How to Land Featured Snippets With Ahrefs (and Why You Should Care)

Owning the top spot for each Search Engine Results Page (SERP) that is directly relevant to your brand. Broadly speaking, that’s the goal of virtually every business in the modern world when it comes to SEO, right?

Well, what if I told you that not all SERPs are built equally, and that the way you engineer your organic content to target specific types of SERPs determines whether or not you can own that treasured #1 spot.

You might say, ‘Tom, I’m an SEO nerd, show me how to get the snippet already’ – but if you aren’t familiar with featured snippets, here’s a quick run down of what they involve and why they matter.

What is a featured snippet?

A featured snippet, often referred to as ‘position 0’, is essentially a selected excerpt of content chosen by Google’s algorithms that is seen to directly match the searcher’s intent.

Let’s say you’ve identified a decline in sales during lockdown and want to ramp up activity to compensate for this with a deadline set for restrictions lifting. As with many problems these days, the first step to solving it may simply be to google ‘how to generate more leads’, which would the following result:

featured snippet - how to generate more leads

This is a featured snippet – confirmed by the little ‘about featured snippets’ button below each result. There’s a good chance that the text within a featured snippet is THE result you’ve been searching for- hence it being displayed above all others.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the featured snippets take up a good chunk of space in desktop results, and even more so on mobile devices- where you’ll find snippets covering around 50% of the screen. They’re difficult to miss, by design.

Types of featured snippet

Slick paragraphs aren’t always the most helpful way of answering a question. That’s why Google’s SERP Features includes four main types of snippet. These are:

  • Paragraphs.
  • Lists (bulleted or numbered).
  • Tables.
  • Video.

Within each snippet type, you’ll see content that really captures the essence of the searcher’s intent, whether they were Googling tax legislation or how best to recruit new team members.

There are also knowledge card or entity carousel snippet results, but these are typically difficult to optimise for and niche in use- so let’s focus on what you can action.

Why do snippets matter?

The cop-out answer here would be a generic ‘because visibility is important, and sitting atop the SERPs is the best way of boosting visibility’. More interestingly, though, featured snippets comprise around 19% of SERPs according to a recent study by Search Engine Journal. That’s a huge amount.

What’s more, 70% of featured snippets found in this study were text-based, meaning integrated text that’s optimised into your existing content writing could be an easy way of maximising the return on your efforts.

Conversely, neglecting featured snippet considerations and never really looking at what type of SERPs are generated for your target keywords could result in missed opportunities.

The risk of excessive snippet visibility

For full disclosure, snippets aren’t always the best friend of a content marketer. Think about it, if you’re appearing #1 in search results for quick questions with your precise information, users may absorb that information, then get back on with their day- exiting search results.

That ultimately means that your content could drive less clicks, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A 2017 study by Ahrefs looked at what percentage share of clicks is driven by different positions on the SERP. It found that featured snippets (position 1) drive only 8.6% of clicks, while the next highest ranked page sees roughly 19.6% of clicks.

This sounds like a doom and gloom stat for featured snippets, however it’s important to also understand that zero-click searches have gradually increased over the years – and around 50% of searches today yield no clicks.

So, there’s more to the story than click data alone. Instead of a tunnel-vision approach on CTRs, it’s probably best to build a broader picture of how visible your brand is, and lean more heavily on rankings as a performance metric. Besides, SERP features can fluctuate as algorithms evolve and update, which we simply can’t control.

Let’s focus, then, on what we can control.

  1. We can identify which SERPs return snippets.
  2. We can optimise our content to pinch those snippets.

Here’s exactly how.

Navigate to the ‘Site Explorer’ tool within Ahrefs. Input your target domain, I’ve used Yorkshire Tea as an example considering that we’re based in Yorkshire, and that you’ll have earned one shortly.

Featured snippet results for Yorkshire Tea

From there, navigate to ‘Organic keywords’ via the left menu. Now that you’re looking at a list of organic keywords your brand ranks for, you can filter these further using various options within ‘SERP features’.

Once these filters are applied, you’ll see a list of keywords your brand currently ranks for that actually return featured snippet SERPs. If you’re ranking in position 1, then congratulations- you own that snippet!

Ranking positions for yorkshire tea featured snippets

If not, however, then there’s a clear opportunity to optimise for queries for which you’re ranking in positions two or lower. Yorkshire tea here could improve their /how-to-make-a-proper-brew/ URL to better answer searches for ‘how to make tea’.

This individual URL could potentially capture featured snippets within two SERPs that ask the exact same question in slightly different ways. 

