What’s the SEO Value of a Featured Snippet? June 23, 2021 NEW PODCAST We’re back with another episode of The Digital Marketing Troop. Geoff Kerbis is back on The Digital Marketing Troop, this time bringing his SEO expertise to illuminate Google’s Featured Snippet. In this episode, we talk about: What types of Featured Snippets existThe relationship between Featured Snippets and voice searchWhen you should optimize for clicks vs Featured SnippetsThe legend of Sven Johnson, and much more… Listen to get a better grasp of Google’s Featured Snippets and choose how best to use it (or not) for your specific circumstances. If you want more, don’t forget to subscribe. Transcript John Tyreman:Hi, gang. Welcome to the Digital Marketing Troop, where we talk about changes in trends shaping the world of digital marketing. I’m your host, John Tyreman, and I’m joined today by Geoff Kerbis, SEO team lead and senior account manager at Silverback Strategies. Today we’re here to talk about the true value of Featured Snippets for SEO. But before we dive in, Geoff, I’ve only known you to have long hair, and you mentioned in a call earlier today you’re getting it chopped off and plan on donating your hair to hair we share. Can you tell me a little bit about what drove that decision? Geoff Kerbis:Yeah, I would be lying if I said that my wife was not tired of it. So to give a little bit of a background, I have been growing my hair since August of 2019, so we’re coming up a little bit short of that two year mark. But I have become inspired of the idea of being able to provide my luscious locks, as I like to call them to an organization that really helps out children who are in the process of chemo treatment and maybe have lost their hair, but are able to gain a sense of confidence by having something that is a constant in their life, whether that be a way or just something to help out in the process. Hair We Share doesn’t charge a single dime to the families who apply and they use all forms of hair, so not a single part is thrown out. This is an awesome thing. They’ve been around since 2014, so shout out to Hair We Share. Excited to be donating. John Tyreman:Wow. That’s a really great cause. I didn’t realize that some other charities charged for hair, so that’s good to know. Awesome. Well, Let’s dive into our topic at hand. Today, we’re here to talk about Featured Snippets and the true value to SEO for listeners who might not know what is a Featured Snippet. Geoff Kerbis:Now, that is a great question, John. Featured Snippet is something that is slowly but surely taking over search as we know it. A few years ago, the big trend was voice. Everything was turning into voice, and for the most part, that was true. We now have voice devices in our home, on our phones that are tracking everything we say and helping make sure that our searches are more in tune to us. But as Google continues to be the place for all the answers that you need in life, one of the things that they want to make sure is that they are giving what they deem as the best answer up top. John Tyreman:As soon as you search, are all Featured Snippets the same? Are we looking for one single thing? Geoff Kerbis:No, Featured Snippets can be as simple as an answer to a question. Maybe you are too lazy to open the calculator on your phone and you put what’s two plus 2? Guess what Google is going to tell you. Four. Maybe you forgot what the birthday of Barack Obama is. Guess what? That’s also going to be a Featured Snippet as a search. What we are seeing now is although it is not a majority of all searches, searches are slowly becoming instances where a Featured Snippet is the number one result on the page, followed by the traditional organic search results that you normally would find on a search result based off of a study that was done a couple of years ago by Age Reps. They found of the 112,000,000 service that they monitored, about 12 to 15% of them had a Featured Snippet. Now that was three years ago. So it’s changed enormously. We’re seeing more and more instances of that. And another thing, I’m going to connect a voice with the Featured Snippets. A lot of the voice results that you get from your Google home actually feed it Snippets in most of the cases. So that’s why we’re finding more of a presence of them in our world. John Tyreman:Wow. So I’d imagine that if folks are going to Google and they’re searching for things and there’s Featured Snippets popping up and answering their questions that we’re seeing less traffic actually go from a search query to a website. Is that something that you’re seeing? Geoff Kerbis:No, that’s the big conundrum with them, right. These Snippets, I think, is one of those moral crisis or crisis of self that a lot of CEOs have to deal with. For the longest time, we’ve wanted to win the number one search result, no matter the surf as a way to make sure that our organization or the client that we’re working for is gaining that visibility. But what’s happening with Featured Snippets is we’re noticing that there is a Kylie between the top feature time and then the top organic result in some instances. And I’ll use the industry standard. We saw that for a top result on a page that doesn’t have a feature snippet, the click through rate is around, which is fantastic. One of 4 people are going to click on that top result. I would say that’s a good day’s work for an SEO. What happens with the feet would snippet is very interesting. It goes down