Did you know that the majority of searches on Google are questions?

Makes perfect sense, especially if you consider the last few searches you’ve typed into your phone. My last search happens to be “do you need a range hood.”  Google provided a result in the form of a featured snippet, which is a 2-3 sentence call-out that is pulled from the top 10 search results and that appears above all other search results. Like most people, the featured snippet (in my case, pulled from a Zillow article) answered my question and my search was over. No need to scroll down to the other search results. In fact, since I searched via mobile device, my screen only showed the featured snippet.

In case you are wondering, yes, I need a range hood. More importantly, you might be wondering: What’s a brand to do if search is a key business driver?

How can you optimize brand content for featured snippets?

Like most things in Google, the answer is complicated and relies on several factors. However, two key components are relevant, rankable keywords and informative header tags.

Identify the right keywords

You must know which keywords you can rank for in search, including those terms people actively use (either tap into your SEO firm or use tools such as Moz or within Google to create a list). Understanding that people who search with questions are likely at the top-of-the-funnel, focus on keywords or phrases that are nonbranded and topical.

Create a search-friendly headline

Create copy headlines (H1 tag) that incorporate your primary keyword and tell the reader exactly what the content is about. Again, think about how people search and structure your headlines accordingly. For example, “How to…”, “Why do …”, “What does …” are great headline starters.

Create snippet-worthy content under H2 tags

Create subheads in the form of questions that include related keywords. The content should answer the question in two-to-three sentences or a bulleted list. It can even have additional subtopics (H3 tags) that drill down the information.

Using my most recent search as an example, here’s an abbreviated blog post layout optimized for a featured snippet.

  • Headline (H1): Why Your Kitchen Needs a Range Hood
    • Subhead 1 (H2): What is a range hood?
    • Subhead 2: How does a range hood work?
    • Subhead 3: What happens if I don’t have a range hood?
      • Subhead 1 (H3): Problem X
      • Subhead 2: Problem X
      • Subhead 3: Problem X

Why isn’t my article included in a featured snippet?

Like all things, SEO takes time. By creating easy-to-navigate, keyword-relevant and scannable content (and promoting it via social and email), you increase the likelihood of clicks, shares and resulting backlinks – all signals to Google that you are creating high-quality content worthy of a top-10 placement.