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How small businesses can optimise pages for Google snippets

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Getting featured at the top of a Google search can mainly be done one of three ways. By organic SEO, paid SEO or by Google snippet. Though the snippet is rarer and harder to get hold of, it can be extremely valuable for websites that find it difficult to rank with organic SEO. Where paid SEO costs money, the Google snippet is completely free. However, there are specific ways to make getting that elusive snippet a little more manageable, or more likely, but even with these handy hints and tips it might not be guaranteed. But, by formulating a page or two around these ideas, you may find your organic SEO pushing your rankings up as well. Read on to find out how small businesses can optimise pages for Google snippets.

What is a Google snippet?

The Google snippet is at the top of the first page, usually appearing when you ask Google a specific question. More often than not, a Google snippet will appear as the answer to whatever question is put into the search engine. Whether this is a diagram, bullet points, or a how-to list, Google will select the most appropriate and 'best' answer for the user. When it comes to writing a page for the snippet, you have to make sure to do it exactly the same way. Write is as an answer to a question. For example: 'How do I optimise my website?' as a title will naturally lead you to answering what you just asked in the text. But, it's not quite as simple as that. There are certain formats that Google prefers and that's what this article is here to help you with. And using those will help you to optimise pages for Google snippets.

Tables

Though they are the least likely elements to be chosen by Google for a snippet, tables are becoming more popular. Formatted correctly, tables will give more information than a paragraph, or a list. You will also be able to compare and contrast elements, as well as providing detailed information. Tables can really be a bonus for Google snippets and a lot of people don't think about using them. If it fits the kind of pages you're writing, it might be a good way to optimise pages for Google snippets. Getting a featured will boost your organic SEO too, with more people visiting your website.

Lists

An easier way to optimise pages for Google snippets is using a list. Often, lists will be easier for users to read and is something that will catch their eye. When it comes to creating a list with the intention of it being a snippet, there are a few ways to do it. There's the ordinary list, items numbered from one to however many elements you need. Then, there is the list with rules. Rule #1, Rule #2, etc. does not mean that rule #1 is more important than rule #2, whereas a numbered list may indicate a hierarchy or guide.

Paragraphs

The traditional way of both writing a page and optimising for a Google snippet. However, there are some things to remember about writing a simple paragraph. You must keep it between 40 and 50 words; you can go longer, but it decreases your chances. If you're going shorter, you might as well just turn it into a list, or few bullet points instead. Paragraphs tend to fare better as Google snippets (just think of all the snippets you've seen; most of them have been short answers to your question), as well as read better as a page on a website.

Of course, the really good way to optimise your content for Google snippets is to write your text as if it's answering a question someone might search. Adding words into text content is how you improve organic SEO, so it makes sense that adding the right kind of words will improve your chances of getting into a Google snippet as well. If you alter some of the text on your already existing pages, it may even result in the desired snippet result, but remember that you need to be answering a question.

What will having a Google snippet actually do for my website?

It may be an elusive beast, but optimising your site for Google snippets will bring more traffic to your site. There's no rule that a snippet needs to be taken from a site that is organically on the first page. However, getting that snippet will likely boost your click-through rate, thus pushing your site higher on Google's rankings. Obviously, if your topic is more obscure then you may have more luck with getting a snippet. Search for yourself. If you find something you do that no one else has a snippet for, give it a go! The worst that can happen is you don't get a Google snippet, but your website has a new page and you'll likely improve your organic SEO if you stick the right keywords in there.

What else can I do to optimise pages for Google snippets?

Sounding authoritative is key. If you don't look like you know what you're talking about, Google will see your page as a bit of a dud. You want to make sure you get your point across. Cut away the fat around your text to get to the nub of what you're trying to say.

Make sure that you utilise the h1, h2 and h3 tags appropriately. H1 for your main title, h2 for any steps (i.e. in a list), and h3 for the content.

At the end of the day, there's no guarantee in a Google snippet. You could pour your heart and soul into a page and get no snippets out of it. Or, you could write something without a snippet in mind and find it's the most popular answer. But, optimising a page with a snippet in mind will, most likely, increase your chances of getting that Golden Ticket. If it doesn't, that's okay. You'll likely have written a great page that will aid you in your organic SEO anyway.

So, really, it's a win-win situation, right?