Writing to Take Advantage of Featured Snippets

Writing to Take Advantage of Featured Snippets

As part of the ever-evolving digital world, search engines are always trying to find new ways of feeding users with creative ways of displaying information. 

Quickly digestible and often presented in an attractive way, Featured Snippets are an effective way to grab the searchers (often short) attention with concise definitions, step-by-step instructions, tables and lists.

Source: SEMRush

Position #0

Due to its ability to sit in a league of its own, and impressively, above organic rankings, featured snippets are often referred to as ‘Position #0’. As a result of this, this directs taps into the click-through rate from the search term.

A study by Ahrefs found that the top-ranking result of an average search term had 26% CTR, whereas a search term that had a featured snippet claimed 8.6% of traffic with the top search term claiming 19.6%.

This turns the featured snippet into something of a magic bullet, discounting all of the traditional SEO rules and practices to get ahead of the rest. 

But it can also act as a useful tool for someone who is quickly looking for an answer and might not necessarily have to click on anything to get what they are looking for. 

The versatility of the snippet itself can result in a no-click search, where all the information is quick and easy to follow, and depending on the complexity of the answer this can be answered in a short concise paragraph, a step-by-step guide a diagram.

Because of this, the snippet may have in appearing in Position #0 this may inform a wider keyword strategy, as this might divert what normally would be the organic traffic that is placing high up the rankings away from you.

The Main Types of Snippets

To help optimise your snippet for the search term, there are different types that Google and other search engines use. This means that you will have to identify the best way to format your snippet in order to have it feature.

The Paragraph

Using a brief and concise description, definition and other information on a topic, the paragraph snippet is a useful answer to queries.

Of all featured snippets on Google, paragraph snippets account for around 70% of all of these, as they can be quickly digested when the search is clear and direct.

As well as using the paragraph to answer specific questions, they can also be used as a definition box, where it can give the basic meaning of something. This allows the user to then decide if they have got enough information, or if they want to read on.

The Table

A useful way of visualising data when making comparisons. The ultimate goal for the user is to be able to spot large gaps and differences.

The table snippet is especially useful when you are comparing clothes or products sizing, comparing big and small data and as another way of displaying a list, which leads us nicely onto the next type of featured snippet.

Lists

Lists are a great way to quickly solve a question or give instructions. The key to it is understanding what the searcher is expecting to see before optimising the format in the most attractive and user-friendly way possible.

Useful in different ways, they can also vary in their appearance. There are numbered lists, which lend themselves to step-by-step instructions extremely well. There are also bulleted lists that don’t have to follow such a rigid structure.

Videos

With YouTube becoming one of Google’s subsidiaries in 2006, videos are a great way to weave a snippet in.

These are usually used as a how-to query, where it is easier to demonstrate the steps visually rather than as part of a list.

Looks Like a Snippet… But Isn’t a Snippet

As time goes by Google always likes to treat us to new flashy new ways of showing off their capabilities. These fall under special content resource blocks.

Rich Answers

These are instant answers that Google have preloaded without having to give credit to other websites.

Knowledge Graph

Pulling different answers sometimes from a variety of different sources, appearing in a neat box with accompanying images, and in the example’s case, secondary information that compares the individual tiles.

When navigating through the carousel of images, you are able to click into each one, which opens up wider links. These are usually used when searching for landmarks, brands, people and organisations.

Rich Snippets

Slightly different to other snippets, Rich Snippets use a range of different features compared to others, where the format is more fixed. These are created by the search engine by reading code, using it to create rich results.

The extra information embedded within them enhance the detail, giving it its title by making it a richer result. Recipes are usually a good example of a rich snippet, as the pancake recipes have the ingredients, prep time and ratings, which gives you a lot to take in.

How Do You Get a Featured Snippet?

Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as sending a message to the good people at search engines asking for them to use a pre-designed snippet. 

However, the good news is that as a form of organic content, the featured snippet box is available to anyone who knows how to optimise their content well. 

Answer Questions

With the majority of snippets informational in their nature, your content should be created to answer questions. In-depth content indexed by Google’s crawlers that gives the best answer can take the content to use in the form of a featured snippet. 

Get Inside the Mind of the Searcher

SEMRush and Brado studied over 160 million keywords on desktop, as well as 46.1 million keywords on mobile, and it found that questions are an especially rich land for Featured Snippets. 

29% of all queries that trigger snippets start with question-based words like “why”, “do” and “how”. Within this, 77.6% of all queries that start with “why” return featured snippets.

With this in mind, you can draw up a list of questions that you think your content could accurately answer. This involves research into the search itself, giving you a better chance of getting the snippet if there isn’t one currently. 

