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14 Essential Local SEO & Listing Management Tools

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14 Essential Local SEO & Listing Management Tools

Whether you operate locally or globally, a strong local SEO presence is key to driving more customers to your store, especially when your business has physical locations.

It may seem strange for brick-and-mortar stores to focus on developing their online presence until you realize that the majority of customers use the internet to learn about a company.

For instance, at the height of the pandemic in March 2020, more than 50% of shoppers searched online for open or closed stores.

Local SEO is now part of the “new normal.”

The good news is, there are local SEO tools you can use to help make keeping your business relevant and improving its visibility in organic and Map Pack results a lot more efficient.

Partner these with local listing management tools, and you’ll be ahead of the competition.

Local SEO tools help you:

  • Automate rank tracking.
  • Conduct local keyword research.
  • Discover competitor insights.
  • Monitor performance.

In addition, local listings management tools give businesses with brick-and-mortar locations a single space to manage and update location data on their online platforms.

Here’s a selection of local SEO tools and local listings management tools for businesses of all sizes that you’ll want to check out.

Local SEO & Listings Management Tools

1. Whitespark

Once a web design agency, Whitespark also offers SEO software tools to help businesses with local search marketing.

The Citation Finder tool is Whitespark’s most popular offering. It helps you find the citation opportunities you’re missing to improve relevant local search rankings.

The tool is free to use for three searches/day and limited search results – perfect for those exploring the tool.

Paid subscriptions start at $33/month when billed annually for five campaigns, 20 searches/day, and unlimited search results.

Other notable Whitespark local SEO tools include:

Local Rank Tracker

This uses precise location settings to give insight into overall SEO performance.

Whitespark’s local rank tracker gives you insight into the top 100 positions in local search – giving you a fuller picture of how you stack up against competitors and how you rank across popular search engines – as well as how you rank in different result types.

Reputation Builder

This prompts customers (via email or SMS) to share reviews on your review sites of choice (Whitespark supports over 100 online review websites).

It also calculates NPS (Net Promoter Score), a business indicator of your customer’s experiences with your business.

Moreover, the feature also lets you respond directly to Google reviews and Facebook recommendations.

Review Monitoring

This alerts you if and when you get a bad review so you can immediately take action.

2. Yext

Yext provides various solutions to help brands improve local SEO.

Yext integrates with hundreds of directories to ensure your business information and data are always up-to-date.

Some of Yext’s popular local SEO tools include:

Knowledge Manager

Answers to consumers’ common questions about your business, including staff, store hours, locations, and promotions.

Yext Pages

A system for updating listings to ensure the information provided is accurate.

Yext Pages are optimized to appear in search engines to help give customers more information about your brand’s nearest locations.

Yext Listings

Yext’s local listings management tool integrates with a large network of maps, apps, search engines, and social networks so customers can easily find your business.

You can use this feature for scheduled and real-time updates, analytics, finding listing improvement suggestions, and setting up integrations with other tools.

Additionally, Yext’s services and solutions include:

  • Analytics: Collecting insights, activity, and data for easier reporting.
  • Duplicate listing prevention.
  • Data cleansing to keep facts consistent.
  • Google Business Profile (GBP) and Listings management. Make updates through the platform and publish to GBP at any time.

Plans start at $199/year.

3. ReviewTrackers

Trusted by brands like Benihana and American Family Insurance, ReviewTrackers is a customer review software tool that sends alerts regarding customer feedback on various review websites, compiling the information in one helpful dashboard.

Using ReviewTrackers, you can:

  • Solicit feedback from customers.
  • Monitor reviews from various sources (e.g., Google, TripAdvisor, Yelp).
  • Track location performance.

Prices available upon request.

4. Moz Local

Moz Local is perhaps the most popular local SEO tool on this list.

You can trust its data and methodologies after being in business for over 10 years and trailblazing the SEO software market.

Moz Local works for small and enterprise businesses, ensuring online listings are correct and consistent, which helps to boost website visibility.

When you use Moz as a local listing management tool, you only must create a listing once – it automates the rest of the process for you.

Moz works by sending your listings to major search engines, apps, directories, and business data aggregators. If you ever need to edit your listing, log back into Moz Local to make a change – you don’t have to edit listings on each directory individually.

Other notable Moz Local features include:

  • Google and Facebook integration.
  • Automated duplicate deletion.
  • Social posting.

