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How To Build A Freelance Writing Business While Travelling The World

These days, there is a lot of waffle on the internet about becoming location independent.

I’ve seen countless ads pop up on my social media feeds featuring a guy relaxing by a pool with his laptop, with promises of making your dreams come true. It is only when you click on the link do you find that it is for a dodgy MLM scheme or a course that promises to help you ‘become a digital nomad’ but provides no actionable steps.

This is not one of those posts.

A few years ago, I had reached the end of the rope with my desk job.

I was sick of working eight hours a day (minimum), five days a week, only to make money that I didn’t have time to spend.

I was in my twenties, and yet it felt like I’d reached a dead end already. I was working all day in a job that made me miserable, to make enough money to live how I wanted, but then I never had enough time to spend my money doing the things I loved.

I craved the freedom to set my own working hours, find my own clients, and to be able to up my income far quicker than the average 3 – 5% annual raise that most office workers get for their hard work.

So, I decided to make a change, and I set about building my own freelance writing business.

Oh, and I decided to fly across the world to Thailand and start traveling shortly after – there’s no better motivation to succeed than moving to a new country and leaving your cushy office job and stable salary behind!

Over the next few months, I worked – hard. I built the foundations of my freelance writing business and then continued to grow that business into a real, thriving career while I traveled the world.

Now, I’m entirely location independent and get to do a job that brings me so much joy.

That first year contained a lot of stress, long days and little sleep, but it was worth it for the freedom I’ve created for myself.

The best part? I can say, without a doubt, that anyone can build a freelance writing business – and you don’t need to buy a digital nomad course to get there. If I did could do it, anyone can.

Below, I’ve listed some of the critical steps you should take to set up a freelance writing business while traveling the world (and avoid some of the stress of figuring it out all on your own).

Ready to travel and build your freelancing business? Here is how:

1) Lay The Foundations Before You Leave

While I did manage to build a freelance business while traveling successfully, the task would have been a lot harder had I not prepared the foundations of my writing business before I left my full-time job.

If you have not yet leaped into the digital nomad lifestyle (i.e., you still have a stable income and are living in one place), my most significant piece of advice would be: lay the foundations of your business before you take any risks.

Personally, I waited until I had several long-term clients secured, and was making at least 50% of my income from my office job before I decided to hand in my notice and start traveling.

2) Build an Online Presence: Write, Connect, and Engage

A digital nomad is just someone who works exclusively online (and thus has complete location independence).

To build an online business, there is one simple thing you need to do first. Any guesses?

You’ve got to get online!

This may sound obvious for some and a lot of you may laugh, but for me, setting up social media accounts and actually using them was an alien concept.

I was always a lurker online. Now, I make time every single day to share my blog posts, connect with other freelancers, bloggers, and businesses, and get involved in my online community.

Building an online presence is essential if you want to run a freelance business successfully, and even more so if you will be relying on online interaction to connect with others as a digital nomad.

This will:

  • Increase your exposure to potential clients
  • Be a great showcase of your personality and skills for clients checking out your services as a freelancer
  • Help you connect with leading freelancers in your niche (and maybe even lead to referrals from them!)
  • Identify you as an expert in your field too

Read: How to Build a Personal Brand (and Why You Need One)

3) Create a Portfolio

Whether you’re building a freelance writing business from your home, or on the move, one thing remains the same: you need an excellent portfolio to guarantee you continue to land quality clients.

By quality clients, I mean companies that are willing to pay for your worth. There are far too many low-quality jobs online these days, and unfortunately, there are a lot of people that underestimate their worth and take low-paying jobs without seeing any other option.

Your portfolio will:

  • Showcase your highest quality writing samples
  • Show what styles you are most experienced at writing in (long-form articles, witty social media posts, web copy etc)
  • Highlight specific brands/industries you have worked in and can offer valuable experience to future employers

One of the biggest mistakes I see many new freelance writers making is to either pitch for jobs without having a portfolio, or to pitch for a job and send one link!

So, how to build those samples for a super strong portfolio?

