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11 Tips For Promoting Your Local Business On Instagram

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11 Tips For Promoting Your Local Business On Instagram

Instagram is perfect for your local business.

No, really.

I know what you’re thinking, “How could a social media platform full of funny cat videos, posts from influencers, and pictures of food help you land more customers and make more sales?”

Believe it or not, there’s actually a whole lot more to Instagram than just fun pictures and videos.

It’s also increasingly becoming a marketplace, with a full 70% of shoppers looking on Instagram for their next purchase. And 50% report being more interested in a brand when they see ads for it there.

Now consider that there are 1.13 billion people using the platform, with more joining every day. That’s a whole lot of potential customers, which explains why there are more than 200 million businesses on Instagram.

But becoming Insta-famous is more than just creating an account and posting product shots. There’s an art to cultivating a following for your local business. And you’re in the right spot to learn how.

In this guide, you’ll learn 11 tips that you can use on Instagram to reach a wider audience, generate engagement, promote your local business, and generate sales.

1. Participate, Participate, Participate

Before anything else, Instagram, like any social media platform, is a community.

And just like your business is a valuable part of your local community, you also want to show that you’re a reputable and valuable member of the Instagram community.

This will help you earn followers eager to engage with your content.

But posting great images or videos is not enough!

To establish your reputation in the Instagram community, you want to create relationships with influencers and other brands (even direct competitors) and join the conversations they’re starting. Interact with the content they’re producing and engage with other Instagram users.

You must spend engagement to make engagement.

And when your followers create a conversation in the comment section of your posts, actively join those talks and respond to questions, concerns, praise, and other sentiments.

This is also a great chance to address any potential negative experiences, get out in front of bad publicity, and show your followers that their opinions matter to you.

2. Strengthen Your Instagram Community By Reposting Local Content

You can enhance your business’s reputation on Instagram and in your local community by regularly reposting content published by your local followers, other businesses in your area, and local celebrities.

Not only will the content creator feel great that their content is being featured by your business, but other followers will take notice.

They may mention your “shout out” on their Instagram page, which will help you reach their followers and even more people in your local community. Win, win!

When you share content created by real people, it makes your brand seem more approachable and human.

In other words, your company begins to feel like a friendly neighbor, instead of a business after sales.

This strategy is not only effective at creating a stronger reputation in the community, but it also saves you a lot of time creating original, unique content.

Just be sure to ask first and tag the user’s Instagram account.

3. Maintain A Consistent Brand Identity

Your business Instagram account is just another extension of your brand.

While Instagram is a unique platform that can (and should be) used to achieve different objectives from other touchpoints, even your other social media accounts, you need to keep a sense of consistency across all platforms, especially in terms of the tone and personality set by your brand.

Many customers follow your brand across several, if not all, of these different channels.

If your Instagram persona is dissimilar from the tone set by your website, Facebook page, or your in-store employees, you run a strong risk of confusing your customers.

That means your customer interactions on Instagram and the tone you set in the captions of your posts need to align with how it really feels to visit your business in person.

Otherwise, you may have customers walking in expecting the jovial, upbeat business they met on Instagram, only to be underwhelmed.

This creates a disruption in their customer journey and may disenchant them all together.

4. Avoid Blanket Posting

While the tone and persona behind your posts need to remain consistent across different channels, too much similarity can be damaging.

You have to carefully navigate the space between remaining consistent and posting unique content, without blanket posting, that is, using the exact same message and content across different social media platforms.

The danger of blanket posting is that customers who follow you across multiple social media channels are going to see the exact same message multiple times.

After the first time, it stops being engaging and starts being disruptive. Remember, every channel is different and should be treated as such.

That said, there are times when blanket posting is acceptable, like when your business is hosting a local event or releasing new products and you want as many people to hear about this news/event/product(s) as possible.

However, you still want to be sure that you’re cross-promoting responsibly.

Responsible cross-promoting isn’t just copying and pasting your efforts from one platform to the next, but using each channel appropriately to promote the same cause.

