SEO content fore content writers

SEO Content for Featured Snippets the Q & A

A guide for content writers to understand the SEO elements and what content style of writing and elements are required to rank in the featured snippets positions

Writing content targeting featured snippets and answering questions with best practice SEO in mind

Notes for writing content for featured snippets
If some descriptions of a topic are too long, if you need to break it out into smaller concise pieces of content, easier to read and understand.
To bearing in mind the attention span of the user.
How to identify content for featured snippets
Please look at what is currently ranking for the particular search phrase or keyword. also take note of what google provides in the [People also ask box] . Questions and answers in a concise paragraph. How google deals with content regarding voice search With the increase of voice search queries, google is moving to ranking pages with this formatted content.
If you exceed the 40-60 words quota don’t hesitate to break out each statement into a Q&A.

How are Featured snippets structured?
Featured snippets are made up of Heading + (supporting content. [40-60 words]) along with the url of the source below for the user to read more about it. in some case an image is placed along side with it, which may not necessarily be form the same site, hence the importance of adding images to the article & alt description of the image.


Featured Snippet - April 2020
a paragraph featured snippet in the wild and the “People also ask” box

Featured snippets in a table format: keyword: f1 driver standings 2019

f1 driver standings 2019
Featured snippets in a table format: keyword: f1 driver standings 2019


f1 driver standings 2019- Previously

Classic Bullet point or Numbered Featured Snippet with an image

Bullet point serps

*Note how much of “serp real estate” is take by these widgets below the ads, thereby pushing organic results further down the page, Google’s long term and sneaky plan of keeping user longer on its own page, but providing the answers without visiting the actual page with the resource.

Alternatively, they are formatted in a Heading + bullet points* the issue with the bullet points is that if the bullet points are less than 7 bullet points google will not display the More items… link, and users will get the information required
without clicking on the More items… to get the additions bullet points. So be sure to add more than 7 bullet points else we lose the click and technically the coveted position ZERO (the featured snippet) and the CTR for the featured snippet fails.


Paragraph Featured Snippet with an Image

Paragraph featured snippet 

Why format the content in a Q & A structure?
As seen above with the screenshots and within this document it has been formatted with headings and answers/content, making it a lot easier to read
and hold the user’s attention and to skim through to find what is important and interesting in the article/ email in this case

The increase of questions in search


Hence the importance of addressing these search queries, which will boost featured snippets of your rankings or your competitors.

A common ratio of keywords which are in forms of questions

question ratio.



Types of featured snippets which are the most popular
snippets in devices



With the increase in voice search
Since google is focus in providing results to accommodate voice search it does this by adding featured snippets which are read out to the user in the above mentioned structured content being featured snippets.

voice search



For longer Articles

Further Proof that this works and that it isn’t just theory.
This is what google ranks and proven by what is doing and KILLING it in the rankings. sample:

ig keyword

Having a closer look

The SEO focused structure of the article

1700 words and in that 18 questions, you notice the same pattern throughout all the other ranking pages of IG – contains Headings with questions – contains Headings with bullet points
– contains a video – contains images
– examples – contains internal links to resources – contains various CTA’s – contains links to alternative related resources.
To Result in:
1. Increase the user engagement with the content
2. decrease the bounce rate
3. increase the session duration
4. pages per sessions
5. ave. time on page

SEO ranking factors

All the above attributes of this formatted structure are serious ranking factors, which we HAVE to adapt, practice and implement in our content for the web which we want to be ranked for in the search engines.
This may not be applicable for older offline media, but it is the web content which I’m concerned about.

The Bert update which changed the serp landscape

BERT, which stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers, is a neural network-based technique for natural language processing pre-training. In plain English, it can be used to help Google better discern the context of words in search queries Started on the 30 Oct 2020 Meaning google understands strange keyword queries, and this has changed its index, for more clarity of the user intent and connecting useful content to that.
How to optimise for that, technically there are no “fix or hack” to get better rankings, just plain old quality  and relevant content does the job.

Fulfilling User Intent

Questions to bear in mind during the process of fulfilling the user intent
– What does the user want or looking for??
– Are their multiple intents?
– Does its address the level of engagement the user is in? (Funnel level – informational, comparison, transactional)
– What are the main concerns and drives of the user?
– Based on that intent, what would the user be most likely to convert on?
– What type of action might the user intend to take?
– What type of next steps would the user be interested in?
– How are we going to convey the message?
– After reading the article how likely is the user going to convert or take the intended call to action?
– Would the user share the article on social media?
– What is our intent? Does the article server the user’s intent and our intent?
– Make your article as deep and detailed as possible.
Make sure that all your content is relevant to your readers Using the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule) focus 80% on fulfilling user intent with keyword structuring,
answering questions, providing guidance and 20% creative writing addressing the user’s emotional and storytelling

So, what are the Content KPI’s?

User behaviour:

  • Unique visitors
  • Pages per session
  • Bounce rate
  • Ave. time on page
  • Ave. session duration
  • % Exit

SEO results:

  • Organic traffic
  • Featured snippet placements
  • Video in serps
  • Backlinks acquired
  • Ranking keywords per article


  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Comments
  • Mentions
  • backlinks


The Audience

Who are we talking to?

