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How To Optimize For Google Featured Snippets: A 12-step Guide

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How To Optimize For Google Featured Snippets: A 12-step Guide


Editor’s note: As 2021 winds down, we’re celebrating with a 12 Days of Christmas Countdown of the most popular, helpful expert articles on Search Engine Journal this year.

This collection was curated by our editorial team based on each article’s performance, utility, quality, and the value created for you, our readers.

Each day until December 24th, we’ll repost one of the best columns of the year, starting at No. 12 and counting down to No. 1. Our countdown starts today with our No. 2 column, which was originally published on July 8, 2021.

Himani Kankaria‘s 12-step guide lays down the foundation of what you need to know about featured snippets, how to optimize them, and how sites will benefit from them. It is a must-read for SEO professionals. 

Great work this year, Himani! We really enjoyed having you as a contributor at Search Engine Journal, and look forward to more to come. 

Enjoy!   


It’s no secret that featured snippets are powerful. Every SEO professional (including yours truly) aims to own any available featured snippets for their content.

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These expanded, descriptive search results appear as a special box prominently displayed at or near the top of the search results page (SERP). Optimizing for featured snippets (FS) can help Google better understand when your page is the best answer for a relevant query with one of these search features available.

In this column, you’ll find my tried and tested strategy for optimizing for featured snippets (including examples), my curated content calendar template for featured snippets (which you can copy and use), and FAQs to clear up any remaining questions about FS. You’ll learn:

  • What are featured snippets?
  • 4 types of featured snippets you can target.
  • A 12-step process for optimizing for featured snippets.
  • What’s new in featured snippets?
  • FAQs for featured snippets.

Let’s get started.

What Are Featured Snippets?

Featured Snippets are the expanded snippets that appear on the first position of the Google SERPs. The purpose of the Google featured snippets is to answer the user’s need right there in the search results.

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Here is Google’s definition:

Users wishing to read the complete content can click on the URL of the featured snippet.

When Google launched featured snippets, some sites were able to achieve two results on page 1 of the SERPs, which initially drove dramatic improvements in organic visibility and traffic.

But as with all things SEO, happy days never last forever; see this tweet from Danny Sullivan:

Optimizing for featured snippets is not just about adding questions to your headlines and subheadlines. It’s much more involved than that.

4 Types Of Featured Snippets You Can Target

When looking to optimize for featured snippets, you need to understand the types of featured snippets available.

Paragraph Featured Snippets

Seventy percent of featured snippets are the paragraph type, with an average of around 42 words and 250 characters.

Paragraph Featured Snippets example.

Most of these featured snippet titles start with “What” or “Why,” indicating that they are largely informational in nature.

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Pro Tip: Most of the “What” question keywords have the highest search volume, but you have to find out the question keywords with low Keyword Difficulty (KD) score to win them.

Listicle Featured Snippets

An average of 19% of featured snippets are of Listicle type, consisting of an average of 6 items and 44 words.

You’ll find two kinds of listicle featured snippets: ordered and unordered lists.

Ordered List

Ordered Listicle Featured Snippets.

Unordered List

Unordered listicle featured snippets example.Pro Tip: Listicle featured snippets are derived from “How” and “Why” keyword terms. If you’re looking to get featured snippets faster, they’re your go-to topics.

Table Featured Snippets

Around 6.3% of featured snippets are of the Table type. They have an average of five rows and two columns with 40 to 45 words.

Table featured snippets example.Pro Tip: To optimize for this type of featured snippet, mark up relevant content in a table format using the table tags in HTML. Some are tempted to make graphics for tables, but then you’re missing out on this opportunity.

Video Featured Snippets

Only 4.6% of featured snippets are of the video type, the average one being 6 minutes and 35 seconds in length.

Video featured snippet example. Pro Tip: If your audience heavily consumes video content, a video featured snippet is your way to success. Look for the keywords with low search volume and tada! You’ve got them.

How To Optimize For Featured Snippets

Whenever you see a competitor ranking on featured snippets, you should have this one question in mind:

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How do I steal that featured snippets and get one for my website?

Here’s how to get started.

1. Identify Competitors’ Featured Snippets

Stealing competitors’ featured snippets is not easy.

Put the competitors’ URL in Semrush and look for the keyword groups that own featured snippets.

Steal competitors featured snippets from Semrush.