5. Demonstrate Your Local Lifestyle

Your business’s local lifestyle can best be described as the life a customer leads after they’ve purchased your products.

Because Instagram is such a visual social media platform, it‘s the perfect channel to demonstrate what your brand’s local lifestyle looks like.

Incorporate pictures of your products in action to let customers envision living that lifestyle.

This strengthens your overall brand value and encourages those customers to make a purchase.

When creating images or videos that demonstrate the local lifestyle offered by your products, you should always aim to incorporate popular landmarks in your town.

Not only are these places recognizable and familiar, but they will help complete the customer’s vision of your products in their life, especially if you use landmarks they frequently visit.

6. Go With The Trends

Holidays can always be counted on to become a trending topic and businesses have long taken advantage of these days to engage customers with holiday-themed messages.

But there are a lot of other popular topics you can leverage to create compelling Instagram content.

This is a great way to garner some local attention while posting content that is relevant and interesting to your local followers.

To find trending hashtags in your area, you want to pay attention to the news, local events, and community-specific holidays.

That’s why it’s smart to follow other businesses, local celebrities, and other community thought leaders because you can look at their Instagram for inspiration on trending and local keywords to use.

However, there is a dark side to leveraging trending topics. Some brands push the envelope and try to hijack topics that are better left alone.

For example, if a tragic event occurs, you want to avoid it. Otherwise, it may appear like you’re trying to capitalize on the misfortune of others.

Controversial topics are another sore spot for many people, and you’ll do less harm to just ignore them. Things like politics, religion, or other controversial topics are a no-no!

7. Focus On Localized Hashtags

Speaking of hashtags, there are a lot of parallels between hashtags and SEO keywords.

To optimize the local reach of your Instagram page, you need to focus on localized hashtags.

This allows people in your area to find your posts and your business through area-specific hashtags.

Instead of slapping a generic #nature on your outdoor photo’s caption, use a hashtag that includes your location, like #NewportNature.

It’s also good practice to include hashtags that include your area and the type of business you run. Again, hashtags are a lot like keywords.

If people are searching Instagram for a hairstylist in Chicago (and you happen to be a hairstylist in Chicago), you want your business’s Instagram content to appear in that search.

Thus, you would want to hashtag your content with tags like #ChicagoHairStylist, #ChicagoHair, or #ChicagoBeauty.

The challenge, in terms of localized hashtags, is knowing how local to get.

Do you focus on your specific town or entire state? Is it better to use a hashtag with just your town’s name, or is there more volume in the town and state? Maybe you should target within your specific neighborhood?

There’s no universal, correct answer to this question. It largely depends on how people search in your local area. You will need to do some research to determine the best local hashtags to use in your area.

You may find third-party tools, like Hashtagify or Focalmark useful, as they allow you to enter a keyword/hashtag and see other related words and phrases.

These tools are great for tracking the performance of various hashtags, while also gaining inspiration for new ones.

You can leverage these tools to find great local hashtags and better understand how people search in your area.

8. Include A Link In Your Bio

This may seem obvious, but it is an absolute necessity to link to your website on Instagram.

And your business page’s bio is the only space on Instagram that can include a link, so you must capitalize on it.

Without this link, followers won’t be able to convert by visiting your website, buying your products, or engaging with your brand elsewhere.

Wherever it is you want your followers to go after consuming your Instagram content, that link needs to be in your bio.

You may also want to include information about your other social media accounts, like your company’s Twitter handle.

And, as a local business, it’s also crucial to include your address, so followers know where to find you.

9. Create Professional, Creative Content

This may go without saying, but there are a lot of business pages on Instagram that routinely post images and videos that are of lower quality, blurry, or poorly composed.

If you want to gain a serious edge on Instagram, consider investing in a higher quality camera, rather than just using your smartphone.

You may even decide to invest in a professional photographer to help you create compelling pictures.

After all, Instagram is a visual platform, if you want to really excel at promoting your business in this environment, then you need to create the best visual content possible.

