The Importance of Featured Snippets for Law Firm SEO

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Everyone dreams of seeing their name in big, bright lights at some point during their life. The internet’s equivalent to this glitz and glamour means appearing at the top of search results. If you’re “famous” enough, Google will cast you in their next blockbuster “featured snippet,” the eye-catching search result that adorns the top of a browser window. These coveted spots are a tremendous asset to any business, but you can’t purchase them. So, what is a “featured snippet,” and how do you draw the eye of Cecille B. Google to rehearse for that oh-so-important close-up?  Here’s a breakdown of how featured snippets relate to law firm SEO:

Law Firm SEO law firm SEO

The Google Marquee

A few years ago, Google noticed that users often left a search results page without lingering. The more time a user meanders on a page, the likelihood they will see and interact with ads might increase. People seemed to appear on Google’s website, find what they wanted, and exit stage left. The company viewed this turnstile traffic as undesirable to any media buyer. They appropriately dubbed this phenomenon “bouncing.” In the user’s defense, the search results page of yesteryear was less than inspiring, spotlighting only paid ads and organic search results. 

Google posited that providing rich elements to the user through visually enticing content and factual information could keep them there longer and counteract mass instances of bouncing. So, the coders went back to their keyboards to try to alter the landscape of SEO optimization. The fruits of their labor became the featured snippet, and chances are you’ve come across one as you traverse the internet. Featured Snippets occupy the space above the fold, highlight premium content, and every other search result requires the user to scroll down to view.

You Want Answers?

Rest assured, you can handle the truth that the algorithm decides who gets a featured snippet. It’s entirely out of your hands, and no amount of money will sway that fact. Further adding to the mystery of the elusive featured snippet is that only the coders at Google know how the algorithm evaluates a candidate. Some would say that even they couldn’t articulate the how’s and why’s of taking advantage of this choice SEO position. The complexity of featured snippets begins with the simple question of how well you can answer a question. If your answer to a specific question is better than everyone else’s and your website attracts much traffic, you could find your law firm’s webpage bestowed with a featured snippet.law firm seo

What does this mean for law firm SEO? Well, if it’s a Tuesday, let’s look at tacos. How do you make the best tacos? If your web page talks about the type of protein to use, the right cheeses, recipes for homemade salsa, guacamole, and handmade tortillas with all the fillings, this treasure trove of information is what experts believe the robust algorithm wants to see. If your taco article draws much attention, perhaps even a viral share or a mention from a celebrity, Google wants to see this too. If you take the featured snippet crown, don’t sleep because someone else is probably working to best your answer, surpass your web traffic, and dethrone your law firm. 

Top of the World, Ma!

While a featured snippet may contain audio or video, let’s focus on the primary source of featured snippets, a blog or article. Think of a question or topic and write the best answer possible. Whatever the copy reads should be easy to consume and accurate. If the words are muddled, the message is confusing or factually inaccurate, Google’s algorithm will flag it as a poor candidate for a featured snippet, and back to the drawing board you and your marketing team go. One of the best ways to understand how well you’re progressing is to look at the current champion of the featured snippet and attempt to emulate or improve what they have done. If you can exceed their web traffic and deliver outstanding information, you could supplant them, and law firm SEO experts encourage this practice.

When crafting the blog or article, choose your words carefully. Additionally, the structure of what you write means everything. The deft use of headings and subheadings can help organize the webpage in a way that encourages Google’s algorithm to scan the content and deem it worthy. Some things that potentially increase worthiness are a list of pros and cons, short Q & A’s, data tables, graphics, and more. Of course, SEO keywords and interlinking terms to other articles of similar quality are also helpful. Anything you and your marketing team can do to bring maximum value to a user in a simplistic manner will hopefully lead to seeing your law firm’s name in a starring role and clients clamoring for your autograph.

For a more in-depth look at SEO best practices, check out this free eBook: SEO for Law Firm Websites.

Takeaway:

Featured snippets were created by Google to give users a reason to linger on their search results page and view ads or interact with sponsored content. This method of search optimization seeks to offer a user something called rich elements, which Google believes are integral to a valuable experience and repeat business. Featured snippets appear above the fold on a search result page, highlight premium content, and, most importantly, answer a specific question well. Another added benefit of being in a featured snippet is that the user must scroll down to view every other search result. As enticing as this marketing opportunity sounds, your law firm cannot purchase the right to appear in a featured snippet; Google’s algorithm decides who is worthy and who needs to try harder by examining the webpage’s contents for factual accuracy, writing quality & structure, and a consistent flow of traffic. If you check enough of these boxes, then the benefits of being the headline are yours. Everyone else is just yesterday’s news.

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