Mastering Google Snippets for higher education websites - Part II

In Part I of this blog post, we discussed the benefits and types of Google Snippets.

This week, we’re showing you exactly how you can structure your higher education content to maximize your chances of appearing as a Featured Snippet.

Structuring content to maximize the chances of appearing as a Google snippet involves several key strategies and best practices.

Here's our step-by-step guide if your university or college is looking to optimize your content for featured snippets.

How to structure content for Google Snippets

So, you're keen and want to snag that elusive Google Snippet spot?

Google provides some basic suggestions, but let’s dive in with some specifics to get your content noticed and featured.

  1. Nail those common questions: Think like a curious prospective student. What are the burning questions they have about your programs, admissions, and campus life? Those questions are your golden tickets to snippet stardom.
  2. Pick your content style: Different types of content can appear as Snippets, including paragraphs, lists, tables, and charts. The right content in the right format. So create bulleted lists, comparison tables, how-to guides, and more.—whichever gets your information across most effectively.
  3. Craft clear and concise answers: Write clear and concise answers that directly address the user's query. Be succinct while providing comprehensive information. Break down complex topics into easy-to-understand points with answers that are clear, concise, and straight to the point—search engines prefer content that is well-organized and easy to parse.
  4. Snappy headlines: Use descriptive headings and subheadings, with language that mirrors prospective students’ likely questions. Headings are like the signs on a treasure map. This helps search engines understand the context of your content and its relevance to the query.
  5. Use Schema markup: Schema markup helps search engines understand what your content is all about—a Snippet supercharger. It's like adding subtitles to your content to provide additional context and metadata to search engines.
    get your university featured in google snippets
  6. Answer "Who," "What," "Where," "When," "Why," and "How" questions: Snippets often appear for informational queries that start with these question words. Google loves direct and informative responses.
  7. Add flavor with details: Incorporate rich details such as dates, statistics, percentages, and examples to add depth and credibility to your answers. Break information down into steps or use bullet points; if you're providing statistical data, use a well-organized table or chart.
  8. Mobile-friendly design:  Ensure that your content is mobile-friendly—Featured Snippets are prominently displayed o mobile devices. Use responsive design and test the snippet appearance on different screen sizes.
  9. Optimize meta descriptions: Craft a concise and engaging meta description that summarizes the content and encourages users to click through for more information. Click-bait, for Google.
  10. Use dedicated FAQ pages: FAQs are like a Q&A party for your content. Create a separate page that’s all about giving snappy answers to common queries about your university, courses, admissions, campus facilities, and more.
  11. Leverage visuals: Snippets can sometimes include visuals. Include relevant visual content that complements your text and provides additional context: visuals like images and charts can shine in Snippets.
  12. Keep content updated: Snippets love fresh content. Keep content updated to increase your chances of maintaining your Featured Snippet position once you have it.
  13. Test and refine: Monitor the performance of your content in search results. If you're not appearing as a featured snippet for a particular query, consider refining your content, headings, or formatting to better align with what students are searching for.

By formatting your content in Snippet-friendly styles, you enhance the readability and scannability of your content, making it more likely to catch Google's attention.

Check out some examples below of how you can structure your content.

 Higher education examples of content for Snippets

Paragraph Snippet

Google Search question: "What is FAFSA and how can it help me with college tuition?"

Snippet Content: "The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a key tool for students seeking financial assistance for college tuition. It's a form that students and their families fill out annually to determine eligibility for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs. FAFSA takes into account factors like family income, household size, and other financial circumstances. FAFSA helps colleges and universities with the information needed to create financial aid packages tailored to each student's needs. These aid packages can include grants that do not require repayment, loans with favorable interest rates, and opportunities for campus employment. ."

List Snippet

Google Search question: "Tips for choosing the right major"

Snippet Content: "Follow these tips to select the right major at a university:

  1. Reflect on your interests and passions.
  2. Explore introductory courses in potential majors.
  3. Consult academic advisors for guidance.
  4. Research career opportunities associated with different majors.
  5. Consider your long-term goals and aspirations.”

Table Snippet

Google Search question: "Comparison of online degree programs"

Snippet Content (in a table format):

Aspect Online degrees On-campus degrees
Flexibility High Limited
Commute None Required
Interaction Virtual In-person
Learning resources Online libraries Physical libraries
Student networking Virtual events Face-to-face events


Step-by-Step Snippet 

Google Search question: "How to apply for financial aid"

Snippet Content: "Applying for financial aid at a university involves these steps:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Research and apply for scholarships specific to your university.
  3. Explore grants and work-study opportunities.
  4. Review and compare financial aid packages from different schools.
  5. Contact the university's financial aid office for guidance.

Definition Snippet:

Google Search question: "Define tenure in academia"

Snippet Content: "Tenure in academia refers to the permanent employment status granted to professors after a rigorous evaluation process. It ensures academic freedom and job security, allowing faculty members to engage in research, teaching, and service without fear of dismissal."

FAQ Snippet

Google Search question: "How long does it take to complete a doctoral program?"

Snippet Content: "The duration of a doctoral program varies by field and institution. On average, it takes about 3 to 7 years to complete a doctoral degree in higher education, depending on factors such as research requirements, coursework, and dissertation completion."

Google Snippets are a unique opportunity to showcase your expertise and engage with students online who are searching for answers. 

Remember to keep tweaking and testing your content to maximize your chances of appearing as Featured Snippets to increase your university website’s visibility in search results, attract more organic traffic, and effectively engage with potential students, parents, and other stakeholders.

Has your university or college structured content for Featured Snippets? How did you fare?

We'd love to hear about it in the comments below or on our social media channels.

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