This is especially important if you’re sharing product pictures. You really want followers to see the item and be able to envision themselves using it (remember, local lifestyle).

If the picture is low quality, not only will they fail to do this, but they may be convinced that your products are poor quality, too.

10. Geotag Your Posts

This is another strategy that, while seeming obvious, is something a lot of local businesses forget to do.

If you want Instagram followers to discover and visit your local business, you need to tell them (and Instagram) where to find your business.

You can geotag individual posts with a location.

When users click that location link, they are brought to a map page within the app that shows them exactly where your business is. It also shows other content posted from this location.

However, you shouldn’t always geotag your exact business location.

If you post content about a landmark or specific area in your locale, geotagging that location can create some post variety and creates the opportunity for your content to be discovered by people that search those locations on Instagram.

This also helps demonstrate the sense that your business is an active participant in the community.

11. Track & Measure Your Efforts Constantly

Consumer attitudes and behaviors change and that means your Instagram followers are also going to change their preferences.

You should always be paying attention to the content that creates the most engagement and investigating why sudden spikes in likes, comments, and shares occurred.

When possible, ask people who visit your local business as a result of your Instagram efforts what drew them in. The insights they share with you will be invaluable.

Conclusion

And where Instagram really shines is in its ability to bring culture to life.

From shared stories to interactions in the comments section, it provides lots of opportunities for you to show off just what makes your business great.

Instagram gives businesses a ton of options for promoting themselves.

And, whether you’re relying on completely organic posting or you’re supplementing with paid ads, it gives you plenty of routes for people to discover and engage with you.

As the platform ramps up its branded content features and shopping features, this trend seems sure to continue. eMarketer predicts retail social commerce will be an $80 billion industry by 2025, so the sooner you get on board, the better.

But, as you navigate this exciting new world of expanded social media, don’t forget about your local market.

Keep your target audience in mind, pay attention to trends, and don’t be afraid to try something new.

Happy posting!

More Resources:


Featured Image: Bogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock

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SEO

All You Need to Know to Get Them

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All You Need to Know to Get Them

Do you want to jump to the first position in Google without building links or significantly updating your content? Featured snippets can help you with that.

Featured snippets are a special type of search result showing a quick answer to the search query at the top of Google’s results page. Google pulls this information from one of the top-ranking pages that then gets elevated to the top of the organic search results this way.

You may be wondering how that’s a good thing for the website that owns the featured snippet. Users see your content on the SERP, and that may mean losing clicks, right?

Well, yes and no. Check this example:

Featured snippet example

If this question were possible to answer thoroughly in a few sentences, most of us would be out of work. So while the snippet tells you the absolute basics, you still have to click to learn more.

That’s just one example. Featured snippets are one of the most prominent SERP features—and they’re evolving all the time.

Follow this guide to learn everything you need to know about featured snippets and what it takes to optimize for them. 

What types of featured snippets are there?

There are five types of featured snippets that Google shows depending on the intent behind the search query: 

  1. Paragraph
  2. Numbered list
  3. Bullet list
  4. Table
  5. Video

Let’s check an example for each type. 

1. Paragraph

Paragraph featured snippet

This one is a bit special because Google sometimes combines featured snippets with People Also Ask (PAA) boxes. You can see additional questions related to the search query there and click on them to see more information. That often comes from a different source than the featured snippet itself, as you can see in this case:

Featured snippet with PAA box

2. Numbered list

Numbered list featured snippet
This is an interesting case of a featured snippet where Google shows only the first point along with its own numbered list.

3. Bullet list

Bullet list featured snippet

4. Table

Table featured snippet

5. Video

Video featured snippet

It’s also important to note that there are other “snippet-like” results. You need to know about these to avoid any confusion:

Knowledge panel

Knowledge panel example

Knowledge card

Knowledge card example

Entity carousel

Entity carousel example

These three SERP features have one thing in common. They don’t pull answers from just one of the top-ranking search results, as they’re based on entities in the knowledge graph. While they may contain a link to the source of information (song lyrics, for example), it’s never in the form of a clickable title as we have in featured snippets.

