Four Steps for Ranking Above Wikipedia on Google

April 11th, 2016 by Search Influence Alumni


When a user makes a query in Google, Google will sometimes display a Featured Snippet, which is a few lines of text that directly answer the question posed. These Featured Snippets provide valuable insight to the user who made the query, and according to a study by HubSpot, web pages ranking as a Featured Snippet for a high-traffic keyword see an average click-through-rate increase of 114%. But how do you get your web page to rank as a Featured Snippet?

Identify Common Questions Related to Your Business and Market

To rank as a Featured Snippet, your web page is going to have to offer a clear answer to a question that people are asking. Think about the most common questions you get from your customers. If you operate a dentist’s office, which procedures do your patients ask you about the most? Or as a lawyer, are there any specific laws or acts that your clients frequently ask you to clarify? Record these questions.

Answer These Questions Clearly and Directly

The point of the Featured Snippet is to answer the searcher’s query as efficiently as possible. After you have analyzed the questions you want your web pages to be featured for, answer them clearly. For example, a “how to” question would be best answered in a numbered series of steps. When “how to tie a tie” is searched, Google pulls a Featured Snippet from with detailed instructions on making a windsor knot. Each step is clearly numbered and gives exact directions.


Provide More Valuable Content on Your Page Beyond the Answer

Your web page for the Featured Snippet needs to have more content on it than just the answer to the query. After all, your answer should only be 54–58 words, and as we have discussed before, pages ranking on the first page of Google’s search results have significantly more words than that. Ways that you can add content to the web page are by adding a video about the topic with a clean transcript of the video’s content.

Embrace the User Experience

You want the answer to the query to be found easily by both searchers and Google’s crawlers. Include the search query in your header, with the answer found directly below it. Also include a <p> tag right below the header so that the crawlers will read the header as a header and not as part of the answer. The content you wish to be a Featured Snippet should begin in the same way you would logically begin an answer to the question. For instance, the Featured Snippet for the query “how to bake cookies” begins “COMBINE flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.” There is a clear directive, which stresses the importance even further of eliminating filler content and language from your website.

As with all matters related to SEO, experimentation will provide you with more insight in how these systems work and allow you to develop an effective content marketing strategy. If your first attempts at trying to rank as a Featured Snippet fail, keep trying. After all, the benefit of being able to rank ahead of such sites as Wikipedia is immense in gaining your website higher visibility.

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