Automated Featured Snippet Tracking with AuthorityLabs

Featured Snippet Tracking Cover

It would be great if the process of featured snippet tracking was as simple as logging in to Google Search Console and pulling up a featured snippet report. Unfortunately, Google Search Console offers no help when it comes to tracking featured snippets and, last we heard, has no plans to add that feature.

But you don’t have to resign yourself to manually searching for each of your target keywords to see which featured snippets you’ve earned. Instead, use AuthorityLabs to automate your featured snippet tracking and get daily updates on those you’ve earned and lost.

Table of Contents:

An Introduction to Featured Snippet Tracking in AuthorityLabs

AuthorityLabs is a rank-tracking tool. You simply enter your website’s URL and any keywords you want to track, and it provides you with a report of your ranking positions for those keywords in Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Related: 15 Unique Things You Can Do with AuthorityLabs’ Rank Tracker

Additionally, AuthorityLabs shows you what types of results appear for the specific keywords you’re tracking: basic link results, image carousels, video carousels, and—of particular interest for featured snippet tracking—featured snippets.

If a keyword you’re tracking has a featured snippet in its search results, an “i” icon will appear in the “Result Types” column:

featured snippet indicator in authority labs

And if your site owns the featured snippet for that keyword, that same “i” icon appears, but this time, it has a dark circle background behind it:

earned featured snippet indicator in authority labs

So for these five keywords I’m tracking, my site owns the featured snippets for keywords 1, 3, 4, and 5. It does not own the featured snippet for keyword 2, though a featured snippet does appear in the search results:

result types and rankings in authority labs

If you were to add your domain and all of the keywords you’re targeting to AuthorityLabs, you could easily see in a single screen which keywords you’ve earned featured snippets for and which keywords have featured snippet opportunities that you might want to optimize for.

result types in authority labs

Setting Up More Advanced Featured Snippet Tracking

While it’s great to be able to quickly view where you’ve earned featured snippets for the keywords you’re intentionally targeting, a high-ranking result can rank for many different keywords—those you’ve targeted intentionally and those you never thought to target.

Ideally, you’ll want to see all of the keywords you’ve earned featured snippets for—not just those you’ve earned for the keywords you targeted intentionally. You can do this in AuthorityLabs too, but it requires taking a few additional steps.

Step 1: Compile a List of All of Your Page-One-Ranked Keywords

We know that Google pulls featured snippets from sites that are already ranked on page one of its results, so to track all of the featured snippets we’ve earned, we need to pull a list of all of the keywords we rank for in positions 1-10.

A good starting point for this data is Google Search Console. Log in to Google Search Console, click the “Performance” tab, and make sure you have “Average position” box selected:

google search console performance report

Now, scroll down to your queries, open the filter, check the “Position” box, change the filter to “Smaller than,” and enter “11.”

filter keywords by position in google search console

With this filter applied, you’ll only see keywords your site ranks for in positions 1-10. These are the keywords you might have earned featured snippets for. Click the download icon and export this data to Google Sheets.

download google search console report

Step 2: Add Your Page-One-Ranked Keywords to AuthorityLabs

Once the data’s in Google Sheets, click and drag to select all of your keywords and copy them.

Then, open a new tab, log in to AuthorityLabs, open your domain, and select “Add Keywords.”

add keywords to authority labs

Under “Quick Add,” paste all of the keywords you just copied, then click “Add Keywords.”

add keywords to authority labs

With this complete, you’ll be tracking all of the keywords you currently rank for in the positions that are most likely to trigger your result for featured snippets, which should give you a much broader picture of all of the featured snippets your site ranks for.

Step 3 (Optional): Add Additional Keywords from Another Tool

Google Search Console shows you a lot of keywords that your site ranks for, but it doesn’t show you all of the keywords your site ranks for. So even after completing the steps above, you might still not have a complete picture of all of the featured snippets you’ve earned.

For that reason, I also like to check in and see which keywords other tools say my site ranks for.

One easy way to do this is to use AuthorityLabs’ Now Provided report. The Now Provided report shows you up to 50 keywords that each of your top 25 pages ranks for.

You can access your Now Provided report in AuthorityLabs and quickly add any keywords that are ranked in positions 1-10 that you aren’t already tracking.

add keywords from authority labs now provided report

You can also plug your site/pages into a tool like Ahrefs, Moz, Google Keyword Planner, or Ubersuggest, see which keywords it says your site ranks for in positions 1-10, export those keywords, and add them to your list.

Just because you’ve earned a featured snippet on desktop SERPs doesn’t mean you’ve earned one on mobile (and vice versa). So you may want to take your tracking one step further and set it up for both desktop and mobile.