How featured snippets influence search and SEO

Google introduced featured snippets in 2014, and I would say that they’re one of the most prominent SERP changes of the past decade. There are quite a few things that featured snippets changed for both users and SEOs.

Shortcut to the top organic position

If your content is ranking on the first SERP for a search query that shows a featured snippet, you can “win” that snippet and shortcut your way to the top position. Let’s break this down.

Our study found that featured snippets come from pages that already rank in the top 10. Moreover, the vast majority of featured snippets pages rank in the top five.

In conclusion, the higher your content ranks, the more likely it is to get a featured snippet.

Getting to the first SERP is a more manageable goal than ranking number #1 for a keyword. But if that keyword triggers a featured snippet, it makes the first position a bit more attainable.

Fewer clicks… sometimes

In the past, the page owning the featured snippet would also be listed in the standard “blue link” search results somewhere on the first SERP. But in January 2020, Google introduced featured snippet deduplication.

Once your page gets elevated to the featured snippet, you lose that “regular” search result.

Besides the little traffic losses back then, some people also think that featured snippets reduce clicks on the search results. After all, if the answer to the query is on the SERP, why would you click on a result?

While this is the case for some queries, it’s certainly not the case for them all. It depends on whether Google can provide a satisfactory answer in the snippet.

For example, take a look at the featured snippet for this query:

Featured snippet with a straightforward answer

The answer is right there for most people. And that’s why there’s only a 19% chance, on average, that the search for this query results in a click.

Example of a keyword with low Clicks Per Search

Now take a look at the snippet for “how does the stock market work”:

Featured snippet providing only a basic answer

Because it gives a basic answer to the question, most searchers will probably want to know more. 

That is most likely why, on average, 82% of searches for this query result in a click.

Example of a keyword with high Clicks Per Search

The takeaway here is that targeting keywords with a low number of Clicks Per Search (CPS) is rarely a good idea.

Pay attention to this when researching keywords in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

CPS column in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

Featured snippets as superb branding opportunities

Clicks aside, featured snippets are the first thing that users see in the search results if there are no search ads. They’re even more prominent on mobile devices where they’re often the only thing people initially see:

Featured snippet on mobile

This is a very compelling argument in favor of featured snippets.

Increasing your share of voice on the SERPs is arguably one of the most important SEO KPIs. That’s because brand-building is proven to be the primary driver of long-term growth.

The more your brand is visible on the SERPs for relevant topics, the more you will be associated as a market leader.

You can opt out of featured snippets (don’t do that, though)

Cyrus Shepard led the way in experimenting with opting out of featured snippets after the SERP deduplication and discovered that it led to a 12% traffic loss.

That said, if you still want to opt out of featured snippets, Google offers various ways to do that. Just be aware that both nosnippet robots meta tags methods also block your content from appearing in traditional “blue link” snippets. I don’t recommend using those because Google could then only use your hard-coded title tag and meta description.

So the best way to remove your page from appearing in featured snippets is to include max-snippet robots meta tag. This tag specifies the maximum number of characters Google can show in the text snippets.

And because featured snippets are longer than descriptions in regular snippets, you can set the character limit to the usual maximum length of descriptions. That’s around 160 characters.

You’ll just have to paste this code snippet into the <head> section of the page that you wish to remove from the featured snippets:

<meta name="robots" content="max-snippet:170">

While this method doesn’t guarantee not appearing in shorter featured snippets, it still outweighs the cons of using the more restrictive methods.

Recommendation

If you’re thinking of opting out, it pays to first check which position your page would rank for the keyword without owning the featured snippet.

For example, here’s a featured snippet that we own:

Featured snippet for the keyword "h1 tag"

If we appended “&num=9” to the URL, preferably in Incognito mode, we can see where we’d rank if we weren’t in the snippet:

Seeing the true position of the featured snippet page

In this case, if we decided to opt out, we would be in the second or third position—depending on the page that would take over the featured snippet (you’ll see how to do that too).

