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How to Optimize for the Featured Snippet

How to Optimize for the Featured Snippet

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optimize featured snippet

The Featured Snippet on Google’s SERP (search engine results page), often referred to as position #0, is the new #1 slot. Millions of Google searches return results with a Featured Snippet on the SERP, which means that it’s something you should aim for in your SEO strategy. But how do you properly optimize your content for the Featured Snippet?

How Does Keyword Research Impact the Featured Snippet?

Keyword research is important in SEO for a variety of reasons, but it’s also vital to ranking as the Featured Snippet. Keyword research is how you discover where your Featured Snippet opportunities are. The goal is to find out which keyword searches have a Featured Snippet in the results. Keywords that don’t return a Featured Snippet shouldn’t be abandoned, however, as you can still aim for the #1 spot.

How High Do You Have to Rank to Get the Featured Snippet?

Featured Snippets are pulled from the top ten search results. If you’re not on the first page of the SERP, then you won’t have a shot at getting the Featured Snippet. To start, you can focus on trying to get the Featured Snippet with keywords you already rank highly on. For other keywords, you should focus first on getting onto the first page because you try going after the Featured Snippet.

How Do I Write a Featured Snippet?

The Featured Snippet isn’t just your overall web page ranking highly. You can be the #1 result on the SERP and still not be the Featured Snippet. Your page needs to have what is called snippet bait. Snippet bait is a paragraph, table, or list formatted for being the Featured Snippet. Take a look at the existing Featured Snippets for your target keywords. You can use these for inspiration when it comes to the size and type of content that looks good as a Featured Snippet.

What Is Snippet Bait?

Snippet bait is a paragraph, list, or table that’s designed to be a Featured Snippet. To create one, create a subheader on your page that is a question that includes the keywords you’re targeting. Then, in the paragraph below the header, answer that question as concisely as you can. Snippet bait should be a part of a larger web page rather than a web page on its own. One webpage can actually have multiple snippet baits so long as they fit well with the overall topic of the page.

How Does Google Choose the Featured Snippet?

There isn’t someone working for Google whose job is to read through all of the contenders and choose the perfect Featured Snippet. Instead, Featured Snippets are chosen automatically by Google’s algorithm. Typically, the algorithm is looking for a specific answer to a particular query. For example, if the search query is a question, the Featured Snippet would be a concise paragraph, list, or table that accurately answered that question. For this reason, you should look for opportunities to answer questions that include your target keywords.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

Google Passages and How They Impact SEO

Google Passages and How They Impact SEO

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Google Passages
In October of 2020, Google announced that it would be releasing Passages, a new feature that allows Google to rank specific sections, or passages, of a web page rather than the web page as a whole. What this means for websites is that you may actually have more opportunities for the same page to rank on the SERP rather than just one for the whole page.

How Does Google Passages Work?

If a user has a very specific search query, sometimes an entire web page doesn’t fully answer that user’s question. Instead of having to recommend a page to a user that the user then has to scroll through to try to find the answer themselves, Google instead shares the most relevant passage within that web page as the search result to the user. It’s similar to a Featured Snippet in that just a snippet of text is shown, but that snippet is the search result. For users, this means more results that are more specific to their search.

How Does Google Passages Change SEO?

The short answer is that it doesn’t. Google still ranks your page as a whole. The addition of Google Passages gives each page more opportunities to rank because each section of the page can also rank independently of the page as a whole even while the entire page is also ranked. Backlinks, keywords, on-page SEO, UX signals, and all of the other factors Google takes into account in ranking pages still apply.

The only real difference for SEO is that every web page you have now has more opportunities to rank on Google’s SERP.

How Does Google Passages Change Website Content?

If you want to take advantage of the additional ranking opportunities offered by Google Passages, you should make sure that every web page on your site is well-organized. Google chooses the Passages to highlight on its own, but you can help to boost your rankings with Passages by properly organizing your content. 

How Do I Organize My Content for Passages?

Divide up your website content into discrete, definitive sections. Use subheaders to separate content and make it clear that each section is, in fact, separate from the others. Every section should be a subtopic of the overall web page. Because Google will still look at your webpage as a whole in addition to individual sections, all content should be relevant to the overall topic of the page.

How Long Should Content Be?

Google has already favored long-form content (3,000 words or more) over shorter content. Long-form content is more informative and is typically more helpful for users. On the SEO side of things, long-form content provided more opportunities for keywords and other on-site SEO features. The only downside was that shorter web pages that had a more focused topic would sometimes out-rank longer pages.

