What Is a Featured Snippet? Definition, Benefits, and Optimization Strategy

When it comes to SEO, featured snippets can provide many advantages to businesses. Snippets appear higher in search engine results than organic listings and are visible above the fold. Not only do they help to increase visibility, but they can also boost click-through rates and help websites establish authority and trust.

But what is a featured snippet exactly, and are there different types? We’ll answer this question and teach you how to optimize your content strategy to get more snippets. Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Featured snippets are short excerpts from web pages that appear at the top of Google search results, providing a direct answer to a user’s query.
  • Google will display featured snippets in order to provide users with quick, succinct, and definitive answers to their questions. Depending on the search intent, query, and article, the user may or may not click through to read the content in full.
  • Types of featured snippets include paragraph, list, table, video, and local search.
  • Optimizing content for featured snippets involves conducting keyword research and structuring content in an organized format with relevant imagery and videos.
  • Benefits of featured snippets include increased visibility, improved click-through rates (CTR), and increased authority and trust.
what is a featured snippet

Featured Snippet Definition

Featured snippets are short excerpts from web pages that appear at the top of Google search results and provide concise answers to user queries. Snippets are typically referred to as “position zero” in terms of ranking, and can lead to an increase in organic traffic.

Google displays these snippets in order to fulfill search intent and provide a quick resource for users, often providing a direct answer to a simple keyword query without a link to an external website.

Google’s featured snippets are generated by its natural language processing algorithms that scan through the content on millions of web pages to find the most relevant answer to a user’s search queries. Google then extracts the answer and displays it in a featured snippet. The featured snippet includes the page title, URL, and a brief content summary.

If a user clicks on the featured snippet, they are taken to the web page where they can read the full content. However, users may not always click through to the website after viewing a featured snippet, making it less useful for the site owner.

Types of Featured Snippets in SEO

To help you grasp the concept of featured snippets, we will explain the various types — what they are, how they work, and provide examples of each. Understanding these will enable you to optimize your website for featured snippets and rank higher than your competition.

Here’s a look at the different types of featured snippets:

Paragraph Snippets

This is the most common kind of featured snippet. This snippet displays a paragraph of content directly above the relevant SERP. The Google algorithm automatically picks the content from the web page, which has the highest chance of answering the search queries accurately.

For instance, people may search for “What is Content Marketing?” and get a paragraph snippet that answers this question.

List Snippets

This featured snippet format appears when Google indexes the web page with a list format that answers the search queries. These snippets will display bullets or numbers to highlight the essential points. List snippets are suitable for how-to guides, product descriptions, and recipes.

One example of this featured snippet is when you search for “10 Best Places to Visit in the USA” and get a list of places directly below the search result page.

Table Snippets

A table featured snippet has a table of information on the SERPs, and it’s often used for search results relating to time zones, currency conversions, and product comparisons. This featured snippet format pulls data from structured data or a website’s table and displays it in the SERPs.

An example of this is when you search for “Football Team Comparison” and get an interactive table comparing the stats of two football teams.

Video Snippets

Video snippets feature a video’s thumbnail with the video title and time stamp usually underneath. It showcases when Google indexes a video that would answer the search query, and it’s ideal for how-to guides, tutorials, or reviews.

For instance, when you search for “How to make pancakes,” a web page with a high-quality video tutorial and recipe is featured on the SERPs.

Featured Snippet for Local Search

This featured snippet format displays local business information, including an address, phone number, website, and directions when a user searches for services or products in a locality.

For instance, when you search for “plumber near me,” the SERPs display the top-ranked plumbing companies in your locality with their respective reviews, contact number, and location.

How Does Google Source Featured Snippets?

Google obtains featured snippets from web pages that rank in the top 10 organic search results for a given query. Achieving this ranking can increase the likelihood of being featured as a Google snippet, thus providing greater visibility and potential for increased traffic.

Strategically responding to multiple queries in content and attaining a top 10 ranking in organic search results for related queries can increase the chances of being featured.

Moreover, tools such as Ahrefs’ Rank Tracker or other rank-tracking tools can be employed to monitor featured snippets, enabling users to track essential keywords that trigger featured snippets and observe when they gain or lose a featured snippet.

Benefits of Featured Snippets for SEO

types of featured snippets

Why are featured snippets important? Here’s a look at the top benefits and why you should have a strategy to identify featured snippet opportunities.

Increased Visibility

Featured snippets are prominently displayed at the top of Google’s SERP, thus making them the first thing users encounter when searching for a particular query. This can result in increased click-through rates and heightened brand recognition, as users are given a direct answer to their query and an incentive to click through to the website.

Given their prominent position in the SERP, featured snippets also take up a lot of space on the page, meaning they can easily draw attention away from other results. This can lead to increased visibility and website traffic, ultimately resulting in more conversions and revenue for your business.

Improved Click-Through Rates (CTR)

Click-through rates (CTR) are a measure of website success, as they provide insight into how effective a website is at attracting users from search engines. Featured snippets can positively influence click-through rates, as they provide a direct response to the user’s query, increasing the likelihood of them clicking through to the website.

The click-through rate of featured snippets is largely determined by the search query’s intent and the page’s original ranking used for the snippet.

However, it’s important to note that snagging a featured snippet position can also decrease your CTR. In some cases, users may get the information they need from the snippet without having to click through to your site. As a result, you may see a decrease in traffic to your site, despite your content being featured prominently at the top of the search results.