We’ve identified that owning the snippet may not result in more clicks, but there’s an unquantifiable value to being presented as the source of knowledge when a user searches for ‘how to make tea’, and quotes Yorkshire Tea as the source when telling their friends what the ‘right way’ is.   

Clever ways of using featured snippets

We’ve covered why feature snippets matter and the value they can bring to your business, but let’s take a look at some practical ways in which you can actually optimise for them.

  • Optimising existing content

In line with the approach we outlined earlier in the piece, you can look for featured snippets that are relevant to your existing content, then optimise for these snippets as best you can.

  • Find featured snippet opportunities within new content

If you’re doing your keyword research within ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer tool, you’ll find a similar ‘SERP Features’ button that allows you to indicate which keywords return snippet SERPs – irrespective of whether or not you rank for them.

using ahrefs keyword explorer for featured snippets

This more proactive approach to snippets could enable you to factor snippets into your content planning, meaning you can design your content to target them, rather than producing a bunch of content and retrospectiveley optimising it.

  • Researching competitor snippets

It could also be worth looking at how competitors optimise for snippets as part of their content strategy. You might identify that actually snippets form a huge part of competitor targeting, which may give you insights and inspiration as to how you could shape your own strategy.

You can review competitor snippets exactly as you view your own within ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool – so if you have the time to dedicate to research, look at the most effective optimisation tactics competitors are using to acquire snippets and factor them into your own business’ workflow.

Our approach to featured snippets

So, featured snippets are all about improving visibility, serving users your expertise succinctly, and being presented in a special position above the rest of organic search results at the potential expense of a few clicks.

The real question is: ‘how do you fit featured snippet optimisations into a wider content strategy?’

It requires a complex answer, but one piece of food for thought is that there’s a trend within content whereby long-form, substantive guide articles are reportedly performing incredibly well. Assuming this content format is at the heart of your approach, you could look to optimise normally around your core terms, while also targetting specific featured snippets within h2 and h3 sections; increasing the amount of keywords your article ranks for.

It’s commonly accepted that acquiring strong rankings is in of itself a good indicator to Google that your content is authoritative/trustworthy, and so picking up featured snippets where possible is rarely a bad idea.

If you’re interested in learning how to maximise the use of SERP features for your site, reach out to us for a quote on the impact a cleverly crafted content strategy could have on your traffic.

Social Media Updates: June 2021

Instagram is no longer a photo sharing app

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, has declared that the platform is no longer a photo sharing app. In wake of the success of TikTok and YouTube, Instagram is looking to expand into the entertainment and video space. 

To reach its goal, the app will be conducting experiments such as showing users recommendations for topics they’re not following and making video more immersive by offering a full-screen experience.

Although Instagram has been testing full-screen video experiences through IGTV, Reels and Stories – the opportunity to incorporate video far more widely still remains.

The primary reason why people use Instagram is to be entertained, however TikTok’s user and engagement surge indicates that people are looking at other alternatives.

To combat this and to be recognized as a general entertainment app driven by algorithms and videos, the platform is trying to tap into trends being followed by other social platforms such as TikTok.

Tweet sharing now available to Instagram stories

Twitter has provided another way for users to interact with tweets by giving all iOS users the ability to share tweets directly to Instagram stories.

When users will click on the sharing icon next to each tweet, they’ll be able to see the new ‘Instagram Stories’ option. The new option, when clicked, will add the tweet into a blank Instagram camera frame where you’ll be able to edit your story according to your preferences.

The tweets will not be tappable as Instagram doesn’t provide off platform links in stories, which means they can’t drive traffic back to the tweet. However, this is still a great update as it may be an indication of a future full-integration between Twitter and Instagram.

Previously, tweets have been shared on Instagram through screenshots. The update has been implemented to tackle this common method of redistributing tweets and to help boost interest in the platform.

TikTok reminds brands to make TikToks not ads

To encourage brands to embrace the flexibility of the platform, TikTok reminds them not to make ads, but to make TikToks to make the most of their marketing activities.

The app explains that while the internet platforms have evolved, ad formats have stayed the same and due to the similarity in the ad formats, users tend to skip them.

However, with TikToks, brands can create valuable, engaging and raw content that resonates with their audience. Ads like this invite the audience to participate and build on the story rather than simply receiving the story and moving on.

In fact, users may start to participate in campaigns, build alongside them and create their own TikToks for brands and products they love – which is the goal of the platform.

Katie Puris, TikTok Global Business Marketing head explains that people often say that they didn’t even realize that a particular TikTok was an ad.

“The work is so good, it fits right in and it’s celebrated… just like a TikTok.”

According to TikTok, the more unfiltered and real the content is, the better it performs. On other platforms brands really need to invest in the content and have videographers, photographers, and models – on TikTok, they don’t.