Being in lower positions and opting out can hurt your traffic. You’ve been warned. 

How to find and optimize featured snippets that you already own

Google Search Console doesn’t show any information regarding featured snippets. You’ll have to use third-party tools like Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to dig into them.

Let’s stick with Site Explorer. Paste in your site, then head to the Organic keywords report to see the keywords you rank for, then filter only for those where Google shows your page in the featured snippet:

Filtering for your own featured snippets

As you can see above, Ahrefs’ domain currently ranks for 1,042 keywords with featured snippets in the U.S. 

In the previous version of this article, I recommended filtering for keywords with the highest search volume and checking the most important featured snippets manually. That’s because Google sometimes pulls content that isn’t optimal, and you’d want these important featured snippets to be perfect.

However, Google is still improving. Now, I didn’t find a single keyword where I’d bother editing the section Google pulls it from.

While you may come across featured snippets that can do with a bit of polishing, I don’t recommend editing things unless Google pulls poorly formatted, misleading, or just plain wrong information.

It’s better to own an imperfect featured snippet than to risk losing it to a competitor by revising it.

How to get more featured snippets

Winning more featured snippets is a simple way to potentially increase organic traffic to your site. Below, we’ll discuss a few ways to do that.

Leverage content that you already have and rank for

Here, we’ll be looking at pages that already rank in the top 10 for a particular term yet don’t own the snippet. It’s possible to win the snippet just by making a few tweaks to your page.

How to find these opportunities? It’s easy.

Go to Site Explorer and filter keywords that trigger featured snippets where your website is ranking in positions #2–10.

Checking featured snippet opportunities

This is an easy way to filter out the vast majority if not all the featured snippets that you rank for, since they’re predominantly ranking at the first position. There are cases where they appear at lower positions, but it’s rare these days. In fact, all of our 1,042 featured snippets are ranking at the first position.

In other words, we now have a list of low-hanging opportunities to steal featured snippets from your competitors. Let’s get you prepared for the heist.

We need to prioritize. Stealing 7,064 featured snippets at once is mission impossible.

I reduced the list to just 21 keywords by prioritizing those with higher search volumes where we rank in positions #2–5.

Filtering down featured snippet opportunities

Now things look much more manageable.

The search volume filter is an obvious one, as there’s no point in targeting long-tail keywords at this point. Regarding the positions and referring back to our study, the probability of owning a featured snippet increases with your organic position for that search query.

Again, these filters will be different for you. However, if you don’t rank for a substantial number of keywords already, I’ll suggest focusing on creating more great content and building links.

So we’ve got the list. What’s the battle plan?

In our case, I’ll prioritize further by manually checking for keywords with solid business value. Let’s take a look at some of those keywords:

Keywords with good featured snippet opportunities

For example, the search query “most searched thing on google” at the top is less valuable for us than “seo content” at the bottom even though the first has twice the search volume. People who want to learn about creating search-optimized content are much more likely to become our customers one day.

Taking that “seo content” query into account, this is what I see:

Competing featured snippet example

First thing I’ll do here is to check whether our page even qualifies for the featured snippet at the moment. That can dictate how big of a change we need to make. You do that by excluding the domain that ranks for the current featured snippet using the - search operator.

Checking the featured snippet queue

In this case, there’s no other page in the featured snippet “queue,” which is an indicator that we currently don’t provide a good, short answer to the search query in the eyes of Google.

Just so you know, here’s an example of a featured snippet that has other eligible pages in line:

Example of a featured snippet with a queue

After excluding the Coursera domain, we can see what Google considers as the second-best option:

Second featured snippet in line

And you can go on to even see the third domain in line, and so on. But back to optimizing for the “seo content” featured snippet.

