What are Featured Snippets?

When you complete a search on Google, do you notice that you’ll sometimes see a box that includes text, a list, or a table of information at the top of the page? It’s Google’s attempt to answer your question using content pulled from one of the top search results. This box is position 0 in search results and is commonly known as a featured snippet. It is also sometimes called rich answers or answer boxes.


Why are They Important?

A study by Ahrefs found that featured snippets are appearing in about 12% of search queries. This number is likely to rise, so it’s important to understand what effect they have on SERPs. Ahrefs found that when a featured snippet is present in results, the top search result drops from a 26% click-through rate to a 19.6% rate and the featured snippet will receive 8.6% of clicks. All the other organic search results on the page will generally receive fewer clicks. This means that having the extra real estate of the featured snippet at the top of the page is really valuable to continue driving traffic to your site.

That’s not all. With the rise of voice search, it’s becoming even more necessary to produce content that answers users’ questions. When you ask your voice assistant a question, it’s often times reading the featured snippet as a response. To be the source of this single, authoritative response, your site needs to hold the featured snippet.

How Can You Get Them?

The first thing you’ll want to know is what keyword phrases sending traffic to your site have featured snippets. One way to accomplish this is by reviewing the ‘queries’ in your Google Search Console (GSC) account. Since featured snippets are providing answers, a good way to start looking at your keywords is by identifying questions. Go to the performance section of GSC and filter your query by “what,” “where,” “are,” or other question types. Additionally, you can use premium tools like the Position Tracking tool from SEMRush and Rank Tracker from Ahrefs to help you discover existing featured snippets your site is already producing.

Enter those keywords into Google and see if there are snippets. Once you’ve identified some of your keywords that are showing featured snippets, you’ll want to answer a few questions to plan your strategy.

  1. Does your site currently have the featured snippet?
    • If the answer is yes, great job! However, that doesn’t mean you should be complacent. Be sure to check back periodically to make sure you still have it.
  2. If you don’t have the featured snippet, is your site on the first page of organic results?
    • You’re unlikely to get a featured snippet if you don’t rank on page one. Your focus for that keyword phrase should be improving your rankings first.
  3. If your site is on the first page of results, what is the content in the featured snippet doing that yours is not?
    • Make sure your formatting matches the snippet. If it’s displaying a list, make sure there’s a list on your page. If it’s a short paragraph, make sure your text is similar.
    • Take cues from the snippet’s content to see what Google believes the users’ intent is. Make sure your page answers that question.
    • Also be aware of whether the snippet includes images. More and more this is the case so you’ll want to optimize your images. Make sure they have accurate alt text and that they are surrounded by relevant content. This helps Google understand the context of the image and it may show the image in the featured snippet even if your site’s content isn’t there. This provides another opportunity for your site to get clicks.
    • For more info on what to consider when updating your content, check out a study completed by Moz.com. They analyzed over a million featured snippets and came up with findings about content, length, and other factors that determined what appeared in featured snippets.

Once you’ve made your adjustments, Fetch as Google through GSC to get your changes indexed. Then check on the featured snippet to see if you’ve won it. If not, make more adjustments and repeat the process until you are successful.

If you’d like assistance monitoring and optimizing your content for search engines, reach out to your account manager to learn more about Simpleview’s digital marketing services.