That changes with Passages, however. If your long-form content has a lot of sub-topics, even if the overall page isn’t as focused, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to rank for each sub-section of the page.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

Why Companies Still Need Blogs in 2021

Why Companies Still Need Blogs in 2021

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Why Companies Still Need Blogs in 2021
A lot of marketing trends point to social media and video content as the future of online marketing. Social media offers more opportunities for engagement with users and many people prefer to watch videos instead of reading. But that doesn’t mean you should stop blogging. Blogs are still an important part of your SEO and marketing strategy, even as social media and video content become increasingly popular.

Does Blogging Still Help With SEO?

One of the reasons to continue blogging is that it’s still a major part of SEO. Blogging helps with your SEO strategy and helps improve your rankings with Google in numerous ways. Social media and videos won’t help your search rankings in the same way that a blog can. But how does blogging help with SEO?

Blogging Keeps Your Website Active

Google likes to rank active websites more highly than websites that it thinks are inactive. But how do you keep your website active? By making regular changes to your site. Blogs are extremely useful for this because regularly posting can help Google to see that your site is active without having to make unnecessary changes to your actual web pages.

Blogging Helps With EAT

Google uses EAT (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) as a part of its algorithm to rank websites on the search results page. It’s not through social media posting that you establish your expertise in your industry. It’s through blogging. Blog posts allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and that you’re a source to be trusted. On top of that, your blog content can provide users with information that is useful to them.

Does Blogging Benefit Other Marketing Efforts?

Another benefit of blogging is that it can help other parts of your marketing and SEO strategies. Blogging provides ready content for posting on social media. You can also include blog content as part of an emailed newsletter. The blogs are fresh content for your users to read and the social media posts and newsletters can help get that content to your users.

Is Blogging Good for Keywords?

If there are keywords you want to rank well with on Google’s SERP, then blogs are a great way to include those keywords. Trying to include every keyword relevant to your company, products, and industry in your web pages may result in them being unreadable for users. But focusing on your primary keywords on your web pages and using blog posts as opportunities to add other keywords will help you rank for more keywords while still making your content the best possible for users.

Does Blogging Help With User Experience?

Google’s primary focus is user experience. All tweaks to their algorithm over the years have been with the purpose of improving user experience and rewarding websites that do the same. Blogging can help your users by providing them with information that they need to know. Blog content can be extremely useful for users by answering questions they may have about topics in your industry.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

Taking Your Website’s Temperature: The Vitals that Google Looks for to Measure User Experience

Taking Your Website’s Temperature: The Vitals that Google Looks for to Measure User Experience

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The Vitals that Google Looks for to Measure User Experience
User experience is very important to Google. Even from the earliest days of the company’s history, Google sought to improve user experience online. Its algorithm updates have all been to that effect, to stop website owners from manipulating the system at the expense of Internet users (so-called Black Hat SEO tactics).

 

Now, websites that offer a better user experience tend to rank higher than those that don’t. But how does Google know that users have a good experience on one website and a bad experience on another? What does it use to measure user experience?

What Are Google’s Core Web Vitals?

Just like humans have vital signs that provide signals to doctors about a patient’s well-being, so do websites. These Core Web Vitals are signals to Google that a website is offering a good user experience (or not). As of May 2021, these Core Web Vitals an official part of Google’s ranking factors, so it’s important for webmasters to pay attention to them.

These Core Web Vitals are:

  • Cumulative layout shift (CLS)
  • First input delay (FID)
  • Largest contentful paint (LCP)

What Is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)?

Cumulative layout shift (CLS) occurs when content on a webpage shifts position. It happens when the content of a webpage isn’t loading in a synchronized manner. CLS can also occur when new content is loaded on top of existing content. It’s annoying to users because they may lose their place while reading your content or because a link they were about to click on has moved.

What Is First Input Delay (FID)?

First Input Delay (FID), is a measure of how quickly your website responds to an action from a user. For example, if a user clicks on a link, FID measures how long it takes to load the page that link leads to. A good FID score is 100 milliseconds or fewer. If a web page takes a long time to process a user’s action, that user may leave the website.

What Is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is a metric that measures how long it takes for a webpage to load the largest object on the page. This largest object could be an image, a video, or a block of text. If this object takes a long time to load, a user can’t start enjoying the content on the page and may therefore click away.

What Other Vital Signals Does Google Use to Measure UX?

These three core vital signs aren’t the only signals Google looks for when it comes to measuring user experience. Google also looks for:

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe browsing (no malware)
  • HTTPS (not HTTP)
  • Lack of pop-ups

Google also measures your click-through and bounce rates. If there’s something not in either list above that affects user experience negatively, users will click off your site, increasing your bounce rate, which in turn negatively affects your SERP rankings. 