There are several creative ways you can build your portfolio without having to land a job first. Some of the most effective methods I used to build a solid portfolio that helped me land my very first paid writing job include:

  • Blogging: Start a blog today, and start writing about any topic that really interests you. It could be anything from entrepreneurship, to pets. The key is to showcase your writing style and personality. Learn how to make a blog on WordPress platform within 10 minutes
  • Guest posting: There are many sites online that will allow you to submit a guest post to share with their readers. Some are harder to be accepted on to (thanks again, Harsh!), while others don’t necessarily require you to be an established blogger in your own right before they allow you to write for them. Guest posting is a great way to build a quality stock of writing samples on already established and respected websites.
  • Write for friends and family: This was one of the first steps I took to build my freelance business while I was traveling. I contacted friends and family with their own businesses, and asked if I could write them some new web content, a blog post, or anything else I thought I could help with. At first, I did this work for free to add samples to my writing portfolio – but over time, I had enough experience behind me that I could reasonably charge for my services too.

Also see:

4) Know Where You’re Going

I think many people have the romantic idea of traveling with their business to the most exotic, remote places on earth.

However, the reality is that working on the road comes with a few big obstacles: one of which is finding a secure WiFi connection so you can actually work.

This is one of the biggest differences you’ll definitely need to bear in mind between building a freelance business from home, and building yours while you’re on the road.

I recommend always researching where you’re going before you choose a new destination. It does take the spontaneity out of your trip a little, but it is so worth it for knowing you’ll be able to meet your deadlines and work comfortably.

Trust me, no one enjoys working on the road when you’re desperately trying to send off an article using your phone’s hotspot and sitting out in the middle of a paddy field at night surrounded by cows (yup, that really happened to me!).

5) Make Virtual Tools Your Best Friend

Another inevitable obstacle you’ll face when building your freelance writing business while traveling the world is having to communicate with clients and meet deadlines in completely different time zones.

If you’re not careful, you may find yourself up at 3 am frantically sending emails – or worse, accidentally missing a deadline altogether.

The best way to overcome this is to start using virtual tools which will make your life immensely easier.

I use virtual tools to manage my projects, communicate with clients, host virtual meetings, and schedule social media posts both for my blogs and for my clients automatically.

A few of my favorite virtual tools include:

All of these tools have free and premium memberships (I only ever use the free one!), and make managing a business while you’re constantly on the move so much easier.

Key Takeaways

The above steps are some of the most important lessons I learned while building my freelance writing business on the road, and will make starting your own business while traveling so much easier.

To finish, I want to share a few key takeaways I’ve learned from this lifestyle that are important to remember:


– There is no ‘get rich quick’ hack
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Making money online and becoming location independent, whether you’re a freelance writer, blogger, or something else entirely, does not come quickly.

Those schemes you see online promising to help you earn hundreds in a matter of days seem too good to be true because they are. I built my freelance writing to the point where it is today over an entire year – it took time, and a lot of hard work, but those are the two things that really pay off.


– A digital nomad’s life is awesome, but it’s not all glamour #Digitalnomad
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Yes, running my freelance writing business while traveling the world is a dream come true. I wouldn’t trade this freedom for anything.

That being said, don’t believe all those glamorous ‘laptop by the beach’ shots you might see online. The reality is that I’m often working in my hotel room or a busy cafe, and then go out exploring a new city. Constantly moving around, traveling, packing light and all that comes with working on the road isn’t for everyone – and that’s okay.

Have you been thinking about setting up your own location independent freelance business? I hope these tips have helped get you one step closer!

Here are a few hand-picked articles like this:

This is a guest post by Yaz Purnell from Untraditional office. If you would like to write a guest post for ShoutMeLoud, check our submission guidelines.

How To Build A Freelance Writing Business While Travelling The World is a post from ShoutMeLoud – Shouters Who Inspires

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Ezoic Review: Learn How To Automatically Increase Your AdSense Ad Revenue

Ezoic review

This is going to be a long, but fun.

I promise it will help you to earn more from your blog. In particular, if you are using AdSenseMedia.net, or another similar ad network, you are going to love learning about Ezoic.

Imagine if you had a helpful friend who told you:

  • Exactly where to put your ads.
  • Which displays sizes to use.
  • Which advertisers to work with to make the most money from your blog.

That would have a direct impact on the amount of money you make from your blog, right?

For example, what if you found out that the way you’re currently displaying your ads isn’t optimal?