Moz Local will notify you when you receive new reviews on major platforms, thus empowering you to reply to customers promptly.

Besides the features that help boost your brand name in local search, Moz also gives you location-centric reports to help track your growth and determine key consumer interactions on your listings.

Pricing for Moz Local starts at $129/year – note that this pricing doesn’t include access to Moz’s popular SEO services.

5. Synup

Synup is an all-in-one local SEO tool tailored to help your marketing efforts. It lets you manage listings, monitor analytics, and create reports.

Specifically, Synup facilitates unlimited listing updates and immediately notifies you when your business receives new reviews. You can also automatically respond to reviews from within the tool.

Synup’s features also include:

  • Automatically syncs business and location data across websites.
  • It lets you manage industry and niche-specific sites.
  • Crawls over 200 local search engines and directories to catch inconsistencies.

Synup costs $30 per location for the first 25 locations at the time of publication, with pricing scaling down as you add on more locations.

6. Semrush Listing Management

Favored by eBay, HP, and Quora, Semrush is a popular search analytics and local SEO software tool.

Semrush developed a local listing management tool in collaboration with Yext. You can use it to manage your listings, reviews, and local pages.

Semrush’s tool uses Yext’s Knowledge Network to publish data across platforms like Facebook, Foursquare, and TripAdvisor.

You can manage information from the Semrush listing management dashboard.

The tool is easy to use. You first have to input the data and find your location.

The tool will present a list of your listings and their status per directory website. After you make any necessary edits, Semrush will automatically update your listings accordingly.

The listings tool is only available to Semrush users in five countries – U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, and France.

To sign up for this new Semrush feature, you’ll need a Semrush plan (which starts at $99.95/month), then add $20/month per location.

7. BrightLocal

BrightLocal is a popular local SEO tool used by more than 62,000 agencies, businesses, and freelancers for analytics and reporting functions.

Top features of BrightLocal include:

  • Customized location dashboard to monitor data.
  • Track organic, local, and mobile search rankings.
  • Clean up and build citations.
  • Monitor online reviews across 20+ websites.
  • Scan and audit directory sites to determine necessary updates.
  • GBP and NAP audit.
  • White label solution for agencies.

Prices start at $29/month for a single business.

8. Advice Local

Advice Local is another local listings management tool that competes with the likes of Yext for the most number of directories supported.

It also offers standard digital agency services (SEO, digital marketing, and website development).

But the company typically works with agencies, resellers, and partners, instead of directly with local businesses.

That said, Advice Local’s advantage over Yext is you can manually build out local citations while Yext uses an API.

However, it takes a bit longer for Advice Local to get above an 80% score for local directory submissions, and the information supported is limited to the basics of NAP (name, address, phone number).

Moreover, Advice Local is a complete all-in-one local SEO solution (unlike Yext, which is more directory-focused).

Prices available upon request.

9. Birdeye

Trusted by 70,000+ businesses, including BMW and Nissan, Birdeye offers multi-location enterprise businesses a bird’s-eye view to local SEO. Businesses can monitor the customer experience and manage reviews.

What makes Birdeye different from other local SEO tools is its messaging platform, which supports multiple modes of communication.

That enables businesses to take an omnichannel approach to attract leads and convert and delight customers.

Birdeye’s features include:

  • Data integration: Collate data from several websites into one dashboard for more efficient monitoring.
  • Review management: Collate and handle reviews from 200+ platforms.
  • Messaging platform: Birdeye supports text messaging, email, webchat, live chat, and chatbots. All messages come in through one inbox to manage all customer experiences.

Prices available upon request.

10. Rio SEO

Rio SEO is a local SEO tool that increases your online visibility, grows ecommerce, and drives in-store revenue for enterprise brands worldwide.

This local listings management tool is powered by its Open Local Platform, which boasts one of the largest directory support.

Businesses can integrate with over 170 top directories while giving brands insight and control.

Its local marketing content creation and optimization tools drive online visibility and engage consumers throughout the local search ecosystem.

Rio SEO has also analyzed aggregate Google Business performance metrics from over 200,000 U.S. business locations managed in its platform.

It releases notifications with benchmarks for metrics like Search Views and Clicks to Call each month.

Prices available upon request.

11. Chatmeter

Chatmeter is a local SEO tool that helps multi-location brands monitor their online listings, reviews, and social media.

Its local listings management tool helps you identify the areas that need improvement.

