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In-House vs Outsourcing Marketing: The Ins and Outs

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In-House vs Outsourcing Marketing: The Ins and Outs

Looking to expand your marketing capabilities? Then you should know what are the benefits and challenges of going in-house vs outsourcing marketing. Some companies have been working on moving their marketing teams in-house especially as the pandemic wears on, but others prefer to focus on their core functions and hire an external agency instead. The question is, what is right for you and your company?

  1. What is in-house marketing?
  2. What is outsourced marketing?
  3. Key takeaway

What is in-house marketing?

In-house marketing is exactly what it sounds like—having a marketing team that is internal to the company. For example, here in SEO Hacker we have our own marketing team that is in charge of promoting the company, so we don’t have to hire an external agency to do the marketing for us.

According to The Drum, 57% of multinational companies have created in-house marketing departments, with an additional 17% considering building one. The pandemic has also accelerated the creation of these departments as companies want to be more cost-effective and practical, especially since companies are trying to be more frugal in their expenses.

Benefits of in-house vs outsourcing marketing

Companies would not be hurrying to build an in-house marketing team if there were no benefits. Here are some of them.

Potentially lower costs for the company

I’m going to be mentioning costs quite a bit in this article, and that’s really because the idea of lower or higher costs depends a lot on a number of factors. When looking at the benefits of in-house marketing, costs can be lower depending on two things: first is the skill set your team already has, and second is how willing you are to spend on building and managing a team of your own.

For example, if you have a small but strong marketing team right from the start, then that could be cost-effective. You can also opt to migrate some employees to a marketing role, but that is if the other teams can handle losing some team members. Then you also have to spend on training and resources for marketing.

If the total of those costs are lower than hiring an agency, then you can say that costs are lower with an in-house marketing team.

Stronger brand familiarity

Simple—your in-house marketing team is exposed to the day-to-day processes of your company, therefore they are more familiar with your brand. And since they are your employees, that means they also know your company philosophy and culture. You have the same (or at least, similar) work processes and they know the best approach for your company because they are embedded in the company.

Faster communication

There is no need to email or coordinate a meeting with an accounts manager because you literally can just walk over to their desks and they can walk over to yours. There is also less potential for miscommunication because the team already has an understanding of what the company wants.

For my company, we just use Slack to communicate with each other. Everyone is one message away.

More transparency and control

An in-house marketing team will be focused on your business only and considering how you already have a similar outlook and they have an in-depth understanding of your brand philosophy, then that translates to more control.

In terms of transparency, you get to really know how the marketing efforts are playing out as the team has more access to company data, therefore they have more transparent reports.

When you outsource marketing to another agency, they can only really give you the data that is showing up on their dashboards unless you will be providing them other numbers, such as your revenue.

Challenges of in-house vs outsourcing marketing

Just like there are benefits, there are also challenges to going in-house vs outsourcing marketing.

More work for the employees

First and foremost, especially if you have a limited budget for your marketing team, is that there is more work for your employees. Marketing is not a one-time or one-strategy thing; there are marketing plans to be made for different platforms, experiments, designs, executions, and monitoring.

For example, there is content marketing, email marketing, Pay-Per-Click, and SEO. These have different functions and need different strategies, and they have their own sets of skill sets that are integral to their success. For example, I update our SEO Hacker blog every Tuesday. I also have a podcast that has its dedicated team of producers, editors, and developers. My subscribers get updated every Monday through email. I also have my personal blog. Lastly, we have a retargeting and remarketing practice to ensure that our leads come back to our website.

So if you’re considering fully moving your marketing in-house, you need to look at the workload for those digital marketing strategies and figure out a way to balance them while ensuring your company is being cost-effective.

Limited skill set

With a limited budget comes a limited skill set. Unless you’re the kind of company owner who has no issues with overworking your team, then you won’t have the same skill set that outsourcing marketing to another agency will get you.

Lack of resources

Another challenge that your company could potentially have is the lack of resources, especially if you can’t afford multiple marketing experts and the tools that are needed for effective marketing.

Marketing is not as simple as creating a graphic and coming up with witty one-liners to catch your audience’s attention. It involves market research, keyword research, and a whole lot of strategizing. These strategies are based on data and not just solely on gut feeling. So if you have no way of getting data and monitoring your results, then effective marketing will be difficult to achieve.

Needing new employees

I sound like a broken record at this point, but marketing truly is an investment, and it’s one you shouldn’t skimp on. At some point, hiring and training new experts will be the investment you need to make. That said, going in-house vs outsourcing marketing can end up becoming more expensive for some companies as they end up hiring more people.

What is outsourced marketing?

Outsourced marketing is the exact opposite of in-house marketing. According to Hinge, outsourced marketing is the practice of partnering with an external agency for the company’s marketing needs.

Benefits of outsourced marketing vs in-house

Just as there are benefits to having an in-house team, there are also benefits to hiring an agency.

