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Featured snippets are concise, direct answers provided by Google at the top of search results, designed to quickly address a user's query.

Last Updated November 13, 2023
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Isn’t it great when you Google a question and the search results answer it right at the top, no clicking needed? Those blurbs are called featured snippets, and along with helping users find the information they need fast, they also help websites improve their search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.

Keep reading to learn more about Google featured snippets and their benefits!

What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are highlighted excerpts of text that appear at the top of search results to quickly answer a search query. Featured snippets are pulled directly from a top-ranking page found in Google’s index and can appear in the form of paragraphs, bulleted lists, videos, and more.

Types of featured snippets

There are several different types of featured snippets that are displayed on Google. Depending on the content being displayed, featured snippets can show up as:

  • Paragraph snippets
  • Numbered list snippets
  • Bulleted list snippets
  • Table snippets
  • Video snippets

Paragraph snippets

Paragraphs are one of the most common types of featured snippets and are used to quickly answer questions and provide definitions. Often in definitions, the search query’s key phrases or most relevant keywords will be highlighted or bolded.

Featured snippet paragraph example

Numbered list snippets

Numbered lists are types of featured snippets that are usually used for queries that need a set of steps or a list of items ranked in a specific order.

Featured snippet list example

Bulleted list snippets

Featured snippet list example

Bulleted lists are a type of featured snippet most commonly used for “best of” or “what are” search queries that involve multiple answers.

Table snippets

For data and more complex information, Google will display featured snippets as tables to visualize data for searchers in an organized, user-friendly fashion.

Featured snippet table example

Video snippets

Our last type of featured snippet is a video. Video snippets appear when a video holds the best answer to a query. Often, video snippets are used to answer “how to” searches.

Video featured snippet example

Why are featured snippets important for SEO?

The first benefit of having a featured snippet is obvious: You’re the first search result people see, and you’re pretty hard to miss. From an SEO standpoint, this is huge because it vastly improves your site’s visibility, increasing your chances of earning valuable organic traffic.

Earning a featured snippet brings a few other SEO benefits to the table. Below are four reasons why featured snippets are great for SEO:

  • They increase your authority: Having a featured snippet indicates you’re an authority on the subject matter, making searchers more likely to see you as a credible source.
  • They indicate quality content: Google choosing your content as a featured snippet indicates that it’s high-quality content. You can use that insight to improve your other pages to match the quality of your featured snippet content.
  • They offer better conversion opportunities: Being at the top of search results means you have more opportunities to convert new leads into paying customers.
  • They help you outperform your competitors: A featured snippet puts your site above your competitors, and gives you the chance to further outrank and outperform them.

How do featured snippets work?

Google’s process for choosing featured snippets is incredibly simple.

Featured snippets come from ranked website content and are selected by Google’s automated systems and algorithms. If Google feels that a piece of content will help searchers easily discover what they’re looking for within a specific search request, it’ll appear in Position Zero as a featured snippet.

No ranking factors, no technical elements, or strategic link strategies — featured snippets are all about directly answering search queries and giving searchers the information they’re looking for.

Tips to get featured snippets

Because Google’s process for choosing featured snippets is so imprecise, we can’t really give you a detailed list of specific elements that will get you to Position Zero. Even Google doesn’t have a solid answer for that!

What we can give you are a couple of general best practices to follow to increase your chances of getting a featured snippet and landing on Position Zero in the SERPs.

Research keyword opportunities

A crucial part of successfully landing featured snippets is doing good old-fashioned keyword research.

Use keyword research to determine which search queries bring up featured snippets and which ones you currently rank high for. You can even research your competitors and see if they’re ranking for any target keywords or if they hold a snippet.

From there, you can go back to your own site and update pages for those keywords, including them in H1 title tags and addressing search intent in the body of your content.

Directly answer search intent

When addressing search intent, do so clearly and succinctly to improve your chances of snagging a featured snippet.

The point of a featured snippet is to give users the exact information they’re looking for in one or two sentences.

The point of a featured snippet is to give users the exact information they’re looking for in one or two sentences. Do this by writing your website’s content with the mindset of immediately answering search intent, or the question searchers are asking, and then going into additional detail about the topic.

For example, you could think of your website’s content in a question-and-answer format.

If you’re creating a page on SEO basics, your first H1 should be “What is SEO?” Then, start that section by immediately answering the question you just posed in one to two detailed but concise sentences (e.g., “SEO is [your definition]”).

Start optimizing for featured snippets with SEO.com

SEO.com is home to a team of strategists who live and breathe SEO. From improving technical SEO to optimizing for featured snippets with user-centered content, our team of in-house SEOs and content strategists are ready to help you make an impact on SERPs.

Learn more about how our team can help you land a featured snippet today by contacting us online and learning more about our custom SEO services.

P.S. Want to learn more about SEO terminology? Check out our SEO glossary!

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