to click through rate if you have a Featured Snippet as the top result. So only of people who see that are going to click on it with of people clicking on the first traditional result. Now, that is a really great scenario, but not all sets are the same. Not all queries are the same. So Let’s talk about something that I’ve seen myself with one of our clients. We have noticed that they have about a click through on any instance where they’re in the top three results, which is fairly great. One in 10 people are going to go on to your site. It drops all the way down for some of those queries to not even when it is a single answer to a question. So Here’s the major dilemma, John, do you care more about the visibility of your brand and making sure that you’re Featured as a leader within the space, or would you rather get that traffic on your site? John Tyreman:Now, that’s a great question, and it’s a great segue to exactly what I was going to ask you next. So there’s obviously scenarios where a zero click search having the Featured snippet there’s value to that. So can you give me an example of kind of that trade off between clicks versus Featured Snippets? Is there an example of a scenario where, you know,Featured Snip? It might be something that you want to optimize for versus at the click to your website? Geoff Kerbis:Yeah, that’s a wonderful question. And I think it comes to a case of what is the purpose of your website. That is the number one question that I normally like to ask clients or organizations that I’m working with. And the reason why. It’s simple. If the value of your website is to Act as an ecommerce based platform or a service platform so that you are actually selling your service or product, then a Featured Snippet in many cases might not be the right thing for you because you’re losing an opportunity to directly sell that or that product will. On the other hand, if you are a business to business organization, maybe you are an organization that focuses on news or thought leadership rather than on the actual transactional basis of your site. Then a Featured Snippet might be extremely valuable to you because it is an opportunity to have your brand associated with being the top instance or in the eyes of many who go on to Google, this is the best result. This answers my query directly. Now I will say a few words of warning about going after Featured Snippets. Not all Featured Snippets are correct. Snippets, And Here’s a great joke of something that happened. There is a podcaster, his name is Gus Johnson, and he has a brother named Sven, and Sven is very tall, and it is an ongoing joke on the internet that Sven is 8 foot 10. So if you look up Sven Johnson height on Google right now, 8 foot 10 will show up. And that is just an instance of maybe using the Featured Snippet as the beacon of truth is not the ideal. So let me send that into a positive if there’s less than ideal out there. If you are a brand that really desires to be the leader, that thought leader within your space, bare snippet IRC out there for certain queries that would allow you to gain that opportunity. John Tyreman:Wow. So I’d like to meet Sven Johnson just so I can verify if he really is 8 foot 10 or not. Geoff Kerbis:Yeah. Doesn’t that sound fun? John Tyreman:Yeah, that’s a great example. So I would imagine that many of our listeners are pursuing thought leadership or whether or not they’re in a B2B organization. But it sounds like Featured Snippets are something that a lot of our listeners would aspire to have their site rank for what’s required for marketers to secure these Featured Snippets on the search engine results page. Geoff Kerbis:Yeah, that’s a great question. So, the first thing is very simple. You have to have a good base as far as organic visibility. So, ranking within the top 10 is almost an unsaid requirement. All of these Featured Snippets come from a result that at one point in time ranked top 10. Now, the reason why I say one point in time is Google has become a little bit tougher on having an organization be a Featured Snippet and then be a result later down in the page. I like to call it the double dipping scenario. You never want someone double dipping at a party, especially in COVID time. So why would you want them double dipping as far as your search results? Another couple of pieces of advice, as far as making sure that you can be available for Featured Snippet is taking care of your schema and your HTML on your website. Schema org allows for many opportunities for you to ensure that you are tagging where you think a Featured Snippet is. If you are focusing on more question answer based stuff, I would definitely just send some time find the correct bit of schema that fits your page, and that can allow you to probably properly excuse me, inform Google of exactly what you’re trying to say. In addition, make sure that the page is just a crawlable page in its full nature. The more crawlable pages, the more context Google will have, and the more Google will be able to properly assess whether or not your result is truly the best result. A couple other things I would be willing and I say this as maybe showing my hand on my true thoughts and the Snippets, you lose traffic. I would be willing to look at a page, look at your Google Analytics and determine is this page critical to our KPIs and to the performance of our organization? And if you say Yes, organic traffic truly makes this page run and makes our