Competing featured snippet

We can clearly tell that a short, definition-style paragraph is the way to go here. Let’s check what we have in our content:

Featured snippet content section to be optimized

So the appropriate section exists; that’s a check. An interesting thing here is that Google ranks a page that targets the keyword in reverse order. Let’s see if other pages qualified for ranking there in the past by opening that keyword in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and scrolling down to the Position history:

Position history in Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer

I only filtered for URLs that had the featured snippet at one point in the past two years. We can see that the rest targets “seo content” in the original order, and Backlinko claimed the first position for a long time. But we need to check whether Google was even showing the featured snippet back then.

You do that by scrolling further down in Keywords Explorer to the SERP overview. Select a date where you want to investigate the SERP for comparison. In this case, I need any SERP between July and September 2021:

Historical SERP overview for the keyword "seo content"

There it is: The featured snippet was there, claimed by another page. The last thing I need here is to check the section that was ranking back then by opening the URL on Archive.org after clicking on the caret:

Checking a page on Archive.org

And selecting a screenshot of that page during the time it was ranking for the featured snippet:

Historically ranking featured snippet section

We see three rather different definitions. There’s definitely room for the featured snippet optimization. I’d make our definition a bit longer, change the second sentence, and fit in the mention of keywords because I think that’s important. I’d change it from:

SEO content is content designed to rank in search engines. It could be a blog post, product or landing page, interactive tool, or something else.

To something like this:

SEO content is content designed to rank high in search engines for a specific keyword. Creating it requires researching and covering what searchers would find valuable.

I can honestly say that I feel this definition is superior to the competing ones. That should be your ultimate goal when it comes to optimizing for featured snippets regardless of the format.

This was quite an interesting example. One last thing to note here is that your snippet-worthy information needs to be formatted in a way that Google can easily parse, understand, and interpret. A good rule of thumb is that if the reader comes across that information easily, then Google should be able to as well.

Create new content with featured snippets in mind

Let’s make one thing clear from the start: Scoring a featured snippet should be just the icing on the cake, not the main purpose of why and how you cover a certain topic.

The prerequisite for winning the featured snippet is ranking well, so that should still be the focus. For this reason, I investigate potential featured snippet opportunities only after selecting a topic.

Since the major factor of being successful in SEO is aligning with the search intent, you should always analyze the competing pages on the SERP. Let’s take our main topic here as an example because it doesn’t get better than optimizing content to win featured snippets for “featured snippets” keywords.

I have my “featured snippets” topic, and you should select yours based on your keyword research. Look it up in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and scroll down to the SERP overview:

SERP overview for the keyword "featured snippet"

I see that the main keyword triggers a featured snippet, so I’m in the difficult position of trying to dethrone Google there:

Featured snippet for the keyword "featured snippets"

Honestly, this is a case of a bad featured snippet. It doesn’t really provide value to the searcher. I don’t learn what it is or how it works. Google has a clear advantage of coining the term, so it’s kind of a branded search. But I’ll try my best to create a definition-type paragraph that I think searchers likely want to see.

We already went through the process of creating content for the “seo content” featured snippet, so this is just a rinse-and-repeat process—provide the best answer possible using a suitable format.

Since pages can rank for thousands of keywords, there are naturally many more featured snippet opportunities than just the one for the main keyword. The easiest way to check these is to click through a few top-ranking pages to see all the keywords they rank for: 

Checking organic keywords of the top-ranking page

And filter the report for keywords that trigger featured snippets and have a certain minimum search volume to make it worthwhile (as we’ve already shown earlier). I also included a “1–20” Position filter to make the list as relevant as possible:

Checking other featured snippets opportunities

Some of those keywords will be almost the same, having the same search intent and featured snippet. I don’t need to check the featured snippets for keywords like “snippet google” or “what is a featured snippet” because the answer and optimizing your content for them remain the same.

We’re looking for keywords that can trigger different featured snippets and are aligned with sections we cover in the article. There are a bunch of these opportunities around optimizing and getting featured snippets:

Other featured snippet opportunities

Look them up and see what Google shows there:

Featured snippet for the keyword "how to get featured snippet"

So if I want to have a chance to rank for this, I should include a straight-to-the-point paragraph on how to get a featured snippet instead of explaining the whole process across many pages. This looks like something that can fit nicely into the “Final thoughts” section to sum it up, so I’ll do that.

