The Power of “Is”: A Featured Snippet Case Study

The Power of "Is": A Featured Snippet Case Study

I’m not a literary scholar, but I think it was Hamlet that stated “to have a featured snippet or not to have a highlighted snippet?” At any time considering the fact that highlighted snippets came onto the scene, web pages have been seeking to secure them.

My team and I wished in on this craze. In the course of our journey of investigation, testing, failure, and achievements, we observed some interesting pieces of info that we wished to share with the neighborhood. I’ll wander you by means of what we did and display you some of our outcomes (nevertheless can not share site visitors quantities).

It was Britney Muller’s webinar on Element Snippet Necessities and the launch of the showcased snippets cheat sheet that inspired me to capture what we have learned.

What are showcased snippets?

A showcased snippet is the box that seems at the major of the lookup outcome site that supplies details to succinctly and accurately remedy your query and cites a web-site.

Why are highlighted snippets essential?

A showcased snippet is significant due to the fact it signifies an supplemental SERP feature that you can safe. Normally situated at the very prime of the benefits page, showcased snippets give you greater visibility to searchers and can increase brand name recognition.

Our showcased snippet system of assault

  1. Research, exploration, and far more investigation on how to pull this off
  2. Discover search phrases we wanted to concentrate on
  3. Adjust how we structured our on-web site articles
  4. Evaluate, test, and repeat the procedure

1. Research, research, and much more exploration

We used a great deal of time researching showcased snippets. We looked at various ways to locate highlighted snippet prospects and investigated how to improve our articles for them. We also went and observed Kellie Gibson converse on highlighted snippets volatility.

Did we apply almost everything from what we discovered during this discovery section into our highlighted snippet approach? No. Are we best at it now after a yr and a 50 % of working towards this? No, no, no. We are acquiring improved at it, however.

2. Discover key terms we required to focus on

We initially began out focusing on large “head” keywords. These represented terms that had indeterminate searcher intent. The to start with head phrase that we concentrated on was HRIS. It stands for Human Methods Information Technique — pretty, correct?

Note: Wanting back on this, I would like we had focused on extended tail key phrases when tests out this method. It can be possible we could have refined our process more quickly focusing on prolonged tail keyword phrases alternatively of the substantial head phrases.

3. Improve how we framework our on-website page material

We worked closely with our crafting team to update how we lay out written content on our weblog. We altered how we applied H2s, H3s (we truly utilized them now!), lists, and so on to aid make our content material simpler to read for both users and robots.

In most of the material in which we’re striving to rank for a showcased snippet, we have an H2 in the kind of a question. Immediately after the H2, we check out and respond to that problem. We’ve located this to be very effective (see shots later on on in the submit). I wish I could say that we uncovered this tactic on our 1st try out, but it took many months ahead of this dawned on us.

4. Measure, exam, and repeat

The first website put up that we experimented with this out on was our “What is an HRIS” report. Total, this article was a achievements, it ranked for the head term that we were likely for (HRIS), but we did not acquire a showcased snippet. We considered it a slight failure and went back to do the job.

This is where by the pleasurable began.

Featured snippet successes

We identified a featured snippet set off that we could capitalize on — primarily by incident. What was it?


Seriously. That was it. Just by adding that to some of our content, we commenced to decide on up featured snippets. We commenced to do it much more and much more, and we were being successful additional and a lot more highlighted snippets! I believe that it was this strategic HR example that clued us on to the “is” trigger.

So we kept it up.

Featured snippet won for "employee orientation"
Featured snippet won for "hr business partner"
Featured snippet won for "employee development plan"

What did we understand?

I want to preface this by saying that all of this is anecdotal evidence. We have not appeared at various million URLs, run it by way of any fancy range-crunching, or had a statistician look at the facts. These are just a handful of examples that we have observed that, when recurring, have worked for us.

  1. Blog/HR glossary – We found that it was simpler for us to gain showcased snippets from our web site or our glossary webpages. It appeared like no issue what optimizations that we produced on the item website page, we weren’t able to make it transpire.
  2. Is – No, not the clown from the Stephen King novel. “Is” seemed to be the big set off phrase for winning featured snippets. During our audit, we did come across some illustrations of list featured snippets, but the the greater part ended up paragraphs and the result in word was “is.”
  3. Definitions – We observed that definitions of the head time period we were being making an attempt to go for was commonly what bought the definition. Our on-page duplicate would have the H2 with the search term (e.g. What is Personnel Orientation?) and then the paragraph copy would answer that problem.
  4. Updating outdated posts – One particular surprising detail we realized is that when we went back again to old posts and tried using adding the “is” set off phrase, we didn’t see a modify — even if we additional a superior total of new information to the web page. We had been only ready to grab featured snippets with new material that we produced. Also, when we up to date huge quantities of content material on a couple of internet pages that had featured snippets, we missing them. We made certain to not touch the sections of the site that the snippet was pulling from, but we however shed the snippet (some have appear back, but some are nevertheless absent).


A several ultimate matters to notice:

  1. Initially, though these illustrations are anecdotal, I imagine that they display some tactics that any one wanting to seize highlighted snippets can do. 
  2. 2nd, this was method was about a 12–18 month interval and we’re continue to evolving what we consider is the most effective way for us and our information staff. 
  3. Third, we had a ton of failures with this. I confirmed you one illustration, but we’ve experienced several (quick-type information, very long-variety information, glossary phrases, web site posts, etc.) that did not work. We just saved measuring, testing, and optimizing. 
  4. Finally, I need to give a shout out to our creating crew. We massively disrupted their system with this and they have been phenomenal to function with (efficient interdepartmental interactions are vital for any Search engine optimisation project).

Enable me know what is actually worked for you or if you have any queries by leaving a comment down below.

Be aware: On January 23, 2020 Google announced that highlighted snippets would no lengthier be listed twice on the initially webpage. For more information and facts, you can look at out this thread from Google Search Liaison. This might change how important featured snippets are to corporations and the amount of clicks a listing gets. Before you start to worry, remember it will be important to watch and evaluate how this affects your internet site right before doing anything drastic. If you do decide to go nuclear and to take out your highlighted snippets from the results, check out this documentation.

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