Identify topics on which your brand can provide an authoritative answer for users with relevant searches.
Google’s criteria for most rich results are more stringent than regular organic results. Rather than trying to rank for all potential terms within these snippets, choose a few topics on which you already rank highly and on which your audience might consider you an authority.
For example, a publisher site like Search Engine Land will be more likely to gain a featured snippet spot for a question about SEO than a small marketing agency would be.
Search for phrases from your keyword and user research to determine which of their results pages feature-rich results.
Not all SERPs include featured snippets, top stories, or other smart results. In addition to an informal search, tools like Yoast can help you understand which of your ranking terms and phrases include rich results for individual queries.
- Featured snippets that appear at the top of the results page, including a relevant paragraph or bullets of information in addition to the link.
- People Also Ask dropdowns that appear within the first few search results, highlighting questions that Google’s machine learning algorithm has deemed relevant to the search term.
- Top Stories that appear as tiles among the top results when a search term has recently appeared in multiple trusted news outlets, pulling information from Google’s News tab.
- Local search results that appear within a map to highlight specific businesses in terms related to industries with a strong physical presence, like hospitality.
Search for your product name and make a list of common questions about your products, using the people also ask SERP feature.
On questions related to your product, all sources and answers should come from your website. For example, if there is a question about your product’s safety, content from other sources can make your audience trust you less and lead to credibility issues. For example, if one of your competitors owns a website that provides the answer to whether your product is safe, you cannot control that content and it becomes a risk for your brand.
Move fast in owning the content to maximize your chances of becoming the source for the answer before other websites build search equity around it.
Promote your answer-based content on other channels to build search equity and strengthen your owned position in rich results.
Strategies include linking the content on your social media pages, promoting it on other credible industry websites, and driving traffic and engagement to it through email and other direct-to-customer channels.
Identify pain points or questions that audiences might search for that are not featured in current smart results, using your audience research.
Once you understand what those questions might be, you can build and promote content around it to create a strong position once the question becomes important enough to feature in rich results.