And since different pages rank for different keywords, it pays off to repeat this process for one to two more top-ranking pages. I found that I should also optimize for the “types of featured snippets” keyword here.

Even if you don’t end up winning the featured snippets, we’re still trying to answer searchers’ questions in the best way possible. That in itself is critical to your content’s success on the SERPs.

Here are a few copywriting tips for winning featured snippets to wrap this section up. You should:

  1. Format and structure your content correctly (H1–H6, etc.).
  2. Try to avoid overcomplicated sentences. Succinct explanations win.
  3. Use the language of your audience. In the end, Google uses featured snippets as answers in voice search.
  4. Use the ”inverted pyramid” method (where it makes sense).

pro tip

If your content includes sections that contain a sequence of steps to achieve a certain result or you have FAQ sections, use appropriate schema markup to highlight these structured sections for Google.

First, it’s a good idea to do so regardless of featured snippets because it can enhance your plain search result into a rich snippet. But I’ve also seen such pages dominate the combined featured snippets with PAA boxes where everything was from a single source. 

How to keep track of your featured snippets

Getting a featured snippet is equal to ranking first for a keyword. You may already be tracking keyword ranking positions, so let me help you expand it to tracking featured snippets.

Enter Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker.

First of all, I track all important keywords regardless of their SERP features. But we can begin by adding the most important keywords that also trigger featured snippets.

You can do that in a few clicks through the Organic keywords report we’ve already shown multiple times here. You just have to create a Rank Tracking project first for it to appear here:

Adding keywords triggering featured snippets to Ahrefs' Rank Tracker

You’re all set to see when you win or lose a featured snippet. Go to the Rank Tracker’s Overview report, click on the “SERP features” tab, and check the “Featured snippet” row:

Checking SERP featured in Rank Tracker

As you can see, from the keywords I’m tracking, the project lost eight featured snippets, while 12 new ones appeared on the SERP over the tracked time period (last 30 days). 

Here are the key parts to keep an eye on:

  1. Number of featured snippets you currently own (plus the +/- change in the selected period)
  2. Number of featured snippets in total for the keywords you’re tracking (plus the +/- change for the period)
  3. Percentage of all the featured snippets among the tracked keywords that you own (9%, in this example)

You can also change the view from “all tracked features” to “featured snippets” to see your progress over time:

Progress of featured snippets in Rank Tracker

To delve deeper into the specifics on the keyword level, select the “Featured snippet” filter:

Filtering for keywords that only trigger featured snippets

And scroll down to the keywords list to see the time comparison data (30 days, in this example):

Featured snippet changes over the past 30 days

We can see that the top keyword is among our new featured snippets. But it is more helpful to isolate the featured snippet movements only.

To isolate the winning cases, we’ll need to apply two filters:

  • Position – Improved (you rank higher than at the start of your selected period).
  • SERP features – You rank for the featured snippet.
Filtering for won featured snippets

Again, scroll down and see the featured snippet winners of the month (or whatever period you choose):

Won featured snippets

To see lost featured snippets, just apply reverse filters -> decline in positions in the top 10 and only show featured snippets that you don’t own. Unfortunately, you can’t currently isolate cases where you lost the snippet, so you’ll see all declines in the top 10.

Look for keywords that dropped from the first position, like these first two:

Lost featured snippets

You may want to consider checking the position drops regardless of featured snippets anyway. Sort the table by traffic and pay attention to huge traffic drops. 

Final thoughts

You should now know everything necessary to win those coveted SERP jumps to the first position. To sum it up:

Optimizing for featured snippets is about providing a brief and valuable answer to the search query in the most suitable format. Getting the featured snippet involves following all the best SEO practices to make the content rank well for the target keyword.

If you have any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to ping me on Twitter.



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Google CEO Confirms AI Features Coming To Search “Soon”

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Google CEO Confirms AI Features Coming To Search "Soon"

Google announced today that it will soon be rolling out AI-powered features in its search results, providing users with a new, more intuitive way to navigate and understand the web.