Now, you want to:

  • Export the list.
  • Categorize them into different types of featured snippets.
  • Sort them by higher search volume.
  • Highlight the low KD score.
  • And gather them to initiate planning.

Copy this content calendar template to start planning, implementing, and optimizing your content to rank.

Content Calendar example.

Don’t forget to add the content topics and the type of featured snippet in your content calendar to keep track of why you’re optimizing the page.

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2. Gather The Keywords For Each FS-owned Content

Once you’re done with finalizing the content topics, it’s time to identify the keywords present on the content currently owning featured snippets.

Click on the down arrow in Semrush beside the selected keyword to see the expanded information on the keywords ranking on featured snippets.

Keyword Research to optimize featured snippets.

Collect the related as well as question keywords and add them to your content calendar.

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3. Understand Searcher Intent

One of the most important considerations in optimizing for featured snippets is understanding the search intent behind each triggering query.

Three types of people search for your keywords:

  • Potential customers.
  • Influencers who persuade your potential customers to buy from you.
  • And your competitors.

You’re going to write the content for the first two. Each will have different intents while searching, but it will always be informational (and navigational when users want to click through them).

Because there was only one search intent for a featured snippet, I thought to classify them further into four categories depending on whether they want:

  • A specific answer.
  • A brief answer.
  • A comparison.
  • A video.

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Get A Specific Answer

Here, a user search query is a question that requires a specific answer. This type of FS has a lower CTR as people come to get a specific answer and typically do not want or need to read further.

This type of FS can help in brand building but is unlikely to drive a lot of traffic.

Question keyword with search intent of getting specific answer.Get A Brief Answer

Here, the user expects a paragraph or listicle type of featured snippet as shown in the types section above. If users want to get more information, they’ll click on the results.

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This type of search query assists in both CTR and brand reputation.

Get A Comparison

This type of search query comes up with a table type of featured snippet. The table content is larger than what Google Featured Snippets can show. So, this type of search intent is most likely to boost the CTR.

Get A Video

And lastly, if users are looking for “how-to” answers and a video attached to those answers, it will get the maximum CTR.

Understand the different types of informational search intent behind the search query. They are relevant to the type of featured snippets available, which can help you plan and optimize your content.

4. Run A Competitive Analysis

Go back to Semrush and open its SEO content template tool. Input your keyword or content topic, select the targeted location, and click on the green button.

You’ll get the below SEO recommendations for your content to plan the content optimization for featured snippets.

  • Your top 10 rivals for target keywords to let you understand whom you’re going to compete with

SEO Recommendations by SEO Content Tool.

  • Key recommendations from them in terms of what your content must have, backlinks it shall acquire, readability it must have, and recommended text length to serve the user search intent and expectations.

Key recommendations by Semrush.

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  • Suggestions on how they’re using target keywords so you can use them better.

Competitors target keyword research.

  • Basic SEO recommendations to make your content search-friendly.

Basic SEO recommendations.

5. Create/Update The Content Outline

By now, you have the content topics, their targeted keywords, type of featured snippet, its search intent, and a pool of SEO recommendations from competitors’ snippets.

If you’re writing new content, you need to create the content outline. And if you’ve already written the piece, you may need to revamp the outline as per the research gathered above.

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6. Create Content Better Than The Competition’s

  • Cover the basic information users expect in content based on the user search query and its intent.
  • Add more value than competing blogs by including statistical data, rich media, examples, pointers, etc.
  • Write in simple and shorter sentences to improve the readability of the content.
  • Focus on research-based content over opinion-based. Citations help Google better understand your content.

You should always aim to create the best content — that is, content that delivers value for years, like the piece below.

The example of best content.

7. Validate The Content

Once you have the content ready, double-check that it meets your needs for:

  • Your target audience.
  • Defined user search intent.
  • Targeted keywords.
  • Suggestions listed.

This check is vital to ensure you’re on the right track towards getting a featured snippet.

8. Organize Your Content For Readers & Search Engines

Well-organized content is easy to scan through, read, and understand for users and search engines.

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Here’s an example of how you might organize a piece of content to give it good structure.

Organize your content with Heading Tags.

I recently tweeted about how you can turn a paragraph featured snippet into a listicle just by organizing and creating content accordingly.

9. Add Question Keywords In Heading Tags

Organizing your content to get featured snippets is incomplete without adding question keywords to the heading tags.

