What is a featured snippet?

A snippet box can make a searcher’s life easier by showing them a concise answer to their query. The idea is that users can skim the snippet to get a basic understanding of a topic or a solution to their question without having to scroll all the way through a search results page.

Featured snippets aim to show searchers extracted content from a page in a highlighted box that appears on a search results page in position ‘0’ above all of the other ‘blue link’ results. Google analyses each search query, attempts to relate the results it shows to the overall search intent and picks the best excerpt from existing content to improve user experience.

Google featured snippets usually contain a link to the website they come from and generally will increase the traffic to your site. The best way of getting eyes on your content and potentially your site are to win the featured snippet as they appear before the top organic search result for a keyword on a search results page.

Winning a featured snippet can have many positive impacts on your site, here are some of the main benefits of winning a featured snippet.

Increased Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Whilst the main aim of the Google featured snippet is to give searcher’s a simple answer to their query they could also be looking for a more in-depth answer to their question or some additional information. They could easily find what they’re looking for by reading the featured snippet and clicking through to your site.

Gives you a head start with voice search technology

In modern society, internet users can now search via virtual assistants such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana and Google Assistant. These virtual assistants typically use featured snippets to answer their users’ vocal search queries

Increases your credibility

Featured snippets will help to present your site or business as an authority on a subject as they appear first on a result page and are assessed by the Google algorithm to ensure trustworthiness, therefore they make searchers much more likely to accept you as a leader in your industry.

Featured snippets increase ‘no-click searches’ because users already find what they are looking for on the search results page. This means that if a searcher does click through to your site there’s a higher chance that they’re looking to make a purchase with you.

There are four main types of featured snippets: Paragraphs, tables, lists and videos. Each one is valuable for growing traffic to your website. Google and other search engines will use different types to present information depending on what is being searched for.

Having an understanding of which snippet best fits your topic and information will help you to organise your content and give you the best chance of winning a featured snippet.

Paragraphs, Definitions and Answers

This type of Google featured snippet provides users with a concise, practical definition or brief information on a topic. Certain queries revolve around questions or seeking additional information.

There are also definition boxes. These are straightforward queries where users are searching for the basic meaning of a word or concept.

Paragraphs featured snippets tend to be 40 – 60 words long on average.

This type of Google featured snippet provides users with a concise, practical definition or brief information on a topic. Certain queries revolve around questions or seeking additional information.

Here is a featured snippet example:

Paragraph featured snippet example

Tables

Tables help searchers to visualise specific data either for comparison or presented simply. A large percentage of Google featured snippets are tables. 

Here is a table featured snippet example:

Table featured snippet example

Lists

Lists can be very useful as featured snippets as they can be used to rank items, show a process or identify different products or places. The list featured snippets can be both ordered and unordered. You are likely to see a bullet-point list for ranked and unranked items and ‘best of’ types of lists.

Here is a list featured snippet example:

List featured snippet example

Videos

Youtube is now one of the largest search engines in the world, so video snippets are great to try to rank for. If a video provides the best possible answer for a user’s query it will include the video in the featured snippet. Videos are usually the most useful for ‘how to’ queries.

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that Google will use your content as a featured snippet. Google has algorithms that are constantly evaluating snippets and rankings on result pages to see what provides the best responses to certain queries and so search results are often changing.

Here is a video featured snippet example:

Video featured snippet example

Featured snippets and rich snippets or rich results as they are now more commonly referred to are two search features that go beyond the standard search result and they both show more content than a regular search result and target specific user-intent making the results more query-oriented. 

Rich results are listings on results pages enriched with additional visual or interactive elements that make them stand out. Some examples of rich snippets or rich results include; combined snippets, carousel image snippets, rich answers, and knowledge graphs. Rich results are classed as a SERP feature but not a featured snippet.

Rich snippet example

There is no way to guarantee that your content will feature in a snippet as Google’s result ‘0’ but what you can do is create high-quality targeted content that has a high chance of being chosen to feature. While there might be several different types of featured snippets one thing that they all have in common is that they are all fact-based. Google wants the information in its snippets to be completely objective. Your content should be concise and to the point. A good snippet should be easy to read and understand quickly. If your goal is to gain featured snippets try to keep your content as simple as possible. 

It doesn’t hurt to try to gain featured snippets as the same practices that help you to secure them also helps to keep you on the first page of the search results.

Here are a few ways you can ensure that your content is optimised correctly to target featured snippets:

Organise your content effectively with headings and subheadings

One way to increase your chances of winning a featured snippet is to format your content effectively. All headings and subheadings should be relevant to your content and set up the piece in a way where it is able to provide direct answers.

Making content easy to read is important too – try to vary your sentence structure and length to make your content more attractive to readers. You could also use bullet point lists to improve its flow and clarity – this will also help readers to find the answers they’re searching for in your content. 

Providing structure to your content also helps the search crawlers index and rank your site effectively. Having a strong content structure can also help you to improve the user experience and user interface on your website. 

Include an FAQs section

There are lots of ranking opportunities when optimising your website for question-based keywords. Not only can you earn the opportunity to achieve the featured snippet but also appear in the ‘People Also Ask’ SERP feature. Adding an FAQ section to the content on your site may increase the potential of you winning the featured snippet.

Use relevant images alongside your content

Using relevant images alongside your content helps to break up the monotony of the information and helps to keep readers engaged. If you are using related images in your content then your chances of getting featured in snippets increase. Crawlers read the images and their alt texts before featuring them, therefore you must use relevant and high-quality images in your content and make use of relevant and descriptive alt-text.

Having high-quality links pointing to your content will boost its potential for ranking on SERPs and in the featured snippets. Link building can also increase the traffic to your website and increase your domain authority. If your site has a higher domain authority and its content is well-optimised then it will become easier for you to win the featured snippet.

Regardless of whether you are successful or not in gaining a featured snippet with your content you can guarantee that in taking steps to create high-quality, well-optimised content you will have satisfied users and a fantastic opportunity to perform well in search results which can also be useful in driving traffic to your website and increasing your overall customer base.



Conclusion

Hopefully now you have a good understanding of what featured snippets are, the opportunities they offer, and how to target them.

However, as with anything in SEO, the processes we’ve taken you through can be time-consuming and difficult to prioritise… which is where we come in!

We offer award-winning SEO services, which have helped many businesses increase their visibility online – with this being just one of many techniques in our arsenal.

Get in touch to find out more about how we can help you!