How to Earn a Featured Snippet with medium.com

By:
James Effarah
Date:
January 19, 2021

As I was working on some featured snippet optimizations for a client today, I came across something peculiar.

The screenshot of the featured snippet below is a little more than meets the eye.

Example of a featured snippet hack that medium.com allows you to use

 

First off:

It's, seemingly, not the most relevant thing Google can find for a snippet (this has been a notorious issue with Google lately - featured content has not been hitting the mark with satisfying searchers' intent).

Second:

The top 3-4 domains for the keyword "relay vs apollo" are, on paper, much more reputable and have much higher Domain Authorities (DA).

With the likes of github.com, stackshare.io, and reddit.com, as well as prisma.io all being won-out for the featured snippet, something had to be up.

So, what's the catch?

After diving into bitsrc.io's snippet winning page to do some research, I was even more confused.

The snippet content was found way down at the bottom of the blog, just after the section titled "conclusion".

But that's when I saw it!

medium.com featured snippet tool

Top 👏 Highlight 👏

If you're not familiar with that feature:

This is a medium.com news article, and blog.bitsrc.io is nothing more than a medium.com blog disguised as a custom branded subdomain for bitsrc.io.

Top highlights, and highlighting blog content in general, has been a medium.com feature for about 5 years now.

However, most conventional blogs are still on WordPress or other in-the-box website builders where this highlight feature is not prevalent.

Hypotheses

It's no argument, medium.com has been making leaps and bounds in regards to offering an SEO friendly, engaging, content platform.

With how unlikely it would otherwise be to rank for the snippet mentioned above, medium.com's "top highlight" feature must have some sort of SEO signal in regards to ranking for featured snippets.

"It makes sense. Highlights are similar to social signals in that they indicate engagement and are an easy way to tell Google what searchers find relevant"

Furthermore, medium.com's default structured data is @type:"NewsArticle" (shown below), which carries more authority than @type:"BlogPosting" or @type:"Article".

medium.com's default shema.org structured data is @type:"newsArticle", as shown in this screenshot

This is because @type:"NewsArticle" signals to Google that the content posted is factual news or documentation, as opposed to opinionated or conversational content.

Conclusion

The world is still WordPress heavy.

But new, innovative, tools such as medium.com's highlight feature have reshaped what "engaging content" really means.

Showing Google that your content is relevant to your readers is the name of the game when it comes to ranking - especially when it comes to ranking for featured snippets.

Medium's highlight feature isn't truly innovative, however, as Amazon's Kindle and other eReaders have utilized this feature for almost a decade.

What other ways are there to engage readers and earn featured snippets?

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