Pick up the relevant question keywords with high search volume and put them in your heading tags. Most of the featured snippets you see on Google start right after a heading tag.

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Look at an example below:

Heading Tags in Featured Snippets.

The right question keyword phrase in the right place can make all the difference.

10. Add Relevant Graphics

Graphics play a crucial role in owning a featured snippet, especially for the paragraph and listicle-type featured snippets.

Try to use real-life pictures or custom-made graphics rather than stock images to improve the users’ experience and avoid appearing generic.

Add as many images as your content requires.

Add relevant graphics.

11. Implement SEO Tactics

Your content is ready for users. Now you need to help Google understand what the page is all about — and quickly.

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Here are some SEO tactics that work for featured snippets:

  • Perfect URL structure: Keep your URLs short, ideally three to four words.
  • Title tag: Use Coschedule Headline Analyzer and the SEOmofo snippet optimization tool to create a catchy title tag that fits the pixel requirements.
  • Meta description tag: Use SEOmofo to make the most of the pixels available and write user-centric and keyword-specific meta descriptions to drive the highest clicks.
  • Heading tags: Use question keywords, as discussed above.
  • Image Alt attributes: For all graphics, make sure you use descriptive alt text to help Google understand what the image is all about. Most of the best-performing content has images with alt attributes.
  • Internal links: Help Google identify your site’s most important pages. If you achieve a featured snippet, you want to support the rankings of your best pages with it.
  • External links: Let Google know which external sites you trust and demonstrate credibility with your citations.
  • Schema markup tags: Help Google understand what your page is about and recognize elements like tables.
  • Link building: Build links to help Google understand your website’s authoritativeness.

12. Keep Optimizing Your Content Until You Achieve A Featured Snippet

With this process of optimizing for featured snippets in place, I check the results at 7, 14, and 21 days.

If I see an improvement in impressions, I’ll work harder for clicks. Be sure to track the differences in impressions, rankings, and CTR in Google Search Console, and traffic and visibility in Semrush.

Keep on optimizing your content until you see a featured snippet and can track results from it, such as:

Track Featured Snippets.

What’s New For Featured Snippets In 2021?

Recently, the SEO industry noticed two new features on Google Search results for featured snippets.

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“Hear this out loud” Button

When you click on this button, the content is read aloud while the text is highlighted alongside.

“Also covered on this page” Section

This section appears below the main section of the featured snippet and picks up the heading tags that you’ve added to your page.

Also covered on this page section example.

Now you have another reason to better organize your content using heading tags!

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) For Google Featured Snippets

Here are some of the most frequently asked featured snippets questions I get from SEO professionals.

Why Might Featured Snippets Be Removed?

Your featured snippet may get removed automatically or manually by Google if it comes under:

  • Dangerous content.
  • Deceptive practices.
  • Harassing content.
  • Hateful content.
  • Manipulated media.
  • Medical content.
  • Sexually explicit content.
  • Terrorist content.
  • Violence and gore.
  • Vulgar language and profanity.
  • Content that contradicts with the content by experts in the fields of civic, medical, scientific, and historical.

If you fall astray of Google’s policies, you may lose the featured snippet. Of course, you might lose it if a competitor does a better job of answering that query, too.

Are Featured Snippets Available for Ecommerce Products or Category Pages?

No. Ecommerce products can get featured listings on Google SERPs using Google Shopping and Product Listing Ads (PLAs).

However, ecommerce websites can still own featured snippets for their guides and blogs.

Featured Snippets Vs. Rich Snippets: What’s The Difference?

Featured snippets are picked up from the web page’s content to answer a user query, while rich snippets are an enhanced organic search result.

If your search result has reviews attached to it, that’s a rich snippet. If your web page provides information to users in a bit more detailed way on the first position on SERPs, it’s a featured snippet.

Learn more about optimizing for rich snippets here.

How Do Featured Snippets Work?

To understand how featured snippets work, let’s break down Google’s patent on generating snippets based on content:

How Does Featured Snippets Work? Google Patent Figure 4AHow Does Featured Snippets Work? Google Patent Figure 4B

When Google receives a search query, it tries to find the best result to match it. And when Google is ready with the list of search results, it follows the below process to pick up the relevant featured snippet from the top 10 search results:

  1. Identifying the text features within a keyword-based sentence to check its eligibility to rank as a FS.
  2. Determining the break features that would indicate the place where the keyword-based sentence can be truncated on a featured snippet.
  3. Calculating and assigning the snippet score to identify the strength of the snippets.
  4. Selecting the snippet with the highest snippet score.