 

If you are in need of inspiration on what sorts of questions people are asking, simply start searching a question in your search bar and let Google’s suggested search bar do the work for you.

There are other free resources that can help inspire your question-based keyword research, including Answer The Public.

Polish Your Content

The best way to think about achieving a featured snippet is that it is a reward for having truly high-quality content. 

Just imagine it as if you are trying to rank something in an organic way, but instead, there are also sub-targets within it to answer the specific questions.

This goes for all content that you want to rank, but try and make sure your content is high quality, comprehensive, entertaining and engaging and user-focused. 

Take a Deep Dive

What better way to show off how much of an authority you are in a subject than to take a deep dive into it, demonstrating what a pillar of knowledge you are on it. 

This means that you can’t expect to achieve a featured snippet if you only touch the surface with your content.

Ways of achieving this include:

  • Cover every question that could come up from this topic.
  • Vary your content – from videos to step-by-step infographics and screenshots.
  • Try and tailor the content for beginners, no matter what it is.

Always have an eye on the competition, if you are often left scratching your head wondering how some content is ranking highly that is a good sign. It shows that you have identified that you can create something better.

Use Q&A’s

Q: Why is it a good idea to have a Q&A section on your page?

A: Because it is a great way to display all relevant questions with a pre-formatted answer oven-ready for featured snippets

Q: Great, so does this mean that they can replace the content? 

A: No, they should consolidate the information already on the page. When creating this section, imagine it as it being a conversation where you are giving a concise answer. 

Q: When you say concise, how much does that mean?

A: The ideal answer should be somewhere between a short answer that doesn’t give much away and a long-winded one that waffles on too much. This can be in effect roughly how you want your snippet to appear.

 

Featured Snippets The Future?

As search engines become more advanced, with a continual focus on user intent and experience, they will carry on gaining importance, becoming even more of a feature of a searchers life. 

What we might not be able to predict is what form they will take. As the web develops, user and search engine trends start to shift. This could open the door up for even more ways of displaying information through a snippet in years to come.  

Whatever happens though, one thing that we can be sure of is that by following the best practices in optimisation now, it will always keep you in a strong position. Content that is designed for people to consume in the most efficient and effective way possible is something that will always be key in making you an authority in a crowded digital world.

Brands as Beers

Brands as Beers

For the past five years, the UK has seen a sharp growth in the number of breweries. In 2020 the number of breweries in the country went up by 216, with the total now standing at 3,018. 

This got us thinking, will this continue to grow to a point where established brands dip into the market to keep the thirsty country afloat? 

What would they look like? How would they taste? Who would buy them?

Well we have had a go at predicting the future, designing our own beers for various different companies who might even one day try creating their own.

Amazon Basics Brews Lager

Amazon Basics Lager is a light and refreshing beer. Brewed using prime ingredients, it has a shimmering golden colour and a smooth bitter flavour with hints of sweetness creeping through in the aftertaste. It’s light and easy going down and will have you coming back to it time and time again.

Available worldwide, this universally found lager is a staple of every session and can be found online or in stores for whenever you need it.

ABV 3.9%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Light and refreshing with a smooth bitter flavour and a gentle sweeter aftertaste
Style Lager

 

Pretty Green Live Forever PILSNER

The Live Forever Pilsner from Pretty Green is the perfect drink for the casual drinker. Designed to be enjoyed warm at a festival or gig, it is ideally served in a (recycled) plastic cup. If you have had enough of it, or if your favourite song comes on, the drink is perfect for throwing into a crowd of unsuspecting people. Available in a wide range of mesmerising designs, the special edition also comes with a bucket hat fitted.

ABV 3.8%
Can Size 568ml
Tasting Note Crisp bitterness and distinctive hops
Style Pilsner

Apple iPA

There is nothing better than a fresh can of the Apple IPA on a summer day. It’s smooth and flavourful with fruity notes ticking all the right boxes. Be sure to enjoy it while it’s cold and fresh as the longer you leave it, more of the goodness starts to escape. Of course it’s nothing that a fresh can can’t fix so be sure to keep a couple of spares on hand.

Available in select Apple Genius Bars.

ABV 4.8%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Crisp and refreshing with flavourful fruity notes
Style IPA

SPORTS DIRECT BROWN ALE

Brewed using efficient and low-cost methods, the Sports Direct Brown Ale leaves a bitter taste in the mouth – especially for Newcastle United supporters. Having bought out a number of smaller breweries, the Sports Direct Group currently produce a versatile range of beers that all look and taste similar. The Brown Ale is best served in Sports Direct’s bespoke range of unlicenced sports team pint glass – the one that your estranged uncle generously gifted to you at Christmas.

