Search engines have had to do a lot of adapting in recent years to keep up with the ever changing way users are searching. Search queries are longer, more specific, more conversational, and people want answers fast.
Enter featured snippets… the boxes of information that appear before the first organic search result, otherwise known as ‘position zero’. It’s essentially an instant answer, without us having to click through to a website and actively look for this information.
So why should the finance sector start optimising with featured snippets in mind? Recent research found that a huge 27% of finance related search queries brought up a snippet – more than any other industry analysed. Being such a complex industry, it’s no surprise that questions and answers make up a huge part of peoples search journey.
You may however be wondering what the benefit of a snippet is, if users don’t even need to click through to your website anymore? In fact, content with a featured snippet was found to get a 2x higher CTR. If you’ve answered the users initial query, they are more likely to click through to consume more information from your brand.
Econsultancy recently conducted comprehensive research into the finance sector, and the featured snippet opportunities surrounding it. Car insurance, broadband and savings accounts were the categories that came out on top in terms of delivering the most answerboxes, closely followed by mobile phones, energy and credit cards:
Featured snippets did however appear across all of the main financial areas, so if you’re not on the list, don’t assume they don’t apply to your niche.
Here’s a couple of other reasons why you’d be a fool not to explore this opportunity – and they really apply to all sectors.
The growth of voice search is another key reason why you should be considering featured snippets as part of your SEO strategy. When questions are asked through voice search, more often than not the information returned will be taken straight from an answer box.
Almost 25% of Brits make use of voice search several times a day, and by 2020 it’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be through voice.
The traditional organic listings are being pushed further and further down the SERPs – not only by the ever growing paid for ads, but by featured snippets and PAA boxes.
You don’t need to rank position 1 to have a chance of getting your answer featured; as long as you’re on page 1 and have optimised your content accordingly, you have every chance of winning this prime SERP real estate.
Google have also discussed the idea of showing more than one featured snippet in the future, to better help users locate information. It’s likely that we’ll soon be scrolling for a while before we get to your bog-standard position 1 listing…
Optimising for featured snippets – the basics
So how can companies in the finance sector start to optimise their content for the chance of being featured?
Step 1 is to identify the who, what, when, why and how search terms that relate directly to your industry. Have a quick Google and see which ones are delivering a snippet. That’s not to say that the ones that don’t won’t in the future, but you’ll begin to get an idea of the topics that provide instant answers.
The above is a very broad example – it’s unlikely that you’ll beat Money Saving Expert to the top spot for such a high volume term, but think about the niches within your industry and the long-tailed opportunities you can utilise within your content.
Step 2 is to then tailor your content accordingly. The obvious being to directly answer these questions within your content. Try to include the search term within your headings, keep it concise (they average between 45 and 53 words) and take inspiration from the snippets already won.
Finally, remember that your primary aim is still to drive productive traffic to your website.If possible, try to imply that you can help the user further should they click through to your site.
It seems featured snippets are here to stay, and their prominence within the finance sector is reason enough to begin seriously incorporating this into your 2019 SEO strategy. That’s where we can help – just give us a call.