That’s how Google selects a website for featured snippets and works to provide the relevant information quickly to the users.

Go, Get Your Featured Snippets Now!

Google’s featured snippet format focuses on providing information to the users on its platform itself. However, not all information can be displayed in 40-45 words.

Hence, they can be a great tool to boost your organic traffic.

Use the above guide to own featured snippets and become a thought leader in your industry, giving your brand reputation and organic traffic a boost. If you’ve optimized your site well, conversions will follow!

2021 SEJ Christmas Countdown:

Featured image: paper cut design/Shutterstock





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SEO

A Guide To Social Media Algorithms & How They Work

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A Guide To Social Media Algorithms & How They Work


Why do so many marketers keep asking, “How do social media algorithms work?” Because the algorithms for the major platforms can change quickly.

But, marketers should also keep asking, “Which social media platforms have the most users?” Because that data can change frequently, as well.

So, here are the latest answers to the first question about the algorithms for the eight platforms that you should be considering today.

Spoiler alert: This update contains some surprising shifts in the latest data on monthly unique visitors, monthly visits, and monthly average visit duration from SimilarWeb.

How Does The YouTube Algorithm Work?

YouTube got 1.953 billion unique visitors worldwide in May 2022. The platform received 35.083 billion monthly visits that month with an average visit duration of 21:41.

Now, some social media marketers may be shocked, shocked to find YouTube ranking ahead of Facebook.

But, SimilarWeb’s data above is only for desktop and mobile web channels. It doesn’t include data for connected TVs, which became the fastest-growing screen among YouTube viewers in 2020.

This makes it imperative to know how YouTube’s algorithm works.

YouTube’s algorithm tries to match each viewer to the videos they’re most likely to watch and enjoy. But, with over 500 hours of video content uploaded every minute, this is a Herculean task.

YouTube’s search and discovery systems tackle this challenge by paying close attention to:

  • What viewers watch.
  • What they don’t watch.
  • How much time do they spend watching?
  • What do they share and like?

Next, you need to learn that YouTube has multiple algorithms, including ones for:

  • YouTube Search: Videos are ranked based on how well titles, descriptions, and video content match the viewer’s search and which videos get the most engagement for a search.
  • Up Next: The ranking of suggested videos is based on machine learning’s understanding of which ones viewers are most likely to watch next. These videos are often related to the video a viewer is watching, but they can also be personalized based on the viewer’s watch history.
  • Your homepage: Videos are selected based on how often viewers watch a channel or topic, how well similar videos have interested and satisfied similar viewers, and how many times YouTube has already shown each video to a viewer.
  • YouTube Shorts: YouTube wants both short and long videos to succeed. So, relative watch time is generally more important for short videos, while absolute watch time is generally more important for longer videos.

So, what should you do next?

First, read my column, How To Optimize YouTube Videos To Help Ukraine, which provides tips on keyword research, title optimization, writing descriptions, custom thumbnails, and other video SEO best practices.

Next, read Jon Clark’s article, 13 Key Elements Of Successful YouTube Videos. He focuses on how to make a great video.

Why is that important? Because YouTube’s search and discovery system “finds” videos for each viewer and their varying interests in order to get them to watch more videos that they’ll enjoy so they’ll come back to YouTube regularly.

How Does The Facebook Algorithm Work?

Facebook got only 1.620 billion unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 19.739 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 10:05.

Now, Facebook’s unique visitors started dipping worldwide in February 2022.

But, as you can see in the chart below, there was a substantial drop in unique visitors in Russia in early March, after Russia blocked Facebook in an effort to control the spread of information on the invasion of Ukraine.

Screenshot courtesy of Similarweb, June 2022

This had a negative impact on Facebook’s total unique visitors worldwide, which were already losing momentum. Nevertheless, the platform is still too big to ignore.

So, how does Facebook’s algorithm work today?

Well, we knew how Facebook’s News Feed ranking process worked in December 2021 when Anna Stepanov, Head of Facebook App Integrity, wrote a post that said:

“News Feed uses personalized ranking, which takes into account thousands of unique signals to understand what’s most meaningful to you. Our aim isn’t to keep you scrolling on Facebook for hours on end, but to give you an enjoyable experience that you want to return to.”