If you changed to a better way, you could instantly make more money without needing to increase your blog’s traffic.

  • That’s exactly what Ezoic is trying to help with.

Ezoic lets you test ad placements, sizes, and publishers to find the combination which makes you the most money.

Ezoic claims that most websites see a revenue increase of at least 50% from implementing their optimization.

  • In fact, they’ve worked with over 21,000 websites.
  • Those websites increased their revenue by an average of 115%!

Those are powerful numbers!

And while the focus of this review is on ad optimization, Ezoic can also help you test your site’s layout and content, too.

Ezoic review AdSense

Let’s take a look at why this tool is so helpful and how you can start using it.

Testing Ads placement & size Is Incredibly Important

There are two reasons I recommend you to test your ads:

  1. To make more money : I know, this one is obvious. It’s what most website owners are looking for when they test anything on their site. And testing is a really good way to optimize the amount of money you make from your blog or website.
  2. To optimize user experience : This reason is one people might not think about as much. But what if you found out that one set of ads caused people to leave a page right away? Maybe the two sets of ads you’re comparing make the same amount of money per page view, but one offers a much better user experience. Knowing that is equally as important for your blog. By maximizing your user experience, you can keep your readers coming back.

Why Testing Ads By Yourself Is Hard To Do

You might be thinking this:

  • Testing ads are easy. All I need is a simple A/B test and I will know which one is better.

But here’s the problem with that:

Those basic tests aren’t taking into account all of the important variables. They’re not maximizing your money as much as possible.

  • Testing ads the right way is actually pretty difficult (without help).

And if you care about getting accurate results and really making more money, you should want to do your testing the right way.

Why Simple A/B Tests Aren’t Good Enough

You probably have multiple ads per page. So if you only split-test one placement at a time, you’re not getting an accurate value.

  • You only see the difference for that one ad placement.

What you need to care about is how much money the entire visit makes, which includes all of your ad placements. You need a way to compare all of the ads on one page at the same time.

Even more importantly, you also want to:

  • Maximize the money you make over the entire visit.

Usually, your readers will click through to more than one page. So you need to be able to compare the money you make per unique visit.

To demonstrate this, here’s a quick example comparing two options:

Option 1 makes you $1 per page view. Visitors who see Option 1 usually view 3 pages.

  • Option 1 = $3 per visit ($1 x 3 pages viewed by the visitor).

Option 2 makes you $.75 per page view. But visitors who see Option 2 usually view 5 pages.

  • Option 2 is = $3.75 per visit ($.75 x 5 pages viewed by the visitor).

If you only looked at earnings per page view, you would think Option 1 was the best.

But really, Option 2 makes you more money.

That’s why running these detailed tests can put more money in your bank account.

  • But it seems complicated and time-consuming, doesn’t it? 

Yes!

Running these tests yourself would be incredibly difficult.

  • That’s why Ezoic is such a valuable tool.

It automatically runs all these tests for you, so that you can be sure you’re making as much money as possible from your blog’s ads.

How To Set Up Ezoic For Increasing Ad Revenue:

Now that I’ve told you why Ezoic is so beneficial, I’ll show you how to integrate Ezoic on your blog.

There are 5 steps that you need to follow:

  1. Create an account & link it to your blog using CloudFlare.
  2. Add the Ezoic script to your blog’s header.
  3. Convert all existing ad units to serve via Ezoic, and create new ad units.
  4. Apply for Google’s Ad Exchange program.
  5. Start using the Ezoic Ad Tester.

So let’s get started with an epic tutorial that will help you to make more money from your blog:

(In this guide, I will be setting up Ezoic on a WordPress site. If you are on another platform, the process will be the same except for WordPress specific things.)

create Ezoic account

Note: Sub-domains are not supported. So if you have a .blogspot domain name, ensure you get a custom domain name. If you are already on a self-hosted WordPress blog, you are good to go.

Once you are inside your dashboard for the first time, you need to start with these three steps:

Ezoic guide WordPress

1. Integrate Your Site

The first step is to connect Ezoic to your site.

Ezoic works with any platform as long as your website is on the root domain & not the sub-domain.

  • Click on “Integrate Your Site” to get started.

