Law Firms may display on a Google Search Engine Result Page (SERP) as a Featured Snippet result, above the other organic results.
Here’s an example of a Featured Snippet in the wild:
There is a tremendous amount of information to know about Featured Snippets. Prior to focusing exclusively on attorney SEO, I have helped thousands of various types of web pages display in the coveted Featured Snippet position in Google. In this article, I’ll cover what SEO savvy attorneys and their marketing teams need to know.
What is a Featured Snippet?
A “snippet” is what Google shows underneath a search result which describes the page and assists a user in understanding the intent of the page. We try to control this by setting a Meta Description. Sometimes Google uses those Meta Descriptions for the snippet, and sometimes they create their own snippet.
A Featured Snippet is simply a snippet displayed at the top of a SERP. For the last several years, and as of 2022, that snippet takes up a significant amount of real estate and generally gets almost all of the traffic. A Featured Snippet is also highly likely to be read aloud when performing a voice search as well.
Optimizing for Featured Snippets:
When we create pages, most of them are usually optimized for Featured Snippets.
The snippet we’re going after varies drastically from page to page. That’s because Featured Snippets can display as a paragraph, list, or a table.
In most cases, attorneys want the paragraph style snippet, especially if it’s for one of their main pages, such as “City Car Accident Lawyer”.
- For the paragraph style Featured Snippet you basically need a paragraph in the content of the target page, ideally at the top, which quickly describes the page. We usually make this paragraph the Meta Description as well.
- List style Featured Snippets may display for certain search queries when a user is looking for something which involves a list, such as a list of nearby hospitals or a list of local courthouses. While an actual list often performs best, Google can and does pull from subheadings in pages to generate lists themselves.
- Table style Featured Snippets are the least displayed snippet on Google’s site and rarely display for attorneys unless they have a page about something such as a table of possible prison sentences or something. While using an actual table for this is the most common way to rank for a table snippet, there are indeed other methods (As a note, Tablepress is a good plugin for creating tables in WordPress).
Important Facts About Featured Snippets:
Before going any further there are some things you should know about Featured Snippets.
- Featured Snippets come and go. A search result which displays a Featured Snippet one day may not display a Featured Snippet the next. They can appear 10 days out of the year and go missing the other 355, no matter how much you’ve optimized for them.
- They’re hard to keep. If two competitors are competing for a snippet, one law firm may display in the snippet for a couple of weeks, then another may take that spot for a couple of weeks, then the first firm may get it back. This is NORMAL Featured Sinppet behavior.
- You do not have to rank #1 to get a Featured Snippet. For example, you can be in position 9 or 10, but if you are optimized for a Featured Snippet with a clear paragraph at the top of your content page and all of your competitors have a big rant about statistics, you can easily obtain the Featured Snippet.
- Include a related image on pages which may obtain a snippet. You want to do this so that in the event you do obtain a Featured Snippet, your image shows beside the snippet. If you don’t have this, a competitor’s image may display.
- Be concise. Google wants to display concise answers to search queries. The content needs to be “readable”. You’ll need to focus on the user and meeting their needs as fast as possible.
We craft content and SEO strategies for a variety of law firms. We’ve had great success defining legal terms for larger international firms and obtained Featured Snippets for solo personal injury firms as well. This is by no means an “ultimate guide” to Featured Snippets but hopefully answers some questions. If you or your marketing team needs assistance getting more traffic and wins in the SERPs feel free to reach out and see if we’re a match.