And she summarized half a dozen of the biggest changes Facebook had made in 2021 to give users more control over, and insight into, how content appears in their News Feed.

This included publishing a new series of Widely Viewed Content Reports to share what content is seen by the most people in News Feed in the U.S.

Ironically, Facebook’s latest Widely Viewed Content Report showed the top four domains in Q4 2021:

  • youtube.com (168.1 million content viewers).
  • media1.tenor.co (118.4 million).
  • gofundme.com (112.4 million).
  • tiktok.com (105.0 million).

But, then in February 2022, Matt G. Southern reported Facebook Shifts Focus To Short-Form Video After Stock Plunge. And on June 16, 2022, Southern reported Facebook To Restructure Main Feed Around Video Content.

So, what should you do next? First, read Southern’s stories and learn why Tom Alison, head of Facebook, plans to turn its main feed into a “discovery engine” for video content.

According to Alison, the main tab in the Facebook app will become a mix of Stories and Reels at the top, followed by posts that its discovery engine will recommend from across both Facebook and Instagram.

Next, follow Southern’s expert, authoritative, and trustworthy advice:

“The best way to prepare for this change, if Facebook is a priority for you and your business, is to get comfortable with creating and publishing more short form video. While Facebook will continue to surface text and photo posts, they’ll be ancillary to the main attractions of Reels and Stories.”

How Does The Instagram Algorithm Work?

Instagram got 1.050 billion unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 6.497 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 07:51.

Russia has also banned Instagram, but the growth in unique visitors from other countries around the world has offset that.

So, you still need to know how Instagram’s algorithms work.

In June 2021, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote a post entitled, Shedding More Light On How Instagram Works. He revealed:

“Instagram doesn’t have one algorithm that oversees what people do and don’t see on the app. We use a variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose.”

For the Feed and Stories, the key ranking signals are:

  • Information about the post: How popular a post is, when it was posted, how long it is, if it’s a video, and if it’s attached to a location.
  • Information about the person who posted: How many times users have interacted with that person in the past few weeks.
  • User activity: What a user might be interested in and how many posts they’ve liked.
  • User history of interacting with someone: How interested a user is in seeing posts from a particular person.

For Explore, the key ranking signals are:

  • Information about the post: How popular a post seems to be as well as how many and how quickly other people are liking, commenting, sharing, and saving a post.
  • User history of interacting with someone: (See above.)
  • User activity: What posts a user has liked, saved, or commented on as well as how they’ve interacted with posts in Explore in the past.
  • Information about the person who posted: (See above.)

For Reels, the key ranking signals are:

  • User activity: Which Reels a user has liked, commented on, and engaged with recently.
  • User history of interacting with someone: (See above.)
  • Information about the reel: The audio track, video data such as pixels and whole frames, as well as popularity.
  • Information about the person who posted: (See above.)

So, each part of the app uses similar ranking signals, but their order of importance varies. Mosseri explained:

“People tend to look for their closest friends in Stories, but they want to discover something entirely new in Explore. We rank things differently in different parts of the app, based on how people use them.”

For more tips and advice, read the article by Shelley Walsh entitled, 22 Ways To Get More Instagram Followers Right Now. Then, read Amanda DiSilvestro’s article, How To Use Instagram Reels For Business.

How Does The Twitter Algorithm Work?

Twitter got 979 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 7.056 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 10.39.

This data does not screen for fake or spam accounts. Nevertheless, it’s worth investing the time and effort to keep up with how Twitter’s algorithm works.

Like most social media platforms, Twitter has multiple algorithms.

Twitter says its “algorithmic Home timeline displays a stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content we think you might be interested in based on accounts you interact with frequently, Tweets you engage with, and more.”

If users want to, they can click on the star symbol to see the latest Tweets as they happen. But, few people choose to drink water from a firehose.

If they want to, users can click on “Explore” and see Trending tweets or ones about COVID-19, News, Sports, and Entertainment.

If users want to, they can click on “More” to see the Topics that Twitter thinks they’re interested in.

Like most social media platforms, Twitter’s algorithms use machine learning to sort content based on different ranking signals.

And it’s worth noting that Twitter is currently involved in analyzing the results of its algorithms as part of its “responsible machine learning initiative.”

