high volumes weren’t important for the B2B market as long as you had something with quality. That’s when I decided to start the next step: Keyword research.
Step 3: Find the Long Tail Keywords Related to Those Questions
I went to my old friend Semrush to look for the long-tail keywords with low volume and low difficulty. What I did differently this time was choosing the keywords matching the search intent of the questions I choose. I never cared for the short-tail keywords with higher volumes.
Then, I was ready to create my detailed brief for “The Meal Payment Guide for Employers.”
5 days after publishing the blog post, the brand got 403 clicks and 5340 impressions, and it was just the beginning.
The brand started to win featured snippets for the different question-type or normal long-tail keywords.
Within 3 months, the blog post gained visibility for:
- 38 featured snippets
- 29 People Also Ask (PPA) results
- 1032 keywords
Of course, the article turned out to be one of the Top 5 pages of the brand’s website getting nonbrand traffic.
Since the day it was published, the page has got 12.400 clicks and 146.000 impressions.
Even though the content has faster results than some of the technical developments, every content may not bring you the results you hope for.
You don’t need to feel discouraged from the first try when the outcome is not successful. Think, add something different and try your best again.
Don’t forget success is a long road with tons of obstacles.
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