Blogging Won Our Client 3 Google Featured Snippets in 1 week

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Kauffman Gas case study

How Blogging Won Our Client the #0 Spot 3x in 1 Week

The higher your web page or blog post shows up in search results, the more likely a person will click on it. Simple enough, right?

Wrong.

There’s a lot that goes into ranking high in search results. We geeked out over a lot of technical marketing tactics and obsessed over metrics before our client, Kauffman Gas, ranked in the top Google results.

We want more people clicking through to Kauffman’s content, so…

Increasing their search ranking has always been our goal.

We had to aim high to drive some serious traffic to Kauffman’s content—only the top search results get the bulk of clicks on Google:

  • Less than 6% of people click on results on pages 2 & 3
  • Over 67% of people click on the top 5 search results
  • Over 26% of people click on the #1 search result

To boost Kauffman’s position in search results, we focused on writing blog posts that provided short, detailed, and helpful answers to common questions people search when considering buying propane gas. Creating and sharing these blog posts has:

  • Positioned Kauffman as a propane expert
  • Pushed Kauffman’s web pages to rank higher
  • Increased traffic to Kauffman’s website
  • Increased Kauffman’s leads & customers

Kauffman’s web traffic boomed 4 months after we started blogging 5x per month. The monthly traffic more than doubled to ~15K.

We knew Kauffman's blog was performing well. But one week a couple of search results really lit up our marketing metrics nerdery to the next level...

We ranked not just for the #1 spot, but the #0 spot: The Google Featured Snippet! And not just for 1, but for 3 different search queries related to propane services!

What’s a Featured Snippet, you ask?

With Google, the only thing better than ranking #1 is ranking for the #0 spot

Google’s goal is to help people find quick answers to their questions.

The Featured Snippet is Google’s latest attempt to draw the eye to quick answers. The Snippet displays your information in a box below paid ads and pushes down the:

  1. Local 3-pack map
  2. “People also ask” search suggestions
  3. Top organic rankings (even from bigger brand name websites or blogs).

The Featured Snippet is considered position #0 since it outranks the #1 search result!

If that’s the case…

How does Google pick the Snippet?

Popularity is important. When a web page answers a search query well, searchers will click on them more often. Popularity boosts the web page’s rank in search engines like Google.

If Google finds a good quick answer in one of these helpful posts, then presto!

Google extracts the core answer from the post and turns it into a Featured Snippet. It’s search engine magic! Can you feel our excitement radiating off your screen?

The Snippet is typically pulled from pages ranking in positions #1 to #5. And, according to Ahrefs, 99.58% of Snippets come from first page results.

It’s safe to say when you win the Snippet; you win 2 spots on the first page.

How does the Featured Snippet affect clicks in search results?

When Google adds a Featured Snippet, 8.6% of clicks go to that #0 spot. The Snippet diverts some traffic from clicking the #1 spot—the percentage of clicks on the #1 result drops from 26% to 19.6%.

In addition to the combined boost in clicks, having a Snippet and top organic ranking makes you appear like an expert (hopefully, you really are) and will help improve your brand image!

Think online marketing can’t deliver a reasonable ROI? Think again! Ranking high in search pays off: Kauffman is currently earning $23 for every $1 invested in online marketing, we believe pulling in even more traffic with Featured Snippets will improve that ROI.

Our approach

We reviewed Kauffman posts that ranked highly on Google’s first page. From these top performers, we selected posts with “Snippet-potential” or easy, question-answer topics.

We imagined what Google would look for:

  • Summarizing the answer early in the post
  • Writing headings as step-by-step answers
  • Placing numerical answers in organized tables

Then we edited the posts with more direct writing that provided the quick answer. After tirelessly practicing the art and science of Snippet optimization, Google was appeased…

Google extracted the quick answers from 3 of Kauffman’s Snippet-optimized posts:

Example 1A Query: “How much propane do you use?”

We love that Kauffman’s propane usage chart is featured in the search Snippet. The addition of Kauffman Gas’ logo is also exciting, talk about brand awareness! Note this query is very much a natural language search.

We believe Google features the chart because it's heading and data effectively answer the search query. It adds context to the answer by breaking down propane usage per appliance and includes the costs.

The chart was extracted from this post, How Much Propane Gas Do You Need To Fuel Your Home. It ranks for the #1 organic spot for this query (yes, we are excited about this stat!) AND…this blog post has pulled in over 16K views in the past year. Take a look at the graph down below to see how the visits have increased since the blog was first posted in April of 2016.

Example 1B Query: “Propane Usage”

For the more traditional keyword search, Google instead uses a block of text that best defines the “what is” query, rather than specific data like the usage chart.

There are a variety of Snippets being uncovered. This first post won Snippets for 2 queries, and the second Snippet extracted a paragraph (instead of a table) for a "more information" type of query.

Example 2 Query: “How much propane do you use per month?”

Similar to the first Snippet, a propane monthly usage chart was extracted as well as our Call-to-Action.

This Snippet was extracted from, Calculate How Much Propane Gas You Will Use Per Month. The post also ranks for the #1 organic spot for this particular query (it ranks #1 for several search queries!). It has pulled in over 7k views over the past year, but the views have skyrocketed in the past few months!

Example 3 Query: “What are the steps in underground propane tank installation?”

This Featured Snippet extracted a blog post’s headings for step-by-step sections on the underground propane tank installation process.

We wrote the headings so readers could understand the process by reading the headings alone. Google agreed this was helpful and used the headings in the Snippet.

This Snippet was extracted from our post Underground Propane Tank Installation: How It Works, which also ranked #1 organically for this search query. This post has pulled in 4k views over the past year. We believe it will soon be on the rise!

Looking Forward

We want to win more Featured Snippets! We want to take one away from Wikipedia!

We want to win more Featured Snippets & outrank Wikipedia!

Not only do we want to write future content for Kauffman that answers search queries directly, but style the content so Google picks it for the #0 spot.

Winning more Snippets puts us in a position to develop new campaigns for Kauffman Gas. These campaigns and offers can turn a boost in visitors into more leads (and, hopefully, Kauffman customers). We will also continue to find other ways to write content that search engines favor (since Google keeps changing) to increase Kauffman’s ROI for online marketing.

Increase Your Propane Company's Revenue with Online Marketing!

About the Author
is the Lead Strategist of Bright Orange Thread. Reach him at hfrancke@brightorangethread.com
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