There is a great way to rank fast on top of Google search. In this article, we're going to show you exactly how Ricky Kesler and Anna Silver of Income School were able to make an article on a fairly new website rank number one on Google within three weeks.
Rather than varying the lead, we are just going to tell you straight away that the method is by winning google rich snippets.
Targeting the google snippet can help you rise to the top rankings on Google even faster. This is because a lot of people are targeting search queries or specific terms but they do not necessarily write a perfect 2-3 sentence answer that answers exactly what people are looking for.
About Google Snippets
Google snippets are short snippets of text that appear at the top of Google's search results to quickly answer a searcher's query. The content that appears inside of a Featured Snippet is automatically pulled from web pages in Google's index. [source: banklinko.com]
Google is using these rich snippets all the time to try to provide people with a really good search experience and provide them with quick answers to their questions. A lot of bloggers worry that if they write a really good short answer, google might use it as a rich snippet and nobody will click on their article because the answer was already shown.
The answer to that is, really no! It's a bit true if somebody Google's something like "What is the temperature in London?". In this case, that's the answer to their whole question but most of the time, bloggers aren’t going to write that kind of content.
As a blogger, you are going to write the kind of content whereby the answer needs more than 2-3 sentences. All that you must do is give a great upfront answer but it also has to let the person know that there's more to this, and you're probably going to want to keep reading the article.
Testing Out the Method
So Ricky, Anna, and the team at Income School wanted to take advantage of this method to boost the rankings of their new site, cookforfolks.com. At the time, the website was about 6 months old. They wrote a brand new article on the site, published it, and within 3 weeks, it had already won the top snippet.
On a 6-month-old website, you normally have to wait up to 6-8 months for content to start ranking highly. But this time after targeting google snippets, it took them just 3 weeks to get to the number 1 position on Google.
The first article that the team at Income school made on cookforfolks.com while using this method of targeting google snippets was an article on "baked beans".
The article ranks highly on questions related to the amount of baked beans servings.
"And that was the cool thing, is that it was like we won the snippet, it got us right to the top quick. But then since people clicked on the article, they read the article, and Google saw those positive signals. I just thought that it was a really neat thing that when we write quality content, the snippet can help get us to the front of the line, but then that content that was still brand new stayed right there at the top.", Ricky says.
"As Ricky mentioned earlier, people think if you have the snippet, you're not going to get as much traffic since people are reading the answer directly on Google, but I know for myself as a reader, I click through the first couple of articles normally. Especially when I'm looking for something really specific and maybe that snippet doesn't quite answer it or maybe that first article doesn't quite answer it. So even if you're second or third, you could have the potential to have quite a bit of traffic." Anna says.
Snippet Optimization Strategy
The team at Income School uses the following steps to optimize their articles to get displayed and ranked on Google snippets:
Writing high-quality content that deserves to rank number one in a normal situation. Creating high-quality content is something that you can't skip, the most important part is to make sure that you include really good answer targets for the snippets.
Next, they write some really good answer targets within the content that just fit the type of content. Just by doing this over and over on multiple articles, a bunch of them will start showing up on Google snippets.
"If we drop from the snippet, it doesn't matter because what's happened is the snippet skipped the line for us. It helped us reach the top of Google search way faster than we probably would have otherwise, but once we're there, losing the snippet doesn't mean losing ranking. We often stay right there near the very top of page one." Ricky says.
Examples of Snippets the Team at Income School Has Been Able to Achieve
Here are examples of snippets that the team at Income School has won at the moment and are doing well.
1. How to Keep Hot Chocolate Warm Outside
This one is right at the top of Google. It grabs the image which is good because it draws extra attention. It also grabs some data from the article and it shows exactly what you can do to keep hot chocolate warm. It shows a few details which entice the reader to want to read more, hence they click on the link to the site.
2. How Many Gallons of Soup Do I Need
This article is about making soup for a large group of people. Google picked it up and it just highlights a few different words making it stand out to the reader. This article won a snippet position because the team at Income School wrote a nice and concise answer to that question.
3. How Much Beef Wellington per Person
4. How Many Mashed Potatoes do You Need for 30 People
5. What Does Olive Oil Cake Taste Like
6. How Many Sugar Cookies Do You Need per Person
How to Ensure that Your Content Gets to Google Snippets
The team at the income school advises writing an answer paragraph with 2 - 3 sentences with bold answers to a question. What that does is not only make it stand out to a human reader, but it also that strong HTML tag helps google identify that this is important content.
That method is fine to do but it's no longer the only thing to do because of the current Google algorithm. Google has now become better at identifying information to pick up for snippets and because of that, we recommend the applying the following methods:
You have to write 2-3 sentence paragraphs that answer the major questions that are related to the title of your article. You have to make these sentences very easy to read and sound like you are giving help to a reader.
When you're using tables, make sure that your table’s content can be easily googled. For example, this table is talking about the amount of baked beans needed for different groups or amounts of people. Underneath you would want to put a description here that says “This table shows how many cans of baked beans you need for different size groups”. So it's pretty specific and it's describing the content in the table.
When you're making list posts, you want to make sure that the list subheadings are well numbered. So make it a subheading instead of just listing them all out in the very beginning and giving away that information. Use numbered lists with well-bolded subheadings. If you do that throughout the article, Google can see that and pick up that article, and then possibly use it as a snippet.
“We found that google for a long time now has been smart enough algorithmically to take those subheadings and turn them into a list. So what we want to do is just make that as easy as possible for them. If we write a how-to blog post that has 7 steps, we are going to write step one, and then write out what that step is (that is a subheading), and then I'll go in and give them more descriptive information about it.
The next subheading is step two and so on. It's going to make it obvious to Google and then what Google will often do is take that list, condense it and make that the snippet. It's a great way to win that snippet. It's also a great way to make sure that your list is very easy for readers to follow.” Ricky says.
The key takeaway here is; While creating these answer targets, you want to make sure that you are making this useful and easy for readers and the computer algorithms at the same time. You don't want to go so far as to try to optimize for a computer that the reader suffers. So having a nice clear bolded paragraph that answers the question near the beginning of the article, and numbering the list of steps is helpful for a reader as well as for the computer algorithm.
The algorithm can have a much easier time identifying that piece of content as a potential snippet and that will shoot you to the front of Google search pages much more quickly. So make it easy for the computer and reader then you’ll be able to win a lot more snippets.