Think of your own experiences as a user on the Internet. Try to emulate websites that you liked, on which you easily found what you were looking for and where the content was informative. Try to avoid features that you found annoying or that made you want to click away.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021

SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021

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SEO Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021
SEO has changed a lot over the years. Google has made a multitude of updates to its core algorithm in an effort to improve user experience. In the early days of the Internet, many SEO techniques were used that are now considered “black hat.” Using these techniques back then could result in Google displaying your page higher than it truly warranted. Now, however, employing black hat SEO techniques to manipulate search rankings will actually result in Google punishing your web page and lowering your rankings instead.

While some black hat SEO techniques are obvious, others might not be. So in 2021, what SEO mistakes should you avoid making?

Why Is Keyword Stuffing Bad?

Keyword stuffing is the technique of using the same keyword as many times as possible within the same page. In the past, keyword stuffing would help your site rank better for searches containing those keywords. However, now, Google considers too many of the same keyword to be a bad user experience.

How Many Times Should I Use a Keyword?

Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. If the same word is repeatedly used and for no purpose other than to manipulate Google, it doesn’t make the content very enjoyable for the user to read. Your content should be for your users, not for Google. Use the keyword as many times as needed for the user’s benefit, and no more. Google can crawl your page for a specific search with just one instance of your keyword.

Why Should I Avoid Duplicate Content?

There are multiple problems with duplicate content. To start, having content that is too similar to other content you already have doesn’t make for a very good user experience. Users want new and interesting content. The same thing they’ve already read before doesn’t provide them with anything new.

The second problem is that Google will have to choose between the pages. Google won’t necessarily punish pages that contain duplicate content, but you’ll have to split potential results between the pages with duplicate content. Google won’t display both for a particular search, only the page that is considered most relevant to the search. This means that one page may be stealing views from the other. It’s better to combine what unique content exists between the duplicate pages and create one more thorough page.

Why Is EAT So Important?

The final major mistake that many make with SEO is ignoring EAT. EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trust

Having high-quality content is necessary for good SERP rankings, but it’s not the only major factor. EAT is about building a brand that is trustworthy. If users know they can trust in your expertise and know that you’re an authority on your particular subject, they’re more likely to not just stay on your site to read one page, but also be repeat visitors. Others web pages are more likely to contain links to your content.

More readers staying longer and more links to your site will help your Google rankings on their own. Google looks at these signals of a good user experience to influence your SERP rankings. The better you build your brand as an authority in your subject that readers can trust, the higher your rankings and the more visits you’ll receive.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

What’s New for Social Media in 2021?

What’s New for Social Media in 2021?

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What's New for Social Media in 2021?

The new year is upon us and for many, it isn’t a moment too soon. 2020 was a difficult year for both individuals and businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the coronavirus, many are looking forward to 2021 as a fresh start and a sign of hopefully better days to come.

COVID-19 had a major impact on social media. Social media usage had already been on the rise for several years before the pandemic began, but how people used social media changed. With stay-at-home orders issued across the world, social media usage increased even more as people turned to social media in order to keep in touch with each other.

Is Engagement Important in 2021?

The pandemic didn’t just change how much people used social media. It also changed how people used it. Companies rushed to take advantage of the increased usage and increase engagement, but this didn’t necessarily produce the desired results. The increased usage in social media was to keep in touch with individuals rather than seeking out brands. This means that during the pandemic, engagement wasn’t as important as content.

This trend looks like it will continue into 2021. The pandemic isn’t over yet. Audience social media energy is still going towards communicating with each other rather than engaging with businesses. That doesn’t mean social media marketing isn’t still worth the cost and effort, however. It just means that content is more important than engagement in 2021.

What Content Should You Focus on in 2021?

Even though users may not be as engaged as in the past, they still consume content, just on a more passive scale. What this means for a social media marketing strategy is that your content strategy is just that much more important. Users may not be commenting or liking as much, but they are still reading. If you’re using analytics, engagement may be down, but you can still look at which posts are reaching more people. These are the types of posts to focus on.

Content that your audience can identify with is key to a social media content strategy in 2021. This means that you’ll need to know who your audience is and what they like. Paying attention to the analytics to see which posts get the most views as well as analytics regarding information about your audience will be important to helping you figure out the best possible content strategy for the coming year.

Are There New Audiences You Should Cater to in 2021?

Traditionally, social media and technology are seen as the purview of younger generations. However, with the pandemic’s shutdowns sending more and more people to virtual forms of communication, more older consumers are turning to social media as well. It’s important to not count out older generations, such as Baby Boomers, as a part of your potential audience. Depending on your industry, your target audience may vary and it’s important to produce content catering to that demographic. However, the demographics that make up your target audience may have changed over the past year and into 2021 because of changes in who is using social media.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.