organization run. Take 10 seconds to think maybe this isn’t right. And if that’s the case, if you have that thought in your mind, there is schema that you can put in there is HTML you can put in to ensure that Google does not crawl your page. To consider it for a Featured, I want to dig into that last point just really quick because it’s a very interesting one, because I would imagine that a lot of marketing leaders, especially leaders potentially with a sales mindset, would say we want the traffic at all costs. No, we don’t want to have our visitors not click through to our website. John Tyreman:So have you found that resistance to be kind of apparent out there when talking with clients? And then how do you overcome that? Geoff Kerbis:Absolutely. I think it’s an education basis and it’s truly just looking at the behavior of your site. Although a lot of people think Seo’s job is just to maneuver our way through Google and produce magic and search results, one of our jobs is making sure that we are considering the organization as a whole that we are trying to optimize against. So in my mind, I do spend a lot of time in Google Analytics, and I do spend a lot of time analyzing queries to make sure that they match up with the organization’s perspective in the copy that they’re producing in the content they’re producing. So it then becomes story time. It’s a very simple presentation in my mind of showing Hey, this is the query that we are discussing and looking at trying to rank for a feature. Snippet, And before you think, Oh, well, we’re losing traffic, really. In many cases, it’s not that much. We’re ranking in the bottom 20 right now or the top 20, but not on the first page. So we’re not considered for a Featured snippet yet. And if the page accounts for only a certain percentage, Let’s say less than 2% of an overall site traffic, there’s more opportunity from a visibility and a branding perspective in my mind, then there is from the clicks, especially if you can show the proof in the pudding of Hey, we don’t get any transactions on this page or any key completions on this page. So how about we think from an overall getting eyes on the organization itself? The other thing I will say about Featured Snippets as far as just now, how do we sell it? Because it is the way of the world. It is the changing of Google. When I like to think of the EAT, the expertise, authority, and trust, this is a great measurement of making sure that you have a piece of content that follows and check all of those boxes and then can appear for a Featured Snippet. Use it as a test. Use it as an opportunity to say to challenge yourself of Hey, we want to aim for the future. Snippet, And if we get it, we know that Google believes in what we’re writing and we can always take it away if we’re seeing that it’s negatively affecting our site’s performance. John Tyreman:There’s a lot of good stuff there, Geoff. One key takeaway from me is if you look at your Google Analytics in the page that you could potentially rank for a Featured Snippet, if there’s no real goal completions or there’s no real transactions that happen on that page, it may be worth optimizing that page for a Featured Snippet. And then at that point, success wouldn’t necessarily be measured by page clicks or page views or sessions because they’re not clicking through, obviously. So it would be measured in terms of impressions. Is that the metric to look? Geoff Kerbis:Absolutely. You and Google Search Council would become best friends and making sure that you’re checking your impressions. There are other tools that you could be using to see how often and how you are ranking for Featured Snippets, just to name a few. Bright edge that age rep whichever one you use, it’s probably going to be able to do that. But another thing that I will say is Featured Snippets are not always the answer. If you have a low performing page, there are opportunities to do Google optimize to try out new click throughs to gain transactions or to gain completions. I have found, though, that if you have a piece of content that’s just not performing the way you’d like to or behaving the way you’d like to another tool in your tool belt, as far as a way of persevering and trying to make sure you’re gaining the most out of the content that you work so hard to build. John Tyreman:Awesome. Now, this is great stuff, Geoff. And thank you so much for walking us through what a Featured Snippet is, why it’s important who can benefit from it, how it’s measured. There’s a lot of really great insights that I think our listeners will find a lot of value in. If folks want to connect with you and learn more, where can they find you? Geoff Kerbis:Yeah, absolutely. Well, you can find me and the rest of the world on LinkedIn. Always happy to have a conversation about SEO. And feel free to shoot me a message about connecting because I love having smart people on my feed and having smart conversations with industry experts or people who just want to learn more about SEO as a whole. And then if you’re in the mood for some terrible sports takes or also my musings on SEO, you can find me on Twitter. It is under @runGeoffrun, and that is Geoff with a G. Yes, it is a terrible handle, but I own it with pride and you’ll be able to find me there. John Tyreman:Right on. Well, I’m going to have to start following you on Twitter, too. Thanks, Geoff, thank you so much for taking the time today. Geoff Kerbis:Absolutely. Thanks, John.