Here’s what Twitter has said publicly about its Home timeline, Trends, and Topics ranking signals:

Relevance:

  • ​​Users’ previous actions on Twitter, like their own Tweets and Tweets they’ve engaged with.
  • Accounts they often engage with.
  • Topics they follow and engage with most.
  • The number of Tweets related to a topic.
  • For Trends: their location.

Engagement:

  • For Tweets: “How popular it is and how people in your network are interacting with [the Tweet].”
  • For Trends: “The number of Tweets related to the Trend.”
  • For Topics: “How much people are Tweeting, Retweeting, replying, and liking Tweets about that Topic.”

Recency:

  • For Trends: “Topics that are popular now, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis.”

Rich Media:

  • The type of media the Tweet includes like an image, video, GIF, and polls.

For more advice and tips, read Lisa Buyer’s article, 8 Terrific Tips To Optimize A Twitter Business Or Brand Profile. Then, read the article by Julia McCoy entitled, How To Be A Top Tweeter: 10 Tips That Will Get Your Tweets Noticed.

How Does The TikTok Algorithm Work?

TikTok got 690 million monthly visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 1.766 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 03:48.

This data doesn’t include Douyin.com, which is counted separately. But, as the chart below illustrates, TikTok.com gets about 98% of the unique visitors worldwide for both of the ByteDance apps.

TikTok.com gets about 98% of the unique visitors worldwideScreenshot courtesy of Similarweb, June 2022

So, you should probably learn how TikTok’s algorithm works ASAP.

In June 2020, TikTok revealed how its recommendation system selected videos in a post entitled, How TikTok recommends videos #ForYou.

Little has fundamentally changed since then, except the U.S. government is no longer trying to ban the social media platform.

TikTok’s For You feed presents a stream of videos curated to each user’s interests, making it easy for a user to find content and creators they love.

In other words, there isn’t one For You feed for over one billion monthly active TikTok users. There are a billion For You feeds tailored to what each user watches, likes, and shares.

TikTok added, “This feed is powered by a recommendation system that delivers content to each user that is likely to be of interest to that particular user.”

And recommendations are based on a number of factors, including:

  • User interactions such as the videos they like or share, accounts they follow, comments they post, and content they create.
  • Video information, which might include details like captions, sounds, and hashtags.
  • Device and account settings like their language preference, country setting, and device type.

TikTok also revealed:

“All these factors are processed by our recommendation system and weighted based on their value to a user. A strong indicator of interest, such as whether a user finishes watching a longer video from beginning to end, would receive greater weight than a weak indicator, such as whether the video’s viewer and creator are both in the same country.

Videos are then ranked to determine the likelihood of a user’s interest in a piece of content, and delivered to each unique For You feed.”

On the other hand, TikTok said:

“While a video is likely to receive more views if posted by an account that has more followers, by virtue of that account having built up a larger follower base, neither follower count nor whether the account has had previous high-performing videos are direct factors in the recommendation system.”

So, what should you do next? First, read Miranda Miller’s article, 40+ TikTok Stats Digital Marketers Need To Know. Then, read my column, How TikTok’s Search Algorithms Power Content Discovery.

How Does The Pinterest Algorithm Work?

Pinterest got 409 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 945 million visits that month with an average session duration of 05:29.

With Instagram declaring it is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app,” this is the time to learn how Pinterest’s algorithm works.

The ranking factors on Pinterest relate more to engagement metrics and social shares, but it also involves keywords.

And Pinterest autocomplete provides ideas by automatically suggesting semantically related modifiers to a core keyword.

Pinterest’s search feature then curates a user’s “feed” based on what they’re searching for and how those key terms are used in the Pins being shared by content creators.

Pinterest also categorizes and sub-categorizes topics to make it easy to find keywords for your particular niche.

To optimize your Pins:

  • Use long images: The optimal Pin size is 1,000 by 1,500 px or a ratio of 2:3.
  • Use eye-catching colors: Catch users’ attention and stand out with high-contrast colors.
  • Use enticing, keyword-rich titles: Entice users to click through to your content.
  • Use detailed descriptions: Include your target keywords in your descriptions.

Then, optimize your boards. Boards provide a great opportunity to tell Pinterest’s search engine how you categorize your products and/or organize your content, which will only aid visibility.

Finally, aim for engagement, which can increase your Pin’s (and your profile’s) visibility in search, increasing your traffic.