The best (& fastest) way to integrate Ezoic to your site is by using CloudFlare.  

(This is highly recommended as it offers many great advantages that you can read about here.)

Once this is done, go to the “Integration” tab over here.

  • Click on “Integrate Now!” under the CloudFlare logo:

Ezoic integration

  • Login using your CloudFlare account:

Cloudflare Ezoic integration

A “success message” will be shown like this:

Ezoic successfully integrated

For me, this is a must. CloudFlare makes everything much safer.

(They also have a JavaScript integration, but they don’t recommend it for most sites.)

You’ll also have to go through a few more setup steps that Ezoic will help you with. They mostly involve adding some code snippets to your site so that Ezoic can work properly. I think beginner bloggers may find it difficult to add these code bits, as some of them require a decent amount of code knowledge. For example, you need to be able to wrap all your existing advertisement code in Ezoic snippets.

2. Set Up Ad Testing

Once you’re integrated, go back to the dashboard & click on “Setup Ad Testing.”

(If you have navigated away from the dashboard, use this direct link.)

  • You need to add a few lines of code between the head tag:

Step1 Ezoic Ad Tester

If you are using WordPress, you can use the free Header & Footer WordPress plugin to add these codes.

  • Once you add the code, click on “Continue to Step 2”.

Ad testing setup

Wrap Your Existing Ads Or Create New Ad Units

Pay good attention here as this one is important.

I hope you are aware that AdSense has lifted the limits of the number of AdSense ads on a page. But you still don’t want to make your page unreadable because of too many ads.

If you already have an ad, you need to wrap those ads within the code generated after clicking on “Create New Ad Units”.

This image will make it easier for you to understand the process:

wrapping existing code using Ezoic

Once you are done replacing all existing ad units on your site with this wrapped ad unit, it’s time to add more ad units.

With Ezoic you can run more than 3 ad units. I would suggest to keep it at 5-6 maximum so your site doesn’t look cluttered.

In my case, I’m selecting 4.

(I will show you how to limit the number of ads in the upcoming section.)

Now, I will create a new ad unit using Ezoic & will place it in my WordPress blog’s sidebar.

  • Under “Ad Tester”, click on “+ Add Display Ad Unit”.

Create new Ezoic display ad unit

  • On the next page, select what ad unit you would like to create (refer to below image for better understanding).

Automated Ad testing for more money

  • Clicking on “Create Ad” will take you to the next page where you can get the code.

ad units backto

Now, all you need to do is go to the “Widget” section of your blog & paste the code into a text widget.

This is a basic step & anyone who has just started with WordPress should be able to do it.

If you are unsure, here is an image to understand the various ad locations on a blog:

Location of ads on the site

Once you have added the code in your blog’s sidebar, create more ad units & add the codes onto your blog.

Here is an official video that will help you to understand how to create & integrate Ezoic with your WordPress site:

Do ensure you go to the “Turn On/Off” section & turn on ad types for all devices.

Turn on the ads

Apply for Google’s Ad Exchange:

Go back to the Ezoic dashboard (here is the direct link) & you will notice one more field called “Apply for Google’s Ad Exchange.”

Googles ad exchange

  • Click on that, fill out a quick form, and your application will be submitted.

Now, go back to the Ezoic dashboard & you will see the following text below “Apply for Google’s Ad Exchange”:

  • “We are waiting for Google to review your application. This can take from 1 – 24 hours.”

Ad Testing & Placement

Ezoic ad testing tool

This is where things get interesting.

To start using Ezoic, you need to install the Ezoic Chrome addon & watch this video:

Ezoic has some recommended best practices to get the most out of their testing.

They recommend:

  • Creating as many ad units as possible.
  • Selecting multiple ad display sizes. (Even if you don’t think they’ll work – it’s good to let Ezoic test them to get real world data.)
  • Using all of the available ad locations. (Again, even if you don’t think they will work. Just let Ezoic test to make sure.)

Once your ads are all set up, Ezoic can start running experiments.

ezoic-example

What Ads Does Ezoic Display?

By default, Ezoic has you sign up with the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

This exchange allows thousands of ad networks to compete for your ad spots with real-time bidding.