These new AI features will help users quickly understand the big picture and learn more about a topic by distilling complex information into easy-to-digest formats.

Google has a long history of using AI to improve its search results for billions of people.

The company’s latest AI technologies, such as LaMDA, PaLM, Imagen, and MusicLM, provide users with entirely new ways to engage with information.

Google is working to bring these latest advancements into its products, starting with search.

Statement From Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, released a statement on Twitter about a conversational AI service that will be available in the coming weeks.

Bard, powered by LaMDA, is Google’s new language model for dialogue applications.

According to Pichai, Bard, which leverages Google’s vast intelligence and knowledge base, can deliver accurate and high-quality answers:

“In 2021, we shared next-gen language + conversation capabilities powered by our Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). Coming soon: Bard, a new experimental conversational #GoogleAI service powered by LaMDA.

Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Today we’re opening Bard up to trusted external testers.

We’ll combine their feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet our high bar for quality, safety, and groundedness and we will make it more widely available in coming weeks. It’s early, we will launch, iterate and make it better.”

In Summary

Increasingly, people are turning to Google for deeper insights and understanding.

With the help of AI, Google can consolidate insights for questions where there is no one correct answer, making it easier for people to get to the core of what they are searching for.

In addition to the AI features being rolled out in search, Google is also introducing a new experimental conversational AI service called Bard. Powered by LaMDA, Bard will use Google’s vast intelligence and knowledge base to deliver accurate and high-quality answers to users.

Google continues demonstrating its commitment to making search more intuitive and effective for users. As Pichai said in his statement, the company will continue to launch, iterate, and improve these new offerings in the coming weeks and months.

Source: Google



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Google Updates Structured Data Guidance To Clarify Supported Formats

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Google Updates Structured Data Guidance To Clarify Supported Formats

Google updated the structured data guidance to better emphasize that all three structured data formats are acceptable to Google and also explain why JSON-LD is is recommended.

The updated Search Central page that was updated is the Supported Formats section of the Introduction to structured data markup in Google Search webpage.

The most important changes were to add a new section title (Supported Formats), and to expand that section with an explanation of supported structured data formats.

Three Structured Data Formats

Google supports three structured data formats.

  1. JSON-LD
  2. Microdata
  3. RDFa

But only one of the above formats, JSON-LD, is recommended.

According to the documentation, the other two formats (Microdata and RDFa) are still fine to use. The update to the documentation explains why JSON-LD is recommended.

Google also made a minor change to a title of a preceding section to reflect that the section addresses structured data vocabulary

The original section title, Structured data format, is now Structured data vocabulary and format.

Google added a section title the section that offers guidance on Google’s preferred structured data format.

This is also the section with the most additional text added to it.

New Supported Formats Section Title

The updated content explains why Google prefers the JSON-LD structured data format, while confirming that the other two formats are acceptable.

Previously this section contained just two sentences:

“Google Search supports structured data in the following formats, unless documented otherwise:

Google recommends using JSON-LD for structured data whenever possible.”

The updated section now has the following content:

“Google Search supports structured data in the following formats, unless documented otherwise.

In general, we recommend using a format that’s easiest for you to implement and maintain (in most cases, that’s JSON-LD); all 3 formats are equally fine for Google, as long as the markup is valid and properly implemented per the feature’s documentation.

In general, Google recommends using JSON-LD for structured data if your site’s setup allows it, as it’s the easiest solution for website owners to implement and maintain at scale (in other words, less prone to user errors).”

Structured Data Formats

JSON-LD is arguably the easiest structured data format to implement, the easiest to scale, and the most straightforward to edit.

Most, if not all, WordPress SEO and structured data plugins output JSON-LD structured data.

Nevertheless, it’s a useful update to Google’s structured data guidance in order to make it clear that all three formats are still supported.

Google’s documentation on the change can be read here.

Featured image by Shutterstock/Olena Zaskochenko



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