Our primary audience is prospective clients. Within this audience we are talking to two segments:
– Individuals who recognise there is potential in financial markets, but who don’t have the appetite, confidence, or time, to build the skills needed to become a ‘trader’
– Individuals who have tried trading in some way (possibly but not necessarily leveraged trading), but weren’t successful – because they didn’t have time, or the skills or patience

What’s the problem we’re solving for our audience?

People go to google to get their problems solved or learn more about a specific subject, which, usually is a question, as you can imagine there is no end to it, and in that specific niche we are serving a solution to, we have to answering a pool of those questions which could be found in various online tools provided at the end of the document.

How will we measure success?

Guest articles published by media targets
Backlinks to the site
User engagement with the article on the site – number of views, time on page.

Guest posts articles for 3rd party sites

One or two shorter ‘teaser’ articles that can be supplied to media websites as unique content on their sites that will link to the full feature article on websites.
Think of a trailer to a movie

• Strong headline
• Engaging article to inspire readers to continue finding out more about the subject
• User infographics, images, bullets, tables etc
• Target word count 800 – 1500 words each

By creating uniquely valuable content we will target media partners who have audiences that match our target market, to syndicate or link to this content. In other words, we aim to ‘earn’ media placements through the quality of the content, getting media to share and link to our content.


Concluding my point for SEO content

I know it takes time to do, checking the serps, but, then again SEO’s don’t provide all the heading for the content as this may narrow the freedom of creative/natural writing.
But it is imperative what the research is done and well worth the effort, and if not done, it’s all a waste of effort.

And then I would just going to have to rework it which is inefficient, but essential to get the results  aimed for.

Free tools writers can use to research questions easily:

Keywords everywhere a great browser plugin which lists related keywords and people also search for. to get question around a topic to get question around a topic Keywords used by competitors Keyword ratios


Note: the SEO elements in the article.

Clear core <H1> heading with an image, which acts as a question social sharing widgets, to encourage organic sharing / outreach bio: name – we all know who he is.
NB factor: the keyword should be in:

1. The meta tile

2. url

3. H1

4. In the 1st paragraph of the article

Start of the article intro with a question – [retaining interest] provide what the article is all about, bullet points [retaining attention and clarity]


broad headings H2 with supporting headings and content [as mentioned before for FS ] supporting images
Examples used
More questions Key Takeaway: for larger sections – [retaining interest + attention + time on page]
Internal links to relevant pages [retaining time on site + ave. page / session + lower bounce rate]
Final conclusion closure to the content.
Comments [increased time on page + user engagement, UGC adding more unique content to page]
Answering question: [trust signals + authority in the field]


Final conclusion closure to the content.

Comments [increased time on page + user engagement, UGC adding more unique content to page]
Answering question: [trust signals + authority in the field]
If you see his other article, you’ll see clearer sections of an article.
I would suggest to read a few of Brain’s work as he is a leader in the industry.

Content Q&A

I have a few questions,
a) I presume these short form articles follow same principles ie multiple questions, keywords? – Yes, with the fair amount of headings/questions and supporting content

b) do I need to write featured snippets? Is that part of the word count? – The headings/questions and supporting content make up the featured snippets structure, [ Heading with ~40 word supporting content ] which will be within the word count.
* Featured snippets are selected exclusively by google from content on the page, and only pages ranking in the top 10 positions, so guest post will never reach this status of ranking in top 10, unless they are extensionally well written, and answer a long-term keyword. Hence the important of answering questions.

c) how should we adjust for voice searches? – As mentioned above regarding long term keywords voice search is usually this, example “okay google” “What are the top 10 trading strategies?” So if there where results for this it would probably be either: A heading “top 10 trading strategies” and a bullet point list, or a broader heading with “Popular trading strategies” with a heading of each strategy and ~40 words of supporting content.

d) you reference the IG article – is this solely for long-form articles or presume can be a guide for all? –It could be for both forms of content but more importantly for longer form content which will start to rank in the top 10 position in google. Whereas guest post of 300-500 words probably may not.

e) do you have a login for the site or do I need one? – Yes, can add the plugin to your browser which will provide related keywords, but for the search volume of each keyword you have to buy credits to see it.

5. Please can you provide some “high search volume keywords” that can be incorporated into the articles? –I’m glad you have embraced this logic of writing bearing in mind SEO, don’t obsess with high search volume, but instead move that obsession to: answering questions – providing value to user intent.

“That is the best advice I could give a writer” with the high search volume keywords come keyword difficulty which is a metric which depends on multiple factors like, backlinks, supporting content, domain authority, cpc value, tf-idf, and more, which is a science on its own. And I would advise not to rattle your brain with this.

There is paid software, which I use to make more sense of these factors, along with other supporting SEO factors.
For the long form content, I do provide it and make up clusters of headings and supporting keywords
which is most relevant to the topic with the constraints of the word quota for the article. Hence stick to the headings provided and the word quota for each heading as provided in the brief of each long form SEO article as I have taken the time to do all this keyword research for you, and the other content writers in the company.