But now you might be asking this question:

  • What if I’m using AdSense, Media.net, or another ad network to monetize my site; does Ezoic completely replace them?

No!

But you will need to install another app into your Ezoic account.

It’s called Mediation.

The Mediation app allows you to link your existing ads into Ezoic’s testing.

Ezoic Mediation App

Use Mediation to link your existing ad network accounts to Ezoic.

Ad networks that are set up in Mediation will compete with Ezoic’s own ad partners for the advertising inventory on your website.

This means that your existing ads will enter the same bidding marketplace as the DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

Here is the complete list of ad networks that bid in Google’s Ad Exchange.

If your existing ads earn more revenue than the ads Ezoic is testing against, your existing ads will continue to display.

Otherwise, Ezoic will display the more profitable options.

That’s good for you because:

  • It ensures you’re earning as much money as possible! 

The best part is that once you have done the initial configuration, everything else is automated.

How Much Does Ezoic Cost?

With all of these features that could directly impact how much money you make, you might think that Ezoic is an expensive tool.

  • That’s not the case at all. 

For bloggers, Ezoic offers a free plan.

BUT, this free plan comes with one condition:

  •  You have to agree to display a small Ezoic ad at the bottom of your page.

Here’s what that ad looks like:

ezoic-free-plan

If you don’t want to display the ad, their paid plans start at $49 per month for blogs with up to $1,000 in monthly revenue.

Once you start seeing good results after using Ezoic, I would suggest upgrading to the $49 plan.

Given that Ezoic claims most site owners increase their revenue by 50%, this is a small price to pay in my opinion.

Also, with one Ezoic account, you can manage multiple sites.

ezoic-pricing

How Ezoic Pays & Minimum Payout

The minimum payout of Ezoic is $20.

You can get paid via various methods as shown in the below screenshot.

How Ezoic Pays

My Final Thoughts

Ezoic is an incredibly powerful tool.

  • But it’s also a complicated tool.

I have tried to make it simpler for you to understand & get started with this guide.

You can always get help from Ezoic’s customer support & over time, I will add more information about Ezoic.

If you are making money using AdSense, or Media.net, or any other ad network, you should definitely start using Ezoic.

This automated tool will definitely increase your revenue & with their low minimum payout, you don’t have to wait long to get paid.

  • And getting started is free.

This tool is only for bloggers who already have some traffic and revenue. While it’s still good to optimize a small site, if your site doesn’t receive a lot of traffic, it may not be worth the time to set up the Ezoic integration.

But if your blog is generating some revenue already, I definitely recommend you try to optimize that revenue with Ezoic.

I would love to hear your experience of Ezoic. What are your thoughts on how to maximize revenue and make the most out of Ezoic? Let me know in the comments!

Do share this tool with others who have a blog; they will thank you for helping them to increase their revenue!

Ezoic Review: Learn How To Automatically Increase Your AdSense Ad Revenue is a post from ShoutMeLoud – Shouters Who Inspires

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The Comprehensive Guide to Ace Google Featured Snippets in 2019

Want to ace Google featured snippet?

Wondering what is it? 🤔

This is a featured snippet:

While most bloggers, SEOs, and digital marketers continue to optimize their sites with technical SEO, improve the quality of their content, and build backlinks from every nook and corner of the internet, they frequently overlook what’s staring them right in the face: the opportunity to get into Position 0 – Google’s answer box or featured snippet, as we know it.

What is the featured snippet?

According to Google

When a user asks a question in Google Search, we might show a search result in a special featured snippet block at the top of the search results page. This featured snippet block includes a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL. It looks as shown in the screenshot above.

So why are featured snippets (Google’s rich answer box)  so important, how can they bring you more traffic, and how do you get your pages to pop up in these results?

Let me and try and explain!

What You Need to Know About Featured Snippets

Let’s quickly run through a few facts about featured snippets. These will help you understand the importance of getting some for your site.

1. Around 13% of all Google queries return featured snippets at the top of the results.

2. About 97% of featured snippets answer users’ questions correctly (Source: Stone Temple).

3. You see four types of featured snippets in the SERPs:

  • Paragraph (text)
  • List (numbered or bulleted)
  • Table
  • Video (from YouTube)

4. Voice search borrows its answers almost exclusively from featured snippets. In fact, more than 85% of Paragraph snippets result in voice answers (Source: Moz).

