Conquering Featured Snippet Optimization





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Conquering Featured Snippet Optimization

Conquering Featured Snippet Optimization

Imagine a world where your website sits atop Google’s search results, not just visible, but providing the definitive answer to a user’s query. That’s the power of Featured Snippets and Rich Results. As an SEO professional, I’ve made it my mission to unveil the secrets to crafting content that not only ranks high but also snags that coveted Featured Snippet spot, propelling your website to stratospheric heights.

It all started when I stumbled upon the thrill of jumping to the top of the page. The excitement was so great that it soon became my passion. But not everything in SEO is so simple (or stable). Soon, methods that had previously brought results were no longer working. With the competition growing increasingly competent and challenging, great results were becoming less frequent.

If, like me, you’ve reached that point — don’t worry! I’m here to share my method that I lovingly refer to as “Fast & Featured.” It all began with an unpretentious study of entities. I hadn’t read much on the topic, but what caught my attention was the understanding entities can offer into how search algorithms work.

Google’s definition of an entity is “a thing or concept that is singular, unique, well-defined and distinguishable.” But this definition is very broad, leading to even greater confusion. So, I crafted my own definition: an entity in SEO is everything definable, unique, and not limited to a specific shape, spelling, or image (e.g. mom, mother, mummy, and a picture of a mother all relate to the same entity).

I really like to make an association with the famous semiotic image, which illustrates entities very well. Here, we have three chairs: the physical chair, the representation of a chair, and the dictionary definition of what a chair is. All three refer to a single entity: the chair. What matters here is the essence, the content, and what lies behind it.

In the same way, this is how algorithms understand elements that exist on the web, overcoming restrictions of language, form, or representation — which results in huge improvements in the accuracy of the SERP results. So, what if I use this concept to understand which entities are most important in searches with featured snippets? With this knowledge, I’d have an in-depth understanding of what the ideal answers are, not just the ones I, totally biased, considered good.

It may seem a simple concept, but it’s like telling your SEO to focus on basic practices or understand the user’s intention. No matter how much you talk about it or how obvious it seems, people will still be reluctant to do it. The tendency is to look for more complicated or advanced hacks — but that’s not what we want here.

Our goal is to show how to associate a basic concept with a previously understood practice, making each step very clear, logical, and uncomplicated. Let’s get down to the method!

Step 1: Identify Your Opportunities

As mentioned, this method was developed to make achieving featured snippets more intelligent and strategic, so each of these seven steps is essential to increase your probability of success. As with any strategy, whether SEO, marketing, or across other areas, we must first understand the current context — what we have at the moment (and how it serves us) — to then determine our objectives, where we intend to catch up.

Using Moz’s Keyword Explorer, I compiled a list of searches for keywords that I rank in the top ten positions for, and noted which already have featured snippets. For even greater chances, I filtered for just the top three positions as well, since that’s where Google selects the featured snippet 70% of the time.

Step 2: Analyze the SERP

Now that you’ve managed to create a respectable list, it’s time to select your priorities. Again, keywords with higher positions and more traffic coverage are ideal. Start by accessing the SERP and identifying the following aspects:

  • Type of featured snippet (paragraph, list, or table)
  • Length of the snippet
  • Surrounding SERP features (related questions, people also ask, etc.)
  • Overall user intent behind the search

For the keyword “interactive ebook,” we find a paragraph snippet. Below, the SERP presents PAAs on how to make interactive ebooks and the difference between digital books and ebooks. Hang on to this info, as we’ll need it in the next step.

Step 3: Understand the Current Winner

In addition to the previous questions related to the SERP, the time has come to meet the current winner and understand what sets it apart from the rest. Identify:

  • The content source of the featured snippet
  • The position of the snippet within the source content
  • The overall quality and clarity of the snippet
  • How the snippet utilizes formatting and structure

In the example I presented, the competitor is Visme, the snippet was taken from the beginning of the second title, the definition is very objective, succinct, and logical, and takes advantage of the formats that make up an interactive ebook.

Step 4: Discover the Relevant Entities

This next step is the most important. I suggest that you write down the information somewhere. I usually use an online text counter, but feel free to do it on a spreadsheet or another platform. Whatever tool you use, first record the result of the snippet. Then, add another definition, if found on the SERP (could be a Google dictionary or Wikipedia definition), then finally add your current definition.

Now, the time has come to apply the concept of entities. We will focus on the first two definitions from the beginning of this post. Below, list the entities you found and how many times they appear in the text — which helps to indicate their relevance in context. You can use Google’s own NLP API demo tool or another tool, such as TextRazor, to help you identify it.

After you identify the entities and their level of relevance for the definitions you found (the snippet itself and another highlighted definition), see which entities are most repeated on both lists (if the SERP presents more than one definition) and the relationships established between them. Once you do that, you have the set of entities considered the most important for that Google search and can then avoid relying on “I prefer this” or “I think this word is better,” because it will be based on what the search engine understands to be the best.

Step 5: Craft Your Optimized Definition

Then, just like a puzzle, assemble these entities with your own text in an objective and easy to understand way. Ideally, your definition should be slightly shorter than the current one, making it as unbiased as possible — very important, especially for voice searches.

Step 6: Implement and Re-index

Finally, insert your updated paragraph into your text, making sure it fits with the rest of the content, and avoiding any breaks in the flow that could throw off your reader. After making these changes, the next step is to request that your page be re-indexed through Google Search Console. This action wasn’t possible until a few weeks ago, but Google announced on December 22, 2020 that “Request Indexing” is back to their tool.

Step 7: Monitor and Refine

Something went wrong? Check if your content as a whole relates to what is presented in the snippet text, and make the necessary adjustments or consider re-analyzing the entities to see if something important was left out. For some tests I’ve carried out, simply shortening the definition by two words was enough for Google to accept my definition and not a competitor’s.

In addition, there are cases of reaching the snippet, but then quickly losing it. While this can be very frustrating, it’s a sign that you are on the right track. Several factors can influence this, such as your text not being attractive enough or sounding confusing. When this happens, keep trying and update your definition from time to time (at two-week intervals), to continue increasing the chance that you show up on the snippet.

Here at MCR SEO, we’ve had great success using this method. Just take a look at some of the Featured Snippets we’ve conquered:


So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the world of entities and conquer those coveted Featured Snippets! Remember, it may not be easy, but with a clear, logical, and uncomplicated approach, the sky’s the limit. Good luck, my fellow SEO warriors!

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