In the first video of the On-Page Boot Camp series, A.J. Ghergich showed us how he uses SEMrush to find the most profitable keywords and use them for quick SEO wins. His step-by-step approach proved successful for his clients and is very easy to adopt.
In the second video, A.J. is going to reveal the secret of getting into the featured snippet — one of the most popular features on Google's first page of search results. — SEMrush Team.
Hey SEMrushers, A.J. Ghergich here, founder of Ghergich & Co. I am here for video number two in our series — Featured Snippets and You. My goal is to show you very quickly how I use SEMrush to find potential featured snippet targets very easily and go about earning them. And I am hopeful that some of you will be able to earn some featured snippets within a week and report back to us about your success. Let’s dive in.
Find the Opportunity
Alright, so let’s earn some featured snippets. The main thing you need to know about featured snippets is that you must rank in the top ten in order to earn a featured snippet.
Step 1. Check Your Organic Positions
So, what you are going to do, right off the bat, is head over to SEMrush and check your organic positions for your domain. In this case, we are using the example site energizer.com.
You can see they have 30,000 keywords, and of course, you want to filter that down. These are two simple filters that you’re going to want to use. The first is just telling SEMrush 'Only show me top ten keywords’, because, again, you have to be on the top ten to rank to earn a featured snippet.
And then, you are going to use one of my favorite filters — the SERP features filter, which is phenomenal. There are all kinds of awesome options you should play around with it for sure. But in this case, of course, we are just going to select ‘Featured snippet’.
When you apply that, what you are going to see is all these top ten rankings, where Google shows a featured snippet. What I am looking for is something I can to drill down into further, and you can see this kind of group: ‘recycle’, ‘how to recycle’, ‘where to recycle’, ‘when can I recycle’, etc. You can see that they rank great for 'recycling'.
Step 2. Find the Target Keywords
Once I find something like that, I head over to my new favorite tool, which is Keyword Magic. This Keyword Magic tool is phenomenal: You’re going to love it.
I entered in a seed keyword, which is ‘recycle batteries’, and leave it as a broad match, and that’s so I could get ‘batteries’ and ‘battery’ in the results. You can include keywords and exclude keywords. I find that very helpful for brands. And you can do all kinds of sorting. I did a little bit of sorting with volume, and a little bit with cost-per-click. And again, you are want to select ‘Featured snippet’.
What this is doing is kind of doubling down on this recycling category for us. These aren’t keywords that Energizer ranks for, necessarily, but this is kind of like all the keywords that SEMrush knows about, that are also displaying featured snippets that are related to ‘recycling batteries’. So it’s a really cool tool, and there are all kinds of fun ways that you can play with it.
In this case, let’s narrow this down to get really specific. I put in that it ‘has to include’ the keyword ‘how’ and we see ‘how to recycle batteries’, which would be a great search result.
Hey, sorry for the interruption! Future A.J. here. While I was recording this, SEMrush came out with some really cool new features around questions. This allows you to just tap a button and see all the questions that have featured snippets inside of that set you’re looking for. Very helpful, awesome little upgrade.
[Also, it would be remiss of me if I didn't tell you how that whole Donald Trump thing ended up. Essentially in the end what they found out was...]
So let’s go check that out. How to recycle batteries.
Yup. There is a featured snippet there. Unfortunately, Energizer doesn’t own it. But they are in a great position — they’re in position two. So they could earn this featured snippet and take it away from a competitor’s domain. That would be one that I would definitely put into the content calendar as a goal. Like, let’s earn this featured snippet.
Once I’ve decided that, and you can do this at scale as well. Once I’ve decided that, I have a very simple four-step process.
1. Reformat and Reoptimize Your Content
The four step process goes like this. Step one: You are going to reformat and reoptimize your content. A lot of you are SEOs, and there's been a million things written about how to reoptimize and get your content closer to the search intent, use more semantically related keywords. So I am not going to focus on that. What I am going to remind you to focus on is reformatting your content.
The thing to remember is that featured snippets (right now) come in four main formats. They come in lists, tables, paragraphs, and now video featured snippets. So, when you’re shaping your content, in this case, if I was going for ‘how to recycle batteries’, I would probably go for a list. So step one, do this, step two, do that. ‘How’ keywords do very well with lists. And so you want to think about format a lot more than you did in the past.
2. Submit Your Page to Google Index
Once you nail that, you’re going to do step two, which is simple. You go over the Search Console and you fetch your new page right after you’ve uploaded it, and you submit it to Google’s index. You don’t have to do this, but hey, I am impatient, I want them to know about it the second that it goes live, and this is the way to ensure that happens.
Alternatively, you can now simply go to Google, visit the “Submit to Google” page, and tell Google about your new or updated content without logging into Search Console.
3. Give It Some Time
I’ve seen people earn a feature snippet within hours. But you’ll see that... step three: I’d say wait at least a week. Not every time you do this, you know, you are going instantly get that gratification. fter a week, if you haven’t earned it, don’t just throw your hands up and go ‘well, I guess we can’t get that’. If you haven’t earned it after a week, simply repeat steps one through three until you earn it.
4. Repeat Steps 1 to 3 If Necessary
So, just re-tweak your optimization, maybe re-tweak your formatting, and go in a different direction, submit it back to Google. And sit back and wait. You can do this within your editorial calendar where you have all these featured snippet targets you’re kind of monitoring, tweaking, and earning over time.
Keep it Going!
Alright, so in our next video I am going to show you how to use the SEO Ideas Tool to generate tons of semantic keyword ideas, content optimization ideas, strategy ideas, and even technical SEO edits and ideas at scale, and really use it as a virtual assistant for your entire SEO operations.
In the meantime, pick out one featured snippet using SEMrush that you want to earn over the next week or so. Hit me up on Twitter — I am @SEO — and let me know if you’re successful.