For additional information and advice, read Southern’s story, Pinterest Updates Algorithm To Surface More Content Types. Then, read Jessica Foster’s article, 12 Pinterest SEO Tips For High-Traffic Success.

How Does The LinkedIn Algorithm Work?

LinkedIn got 306 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 1.479 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 07:32.

So, social media marketers – especially ones at B2B organizations – need to know how LinkedIn’s algorithm works.

In June 2019, Pete Davies, Senior Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, wrote a post entitled, What’s in your LinkedIn Feed: People You Know, Talking about Things You Care About. He explained, “The more valuable the conversation, the higher in your feed the post will be.”

How does LinkedIn’s algorithm know if a conversation is valuable? It uses the following framework:

  • People you know: LinkedIn’s algorithm looks at a user’s connections and prioritizes who they’ve interacted with directly through comments and reactions; the user’s implicit interests and experiences based on information in their profile; explicit signals, such as who a user works with; as well as who would benefit from hearing from the user.
  • Talking about: A lot of sophistication goes into understanding a good conversation. As a rule of thumb, better conversations are authentic and have a constructive back and forth.
  • Things you care about: LinkedIn’s algorithm also looks at whether the content and the conversation are relevant and interesting to a user. It considers a number of signals, including joining groups and following hashtags, people, and pages.

So, what should you do next? First, read Jessica Foster’s article, How The LinkedIn Algorithm Works & Optimizing For It. Then, read Matt G. Southern’s article, LinkedIn Debunks Algorithm Myths In New Video Series.

How Does The Reddit Algorithm Work?

Reddit got 237 million unique visitors worldwide in May. The platform received 1.669 billion visits that month with an average session duration of 09:59.

With Facebook setting its sights on video to regain its momentum, this is a good time to learn how Reddit’s algorithm works.

In June 2021, the official blog for Reddit posted Evolving the Best Sort for Reddit’s Home Feed. It provided insights into how Reddit determines which relevant posts to show users.

The post revealed that:

“Reddit’s systems build a list of potential candidate posts from multiple sources, pass the posts through multiple filtering steps, then rank the posts according to the specified sorting method. Over the years, we’ve built many options to choose from when it comes to sorting your Home feed.”

Here’s how each sort option recommends content:

  • “Hot” ranks using votes and post age.
  • “New” displays the most recently published posts.
  • “Top” shows users the highest vote count posts from a specified time range.
  • “Controversial” shows posts with both high count upvotes and downvotes.
  • “Rising” populates posts with lots of recent votes and comments.
  • ‘Best” uses machine learning algorithms to personalize the order in which users see posts.

For more tips and information, read the article by Brent Csutoras entitled, A Beginner’s Guide To Reddit: How To Get Started & Be Successful. Then, read Southern’s story, Reddit Makes Comments Searchable.

Why Should You Keep Asking Questions?

The latest data from SimilarWeb indicates that you should continue asking “Which social media platforms have the most users?” as well as “How do social media algorithms work?”

Things change too quickly and frequently in this particular arena for anyone to think that past performance is even remotely indicative of future results.

More Resources:


Featured Image: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock





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Google Be Colorful Sign from Peter The Greeter

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Google Be Colorful Backdrop


Here is a photo from Peter the Greeter at the GooglePlex in front of a “Be Colorful” sign that is super colorful with a lot of fun scenery around it. I assume this was for the Pride celebrations at the Google office.

He shared this on Instagram.

This post is part of our daily Search Photo of the Day column, where we find fun and interesting photos related to the search industry and share them with our readers.





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Google Automatically Selecting Background Colors For Search Result Snippet Images

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Google Automatically Selecting Background Colors For Search Result Snippet Images


Over the past few months Google has been auto-selecting background colors not just for image search results and not just for shading Google Shopping Ads but also for images added to the search result snippets in Google Search.

Punit spotted this a few months ago and he shared a couple examples on Twitter that shows how Google is taking an image with maybe a light gray background and then replacing it with a green background. He has more examples but here is the bigger one.

On the left is an image of a heel on a dark green background in the Google Search result image snippet:

But if you looked at the web page, that image as on a light gray background:

Here are more examples:

Pretty cool for Google to do this but I do wonder if the publishers won’t like Google changing the image backgrounds like this?

Forum discussion at Twitter.





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