Featured Snippets: Reach Your Nonprofit Audience Now

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Meet your supporters where they are — on the phone, asking questions.

Google Featured Snippets get right to the point. Since so many searches are questions, Google selects the best answers and loads short segments at the top of the search results.

Featured Snippets are also part of a movement to mobile-focused information. Snippets appear on all platforms, but their brevity is especially suited to mobile searching.

And 63% of Google’s search traffic in 2021 came from the mobile side. 

Nonprofits and social enterprises can use Featured Snippets to create content that meets their audience at the point of asking questions.

Need to improve your nonprofit’s SEO? Google Featured Snippets help you deliver answers to the specific questions your audience searches on. This unique feature is designed for you to slot your content into, and it’s easy to write the snippets.

With Featured Snippets, you can bring specifics about your organization to the surface of Google. And they are designed with the now-dominant mobile searcher in mind. 

Read on for examples and instructions to help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), especially for mobile, with Featured Snippets.

Contents


1. What Are Featured Snippets?
2. How Can Nonprofits Use Featured Snippets?
3. Types of Featured Snippets?
4. How To Write a Definition Snippet
5. Writing Numbered Snippets
6. When to Use Bullet Lists or Table Snippets
7.Top 10 Featured Snippet Tips
8. Need Help?

A Google Featured Snippet is a content block that often answers a question. The snippets are featured at the top of search results. Google can display segments of properly formatted definitions, lists, or tables from web pages. Each snippet links back to its origin page. 

Let’s look at a few quick examples created by organizations following simple formatting guidelines.

Here’s a snippet that answers an in-kind donation question. 

In this example, a nonprofit explains how the research-backed theory that drives their work that benefits kids.

Here’s one from an advocacy organization:


  • Explain your organization’s unique cause with a definition snippet
  • Define the research-backed methodology that informs your work
  • List the types of services you offer and the places you offer them
  • Highlight how you and your partners work together to solve a problem
  • Show the ways people can help your cause in your community
  • Answer common questions about problems that your organization solves
  • Optimize your website for mobile searches

Don’t worry that your topic might be too small or specific. The more specific the better here. The idea is to reach the right people, not the most people. Question-based content helps you get there.

But do make sure that your snippet is part of a substantial article because Google likes to see depth of content. Snippets are ideal for updating existing content, another thing that search engines like. 

If you’re planning new content, try to add snippets to help lead your audience to your site.

Even if the snippet doesn’t get picked up by Google, your audience will still be able to find the mobile-friendly content. 

Read on to learn how to add this valuable feature to your content.


Four common types of Featured Snippets are:

  • Definitions or Paragraphs
  • Numbered Lists
  • Bullet Lists
  • Tables

Follow the guidelines below and your snippets may be featured if they provide authoritative answers to questions.


  1. Convert your keyword into a “What is …” or “How to …” question.
  2. Use the question as the header for the definition. Wrap it in <H2> tags.
  3. Write a short paragraph with a summary definition of 50 words or less.
  4. Make sure there’s nothing between the header and the paragraph. Don’t include images or videos.

If done well, your definition is ready to be loaded into a Google SERP as a Featured Snippet.

  • Make sure your definition is on point. It’s not an opinion piece, so just stick to the facts.
  • Google encourages user feedback on snippets, so make sure your definition can stand the scrutiny of searchers.
  • The definition is a summary. You can provide more depth on the topic in the rest of the post.
  • Consider adding more snippets for related questions.

You can also use this paragraph format for other purposes, such as explanations or summaries. 


 5. Writing Numbered Snippets

People and Google love lists. But not everyone loves slogging through a giant step-by-step listicle. The Numbered Snippet gives searchers a quick hit on a process. 

You should add some simple HTML tags around your snippet title. The <H2> tags simply tell your browser what size heading to apply. 

Make sure to close each set of tags by adding a forward slash before the second tag each time:

<H2>Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich</H2>

Creating a Numbered Snippet is easy. If you follow these simple guidelines, Google can find your snippet.

  1. Write the question as an <H2> Heading
  2. Don’t put anything between your question and the list
  3. Label each step: Step 1, Step 2, etc.

Example:

<H2>Make a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich</H2>

Step 1: Collect all of your ingredients

Step 2: Put on gloves for an added sanitary factor

Step 3: Pull out two slices of bread and lay side by side on the plate.

Here’s how it looks on Google:

I always forget the gloves!

Nonprofit Version

<H2>How to Donate Food in San Mateo</H2>

Step 1: Collect your undented cans, unopened packages

Step 2: Make sure items are not expired

Step 3: Bring it to the drive-through Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm at 2600 W. 42nd Ave

Tip
If you want to use your list items as subheadings with content underneath, wrap the list items in <H2> or <H3> tags.

If your list stands alone as part of a substantial article, than just wrap the list title.

6. When to Use Bullet List and Table Snippets

Bullet List and Table Snippets are less common than Ordered Lists and Definitions. So when would you use them?

Tables

Tables are great for comparisons and small data sets, like a restaurant menu with food choices and the price for each.

Make a heading for the title of the table and wrap it in <H2> tags:

<H2>IHOP dinner menu prices</H2>

Then, just create the table in your writing program. You don’t need to specify any HTML coding.

Nonprofit Version

<H2>Where Can I Get Vaccinated in East Predonta?</H2>

Lower Spetima Food Bank2560 Bozeman Ave
Market St. Neighborhood Center5th and Market
Chinatown YMCA1359 Jones St
East Side Beacon Center1400 B St.

Bullet Lists

Use the Bullet List Snippet for lists that aren’t a sequence of steps.

But here’s the trick to making Bullet List Snippets.  Just leave out the Step text we used in the Ordered List Snippets. Then Google can take it and present the list as an unordered bullet list.

Example:

<H2>Top 5 Movies About Teachers</H2>

<H3>Stand and Deliver</H3>

<H3>Remeber The Titans</H3>

<H3>Dead Poets’ Society</H3>

<H3>To Sir, With Love</H3>

<H3>Freedom Writers</H3>

Here’s a good idea: NerdWallet used a drop-down list that:

  1. Makes their steps stand out like headings.
  2. Lets them add specific details for each step.

  • Look at Answer The Public to find questions people are asking.
  • Check with your staff, colleagues, and partners to find out what questions they get asked.
  • Take note of what topics Google is posting snippets for.
  • Make sure your snippets are part of substantial articles.
  • Turn your keywords into questions.
  • Wrap the snippet title in HTML header tags.
  • In lists, make sure to wrap each step or item in header tags.
  • Don’t put anything between the snippet header and the list, definition paragraph, or table.
  • Remember that Google users can give feedback on snippets.
  • Keep snippets accurate and unbiased.

8. Need Help?

Thanks for reading! 

I help nonprofits amplify their impact with copywriting that reaches donors’ hearts. Learn more about how I can help you connect with your audience at michaeljcontent.com

Please feel free to reach out to me at michael@michaeljcontent.com.

Thank You!

Michael J McMorrow

Chief Content Officer @ Michael J Content

Certifications

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) from Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • AWAI certified in Content Marketing and SEO Content Writing

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