Companies can focus their resources on core functions

If you aren’t a marketing agency—let’s say, you’re in the construction business—and you’re thinking of having an in-house marketing team, that means you will have to budget your resources on functions that are outside of your business.

When you outsource your marketing, especially if you find a good partner, you get to just focus on whatever your company really does as the marketing portion can be entrusted to someone else.

That is also why in finding an agency, it’s integral that you know how to find a good one.

Access to a specialized team

One of the best things about outsourcing your marketing instead of building one in-house is that you get access to a team of experts at potentially a fraction of the cost. As I mentioned earlier, marketing isn’t a one-time thing. And it certainly isn’t a one-person endeavor.

Hiring an agency means you get writers, developers, designers, and researchers—basically, an entire team of people who live and breathe marketing—to do the work for you while you focus on other things. For example, here’s our team.

More resources for lower costs

Like I said earlier, I will be mentioning costs a couple of times in this post. As you get an entire team when you hire an agency, you also get their resources to be used for your benefit.

Now, some will say that hiring an agency is expensive. It really depends on how you see it and if you do have a workable budget. For example, our SEO services package costs $2,500 to $5,500 per month, with a 12 months lock-in. Yes, that is expensive, but take a look at what’s in the package:

  • Site analysis
  • Keyword research
  • Blog setup
  • Quality SEO copywriting
  • Link building
  • On-page optimization
  • Paid directory listing
  • Google Analytics reports
  • Guest posting
  • Monthly reports

And those are just the headers. For example, check out the “Quality SEO copywriting header.”

Quality SEO copywriting
Here is the “On-page optimization” header:

On-page optimization
As you can see, they involve a lot of work, and they involve their own tools and resources to be done right as well. So, yes, it seems expensive, but that’s because there’s an entire team composed of people with various specialties that is working for you.

Imagine if you have to hire people to do all these things, especially if the core function of your business is far from marketing.

Reduced risks

When you outsource marketing to a reputable agency, you ensure that your marketing is taken care of well. The team they assign to you will work hard to ensure that you aren’t wasting the money you’re spending on them on risky endeavors because everything is well-researched. And in the event that they will need to do some experimentation, the results of those experiments are well-documented so they know what’s working and what isn’t.

Challenges of outsourcing marketing vs in-house

There are a couple of challenges that need to be considered when outsourcing marketing vs going in-house.

Communication can potentially be tricky

In this case, the marketing team won’t be a desk or a chat away. They’re completely in a different company, so meetings will definitely need to be scheduled and coordinated. The agency can try to offset this challenge by assigning an accounts manager to your company whom you can contact whenever you have concerns.

Sometimes miscommunication can still happen, but that is why it’s incredibly important to be open and to just overcommunicate instead of expecting that both parties already understand the expectations and concerns of the partner.

Difference in company values

Another challenge that a company can have is looking for an agency that has similar values as they do. You wouldn’t want to end up hiring a company that believes in employing shady tactics or doesn’t believe in transparency.

That’s why when looking for an agency, make sure you check what their current and previous clients have to say about them. Do they take unnecessary risks? Were they difficult to communicate with? Do they see their clients as mere clients, or as partners? It’s important that you and your agency are a good fit for each other so that you can work together smoothly.

It can be expensive if you don’t have the budget

Again, we go back to budget concerns. As I mentioned earlier, outsourcing marketing can be a bit expensive, but that’s because there is plenty of work that comes with marketing. If you don’t have the budget, you can opt to go in-house and start your marketing on a smaller scale.

One thing that some companies do is to work on a hybrid setup. For example, a full digital marketing package from SEO Hacker costs around $3,500 to $9,900. Some of our partners decide to go with our SEO package, or even our email sales automation package which costs around $1,000 to $3,000. They outsource that work to us and work on their own marketing which they have a team for, and we coordinate our efforts to make sure we’re aligned.

For companies that don’t exactly have the budget for a full outsourcing or a full in-house team, a hybrid setup is the perfect solution.

For example, here are our clients, and plenty of them have a hybrid setup with us:

SEO Hacker in-house vs outsourcing marketing clients

Less access to the team

Unlike if you have an in-house marketing team, you only really get to communicate with the accounts manager assigned to you when you decide to outsource your marketing. In an in-house setup, you get to speak with everybody, but that isn’t possible with an agency unless you specifically request to do so.

Key takeaway

So, should you go for in-house vs outsourcing marketing to another agency? The question here is, as always, what does your company need? And can you afford it?

Whether you build your team in-house or outsource your marketing, there will be a set of benefits and challenges. It could be too expensive, or new employees could be difficult to train. There could be more risks involved or a potential for miscommunication. Or you could find that either one is more cost-effective and practical for you in the long run.

And for those who don’t have the resources to go fully in-house or outsourced, a hybrid setup can be the way to go. It’s the best of both worlds for some, although it could have its own challenges such as coordination and alignment. But at least, that option is available.

Do you think going in-house vs outsourcing marketing is the way to go? Or is it vice-versa, or even both? Let me know in the comments what you think!


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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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