How to Find and Steal Google Featured Snippets [AMS-08]

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In today’s video, I’m going to show you how to find and steal featured snippets.
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In today’s video, I’m going to show you how to find and steal featured snippets. Stay tuned. [Music] Hey guys, it's Joshua Hardwick here from Ahrefs. Now, before we get to the tactics, let me take a moment to briefly explain what a featured snippet is and I think the best way to do this, is with a few examples. So if we Google something like “how to make pizza dough,” you'll see this “featured snippet” at the top of the search results. So, there's an answer to the query, in this case, it's an ordered list which shows you how to make pizza dough. And it gives you a step-by-step process for doing that. You’ll also notice that it pulls this information from a third-party website, in this instance, it's marthastewart.com. But “featured snippets” aren’t always displayed in this exact same way. For example if you Google “best coffee machine”, you'll see that it's an unordered list as opposed to an ordered list. And if you Google something like “what is Ahrefs”, you'll see that we've actually got a paragraph rather than any kind of list at all. So, the question is, what's the big deal with these featured snippets ? Like, why do we care about them? Well, a couple years ago, we performed a study. We analyzed 2 million featured snippets and we found that on average 8% of the clicks go to the featured snippet. So when someone Googles something, 8% of clicks actually end up going to this website, from which the featured snippet is pulled. So, in short: when you own a featured snippet, you get more traffic to your website. So then the question becomes: how do you find featured snippet opportunities and how do you steal them? In this video, I’m going to share three ways for doing that. And the first one is, find featured snippets that you already own, then make sure they’re optimized for maximum clicks. Now, this one might seem a bit weird because you already own the featured snippet. So you might be thinking like, why do we need to do anything? You’ve already got the featured snippet, so why is there any action required whatsoever? Well, to illustrate I'm going to use ambitiouskitchen.com and I'm going to go to Site Explorer, and I'm just going to search for that website. So then on the report, we want to go to the organic keywords report.
Now, if you're following along and you need to do this for your website.
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Now, if you're following along and you need to do this for your website, don't choose just a random website. So this shows you all of the keywords, for which this website or your website currently ranks. But you’ll also notice that there are a few filters that we can use to filter these results. And the one that we're going to use for this video is the “SERP features” option. So we're going to choose "featured snippet" and we're going to choose "Target domain must be featured." So this narrows down the results so that it shows only the keywords with featured snippets that you actually own. So if we just click apply on this, you'll see that we're left with just over, well almost 1,500 results. So, let's just check out this first one, “how to make buttermilk”, which gets 76,000 searches (estimated searches) every single month. So let's just check out the Google search results for that. And as you can see, there is a featured snippet and ambitious kitchen does own this featured snippet, but straight away, you'll notice a few problems. Number one, the featured snippet begins with a rather strange headline. We've got this , “an error occurred” headline which doesn’t really entice anyone to click this snippet in my opinion. And it doesn't really explain what the featured snippet shows you, which is how to make buttermilk. Number two: despite there already being these listed items, this numbered list, you can see that there's kind of this like this duplicated step items within these lists. So again, this doesn't really bode well and it doesn't really entice people to click this result in my opinion. So this could be better optimized. But how do you go about cleaning this up? Well, there are a few things you can do. Number one. You could remove any rogue HTML from this page. So, for example, what you would need to do here is remove these plain text step items from within the list items in the HTML. You could also just simplify the content. So you'll see that in this example, step number two is quite long and it's quite long winded and because of this it actually gets truncated, so it's cut off.
So a good option here would be to just simplify this within the actual content itself so that...
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So a good option here would be to just simplify this within the actual content itself so that the featured snippet pulls a more kind of simple step. And number three, make it more descriptive. So, as I said, we've got this error occurred option, headline rather, which doesn't really describe anything. So it would be much better if this said something like, you know, "here's how to make buttermilk." And then the steps below it. So in this video, I'm not going to go any deeper into these optimization strategies. But if you would like to learn more about doing this then , check out the full post on the Ahrefs blog where I go into more detail about all of these steps. So for now, let’s just move on to tactic number 2 which is finding "low-hanging" featured snippet opportunities that you don’t already own and then stealing them. In our study, we found that almost all featured snippets are owned by a page that already ranks in the top 10. For example, if we look at the term, “cauliflower pizza crust", you’ll see that the featured snippet is owned by a website called i-food-real.com And if you scroll down, you can also see that this website ranks in the top 10 in the regular organic search results. But what does this mean for you? Well, basically, it means that should you already rank in the top 10 for a particular term, yet you don’t currently own the snippet, then you could probably win that snippet just by making a few tweaks to your page. So what you need to do is this: You need to find all the search queries that have a featured snippet where your website currently ranks in the top 10. Again, this is quite easy to do with Ahrefs. So go back to the Organic Keywords report from earlier, but this time, instead of selecting the “target domain must be featured” option within the SERP features, choose the “all features" option. Then once you've clicked apply on that, add a positions filter, to show the keywords you rank for, in the top 10. So, we just need to select up until result number 10 there. What you’re seeing now, is all the queries you rank for in the top 10, which also show
A featured snippet in the results. But here’s the thing: because we selected that other option in the SERP features dropdown.
