How it Took Me 10 Minutes to Rank in Google FeaturedĀ Snippets

By Marvin Russell

For the past year I’ve been adjusting, tweaking and updating my SEO strategy with the goal of making it easier and faster to rank valuable, high-quality content in Google’s Featured Snippet. Now, it’s finally working, and the first thing I want to do is share my success and of course a step-by-step guide on how it all works.

Let me do a quick intro. A few of you may already know me, but for those who don’t, I’m Marvin. I founded MySiteAuditor, a lead generation SaaS for SEO service provides that I bootstrapped to 40k MRR from a coffee shop in Chicago. Within 24 months, my amazing success led to a 7-figure, all cash acquisition deal.

Before that, I ran successful digital marketing agency in Chicago that was also successfully acquired in 2014.

My point is, I know SEO.

I’m currently working on my third startup, Checkli. What was supposed to be a simple checklist tool to help me organize my chaotic entrepreneur lifestyle, that turned into a massive platform of people all around the world making and sharing checklists.

To be honest, I really hate long blog posts, but even more, I hate reading long blog posts because the answer to my query is always buried somewhere in the 20th paragraph, at the bottom of the article.

There has to be a better way, right?

I decided to add a feature on Checkli that made it very easy to publish my checklists on the web for anyone to see, copy, and use for free.

People loved them. They started saving, copying, and downloading them.


I decided to create a totally free way for anyone to publish free checklists for the world to see, copy, and use.

  • Morning routines
  • Fitness and health guides
  • Top startup books to read
  • Foods to eat and not to eat
  • Travel destinations
  • Fortnite Checklists
  • NFL and NBA checklists
  • Disaster relief supplies
  • Airplane landing procedures
  • and so much more!

These are all free published checklists from our members on Checkli. Think of is as a Slideshare for Checklists.

I decided to combine my experience and knowledge of SEO with my love and passion of checklists, and like magic, a star was born.

For all of our free published checklists I added the following:

  • Readable, SEO-friendly URLS
  • Featured images with alt tags and and captions
  • SEO-friendly tags
  • Crawlable and index friendly titles, descriptions, and tasks
  • Length descriptions
  • Categories
  • Links
  • and more

Google Featured Snippets are often the #1 search result in Google. They are usually shown as a

  • shown as a paragraph,
  • image,
  • video,
  • table,
  • and of course a list of items.

See where I’m going?

Bulleted checklists are a super popular and very common type of featured snippet because people love lists. They’re easier to make, easier to read and much easier to understand over long, boring opinionated blog posts.

I’ve always been worried about content length because checklists don’t have a ton of content, compared to blog posts.

Will that hurt us? Will that limit our SEO potential?

Then, in mid 2018, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, revealed that, “Word count is not indicative of quality”. Woohoo!

So, I’ve been tweaking and twisting an ethical SEO strategy to help our checklist publishers get ranked on page #1 of Google, and of course in Google’s Feature Snippet, and now it’s working.

Back in October, being NFL season, I decided to make a super simple NFL checklist for our sports category. It took about 10 minutes to make, and I then published it. Within a couple weeks, my checklist was ranking #1 in Google, and since then over 50,000 people have visited that page.

Checklist that Ranks in Google Featured Snippets

I researched keywords using Google Search Predictions, a free and pretty accurate way to find out what people are searching for in Google. It takes both your search history and millions of other people’s search history into account when serving up search term suggestions and predictions.

You can see Google Search Predictions when you start to search for something in Google. They also appear at the bottom of Google search results after you perform a search.

After 1 minute of research, I decided that “NFL teams by state” looked like a good keyword to go after.

In addition to using Google search predictions, I also scanned a list by Ahrefs of the most popular words used in Google’s featured snippets.

I made a checklist on Checkli and added an SEO-friendly title and description that matched the keyword I was targeting.

I added a featured image with my keyword in the alt tag and caption.

I added all the tasks. (I copied and pasted from another source.)

I published!

Within a couple weeks my checklist outranked every other list of NFL teams on the web and has had more than 50,000 visitors and growing. In fact, this checklist is now shown as a featured snippet which, according to Moz, can increase traffic for Google search by 30%.

It’s so freaking easy, I swear!

We do not charge any money, and don’t plan on charging any money to publish checklists on Checkli. There is a link in our footer on Checkli that you must use to become a checklist publisher.

  1. Create a free account
  2. Pick a username
  3. Make a checklist
  4. Add personalize options
  5. Publish (hit the button called “Public on the web”)

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We’re loving all this traffic, but not as much as our publishers are loving all the free traffic to their website. Since launching our publisher accounts, we’ve quadrupled traffic, and are still growing like crazy.

Checkli Traffic Last 7 Days

Yes, it took me ten minutes to publish this checklist, but I’ve been doing this for a while. Many published checklists take, on average, 20–30 minutes to make. Which is still far less time than it would take to write a blog post.

My advice, don’t forget your basic content marketing 101 techniques:

  • Always do keyword research first
  • Pick something topical or trending
  • Create a compelling featured image
  • Follow my SEO steps
  • Share on social media
  • Link to as normal

Tell me in the comments below. Better yet, try it for yourself and tell me in comments below.

I’m all ears and am eager for feedback.