(Note: Look out for Flannels, our premium sister range of gins. Unaffordable prices and even we don’t know why!)

 

 

ABV 4.2%
Can Size 567ml
Tasting Note Dark and Bitter.
Style Brown Ale

Insta Pale Ale

The Insta-Pale Ale is a light and crisp West Coast Pale Ale. It brings aromas of sweet summery fruits and is light in body and colour. The taste is pleasantly light and hoppy which, when combined with the aroma, makes a great choice for any summer beach outings.

Only available in artisanal bars & establishments.

ABV 4.3%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Sweet and summery with a light and fruity body
Style West Coast Pale Ale

Games Workshop Stout

The deep Games Workshop Stout has complex and fantastical aromas and flavours designed to take your tastebuds on an adventure. The strong ABV% is designed to help you reach another realm. The Stout Cans come in a range of different sizes, starting with the special figurine shot ranging up to the Ogre double pinter can. Can’s come with free paint for you to carefully apply to the design. Best served in a dark environment – the less natural light the better.

ABV 6.4%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Dark chocolate and aromatic notes
Style Stout

Deliveroo Instant Pale Ale

Quick and easy refreshment delivered to your door. Once ordered through the Deliveroo Drinks app, your order becomes a priority. Our efficient bicycle couriers travel perilously at high speed through urban assault courses for your refreshment needs. On average you will receive your order ten times quicker than the average cocktail bar. (Note: Due to transportation the can may explode upon opening. Only available in large towns and cities.)

ABV 4.5%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Moreish and refreshing 
Style Pale Ale

Netflix Lager

Dark in colour but surprisingly light and refreshing, this Lager keeps you coming back for more all day long. Whether you are a seasoned connoisseur or a casual drinker, this appeals to all with a smooth and approachable flavour profile rather than off putting hints of stranger things. Makes for a perfect answer for the age old question, “what should I have?”

Available online for a fixed monthly subscription with a free trial available. Best served chilled to really take the crown on those summer days!

ABV 5.2%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Smooth and light with a full flavour profile
Style Lager

IKEA Tuff Öl

The IKEA Tuff Ol is a DIY rich & hearty stout perfect for those long winter nights. In the box you get everything you need to craft your own pint in no time. Simply follow the instructions and use the included tools and you’ll be revelling in your success before you know it.

Available in select stores, 10% off when you purchase meatballs from the cafeteria.

ABV 6.3%
Can Size 330ml
Tasting Note Hearty stout with a deep nectary flavour
Style

Scandinavian Stout

Fantastic Image Formats and Where to Use Them

Fantastic Image Formats and Where to Use Them

Fantastic Image Formats and Where to Use Them

Picture the scene, you’ve just created an amazing design that you are proud of. Every single pixel has been rigorously checked and now it is time to share your genius creation with the world. But there is just one last hurdle to jump – get this wrong and it could prove to be costly!

In this article, we will explore all of the amazing image formats there are, helping you to navigate the maze and prevent you from falling into any hidden formatting traps, as well as offering hints and tips to help you find the perfect fit.

PNG vs JPEG

Before you embark on any design project the first thing that you need to identify is what is its purpose? This will ultimately decide how you are going to save the file.

Each format has its own benefits, and as a piece of communication, the format acts as the technical backup that your file needs.

PNG

Let’s start with Portable Network Graphics, aka PNG files. The format was designed to be used on raster graphics, screenshots and on logos. Because of this, the file size is large – a lot more so than JPEGs.

As a result of being so large, a PNG file supports lost compression. This means that it is extremely versatile, looking sharp and clear on a wide range of different ratios, from large main website images to thumbnails.

Providing great depth in colour ratios, PNG is especially useful when your design has areas of transparency. The alpha channel that the format uses will allow you to have partial to full transparency, which makes it useful for creating fades.

JPEG

On the other hand, you don’t get as much versatility with JPEGs as you do with PNG’s. When you compress JPEGs this will alter the quality of the image or design. The file size is also a lot smaller, and because of this, you are unable to have transparency. 

Despite its limitations, JPEG does have some benefits. It is the most common graphic format for photographs as it is able to display the same level of detail as a PNG at a fraction of the file size.

Due to being such a small file, this can also benefit when used on websites, as it will keep loading times low to improve someone’s experience on them.

 

 

Any Other Formats

When you hear the word GIF you immediately think of looping jolty videos of cats falling off tables. But they are also an effective and surprisingly easy format to create interactive designs.

