Optimize your Google search snippets

1. Add named anchor HTML elements to your pages or use a plugin like Easy Table of Contents for WordPress to create an on-page clickable table of contents.

Google uses on-page tables of contents to take users directly to the part of the page with the information they’re searching for with Jump to links. Google uses on-page tables of contents to populate “Jump to” links in search snippets. Easy Table of Contents automatically creates a clickable, named-anchor table of contents for each page or post based on H2 or H3 subheadings. Ask your web developer to manually add named anchor elements to your pages if you use a different platform or aren’t technically inclined.

2. Add related content blocks underneath your content to optimize your search snippets for mini-site links.

Mini-sitelinks may be triggered for all kinds of searches, and there may be more than one search snippet with mini-sitelinks on a SERP. You don’t have control over mini-sitelinks, but you can increase your odds of earning them. Google uses related content blocks to generate mini-sitelinks that appear below the search snippet description.

3. Include your target query more than once and in prominent places throughout your content to ensure search crawlers and human readers immediately see it.

This also increases the chances of Google highlighting your target query in bold in your search snippet, which immediately attracts user eyes and will likely attract more clicks. Include your target query in your headline, URL slug, first paragraph, and subheadings to give Google more opportunities to generate a search snippet with it in bold. Add your target query to your headline, URL slug, first paragraph, and subheadings to give Google more opportunities to add it in bold to in search snippets.

4. Include terms and synonyms related to your target query throughout your content to increase your chances of getting more words in bold in your search snippet.

Google doesn’t just match keywords anymore; it understands all closely related words and synonyms and often bolds terms related to the search query. Google often bolds and highlights related terms and synonyms related to the search query in search snippets. Using varied vocabulary and including synonymous phrases and concepts also helps you create better, more thorough copy which, in turn, improves your organic rankings and click-through rate. Tools like the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and Text Optimizer can help you find closely related terms you could use in your content.

5. Add structured markup wherever appropriate to optimize for enhanced search snippets.

Structured markup adds code to webpages that makes them easier for search crawlers to understand, extract, and display key information in search engine results pages. Google, in particular, uses it to include data in additional search elements. Google supports a limited number of markup types in its search snippets, including: Ratings and reviews: Particularly useful for review sites and shows the reviewer’s name and star rating given in the search snippet. Logo: Logo markup shows a logo next to your search listing in mobile search results, and should be used by everyone. Breadcrumb: Generates a neater URL path on desktop search results, instead of the actual URL, and is useful for any site. Course: Useful for sites listing courses and shows a list of courses under your page title in your search snippets. FAQ: Shows a collapsible list of questions underneath the search snippet and should be used if your page contains an FAQ around the target query. How to: Useful for any pages containing a detailed how-to tutorial, and displays the time required, list of required tools/materials, and collapsible steps to follow in your search snippet. Q&A: Shows a list of all available answers to a question underneath your search snippet and is useful for any page featuring questions with multiple answers posted by users. Ask your web developer to add structured markup to your pages as appropriate.

6. Add comparison and summary charts and tables to content whenever possible to optimize for enhanced search snippets.

Google loves tables and charts and adding more comparison and summary charts and tables to your pages gives Google more reasons to generate enhanced search snippets. Here’s an example of what a table featured in an enhanced search snippet would look like, as well as the summary table that triggered it. Note how Google also highlights key sections of the chart in bold, making them stand out in search results even more: Google uses information from summary tables to generate advanced search snippets, and even highlights key and relevant sections of the chart in bold. Summary tables on webpages help Google generate enhanced search snippets that encourage users to click through to your website.

7. Write attention grabbing headlines that help your pages stand out in search results pages and improve their CTR.

Title tags (i.e. page headlines) are the biggest clickable part of the search snippet and impact both rankings and CTR. Use headline tricks like adding numbers to headlines, using colons or hyphens to separate parts of the headline, and experimenting with negative words.

8. Regularly evaluate and update ranking content to keep it relevant and maintain organic search rankings.

Google and users alike love fresh content, which is why Google shows dates in search results. Additionally, users are more likely to click through to recently published or updated content. Don’t just re-publish the same content with a new date. Add substantive value and update at least 5% of the page. Tools like Revive, Finteza, and the Google Search Console make it easier for you to identify pages that need updating by keeping track of traffic on both high-performing pages and pages that have been losing traffic. Make updating old content part of your monthly marketing routine and add it to your editorial calendar. Tools like ContentCal can help keep your team organized and aware of upcoming tasks.