To set this up, you just need to add your domain twice. For the first one, select “Desktop” for your platform. For the second one, select “Mobile.”

featured snippet tracking on desktop and mobile

Then, just add all of your position 1-10 keywords to both domains as described above, and you’ll be able to track featured snippets earned in the SERPS for both device types.

How to Keep Track of Featured Snippets Won and Lost

In addition to wanting to have a way to see all of the featured snippets your site ranks for, you may also want an easy way to keep track of featured snippets you’ve recently earned and recently lost.

For this, I like to use tags in AuthorityLabs. You can add tags to all of the featured snippets you’ve currently earned and then use those tags to identify when you’ve earned a new snippet or lost a previously owned snippet.

To add tags, just check the checkbox next to all of the keywords on your list that display the owned-featured-snippet icon and click “Add Tags”:

add tags to keywords in authority labs

Give your tag a name—something obvious like “Featured Snippet” is always a good choice—and click “Submit” to tag that keyword.

add tags to keywords in authority labs

Once you’ve tagged all of the keywords you have featured snippets for, you can filter your list to show only those with your featured snippet tag. Just start typing the name of your tag in the “Filter tags” search box to narrow what displays to only those with your featured snippet tag.

filter keywords in authority labs by tags

AuthorityLabs updates your rankings every day, so every day (or as often as you want/need to), you can log into AuthorityLabs and filter your list of keywords by your featured snippet tag. If it shows that you no longer own the featured snippet for a keyword you tagged previously, it means you lost that featured snippet.

You can also identify new featured snippets you’ve earned by looking for keywords where you have the earned-featured-snippet icon but haven’t applied your featured snippet tag.

How to Use AuthorityLabs to Find Featured Snippet Opportunities

Once you’re efficiently tracking your site’s featured snippets, you might be ready to start finding new featured snippet opportunities so you can expand the number of featured snippets you’ve won. AuthorityLabs can help you identify new featured snippet opportunities, too.

Any keyword you’re ranking for on the first page of the SERPs that has a featured snippet that you don’t own is an opportunity. So the first way to find new featured snippet opportunities is simple: scroll through your tracked list of keywords and look for anything ranking in positions 2-10 that has the unowned-featured-snippet icon next to it:

find featured snippet opportunities in authority labs

These are the keywords that you have the potential to grab featured snippets for, so optimizing for those featured snippets could help you overtake the existing results.

Another way to find featured snippet opportunities is to see what featured snippets your competitors currently rank for.

You can track keyword rankings for any site in AuthorityLabs, so in addition to being able to see what featured snippets you own, you can also see what featured snippets your competitors own. This could help you come up with new content ideas and new ways to overtake those featured snippets in the search results.

To see what featured snippets a competitor ranks for, first, add the competitor’s domain to AuthorityLabs. Next, you’ll need to use a tool like Ahrefs, Moz, Google Keyword Planner, or Ubersuggest to get a list of keywords your competitor currently ranks for.

find keywords by domain in google keyword planner

Plug your competitor’s homepage URL into your tool of choice, and you’ll get a list of keywords that competitor ranks for. Then, copy and paste those keywords into AuthorityLabs under the domain you created for that competitor.

Once the data in AuthorityLabs updates, you’ll be able to scroll through your competitor’s list of keywords and see exactly which keywords that competitor has earned featured snippets for.

Finally, if you’re doing keyword research for a new piece of content and want to target a keyword that displays a featured snippet, you can add the keywords you’re considering to your domain’s list of tracked keywords temporarily to see which populate featured snippets.

For example, let’s say I’m looking to add some Q&As to a piece of content I’m writing, and I’m using Moz to find potential question keywords. Ideally, I want my answers to appear as featured snippets, so I want to pick the keywords that populate featured snippets in the SERPs.

question keywords in moz

I can export Moz’s list of question keywords, copy them, paste them into AuthorityLabs, and wait for the results to update. When it’s finished, it will show me which of those keywords produce featured snippets.

all keywords with featured snippet opportunities

And when I’m done, I can just delete those keywords from my list.

delete keywords from authority labs list

Being able to track which keywords you’ve earned featured snippets for is incredibly helpful if you’re actively trying to optimize your content for featured snippets.

For one, it lets you know if (and how well) you’re efforts are paying off. It also gives you the data you need to react quickly when you lose a featured snippet—they can be more volatile than general search results—and take the steps necessary to recover your position-zero ranking.

If you’re ready to get started tracking your featured snippets, sign up for a free 14-day trial of AuthorityLabs.

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