A Graphics Interchange Format, aka GIF,  supports multi-page formats, as well as transparency. This means that you can use the format as a more interesting way of displaying information. 

You can use it to deliver messages in multiple parts, display different products a company sells with their prices and even create your own animations on it. This simple yet effective format can be a lot more powerful than just a still design.

Another format that is extremely useful when creating designs – especially on logos and text graphics is a Scalable Vector Graphic, aka SVG. 

This is because an SVG is an image that can be searched, indexed, scripted and compressed. Most importantly it can be scaled in size without losing any quality.

Because of this, it is always useful to have a library full of SVGs that you repeatedly use in designs. This means that no matter what the file size of the design is, the SVG will always look crisp and not distorted.

Image Sizing Matters

The size of an image or design affects a lot of areas, some of which you might not be aware of. 

Images that are optimised for the web generally fare a lot better than those that aren’t. There are three main reasons for this:

  1. They look good on the page.
  2. They load a lot quicker than those that aren’t optimized.
  3. They are easier for search engines to index – resulting in stronger SEO.

And it is really simple how to optimize an image for a website – ensure that the sizing of it is web-friendly.

The higher the resolution of an image, the larger the file will be. If you were to print off this image it would be recommended to go higher with the resolution. 

However, on the web, it is a different story as this will slow the web page down significantly. This hurts user experience on both desktops and mobiles.

But just how do you strike the right balance between size and quality? 

Let’s start with how much a file actually takes up. The more bytes that a file has the more likely it is to slow down a website. Images that are over 5MB are quite large files, whereas anything displayed in KB is more reasonable.

There are different causes for large files. This could be because the image dimensions are too large, the resolution is too high or because of the complexity of the design or image.

One quick and easy fix is to just make sure that your dimensions are not too big. The typical image on a website is 795×300 pixels, which might not seem too much, but you are still able to get the detail needed to communicate.

And when it comes to the resolution, this is measured in dots per inch. Printers sometimes require images to be printed in 300dpi, but this level isn’t required in computer monitors. Most of them are set at 72dpi or 92dpi, which means that anything larger than that is unnecessarily large, without being beneficial. 

Most editing software has shortcuts that can help you bypass this. When saving a post, there is a save for web option, and this automatically saves an image at a lower dpi. 

One final tip for when uploading an image to a CMS is to always name it something appropriate. A Google index crawler is more likely to understand an image with an appropriate name to what it is than to one with a default name, usually one that consists of numbers and random letters.

Getting the Right Dimensions

Social Media

With this information on how to save an image for the web that is optimized, you can now explore other ways to get creative with the design.

The dimensions of a design will always be influenced by its purpose and destination. 

When posting a design on social media, especially on Instagram it is worth noting how it will appear on a phone screen. Instagram itself has a preset square template, so by ensuring that your dimensions are equal, the design will fill them perfectly. 

Instagram compresses an image to 600 x 600, but if you save your design as a PNG that is 1080 x 1080 your design will look flawless without any resolution being affected. 

This is similar for other social media platforms, but the key thing to remember is that despite compressing your designs, the finished product will still look detailed. This will mean that any resolution around 1000x will look sharp and attractive.

Banners for Ads

Banners come in all different shapes and sizes. Because of this, they all have their own advantages in how you can communicate with them.

Some banners will allow you to pack it full of interesting images, design and copy, whereas some have less space, but can equally be as memorable and punchy.

With Google Ads, there is a range of common dimensions used that can fit into one of four categories:

  • Squares
  • Rectangles
  • Skyscrapers
  • Leaderboard

The most commonly used square size is 250 x 250, but you can also use a small square, which is 200 x 200. 

With rectangles, there is a similar variation in that the most common is 336 x 280, but you can also have smaller ones, with 300 x 250 another size that is regularly used. 

The benefit of using squares and rectangles is that you will find that there is a lot more space to express design. The shape of the surface area allows you to use different features and stylistic techniques.

Alternatively, skyscrapers and leaderboards are slightly different, as they have a more stretched surface area. 

Named after their resemblance to the city skyline, the most common skyscraper is 120 x 600. Leaderboards are the opposite, they are wider than they are tall, with 728 x 90 being a go-to size.

Due to its shape, leaderboard designs are much more compatible with copy, as you will be able to fit a sentence naturally. This would be harder to do with a skyscraper, but equally as effective and you can clearly put all the important information in divided sections.

In terms of the actual design, it is worth noting that because of the size the image is going to appear at, the text has to be large and clear. Short, snappy straplines and keywords are important here as you are trying to grab people’s attention. By accompanying this with a call to action button, the headline keyword will act as a hook for the audience to “Find Out More”.