5. Over 99% of featured snippets are awarded to URLs that already rank on page 1 of Google for the keyword in question. 31% of those rank #1.

6. Pages that rank #1 for a keyword and earn a featured snippet get 28% of all clicks (as opposed to 26% when there is no featured snippet). When another site appears in the featured snippet, the URL below at #1 gets only 19% of the clicks (Source: Ahrefs).

7. More than 85% of featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords that have a monthly search volume of less than 100.

8. Google shows multiple options within certain featured snippets, allowing you to refine your query to get a more specific answer.

9. Some queries also return multiple (I haven’t seen more than two) featured snippets.

How to Optimize For Featured Snippet Appearances

There are a few factors that will drastically increase your chances of getting featured snippets, everything else being constant. Here’s a no-nonsense checklist that gets right down to business.

1. Target keywords with questions. Queries that start with question words like “what” or “why” return a paragraph snippet more than 90% of the time. Overall, questions show a 480% increase in the percentage of keywords with featured snippets.

2. Content in the range of 40 to 50 words has the best chance of showing up in an answer box (in the case of paragraph snippets). For example, the snippet for “backlinks” shown at the start of the post is 51 words long.

3. Google tends to truncate lists with more than 8 items in the snippets, so create longer lists to entice users to click through to your site.

The same applies to tables too.

4. Use more visuals in your content. The top performers in a SEMrush study of featured snippets had an average of 12 images (with appropriate ALT text) in the content. While you’re at it, use landscape images with an aspect ratio of 4:3.

5. Try to turn pages already in the answer boxes into a “featured snippet hub,” i.e. those showing up in position 0 for more than 10 queries. This is more common and easier than you’d expect. I’ve seen quite a few pages get featured snippets for more than 2,000 keywords, so don’t hesitate to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

6. 83% of all sites with featured snippets run on HTTPS. If you’re still on HTTP, please stop what you’re doing and go move to HTTPS first.

7. Another “duh”-inducing finding: get your pages a minimum score of 95 on both the Google Mobile Friendly and Google Mobile Usability (requires Search Console access) tests.

8. Don’t try and hoard link juice. Pages that earn featured snippets for multiple queries tend to have 30 to 40 outgoing link citations in the content.

9. Make it simple for users to understand. Answers in featured snippets tend to have a Flesch-Kincaid readability level of 7th grade or less (a minimum score of 70/100). You can check the readability of your text with the Hemingway Editor:

10. Increase your site authority. Earn more links from trusted domains in your niche. Here’s more on how to increase your domain authority.

11. Implement schema markup on your page using JSON-LD (the format recommended by Google). Explicitly indicating ratings, headlines and descriptions in this way make Google’s job a lot easier. Schema Pro plugin is an idle solution for WordPress powered websites.

12. The top sites that get “featured” all have one thing in common – they provide loads of information. Create a resources section in your site that includes a lot of “how-to” guides and question-answers. At the very least, maintain an active blog.

13. Break up each section of your blog posts into headings and sub-headings. Use as many H1 to H6 tags as required to clarify the structure and hierarchy of your articles. Read about heading tags SEO here.

14. Implement semantic HTML correctly to explicitly clarify the structure of the page to Googlebot. It enables Google to understand the role of each section or part of the page and focus on the primary content of the page as opposed to navigational and subsidiary elements and meta information.

15. Maximize social shares and on-page engagement such as comments. These correlate with increased visibility in snippets. Remember, however, that correlation is not causation. Here are 3 strategies that you could follow.

How to Find More Opportunities for Featured Snippets (Answer box)

Let me walk you through a couple of ways to land featured snippets for the keywords you’re targeting.

Approach #1: Find low hanging fruits

You can probably do this with any rank tracking tool of your choice, but I’m just showing you a way to do it with SEMrush. (Disclosure: the author works at SEMrush.) Fire up the Organic Research tool within your SEO toolkit.

Put in your domain name to see an overview of your traffic, keywords, ranking positions, and competitors.

