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How to dominate Google with featured snippets

Heard of featured snippets but not sure what they are or how they can help you climb the search results? Selesti‘s quick guide will tell you exactly what featured snippets are and how you can use them to dominate the search results!

What are featured snippets?

The idea behind featured snippets is to provide a short, simple answer to a user’s search. The text is pulled from pages within Google’s index, and they often appear as paragraphs, tables or a bulleted list.

More importantly, featured snippets typically appear at the top of Google search results, even if the site from which the text was taken ranks on page 2 of the SERPs.

This means you can use them to rank at the top of listings even for some of the most competitive terms.

How To Win At Featured Snippets

There are certain things you can do to improve your chances of ranking for a featured snippet. 

Keyword research

Use your own knowledge about your industry as well as common keyword research tools, such as SEMRush and Google’s Keyword Planner to get an idea of the interest in your chosen topics.

It’s worth noting that you have a higher chance of getting a featured snippet for more niche topics: over 85% of snippets appear for queries with a volume of 100 or less a month.

Understand Your Audience

It’s important to understand the intent of your audience whilst searching if you’re going to get a featured snippet. One way of understanding what questions users are commonly asking is the “people also ask” section, which sometimes appears alongside the search results in Google.

You can also ask your staff what questions they hear from customers. This can be an effective way of identifying previously unthought-of queries, as well as helping your existing customers!

Structure your post better than your competitors 

Ensuring your content is well structured can make the difference between appearing for a featured snippet or not. Most content that ranks well for featured snippets tends to be driven from question-based content. Indeed, 41% of all questions searched on Google have featured snippets and this is only likely to increase.

You can also use something called “snippet bait” to increase your chances that your content will be chosen for a snippet.

Snippet bait is typically a section at the start of a post that is specially designed to appear in a featured snippet. For paragraph snippets this may be a short (40-60 word) paragraph that quickly summarises the response to a query in a straightforward, simple fashion, You can then go into further detail later into the post. 

Making the most of featured snippets

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities to dominate the top of the search engines, even if you’re not ranking on the first page. 

If you’d like some help to supercharge your position in the search results, get in touch with one of our experts today.

Alexa, do I need a voice search strategy? – Why your business should consider the merits of implementing a voice search strategy

With voice search dominating the realm of SEO and business news, Jimmy McCann, Head of Digital Strategy at international digital marketing agency, Search Laboratory, discusses how voice search is becoming the default search method for consumers worldwide and why voice search shouldn’t be overlooked as part of a business’ digital strategy.  

Implementing voice search technology 

With recent partnerships being established in the world of voice search, such as the NHS and Amazon, this only scratches the surface of voice technology. The possibilities are endless and this partnership only works to emphaises the technology is here to stay, with more and more consumers creating demand for home voice assisted devices, including Amazon’s Echo and Google Home. 

In turn, a growing number of brands are turning to SEO specialists to improve their search engine results page (SERP) ranking due to the rising popularity of voice search amongst consumers. The popularity is bound to lead to an even greater influx in brands looking to gain market share and a slice of the action. 

Of course, as with any strategy, voice search can’t just become a ‘me too’ exercise for brands. Rather, the approach must be considered and highly strategic. There are many reasons why it is becoming necessary for some brands to adopt voice strategies, but rather than panic and invest in this new technology without thought, it is essential those looking to integrate voice search within their existing offering – like the NHS – to do so in a way that ultimately works to benefit the consumer and the broader business strategy. 

The impact of voice search on SEO

That said voice search is a hugely popular emergent technology that will only keep getting bigger. As it does grow, the way SEO is conducted will be impacted, and this is where larger numbers of businesses that don’t necessarily see a need for voice search considerations as part of their digital strategy may become impacted.  

Voice technology isn’t new by any means. In fact, it was first designed in the 1950s but with the new home assistant device, it has taken a place in the forefront of consumer minds. The technology is improving at such a rapid pace that it is constantly interesting consumers. Just like social media and smartphones, voice technology is here to stay in the consumers everyday life. 

Businesses who want to remain visible to consumers in the coming years will have to find a way to incorporate voice technology, or at the least an SEO approach that considers the nuances presented by voice search, into their digital marketing strategies. 

With voice searches, users do not see a full SERP and decide from there which link to click, but rather are presented with the top result or answer spoken back to them. As such, businesses will no longer be fighting for a place of page one, but rather for the top result every time, for every search term. 