It empowers you to add photos, menus, services, and other Google attributes to enhance your listings. You can also edit your listings in bulk.

Other features include:

  • Local SEO tracking tool to execute your local “near me” strategy.
  • Local Brand Visibility (LBV) score to measure your brand’s online presence against competitors.
  • Pulse, a text and sentiment analysis engine that lets you measure customers’ sentiments.
  • Voice optimization.

Prices available upon request.

12. SOCi

SOCi is an enterprise platform built for multi-location marketers.

It serves as a central command platform that lets marketers manage local search, social, reputation, and messaging across multiple locations.

SOCi’s features include:

  • Manage multiple listings using a single login.
  • Keep and deliver on-brand social content from one location.
  • Track reviews and monitor competition.
  • Manage local social ads.

Prices available upon request.

13. Uberall

Uberall uses digital technology to help innovative brick-and-mortar businesses stay relevant, competitive, and profitable.

Uberall helps businesses build local online visibility through listings and citations on platforms where customers search.

You can also track the customer journey from discovery to repeat purchases using Uberall CoreX.

Other features include:

  • Optimize data for local search ranking factors.
  • Maintain brand location data for 125+ websites.
  • Build online communities by creating engaging local social content.

Prices available upon request.

14. Surfer Local

Surfer Local optimizes, manages, and positions GBP listings. It’s great for competitor analysis and improving local SEO strategy.

At $348/location/year, Surfer Local’s top tools include its Local Rank Tracker and GBP SEO audit feature.

The GBP audit feature helps you improve your business listing at least 10x faster by telling you what to change to achieve a higher Google rank.

Other features include:

  • Local Rank Tracker to keep track of your SEO efforts.
  • Free position checker to track multiple spots in the area.
  • Keyword research tool that provides information and suggestions.

Summary

Brick-and-mortar businesses can’t ignore local SEO anymore.

The good news is several local SEO and listing management tools are available to help you prevent the most common local SEO mistakes.

These tools help your business track rankings, update location and business information, find SEO-optimized keywords, and monitor customer reviews.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal




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Chrome 110 Changes How Web Share API Embeds Third Party Content

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Chrome 110 Changes How Web Share API Embeds Third Party Content

Chrome 110, scheduled to roll out on February 7, 2023, contains a change to how it handles the Web Share API that improves privacy and security by requiring a the Web Share API to explicitly allow third-party content.

This might not be something that an individual publisher needs to act on.

It’s probably more relevant on the developer side where they are making things like web apps that use the Web Share API.

Nevertheless, it’s good to know what it is for the rare situation when it might be useful for diagnosing why a webpage doesn’t work.

The Mozilla developer page describes the Web Share API:

“The Web Share API allows a site to share text, links, files, and other content to user-selected share targets, utilizing the sharing mechanisms of the underlying operating system.

These share targets typically include the system clipboard, email, contacts or messaging applications, and Bluetooth or Wi-Fi channels.

…Note: This API should not be confused with the Web Share Target API, which allows a website to specify itself as a share target”

allow=”web-share” Attribute

An attribute is an HTML markup that modifies an HTML element in some way.

For example, the nofollow attribute modifies the <a> anchor element, by signaling the search engines that the link is not trusted.

The <iframe> is an HTML element and it can be modified with the allow=”web-share” attribute

An <iframe> allows a webpage to embed HTML, usually from another website.

Iframes are everywhere, such as in advertisements and embedded videos.

The problem with an iframe that contains content from another site is that it creates the possibility of showing unwanted content or allow malicious activities.

And that’s the problem that the allow=”web-share” attribute solves by setting a permission policy for the iframe.

This specific permission policy (allow=”web-share”) tells the browser that it’s okay to display 3rd party content from within an iframe.

Google’s announcement uses this example of the attribute in use:

<iframe allow="web-share" src="https://third-party.example.com/iframe.html"></iframe>

Google calls this a “a potentially breaking change in the Web Share API.

The announcement warns:

“If a sharing action needs to happen in a third-party iframe, a recent spec change requires you to explicitly allow the operation.

Do this by adding an allow attribute to the <iframe> tag with a value of web-share.

This tells the browser that the embedding site allows the embedded third-party iframe to trigger the share action.”

Read the announcement at Google’s Chrome webpage:

New requirements for the Web Share API in third-party iframes

Featured image by Shutterstock/Krakenimages.com



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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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