Featured snippets — also known as position zero among marketers, are SEO gold and the place to be in search results. In the past, ranking first in search results was the best of the best, but now there’s something even better — and it’s having a featured snippet.
As the ultimate number one position, featured snippets are the holy grail of search results, and marketers everywhere are clamoring to get their pages to rank there. But how do you get a featured snippet? What kind of content is in featured snippets, and how do they perform?
What are featured snippets?
In short, featured snippets are the new first place results. They appear in search results below paid ads, but above the first place result in search engine results pages (SERPs). They take up prime real estate in search results, so they’re extremely effective for earning clicks and traffic to your site. They’re especially good at answering the 5 “W questions,” Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. They are also extremely user-friendly since they help searchers find answers without even clicking a result. They save users from skimming an entire page to find what they’re looking for, and instead, delivers it directly in search results.
Because of the format, featured snippets provide more information than a typical search result. Instead of just a title tag and a meta description as a result, a featured snippet typically includes an image, an ordered or numbered list, a table, or an answer to a searcher’s question. The result will also include a link to the page the information was found, and the URL. Featured snippets are especially beneficial to people using a mobile device to find an answer, since mobile search traffic has surpassed desktop traffic.
Google states that their algorithm detects when a query is a question and finds pages that answer the question being asked. They then display a top result as the featured snippet. That being said, you can’t “make” one of your pages a featured snippet — it’s up to Googles discretion what featured snippets are featured for each query. The only thing you can do to increase your chances at having a featured snippet is to optimize your page and utilized SEO practices to ensure your content is reviewed for this top spot.
Types of Featured Snippets
Although featured snippets share the common thread of being located above normal search results, there are many different kinds of featured snippets that accomplish different things.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different kinds of featured snippets.
- Paragraph Snippets: The most common kind of featured snippet, paragraph snippets occupy a staggering 82 percent of total snippets. They’re exactly what their name suggests — these snippets provide a paragraph in response to a search query. They’re typically between 40-50 words in length, and they often include an image alongside them in search results. These kinds of results are most often triggered by specific questions that require a direct answer and explanation.
- List Snippets: The second most common kind of snippet is the list snippet. They appear 10.8 percent of the time, and are usually in response of some sort of request for a step-by-step, or multi-answer question. Bulleted list snippets are typically provided for questions with multiple answers. For example, a query like “what recent movies are available on Netflix,” provides a featured snippet that has a bulleted answer to show a list of the most recent available movies. Numbered lists are typically provided when the search query asks how to do something, for example, “how to clean your oven” returns a numbered list featured snippet to show the order of the steps.
- Table Snippets: Another self-explanatory featured snippet format, the table snippets feature a table of numerical information. They are served when users ask a question that requires numerical data. For example, searching for “2019 car sales by make and model” returns a table featured snippet. It outlines the company, and the sales made in each year. Only 7.28 percent of featured snippets are table snippets, and the reason being is that not a lot of content is optimized for this kind of result. That being said, it’s safe to assume that if you don’t have an actual table on your web page, you won’t have a table in featured snippets since Google won’t generate it for you.
- Video Snippets: These snippets are extremely useful when users search for a particular song, or how-to demonstration. Clicking the video will take users straight to YouTube, and save them a few steps. In terms of featured snippets, this format is fairly new, so it’s not used for a high percentage of search results.
Now that you’re aware of the many kinds of featured snippets, you may wonder if you have a say in what kind of featured snippet you receive. The answer is no. Since you can’t tell Google what pages you want a featured snippet for, there is no way to decide what format you’ll be awarded if you take over a featured snippet spot. Google’s algorithm decides for you, and since they want what’s best for users, it will be the most beneficial choice to you, too.
If you’re looking to get your website featured in position zero spots in search results, and then some, Bad Penny Factory can help.