What are Featured Snippets?
Designed to answer a searchers query, Featured Snippets are selections of text or video that rest at the top of Google search results. This text or video content is pulled directly from the webpage and made visible in Google SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Featured Snippets show up often when the searcher needs a concise and simple answer and it allows for them to get that answer without having to click into a webpage.
What do Featured Snippets look like?
There are four types of Featured Snippets that you can see in Google results. Those types are:
- Unordered Table or List
Here’s what those look like in more detail.
Text Snippets will often show up for simple question type queries. Here are a few examples of common ones.
Here you can label this as a text snippet with images. Weather is a unique text snippet in that it’s the only text snippet that will show this type of information.
This text snippet gives you the exact answer of who won the 2018 World Cup but it also shows you some of the other teams that participated in the cup.
This text snippet also has images but you can see the core answer is pulled from irishcarrentals.com and the text is pulled directly from that web page.
Here’s a Text Snippet with a single photo. This one is actually placed below the 4 Google Ads on the page and has a single image.
Video Snippets often come in the form of how-tos and instructional videos but you’ll also see plenty of Video Snippets when searching specific news questions and pop culture queries as well.
This is an example of a how-to video and it even suggests the most important part of the video, recommending you start it at :59. You can also see the option to search other terms like “countertop”, “grout” and “silicone” among others below. These will also yield more Featured Snippets results.
This Video Snippet not only features the music video for the song “The Final Countdown” as it’s featured on YouTube but also pulls lyrics from LyricFind and even provides other recordings of the song.
This is an example of how sports and pop culture yield Video Snippets as well. In fact, searching this query will show not only the Featured Snippet at the top but the majority of organic results will also show videos as thumbnails in the SERP.
Table Snippets offer the user concise information without having to go to the website. Often these Snippets will be number related but not always.
Again, all of this information is pulled directly from the web page so you don’t have to click into the result itself. Of course, for this search if you’re looking for a state that doesn’t start with W, you’ll have to click the “47 more rows” link. That takes you directly to the web page itself. This is common with tables that have a lot of information.
Google is also intelligent about where you’re searching from. Searching in the United States, it’s giving Imperial measurements first, but just in case you want Metric measurements, you have those too.
List Snippets are exactly like they sound. They give you a lot of information in organized lists. Many times you’ll see List Snippets when conducting a “Top” search like “Top 10 movies of 2019” or “Top places to stay in San Francisco”.
List Snippets like this are a perfect example of why these are also called Unordered Table Snippets. As you can see from this search, the battle dates aren’t in any particular order.
Here’s an example of two List Snippets that look like they are in the same panel. One of these is actually ranking the beers and the other is not.
What is the point of Featured Snippets?
Featured Snippets have been on Google since 2014 but it hasn’t been until the last couple of years that Google has really emphasized them for so many queries. Back in the day, Featured Snippets covered only a small amount of searches like checking the weather, the time or indisputable one answer questions.
Now, Featured Snippets can be found for almost any type of search out there.
Google has really emphasized user intent in a lot of their algorithm updates. Even though Google is this vast tool, they have really focused on simplifying search for users, making it easier to find what they want based on what they search.
For the same reason Amazon added the one-click buy, Google is using Featured Snippets more often so that they can be the one-stop-shop for almost any query out there, getting users information quickly and effectively.
So how do you use Featured Snippets to have it show up in search?
Obviously you want to have Google use Featured Snippets to showcase your site. It’s more real estate and really presents your brand in a positive light.
But getting there really isn’t in your control. It’s not guaranteed anyway.
So what’s the answer to this million dollar question?
Sistrix says this: “The sobering answer is that Google will decide which search requests are best answered by a featured snippet and which domain will be used for the answer itself.”
They couldn’t be more spot on with that.
In other words, what this means is that just because your page allows for Featured Snippets doesn’t guarantee that Google will show your web page in Featured Snippets in the results pages.
The only guarantee you have is if you don’t want Google to use your page in Featured Snippets, you can specifically put some code into your header that looks like this: <meta name=“googlebot“ content=“nosnippet“>.
But unfortunately there is no way to force Google to use your web page’s info in Featured Snippets.
So how can you help your case?
Remember, Google is all about prioritizing intent of the user. If the user is asking specific questions in their queries, it makes sense for you to answer those types of questions in your content.
One way to craft content on your site is by thinking of Voice Search. When someone says “Hey Google”, “Hey Alexa” or “Hey Siri” the result will come back with one answer.
But if there are 10 results on a Google page, how do they come back with one answer?
Think about some of the most important questions your potential customers could be asking and answer those directly on your web pages. From there, it’s up to Google if they find it good enough to place your page in Featured Snippets.
A lot of SEO experts will call Featured Snippets “position 0” because it is almost always featured above organic Google results and many times it will be placed above Google Ads as well.
It’s important to think of your potential customers’ intent when crafting your content, make sure you’re following all technical SEO best practices and continue to pour quality work and updates into your website to help get you noticed.
If you do all that, you may just show up in “position 0” and put your best foot forward online.
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