What Are Featured Snippets?
As Google’s search engine results pages are becoming more and more informative, zero-click searches are more prevalent in today’s digital landscape. One of the most common resources for information found on Google are featured snippets, also known as position zero.
Featured snippets are selected search results that appear at the top of Google’s organic results and aim to answer a searcher’s question without having to visit a website.
Common Types of Featured Snippets
One of the most common types of featured snippets is the paragraph snippet. It pulls a short paragraph from a website with high-quality content that aims to answer or provide more information on a searcher’s query.
Google will typically present these answers in bolded text to answer searcher queries. In some cases, the featured snippet may also display an image beside the paragraph. However, it’s important to note that the image is not always from the same website that the text is being pulled from.
The second most common type of featured snippet would be in a list format, either an ordered list or an unordered list.
For example, an unordered list or a list that does not use numbers. You would see an unordered list snippet for
- Best-of list
- Item list
- Unranked item list
- Features list
In comparison, a numbered list would highlight search queries such as DIY, “how-to”, and “how do I”. Recipes are presented in list format also and can be combined with an image carousel for easy browsing.
Video Featured Snippets
Another valuable type of featured snippet would be the video featured snippet. This commonly will pull a video from YouTube and highlight a section of that video that answers a search’s query. These video feature snippets tend to display for queries that the answer requires step-by-step instructions.
Table Featured Snippets
The final type of featured snippet we will be talking about is the table feature snippet. This is one of the least common featured snippets. These are generally found for queries that are looking to compare different information such as prices, rates, or data.
The Anatomy of a Featured Snippet
Understanding the anatomy of featured snippets is incredibly important for SEO and content development because it informs how marketers should optimize their website’s content.
In most cases, three main components are always included in featured snippets:
- Title: Summarizes the information that the user searched for.
- Content Snippet: Provides detailed information that answers the user’s question or search query.
- URL Source: Shows the website where the information was sourced from.
How to Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets
Update Your Website Content
Google relies on concise, well-structured, and up-to-date information to generate featured snippets. This information should address searcher questions and problems while providing value to the user. However, titles and content snippets should include long-tail keywords where possible to improve the chances of getting featured in snippets.
Simplify the Presentation of Content
In addition to content optimizations, focus on optimizing the presentation of on-page content. This can include using lists or bullet points instead of paragraphs to help simplify the delivery of information. For example, listing steps to complete a project would increase the likelihood that Google pulls your content. Another best practice involves updating headings and subheadings to include commonly asked questions. This will make it easier for Google to present your content for relevant searches.
Adding structured data markup or schema to web pages will help Google to correctly interpret and index your website. Providing this additional context ultimately can improve your website’s visibility in search results for related topics and queries.
Improve Your Website’s Mobile Experience
Like any other SEO practice, it is recommended to optimize your content and website experience for mobile devices. Google will not feature your content in a featured snippet if your website offers a poor mobile experience for users.
Remember Rich Results are Not Featured Snippets
In addition to the featured snippets mentioned, Google also displays other types of rich results which are commonly misconceived as featured snippets. For example, the recipe cards provide you with all the information you need, but this is not a featured snippet. Another common rich result are star ratings which can be found below website URLs.
Google will display a rich answer result which can also be misconceived as a featured snippet. The difference here is that rich answers are not linked to a website.
Lastly, one of the largest results to display are knowledge panels. Knowledge panels can be displayed for corporations, celebrities, and even breeds of dogs. But this again is not a featured snippet and the information is largely pulled from Wikipedia. However, you can claim your own knowledge panel if one was to appear for your brand name.
Now that you have been properly introduced to featured snippets and all the opportunities that they provide, we will begin to explore the techniques to optimize for these coveted positions in the next episode.
If you are looking to grow your brand presence on the SERP do not hesitate to reach out to our team of SEO experts for more undiluted SEO advice.