Increased Authority and Trust

Featured snippets bolster authority by demonstrating a website’s expertise in the subject matter and providing users with valuable information. A featured snippet highlights the website as a reliable source of expertise, thus creating a sense of trust in the user. This can ultimately result in an increase in the website’s authority and trustworthiness.

Google only selects content of the highest quality and relevance for featured snippets. This can increase conversions and establish the website as a leader in its field.

How to Optimize Content for Featured Snippets

featured snipped optimization

Now that you know what featured snippets are and how they work, let’s discuss how to optimize your content for them. Here are some featured snippet optimization tips:

Conduct Keyword Research

Strategic keyword research can help you identify featured snippet opportunities and help ensure you snag that coveted spot.

  • Use Google Search Console: Use Google Search Console to find the keywords that drive users to your website. Identify the queries that bring the most traffic to your site, and then build content around those queries.
  • Analyze the competition: Analyze your competitors’ search results to find featured snippets related to your keyword or query. Look for ways to create more comprehensive content that covers all the related queries. This strategy will help you to cover all the bases and increase the likelihood of getting featured snippets for your brand.
  • Use SEO tools: Tools such as Semrush and Ahrefs can help you conduct thorough keyword research and find any featured snippets related to your keyword. You can also use these tools to find related long-tail keywords to use in your content.
  • Keep your content topical: Search engines reward contextual relevance. Ensure your content includes the keyword and addresses related queries or subtopics. This content will give your brand a higher chance of being featured in the search results.

Provide Answers in a Structured Format

Once you have found the keyword phrase, create a comprehensive answer that addresses the query in-depth. Focus on providing as much information as possible and organizing it in a logical way in order to win featured snippets. The answer should be concise, clear, and easy to read.

Structuring your content is important when it comes to optimizing for featured snippets. You want to make sure your content is comprehensively organized for the user to find what they are looking for quickly. Use formatting elements such as headings, bullet points, and numbered lists to make your content more readable.

It is recommended to provide short and precise answers when optimizing content for featured snippets, presented in a succinct paragraph or bullet points. You can use the inverted pyramid style to increase your chances of earning a featured snippet by beginning with the most pertinent information, followed by supplementary details.

Include Relevant Imagery and Videos

Including relevant imagery and videos is beneficial when optimizing content for featured snippets, as it can make the content more engaging and visually appealing. To effectively brand images for featured snippets, consider using image editing applications or tools to generate original images, watermarking images to enhance branding, or even creating a free logo if one is not already available.

Additionally, voice transcripts can significantly improve the chances of being selected for a featured snippet, as Google recognizes the text in voice transcripts.

Optimize Metadata

Optimizing your metadata is critical for featured snippets. The title and meta description influence users to click on your content. Use a descriptive and compelling title and include clear meta descriptions.

Monitor Analytics and Track Success

To gauge how effective your featured snippet optimization strategy is, you’ll want to monitor analytics and assess progress on a regular basis. Use Google Search Console to learn which search queries generate the most impressions and clicks. Doing so can help identify which queries perform well, identify improvement opportunities, and measure your optimization efforts’ success.

Additionally, tracking metrics such as impressions, clicks, CTR, and position in SERPs can help identify trends and inform optimization strategies.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is an Example of a Snippet?

A snippet is a short excerpt from a web page that appears in search results. For example, it could be a brief summary of a blog post or article. Snippets are designed to give users an idea of what they can expect to find on a web page before they click through to it. They typically include a title, a brief description of the content, and the page URL. Content snippets are important because they can influence whether or not users decide to visit a particular webpage. By crafting compelling and informative snippets, website owners can increase click-through rates and drive more site traffic.

How Do You Write a Featured Snippet?

A featured snippet is a brief summary of the answer to a search query displayed at the top of Google’s search results. To write a featured snippet, it’s important to understand the user’s intent and use clear and concise language, relevant keywords, and formatting such as headings, bold text, and italics. Provide a direct answer to the question in the first paragraph and additional information to support your answer in subsequent paragraphs. Continuously optimize your content to increase your chances of being selected as the featured answer. By following these best practices, you can increase your chances of writing a featured snippet that Google selects as the best answer to a user’s search query.

What is an Example of a Google Featured Snippet?

Google featured snippets are a type of search engine result that appears at the top of the page and provides a brief summary of the answer to a user’s query. For example, if you search for “best glass water bottles” on Google, you will be presented with a featured snippet that highlights several popular options. By featuring relevant results as snippets, Google allows users to quickly find the information they need.

What Is a Snippet vs. a Featured Snippet?

Snippets refer to any information specific to the user’s search query taken from a website. Featured snippets are similar, except they have been specially selected by algorithms for use as a ‘preview’ of the page, using more content from the page than regular snippets do. In this way, featured snippets provide users with more detailed and useful information.

What are video featured snippets?

Video featured snippets are special results that appear near the top of some Google searches, which provide a short video that answers the user’s query. These snippets are pulled from YouTube and can help searchers quickly find useful content at the top of their search. By appearing near the top of the search results, video featured snippets can be a great way to get your content seen by more people. They can also help you stand out from the competition and increase your visibility in the search engine.

Final Thoughts

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is a featured snippet?” you can optimize your content to increase your chances of winning them for your top-ranking terms. As you’ve seen, a featured snippet can greatly increase website visibility, CTR, and authority.

Incorporating featured snippets into content in the form of bullet points, brief answers, direct answers, and paragraph snippets can help website content stand out in search results and provide your target audience with a quick answer to their query.