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a featured snippet in the results. But here’s the thing: because we selected that other option in the SERP features dropdown, you don’t necessarily own the snippet for these terms. Some of them will be owned by your competitors. So, if you remember, we already covered optimizing the content for snippets that you already own in the first part of this video, so this next step is to filter out all of the owned snippets so that you can see only the snippets that are owned by your competitors. Unfortunately right now, we don’t have this kind of functionality within Ahrefs itself, so what I've done is I’ve created a Google Sheet to automate this process for you which you can download from the full post on the Ahrefs blog. Just remember to actually make a copy of this Google sheet; that's file, make a copy and then save it on your Google Drive so that you can actually edit that Google sheet and do what you need to do with it. So once you’ve done that, go back to the Organic Keywords results within Ahrefs, and you want to export these results to a CSV file. Again, you can do a full export, you can do a partial export, or whatever you want to do. I'm just going to do 1,000 rows for now. So once that's done and you've downloaded that, what you need to do is upload this into the first sheet, the import tab within this Google Sheet. So just go to file, and then import. Whoops. Not open. You need to go to import and basically just select that file that you just downloaded, the CSV so I'll just drag that here. And once that's uploaded, you want to leave these settings exactly as they are only you want to change this first one, the "import location" to “append to current sheet”. So then just click import data. And you'll see that within a few second Google Sheets pulls in all of this data from that CSV. So now what you need to do is go to that second tab in this sheet, which is called “featured snippets that you don't own”, which as you probably might guess, basically just pulls out all of the featured snippets that you don't currently own from that CSV.
So now, you're seeing only the keywords that have featured snippets.
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So now, you're seeing only the keywords that have featured snippets, but you rank in the top 10, but you don't own that snippet. So now, it's just a case of trying to understand why you don't own these snippets and then doing everything in your power to actually win them. Again, if you want to learn more about how to do that, plus another quick hack which isn't included in this video then check out the full post on the Ahrefs blog where I go into a lot more detail about these tactics. But for now let’s move on to method number 3: finding terms with featured snippets, that your competitors rank for and then stealing them. So looking at the featured snippets that you already own and optimizing them and then looking for potentially “stealable” snippets for terms you already rank in the top 10 for, and then stealing them is a good start, but it can be somewhat limiting. In fact, there are probably a lot of other relevant search queries with featured snippets, that you don’t currently rank for at all. Not even in the top 10, not anywhere. And the thing is though, that your competitors might rank for these terms. And with Ahrefs, what you can do is research these competitors to find a ton more terms with featured snippets that might be worthwhile creating content for and trying to steal. So to do this, go to Keywords Explorer and enter a “seed keyword.” In this example, I'm just going to use the word "vegan" and then I'm going to hit search. Then you need to select a list of keyword suggestions from the left-hand menu. I recommend just starting with “phrase match.” And then finally, use the SERP features filter to filter for the keywords with featured snippets in the search results. So right away, we’ve found over 25,000 keywords. These are potential opportunities, of which one is the phrase, “vegan cheesecake.” So let’s use the SERP overview to see who owns this snippet. And you can see, straightaway that the owner of the snippet is minimalistbaker.com. So what I'm then going to do is I'm going to switch over to Site Explorer and I'm going
To enter Minimalist Baker into Site Explorer, just the domain, not the full URL.
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to enter Minimalist Baker into Site Explorer, just the domain, not the full URL. Just enter the domain and hit search. And then once again, we're going to go to the Organic Keywords report and filter for terms that show featured snippets. So SERP features, featured snippets, and all features. So instantly, we’re presented with another 284,000 keywords for which there's a featured snippet. And it’s then just a case of sifting through these keywords, and seeing if any of them are potentially “stealable" if you create some content or if you optimize existing content. Now, if you do have a lot of keywords in this report like I do, 280,000, you can't really go through all of these so I recommend just adding the traffic filter. Just enter 1,000 or whatever number seems appropriate for you. So before I wrap this up, I'm just going to tackle one extra quick tip, which is that you can actually take a big website, like Quora, and you can do the exact same thing. So if we go back to Site Explorer and we enter this time, quora.com, and then again, go back to the Organic Keywords report, you can then actually search this website for keywords that it ranks for that are related to your niche. So for example, we can just enter something like “recipe" in the search field and hit search. And then we're going to be narrowed down from 38 million keywords, which are probably going to be irrelevant for most of us, to just 25,000. So I've got a load of recipes, basically. And instantly, we can then find a ton more queries with featured snippets if we just add a featured snippet filter. So the amount of keywords that we actually end up with in this instance is around 20,000. So again, it's just a case of looking through these, figuring out if any of them are relevant, anything that pops out that you might want to create content around or potentially try to steal the featured snippet then you can actually try and do that.
So that’s it, guys for this video. Three methods for finding and stealing featured snippets.
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So that’s it, guys for this video. Three methods for finding and stealing featured snippets, which should send more traffic to your website. So, remember to check out the full post on the Ahrefs blog, where I go into more detail on all of these 3 methods. And, of course, if you enjoyed this video, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button because there’s plenty more where this came from. Cheers! [Music]

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