Instagram tests image and video uploads from desktop

Previously, Instagram only allowed business accounts to publish posts from desktop via Facebook’s Creator Studio app. The platform is now allowing a small group of users to publish feed posts directly from its desktop version.

With the addition of the “+” icon to the top bar of the desktop version of the app, users can upload images or videos directly from their PC storage. They will also be able to customise their feed posts by using the standard in-app editing tools and filters not included in the Creator Studio app.

The new update makes it easier for businesses and social media managers to manage their content because they can now upload edited images and illustrations in a straight-forward process.

Instagram says:

“We know that many people access Instagram from their computer. To improve that experience, we’re now testing the ability to create a feed post on Instagram with their desktop browser.”

The platform further explains that this update will enable more people to use the app and will provide a more centralised approach for social media managers.

If you want to find out how TikTok and other social media apps can help your brand reach its desired target audience and increase sales, get in touch with our expert team or check out our blog for all the latest social media and SEO updates.

SEO Market Updates: June 2021

Join Fusion’s SEO team as we round up last month’s major industry updates.


On 15th June Google announced the rollout of its much-anticipated Page Experience algorithm.

Incorporating the new Core Web Vitals metrics, the algorithm measures a range of factors broadly related to page usability and user experience, including:

  • Page speed
  • Interactivity
  • Visual stability
  • Mobile-friendliness
  • Safe browsing
  • HTTPS usage
  • Usage of intrusive interstitials

Sites that are marked as optimal across the above factors will be considered as offering good page experience and may be potentially favoured in SERPs as a result. However, according to Google sites should not expect to see drastic changes as an immediate result of the update.

Although the current update only applies to mobile devices, Google has confirmed that Page Experience will become a ranking factor for desktop in the near future. A timeline for this has not yet been set out, with an announcement expected closer to the time of release.

To find out more about what to expect from the new update and our approach to measuring Page Experience, read our dedicated blog post here.


Prior to the release of the planned Page Experience update, earlier in June Google rolled out a previously unannounced broad core update.

Referred to as the June 2021 Core Update, the release began to roll out on the 2nd of June and finished around the 12th. Unusually, Google announced that this would be a two-part update, with the 2nd round of updates taking place at some point in July. Google’s Danny Sullivan clarified:

  “Some of our planned improvements for the June 2021 update aren’t quite ready, so we’re moving ahead with the parts that are, then we will follow with the rest with the July 2021 update. Most sites won’t notice either of these updates, as is typical with any core updates.”

Google have not disclosed any exact details as to the changes made in the two updates, simply stating the update is fairly typical and that sites may see a negative, positive, or negligible impact. As has become usual with core updates, Google also maintained that there’s nothing in particular for webmasters to do in response.


If the Page Experience and June / July 2021 updates were not enough, in late June Google also released another update, this time targeting “search spam”.

Rolling out in two parts, the first release started on the 23rd and completed within a single day, with the second following up a week later on the 28th. Confirming the update on the 23rd, Google stated:

“As part of our regular work to improve results, we’ve released a spam update to our systems. This spam update will conclude today. A second one will follow next week.”

Clarification has not been provided on the exact types of spam targeted in the releases, with Google simply advising webmasters to follow their best practice guidelines for search.


Google Search Console received another round of features in June, with the addition of a new “Insights” report.

Google Console graph

Insights joins together data from Google Search Console and Google Analytics in an effort to make it easier to analyze the performance of site content. In Google’s words, Insights aims to help site owners answer the below questions:

  • “What are your best performing pieces of content, and which ones are trending?”
  • “How do people discover your content across the web?”
  • “What do people search for on Google before they visit your content?”
  • “Which article refers users to your website and content?”

The new tool began rolling out in mid-June and should now be available to most Google Search Console users. Site owners can either access Insights directly through Search Console, or via a new portal on the Google site.


Owners of Shopify sites are now able to manually upload and edit robots.txt files. The new feature was announced on Twitter by Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke, and as of 21st June should be fully rolled out.

Shopify had previously only applied default robots.txt files to all websites, with no clear workaround should webmasters need to edit the file. However, the file can now be manually changed via the robots.txt.liquid theme template, with site owners able to:

  • Block certain crawlers
  • Disallow (or allow) certain URLs from being crawled
  • Manually add extra sitemap URLs
  • Add crawl-delay rules for specific crawlers.

While Shopify maintains that the default robots.txt “works for most stores”, the new functionality ultimately gives greater control to site owners and is likely to be welcomed by SEOs working with Shopify sites.

If you found this update useful, check out our latest blog posts for the latest news, and if you’re interested in finding out more about what we can do for your brand, get in touch with the team today.