The number of featured snippets served by Google is steadily growing. What’s the best way to figure out whether or not your site has the ability to attain 'position zero', and how do you identify the keywords most likely to help you get there? In this post, I'll show you a quick and easy way to find featured snippet opportunities using Search Console and Data Studio.
While paid tools like Stat and Moz provide helpful features to help you understand SERP features for a query, including featured snippets, not all SEOs will have access to these tools, so it's important to identify other methods and means to identify featured snippet opportunities.
Firstly you might be thinking, 'why should we bother going after featured snippets?' Well, here's a few reasons courtesy of Ahrefs:
Results gaining position zero are enjoying massive CTRs, as high as 26%
12% of search results are now showing featured snippets (and this is going to grow)
A page can rank for more than one featured snippet (even thousands in some cases)
A site doesn't have to be at position 1 to gain a featured snippet, being in the top 10 is often enough
Featured snippets give your brand the opportunity to own specific consumer questions and long-tail queries
As shown in graphic below, over half of all snippets uncovered in the Ahrefs study receive few monthly searches. However, it's worth remembering from a strategic point of view, that featured snippets are your ideal opportunity to own a query or space in the mind of the user:
Okay sounds good, so why should I try this method?
It's totally free
It uses your site’s actual data (not a third party tool)
You can set this up in less than 5 minutes
You’ll unearth a bunch of queries within reach to attain a featured snippet
Sounds alright, doesn’t it? Here’s how to do it.
Getting set up with Data Studio & Search Console Connector
This method of identifying featured snippet opportunities involves you pulling query data directly from Search Console using the Google Data Studio connector so make sure you’ve hooked that up. If you're not sure how to do that, check out this post. Once you've connected Search Console, you'll want to:
Set up a table that uses your Search Console's 'Site Impression' as the data source
Scroll down in the right-hand panel and select ‘Query’ as your Dimension
Select your Metrics - for this process you'll want to use Clicks, Impressions, CTR and Average Position
Then finally, set up a table-level Filter that uses the Regex below to help you capture common questions likely to trigger featured snippets:
Once you’ve set up your Query Regex and applied it, you should have a table that’s showing you queries containing long-tail questions. It might contain queries that look something like this:
Next, make sure you sort your table to show Queries by Average Position in ascending order. Our goal in doing this is to identify Queries appearing within the top 10 positions as anything in this space is probably fair game to pursue for a featured snippet.
Next, copy and paste one of any queries you find that meet this criteria into Google and assess the SERP. When doing this, ask yourself:
Is the current featured snippet answering the question more concisely, or more accurately than we are?
Have they structured the content more effectively or efficiently than we have, e.g a table or bullet list perhaps?
Are there any other page level factors that make this a good, easy to understand result?
And finally (based on your answers to those questions), what can we do to restructure our content to try to attain that snippet?
A note about long-tail search volume
Here's an important caveat: you’re probably going to struggle to to get Search volume on these types of terms from traditional keyword tools, as they’re likely to be long-tail, and probably non-commercial. However, as mentioned previously, strategically speaking featured snippets represent a great opportunity to own a specific space related to your area of work.
Take your featured snippet analysis further with Data Studio
If you want to get more granular with your analysis, map out specific questions or issues you want your business to own, and go and create additional keyword filters to include the terms you want to target.
In practice, this means that alongside your “what, where, why, when, how" Regex you'll want to add another table Filter that looks for your target keyword (“exporting”, or “guitars” - whatever niche you want to understand more effectively) and go after.
You can get even smarter with your analysis by tracking featured snippet opportunities by region, device etc. by applying simple page level filters in Google Data Studio. Again, this is incredibly easy to set up, quick to compile, easy to analyse and updated often. And it’s free which is nice.
And there you go, that’s pretty much it. I’d love to hear your feedback if you happen to try this out for yourself, so give me a shout on here or Twitter at @anguscarbarns if you do.