A featured snippet, or answer box, is an extract from a web page above Google’s organic search results (position 0) which aims to answer the query there and then.
There are three types of featured snippet in Google – paragraph, list and table. Depending on the datasource, typically 10% of search queries have featured snippets.
The paragraph featured snippet simply pulls in the relevant extract from the web page.
A list featured snippet pulls in lists, whether a list of ingredients, how-to instructions etc.
A table featured snippet will be displayed for relevant queries, if your data is marked up in a standard HTML <table>.
The format of your content determines the format of the featured snippet.
Featured snippets are geared around answering questions, but just because the search query is a question doesn’t mean that there will be a featured snippet. You’ll also find variations as with any organic SERP – the featured snippet for how to change brake pads is different to that of change brake pads – nor is it the case that if you rank no. 1 organically, that you will be the featured snippet. In fact this is a prime opportunity to leapfrog your competitors ranking higher than you. A recent study by Ahrefs found that when a featured snippet was present, the CTR for the first organic result drops significantly. That said, the first organic result will still get more clicks – 19.6% vs 8.6% to the snippet.
Monitor your featured snippets – datasources change often so you’re best off using a tool such as Ahrefs, Moz and SEMrush all have the ability to track featured snippets for you and your competitors. You may find you already have featured snippets you didn’t know about and a chance to improve them.
There’s an opportunity for e-commerce sites gain further exposure, tabulating product prices which correspond to question based queries.
So you’ve won some featured snippets, high five! But ask yourself this – is the format of the snippet the best display of your information? Google might be showing a list, but if you reformatted your data in a table, would this make the data more useful and a stronger snippet? Likewise, if a competitor has a weak snippet, take the opportunity to optimise your pages to take advantage of this by answering the questions better.
Build more content around the themes people are searching on. Use the People Also Ask suggestions to build out your own content…
If you would like insight on how to make more of Google’s Featured Snippets for your business, get in touch!