Featured snippets are a way to optimize your content in hopes of winning the highly competitive featured snippet, sometimes referred to as position zero in the SERPS.
"Featured snippets are snippets of text and images featured in Google's search results that answer a user's query. They usually appear at the top of a mobile search results page, but can also be found on desktop and tablet versions of Google." —AI.
Why Are Featured Snippets Important?
Featured snippets are vital for website owners because they show up right at the top of the search results' first page, increasing traffic to one's site. You can almost think of them as a way to "hack" the SERPS — leapfrogging over the competition.
Usually, the goal of writing helpful articles is to have people actually read them -- so reaching the coveted featured snippet position is a big deal. And now there is a way AI can write compelling and accurate featured snippets for you.
In this guide, I will show you how to create text that might become featured snippets using ShortlyAI.
Different Types of Featured Snippets
Before we go over to ShortlyAI and see the creation of snippets in action, you need to know there are four different types of featured snippets: lists, tables, paragraphs, and video.
Which is used depends on the search query and what Google thinks best serves the reader. In this guide, we'll focus only on two: lists and paragraph types -- which AI can help you with.
To learn more about featured snippets in-depth and the various types, check out Backlinko's guide to featured snippets here.
Now let's jump into how ShortlyAI can write featured snippets for you.
Using ShortlyAI to "Automate" Featured Snippets
I wouldn't say I like the word automate here -- as it gives you some sense the creation of a good featured snippet is automatic. While the AI does write the featured snippet, there is a skill in asking for it from the aI, which makes all the difference.
For example, you may ask ShortlyAI to write an answer to a question using the instruct command like so: /instruct [write an answer for how to make the best chocolate chip cookies]. The easiest way to think about it is to turn to your AI writing assistant and ask them to write what could become a featured snippet for you.
You should provide as much detail as you can so the AI assistant knows better what you're looking for -- improving the chances of success. Also, don't forget /instruct uses the content above it as context, so if you don't want that to happen, use the /// command to block it.
Let's look at the output of a request for a featured snippet: /instruct [write an answer for how do honeybees find their way home each day]
"Honeybees can find their way home using the sun as a guide. The sun is an important navigational tool for honey bees, and because they don't use stars for navigation, as many migratory birds do, the sun can be relied upon. This is because the angle of the sun in relation to Earth changes throughout the day."
It's a little long but easy to edit down to what would be a better answer. Now you use it at the beginning of your article. But there's one thing I should mention.
Even though creating text with the intention of it becoming a featured snippet increases your chance of winning the prized spot, it's not guaranteed -- but at least you won't have to spend a ton of time writing them anymore.
In closing, featured snippets are an important part of a good SEO strategy. Take the time to learn /instruct and how you can use it to ask for answers for your helpful posts -- where you're helping your reader learn something. Don't forget how the command uses context and the /// context cutoff when you need it.
Experiment some, redo the command if it doesn't quite give you exactly what you think it should. If you see a popup asking how well Shortly did, answer it to help make Shortly better.
And don't be afraid to reach out to me if you have any questions.