Using voice to enhance the customer experience 

Voice does also offer other benefits for businesses. Building a voice search strategy isn’t just about remaining relevant – it is also about creating a unique customer experience that will build on relationships first made via computers and ultimately, build brand loyalty. The most sophisticated home assistants such as Alexa and Google Home can tell the difference between voices asking questions. This means that they can provide valuable insights about specific users that can lead to more personalised content for the consumer. 

Eventually it is predicted that voice technology will also allow brands to interact with consumers in a more natural and seamless way, with the aim of encouraging customer retention and loyalty. Finally, voice search interactions take far less time than text-based ones, which makes life more convenient for busy consumers who expect a quality experience and instant gratification every time they interact with a brand. Customers want brands to stay on the fringes of their life until needed, at which point they want immediate support and service.

As voice technology continues to grow and become more popular among consumers, it will become increasingly important for businesses of all shapes and sizes to include a voice search strategy into the overall digital marketing plan. 

Along with already changing the way people approach SEO, voice search is also giving businesses an opportunity to create an enhanced customer experience, and brands that want to compete and stay relevant will have to get on board.

Beyond that, voice search could also prove to be a great tool for increasing web traffic and beating the competition, as long as businesses have a solid voice-optimised SEO strategy in place to get their brand to the top of the SERPs. 

Online visibility is more than Google search: ignoring other platforms is losing you sales

The number of consumers heading to the internet as the first step on their purchasing journey is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, with over half of UK consumers preferring searching online than browsing a physical store, it’s easy to see why brands are utilising search engine optimisation (SEO) for comprehensive online visibility.  

Holding 92% of the global market share, Google is the natural choice when implementing an SEO strategy. However, taking a linear approach to your online visibility with Google alone is losing you sales. 

Jimmy McCann, Head of Digital Strategy at Search Laboratory is here to explain why you need to take a holistic approach to your integrated digital strategy to ensure 360 online visibility for your brand… 

The importance of organic, paid and multi-channelled advertising

If recalling the last time you purchased an item without searching it online beforehand seems like a distant memory, you’re not alone;  82% of all smartphone users say they consult their phones on purchases before they make them in store. In addition to searching on Google, consumers may look at reviews, marketplaces and social media to gauge whether a brand and its product is trustworthy.

It is therefore important for businesses to create a multi-channel strategy, rather than focus their entire marketing efforts on Google. 

Widening your brand’s reach by appearing in multiple channels is a crucial step that will allow you to reach prospects at more touchpoints in their customer buyer journey, increasing the likelihood of making a sale. 

There are various platforms that offer paid and organic methods to reach your target audience. Not all will be valuable to your business; using an appropriate attribution model along with carrying out an analysis of your customers and target audience will help to identify which channels you should start with.

Paid media is a great way of reaching your exact audience. Paid search on Google is invaluable, but there are other platforms that your business needs to take advantage of to get in front of consumers at different stages of the customer buyer journey:

A good digital strategy should have paid and organic activity across multiple channels, with each channel’s activity integrating with the overall strategy.

Scaling your brand internationally

For enterprises looking to expand their brand into international markets, understanding the local search landscape is crucial, and often requires going beyond the precincts of Google. 

The search engine’s market share varies internationally, which means an international SEO strategy needs to encompass other search engines.

For example, Bing’s presence in America far outweighs its UK presence, which took 33% of the market share in 2017. Whereas Yandex is prevalent in Russia, and Baidu is the market leader in China. 

In order to successfully expand into new markets, you will need to combine mother tongue knowledge of the local culture with digital marketing expertise. This will ensure that your strategy is localised successfully, avoiding any pitfalls of simply translating your brand. 

Set up an appropriate attribution model for your business needs

A customer will come in contact with your brand across multiple channels before finally converting. Using attribution models will help you to identify which touchpoints are most valuable in the customer journey. Google has multiple attribution models available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Setting up the appropriate model will help you to identify which channels to focus on in your digital marketing strategy.  

Building online visibility is a multi-faceted and often a time-consuming process but an integral part of growing your business, sales figures and customer retention rates. Your approach to digital marketing should remain a ‘work-in-progress’ and be constantly adapted to improve results. More importantly, your online visibility should span across different platforms and follow a paid and organic advertising strategy, which will ensure you remain market leaders and grow online revenue.