You’ve seen them while searching, even if you didn’t know what they were at the time. The featured snippet—the coveted top position of organic search—can be yours, but should you care? Why do featured snippets matter for your dealership? There are a lot of reasons you should care, but first, we’ll go into detail and tell you what they are. After all, you can’t sell a car to someone who doesn’t know what a car is.
What is a Featured Snippet?
If you type a search into Google, you’ll see a lot of stuff come up. You will always see regular search results, but you may also see a few other things. You’re probably familiar with Google ads, those will show up right at or very near the top. Those are clearly marked with the Ad text in the upper left.
One of the other types of results you may find is called a featured snippet. These snippets are typically an answer to a question and they are full of information. In this one below you‘ll see a called out answer to the question, an image of the vehicle in question, a more contextualized answer to the question, and a source down at the bottom.
What Does Rank Position Mean in SEO?
Rank position refers to how results are laid out on a search engine results page or SERP. See, you’re already learning the lingo. Every search engine works a little bit differently, but for the purposes of this blog, and since featured snippets are ostensibly a Google creation, we will be talking about Google.
The top result is considered rank position 1, with the next being rank position 2, and so on down the page. Here’s the trick though, featured snippets always show up in the top position above the search results. Because of this, SEO experts often call a featured snippet rank position 0.
Why are Featured Snippets Worth Your Time?
If you are already here, then we likely don’t have to convince you that the amount of touchpoints for an automotive consumer has skyrocketed, and a vast majority of those touchpoints end up being online, but what types of pages are car shoppers landing on?
What Are People Searching for When Car Buying?
The first questions that a person searches when they begin their car-buying journey are not always easy to anticipate. They may search for the towing capacity of a particular truck or many trucks. Some might have questions about trim level, fuel economy, color options, and more.
Brand loyalty isn’t as strong as it once was either, so you will find people searching for comparison write-ups between two or more models. Often, the search for the right car, truck, or SUV can lead to dozens of searches even within a short period of time.
Get Searchers Off the OEM Sites
It’s easy to see that many of those searches would lead people straight to the OEM sites. Maybe you don’t think that’s a bad thing. After all, the OEMs are very good at representing their brand. That may be true, but they are not representing your brand.
Now, imagine a page on your site was one of the pages that they visited during that time. At that moment, you can control the messaging, not the OEM. Not only do you get to provide them with an answer, but you get to tell them about yourselves and possibly even direct them to inventory, pushing them past the research phase and straight into the buy phase.
Will a Featured Snippet Actually Drive People Onto Your Site?
This is a question that many SEO experts fretted over when featured snippets first rolled out nearly a decade ago. People are asking questions, and if the snippet is providing the answer, then why should the searcher ever click on the result in the first place? They already have what they need, don’t they?
Often they do not. Even a simple question like towing capacity yields a range of answers, to get more context to that answer, the searcher will have to click the featured snippet. In fact, the click-through rate or CTR on featured snippets is 8.6% with some snippets showing much higher results. Doesn’t sound like a lot? How about this, the average CTR on a rank position 1 ad is 2.1%. However, natural results can still earn a higher CTR percentage than featured snippets, but the flip side of that is all about real estate.
The featured snippet is large, coming in at about twice the size of a normal search result. This gives you an image (often the only image on a SERP), more text, and a link to an informative page on your site all right in front of the searcher’s face. You can’t pay for an ad this good, and it’s not an ad at all. It’s organic marketing.
Aren’t Featured Snippets Going to Rank Nationally Though?
Okay, you got us there. This is where many people fall off on the idea of earning a featured snippet, but we’d argue it comes from the wrong school of thought. If you’re paying for an ad as a dealership, you sure don’t want it to rank nationally. That’s a lot of clicks that you are paying for from people that will never step foot in your dealership. This isn’t an ad though. You are not paying for these clicks.
You’ll have to rank nationally to earn most snippets. So what? You’ll still also rank for the people that are searching for answers right next door. How powerful is that? Someone asks the whole digital world for an answer, and the answer they get is from their local dealership.
But wait, there’s more. Ranking nationally is a good thing, even for a local business. There’s a stigma around it because people like to see local traffic, but when you get a lot of national traffic, you gain domain authority, and when you have domain authority, it’s easier to rank for other topics. When it’s easier to rank for other topics, you will have a better chance of being the one to answer questions for car shoppers. If those car shoppers are local, it’s going to make a big impact during their car search. It’s good to have local content, but don’t shy away from national traffic.
How Do You Earn a Featured Snippet?
Featured snippets can be difficult to earn. Some of them might happen by accident, but they will rarely happen without a concerted effort to increase your digital presence and build your brand through content marketing. It will start with selecting a topic, and building the right page around that topic.
Selecting a Topic for a Featured Snippet
There are two approaches to selecting a featured snippet topic. One is to find a topic that already has a featured snippet—hopefully, one that doesn’t answer the question as well as it could have—and work to dethrone that snippet. The other approach is to find a topic that doesn’t have a featured snippet and try to build a page to answer that question. If there are other pages that answer that question already but haven’t earned the snippet then you may want to consider what they did wrong.
Building a Page for a Featured Snippet
Google loves quick and easy to parse information, and quick in the eyes of Google refers to the searcher. This means surfacing the appropriate numbers, breaking things out into lists or tables, and organizing it all in an easy-to-understand manner.
If you are searching for 2022 Kia Sorento trim levels, what kind of information would you be looking for. At the most basic level, you want a list of trims, probably sorted by MSRP. The best way to show that would be an unordered list, better known as a bulleted list. Let’s take it a step further. Why not include the MSRP as well?
We can still make that a list as you can see, and that will make for a good featured snippet, but does that really tell a searcher what they wanted to know? They probably wanted to know why they should buy one trim level over another. If you add in features, now you not only have an excuse to use a table, but you have a buying tool that people can actually use and a piece of content worthy of earning a featured snippet.
On top of that, you have presented Google with so much good information that the snippet cannot contain it all, so the searcher has to click “5 more rows” and be whisked away to your website.
What Happens When You Fail
When you are trying to earn those snippets you are going to fail sometimes. You may earn a featured snippet for several months only to lose it, or you may not earn them at all. Even with these losses, you will still have gained a lot. When you create pages to earn a featured snippet, you will be doing the research, following best practices, and creating engaging content.
Even if you never earn a featured snippet for this effort, the content you create along the way will earn you more traffic and increase your brand awareness. If you want to race in NASCAR, you have to race somewhere first, and even if you never make it to the big race, you’ll still become a better driver.
Earn Featured Snippets the Easy Way With Phantom Copy
At Phantom Copy, earning featured snippets has become a honed skill. We know the topics that will warrant a snippet, we know the formatting that allows us to get the snippet, and we know how to beat out the competition. Many website providers that offer content, build it just to build it. They build pages that are destined to be in the graveyard of Google search. With Phantom Copy, you can rise up from the digital graveyard and start providing the content that people actually search for.
You can search through our marketplace to buy a la carte content, ask us for something custom, or sign on for recurring content and start really upping your digital strategy.