Go to the Positions tab and apply these two filters:

  1. Include rankings where you rank between 1 to 5.
  2. Exclude SERPs where you already appear in the featured snippets.

And voila! You get a list of all keywords for which you’re ranking well but don’t appear in the featured snippets. Note that this might be because there are no featured snippets at all in the results, but hey, then you try to induce them.

If there’s another site grabbing the featured snippet for a keyword you like, simply emulate what they’re doing and do it better (by borrowing a few tips from the checklist in the previous section). Usually, a few formatting tweaks will do the trick.

For quicker wins, you could add a further level of filtering by including only keywords that contain question words like “what” or “how to.”

Approach #2: Hijack competitors’ featured snippets

Instead of your site, just feed a competitor’s domain into the Organic Research tool. This time, select just one filter: Include SERP Features with “Featured snippet” in them. Bam! You get a list of all keywords for which your competitor has grabbed featured snippets.

You could go one step further. Export this list and compare it with the common keywords that the Keyword Gap tool returns, to get a better idea of how you’re faring in the SERPs against that particular site.

Approach #3: Start with a seed keyword

I assume most of you who have a working knowledge of SEO and blogging will be good at keyword research and building endless lists of primary and secondary keywords. Again, you can do this with a combination of your favorite keyword research / rank tracking / SERP scraping tools, but I’m showing you how it works with SEMrush Keyword Magic.

Just enter a seed keyword into the box, choose the match type (or related keywords), include or exclude any terms you want, and check the “Featured Snippet” option in the “SERP Features” filter.

Now you have a list of keywords for which featured snippets are already showing up in the SERPs. Are you ranking for any?

Let’s retrace a few steps. How do you choose your “seed keyword” well in the first place?

Worry not.

The Topic Research tool has you covered. It will help you find search terms relevant to your industry, including long-tail key phrases people are googling and article headlines that are currently trending, and group keyword phrases in the form of mind maps or topical index cards. This way you can make quick decisions on the areas you’ll focus on next with your content.

How to Get, Keep and Track Featured Snippets That You Want

Until now, we discussed what featured snippets are, how to improve our chances of popping up in a few, and how to identify keywords that we’d do well to target. But hey, this post is about acing featured snippets, isn’t it?

So let’s combine all this information and see if there’s a way to snatch Position 0 for the keywords that you want from your competitors and retain them.

Enter the SEMrush Position Tracking tool. In order to set it up, you need to add the keywords that you want into the tracker. (You do have the option of manual entry or sourcing them from SEMrush or Google Analytics.)

As an example, I chose 45 keywords for which ShoutMeLoud.com is doing well in the Google rankings. Once it’s done gathering data, you’ll see pretty much every piece of featured snippet-related data for your keywords in one place.

This includes:

  • Opportunities: keywords for which your domain doesn’t figure in the search results
  • Already featured: keywords for which you currently have a featured snippet
  • New: snippets that you didn’t feature in at the start of the selected period, but do now
  • Lost: snippets that you had at the start of the selected period, but have lost since
  • Estimated traffic potential: the amount of traffic you will gain if you succeed in getting into one of the snippets in the “opportunities” list

The opportunities are broken down into a detailed report:

All you need to do is analyze each of these one by one and go one up on them using the techniques outlined in the “How to Maximize Your Featured Snippet Appearances” section earlier in this post.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Nope.

It’s never easy being an ace.

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Over to You: Google SERP’s Featured Snippet

What you have now is a roadmap to try and get a featured snippet for as many of your top-10 keywords as possible. The road is long and winding. But you’ll get there eventually, if you follow these guidelines to optimize your site for Google answer box.

However, I don’t want you to stop there. Featured snippets is just one piece of SERP real estate that Google offers. Ideally you want a shack by the beach, a villa in the hills, and a penthouse in the city too. So keep looking around for ways to ace every SERP feature that crops up as Google search evolves.

For instance, right below the snippet for “backlinks” that we explored at the start of this post, you encounter another of Google’s gems – People also ask:

This is Google’s idea of clickbait – it has the potential to keep a searcher hooked on the same subject for a long time.

Wouldn’t you want to give them answers to all of these questions? And be a “featured snippet hub” in the process?

Good luck!

The Comprehensive Guide to Ace Google Featured Snippets in 2019 is a post from ShoutMeLoud – Shouters Who Inspires