Everyone dreams of seeing their name in big bright lights at some point in their life. The internet equivalent of this glitz and glamor means appearing at the top of search results. If you’re “famous” enough, Google will launch you into its next “snippet,” the eye-catching search result that adorns the top of a browser window. These coveted locations are a huge asset to any business, but you can’t buy them. So what is a “featured snippet“, and how do you get Cecille B. Google’s attention to repeat that all-important close-up? Here’s a breakdown of the relationship between snippets and law firm SEO:
Listing of law firms
The Google Marquee
A few years ago, Google noticed that users would often leave a search results page without lingering. The more time a user spends on a page, the more likely they are to see and interact with advertisements. People seemed to appear on the Google website, find what they wanted, and leave the stage left. The company viewed this turnstile traffic as undesirable for any media buyer. They aptly dubbed this phenomenon “bouncing”. In user’s defence, the search results page of yesteryear was less than inspiring, only highlighting paid ads and organic search results.
Google postulated that providing rich elements to the user via visually appealing content and factual information could keep them there longer and thwart massive bounce cases. So coders have gone back to their keyboards in an attempt to change the landscape of SEO optimization. The fruits of their labor became the featured snippet, and chances are you’ve come across one while browsing the internet. Featured snippets take up space above the fold, highlight premium content, and all other search results require the user to scroll down to see it.
Rest assured, you can handle the fact that the algorithm decides who gets a snippet. It is entirely out of your hands, and no amount of money will influence this fact. To further add to the mystery of the elusive snippet, only Google coders know how the algorithm evaluates a candidate. Some would say that even they couldn’t articulate the how and why of taking advantage of this prime SEO position. The complexity of featured snippets starts with the simple question of how well you can answer a question. If your answer to a specific question is better than everyone else’s and your website is getting a lot of traffic, you might find your law firm’s webpage has a featured snippet.
What does this mean for law firm SEO? Well, if it’s a Tuesday, let’s look at the tacos. How to make the best tacos? If your web page talks about what kind of protein to use, good cheeses, recipes for homemade salsa, guacamole, and handmade tortillas with all the toppings, this treasure trove of information is what experts think the robust algorithm wants to see. If your taco post gets a lot of attention, maybe even a viral share or a celebrity mention, Google wants to see it too. If you’re taking the featured snippets crown, don’t sleep because someone else is probably working to improve your response, top your web traffic, and dethrone your law firm.
Top of the world, mom!
Although a featured snippet can contain audio or video, let’s focus on the main source of featured snippets, a blog or article. Think of a question or topic and write the best answer you can. Whatever copy is read should be easy to consume and accurate. If the words are confusing, the post is confusing, or factually inaccurate, Google’s algorithm will flag it as a bad candidate for a snippet, and you’ll be back to the drawing board with your marketing team. One of the best ways to understand how far you are progressing is to look at the current champion in the featured snippet and try to emulate or improve on what they have done. If you can outpace their web traffic and provide exceptional information, you could outcompete them, and law firm SEO experts encourage this practice.
When writing the blog or article, choose your words carefully. Also, the structure of what you write means everything. Skillful use of headings and subheadings can help organize the webpage in a way that encourages Google’s algorithm to analyze the content and deem it worthy. Some things that potentially increase the value are a list of pros and cons, short questions and answers, data tables, graphs, etc. Of course, SEO keywords and interlinking terms with other articles of similar quality are also helpful. Anything you and your marketing team can do to bring maximum value to a user in a simplistic way will hopefully lead to your law firm’s name being seen in a starring role and clients clamoring for your autograph.
For a more in-depth look at SEO best practices, check out this free eBook: SEO for law firm websites.
Featured snippets were created by Google to give users a reason to linger on their search results page and see ads or interact with sponsored content. This method of search optimization aims to provide a user with so-called rich elements, which Google believes are an integral part of valuable experience and recurring business activity. Featured snippets appear above the fold on a search results page, highlight premium content, and most importantly, answer a specific question well. Another added benefit of being in a snippet is that the user has to scroll down to see all other search results. As enticing as this marketing opportunity may seem, your law firm cannot buy the right to appear in a snippet; Google’s algorithm decides who is worthy and who needs to put in more effort by reviewing webpage content for factual accuracy, quality and structure of writing, and consistent traffic flow. If you tick enough of these boxes, the benefits of being the title are yours. Everyone is just yesterday’s news.