Everything You Need to Know About Google Featured Snippets

What are they, why are they important, and how can you make your site a Google featured snippet?

When it comes to content marketing, the name of the game is building traffic. We’ve all done a Google search before and we’ve all clicked on that first link—probably more than once. Quite simply, that first link is called a Google featured snippet. Google picks these snippets that most directly answer the question that you just typed in the search box. How can my site become a featured snippet, you ask? That question requires a somewhat long answer so keep reading to find out more about featured snippets including:

  • What are they?
  • Why are they important?
  • How do you make your site a Google featured snippet?
‍Google featured snippets are also known as “answer boxes.”

What are Google featured snippets?

A Google featured snippet is the first result listed when you Google something. It shows up in a box at the top of the page (below the initial ads) with larger text and often a picture from the source as well. Unlike the other results on the page, the format for the featured snippet is reversed, showing the text first and the site and URL second. The text from a featured snippet can be displayed as a paragraph, list, or table. Sometimes called “answer boxes”—not to be confused with the Google “quick answer” feature, which doesn’t provide a URL—this relatively new search feature changes searching by highlighting just one source, whereas before Google would just select ten blue links to be presented on the first page of the search.

Originally developed to aid mobile and voice activated searches, the featured snippet is supposed to be the best answer to whatever you Googled, making it highly coveted, although difficult to control. However, sometimes there is no perfect site for a particular question. In this case, Google is experimenting with showing a “near-match” in the snippet. This is a source that’s related to your topic of interest, although not necessarily the exact answer you’re looking for. Google is also experimenting with showcasing multiple featured snippets, especially when a topic has controversial or contradictory information.

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‍Being a Google featured snippet can drive organic traffic to your site.

Why are they important?

Since its introduction in 2014, the Google featured snippet has become known to help drive organic search traffic to a site. How much will it increase traffic? That answer is a little all over the place. According to Moz, some sites can see as little as two to eight percent increase in click-through rates (CTR), while others can see as much as a twenty to thirty percent increase in traffic.

Regardless of impact, being a Google featured snippet will undoubtedly help organic traffic and any revenue on your site. One analysis said that the annual value of being a Google featured snippet comes out to about two million dollars. That said, becoming the first result at the top of the page does take a little bit of work.

‍Keyword and content strategy can help your site be featured.

How to make your site a Google featured snippet

Getting your site to be featured as a snippet is not an exact science. In fact, Google has had some problems in the past with quality control on particular searches, so the formula is constantly changing. What we do know already is that close to 100 percent of Google featured snippets are taken from the first ten Google results. That means that to be the feature snippet, your site has to have enough traffic already to show up on that first page, although not necessarily as the top result.

Like almost everything you do in business, it doesn’t hurt to know a little bit about the competitors or competitor, namely Wikipedia. If Wikipedia is a top contender for a particular search, it’s unlikely that your site will outrank them, although it’s always worth a shot. Other major sites that win the most snippets are YouTube, Yelp, Facebook, Yellow Pages, etc.

There are also specific topics that have a higher likelihood of being featured. For instance, if your site involves DIY, math, health, or finance, you have a greater chance of being featured. There are also specific words you can use that if queried will give you a leg up on the competition.

Although the competition may be steep, all hope is not lost. Through some carefully crafted search engine optimization, your site can also become a featured snippet. Just be sure that your following Google’s guidelines when strategizing search-engine optimization. This includes not just focusing on keywords but also domain quality, which will give you a better chance of earning that coveted snippet spot.

Another way to boost your ranking is by simply tweaking your titles, specifically the title tag that shows up in your URL. Make sure your title is unique, not too long, and has some carefully targeted keywords (but not too many).

As far as actual content, try to create text that is easily digestible but not too short. Content should be structured, whether this means clear subheadings or writing in list form. Also be sure that your content is thorough. Google generally tends to favor long-form content over 1,500 words.

Becoming a Google featured snippet is definitely not easy but it is worth the time. Keep in mind that, like most of content marketing, this is an ever-changing field, so it’s important to be ready to adapt content and strategies to fit the market. Do your SEO research, but also make sure that you have the quality content to back it up, because when it comes to Google featured snippets content really is king.

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