One final thing that is worth noting is that Google is extremely good at compressing image files without a decrease in the quality of resolution.

This means that you will be able to create your templates in a larger size to improve resolution, as long as they can be compressed into the file size requirements. 

For example, a square template with a Google Ad size of 250 x 250 can be designed at 500 x 500, 1000 x 1000 or even 2000 x 2000. By saving as a PNG, this will mean you will have the same glossy design.

Conclusions

So what have we learnt from this scratching of the surface into the complex world of design? First of all, it is a minefield. But it is one that we can stop and think about before we set.

Every design format has a purpose, and you should observe these to tailor your design to its overall purpose. 

The simple steps and considerations that you have to take might not seem like much, but the result of them will be incredibly effective.

Creating a Brand Logo

Creating a Brand Logo

Whether you are just starting your business out, or are an established name in your field, the logo is the first thing that you want the world to see and understand about your company. As a result of this, you want it to grab attention, make a strong impression and form the foundations of your brand identity.

Creating a new logo is not just something you can quickly knock together in a matter of hours. A wide range of factors will influence your decisions, helping to steer your creative vision.  

      1. Understanding the Brand.

Before you even open up your design software, it is important to lay the groundwork in the form of base company research. Whether you are acting on behalf of a client for a company you are not so familiar with, or as part of an internal design team, you need to understand the company from top to bottom.

To build a bigger picture, ask these questions and answer them in as much detail as possible:

  • What do you do?
  • Why do you do it?
  • What makes you different from your competitors?
  • What are your values?

Another way to understand your business is to identify your customer base. Create a mood board, creating a comprehensive understanding of who your customers are. What other sort of brands would they be loyal to? What are the visuals and designs that they are attracted to? 

Although this won’t magically solve what your logo will look like, it will help you understand what you are trying to achieve, and also importantly, what sort of designs you would be trying to avoid.

      2. Research the Field

Naturally, when you start to create your logo, you want to stand out from the crowd. This shouldn’t stop you from checking out what the competitors are doing with their logos, branding and identity.

For example, if you are tasked with creating a new brand for a barbershop in Leeds, create a logo board displaying logos side by side.

Having a range of logos on a sheet will help you to notice similarities and differences in the way that brands use text, font, colour and icons, as well as noticing certain layouts.

From a design perspective, you can then draw inspiration from the ones that you think work well, whilst also informing you on what to avoid.

It is worth remembering that the idea isn’t to reinvent the wheel. Most ideas have been tried and tested before, so there are rules and conventions in every industry that can be followed.

      3. The Design Considerations

After researching your competitors, as well as getting a good understanding of the company whose logo you are creating you will be at a stage where it is finally time to start your design. 

Every designer has their own process. Whether that be picking up a pencil and sketching some conceptual ideas or diving straight in, whatever works best for you. 

Within this though, there are certain considerations and factors to observe.

  • Typography 

One of the most important ways to set the tone for the logo is through the font and typography. Is the font used appropriate for the logo? From your research on other competition, you would be able to see exactly what styles similar businesses go for, whilst also seeing what would be wildly inappropriate.

Can you combine typography with icons? Some of the best logos are layered in a way that have icons embedded within them that have a meaning or are they of significance. This is something you can get creative with. Does your company have any objects that are synonymous with the service? For example, could a hair salon use any letters to create a pair of scissors?

  • Colour

You may have set company colours that you are planning to use for your logo already, but it is worth thinking a little bit about this before you make your final decision. 

To understand what colours might be best used together, you can use the colour wheel to help inform your decision-making process. 

Marketers use techniques to create colour harmonies by simply referring to the colour wheel.

Colours at the opposite end of the wheel will naturally complement each other, but other relationships like Analogous colours, where they sit next to each other on the wheel can also be used to create pleasing harmonies. 

Using the image above, try out the different techniques on your own design. 

      4. The Social Media Test

You have got to the stage where you are fairly comfortable that you are pleased with the logo. The design is pleasing, there is the right level of text and iconography on there and you can’t wait to show it off to the world. 

However, there is one more consideration to take. How will it look on social media profiles?

When someone is scrolling through Twitter or Facebook on a mobile screen, they are only going to see a tiny logo in the corner of the screen. 

Is this going to be instantly recognisable and memorable? This can be done through using the colours wisely, a hierarchy of elements on the logo so something stands out, or by the layout or shape of it.

A good way to think of it is how would it look as a widget for an app? If you can create an icon or letter that is instantly recognisable, like the Facebook app logo, when seen repeatedly the consumer will know instantly what the logo stands for.