What Is a Featured Snippet?

What Is a Featured Snippet?
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What is a featured snippet? A featured snippet is the result in “position zero” in some of Google’s search results in a box at the very top of the page. It often includes a definition, a list, or other explanation in answer to your query.

Featured snippets have increased in prevalence over the past several years and, according to Ahrefs, approximately 12 percent of search queries have featured snippets in their search results.

That’s a pretty big number that will undoubtedly continue to grow as Google adds more zero-click functionality to their search results.

You’re likely to see featured snippet results when you search for:

  • Definitions (e.g., What does voracious mean?)
  • Dates (e.g., When is Mother’s Day?)
  • How-tos (e.g., How to make oobleck)
  • Names/people (e.g., Who was Ruth Bader Ginsburg?)
  • Costs (e.g., Cost of living Minneapolis)
  • How many (e.g., How many people are in the United States?)
  • Conversions (e.g., 12 tablespoons is how many cups?)

Are featured snippets good or bad for SEO?

When featured snippets were first introduced by Google, most SEOs were less than thrilled. Surely we’d lose clicks when Google’s scraping our content and putting it on their results pages! Users won’t need to click on our websites anymore to find the content!

While in some cases you’re losing clicks, in other cases, you’re gaining them.

You see, featured snippets aren’t only generated from the No. 1 result on the search results page. It depends largely on which result is structured in the best way for a featured snippet. For instance, a page might rank first because it has better backlinks than the other results.

However, if the third result also shows high levels of expertise and trust and, in addition, is structured in a way that featured snippets love, it might be grabbed for the featured snippet and suddenly catapult to that top spot.

In January of 2020, Google made a change to the way featured snippets and subsequent results appear. For a few years, a featured snippet site would be repeated down below in the “normal” results, in whatever position it gets normally, without featured snippet rules applied. However, Google announced on January 23, 2020, that “If a web page listing is elevated into the featured snippet position, we no longer repeat it in the first page of results. This declutters the results & helps users locate relevant information more easily. Featured snippets count as one of the ten web page listings we show.”

So, while we no longer get that search result page double real estate, being in the featured snippet can still be lucrative. There are many cases in which a user will still want to click on your result to learn more than what he or she can see in the snippet. If the user doesn’t feel the need to click, she’s still seen your result and your business or brand’s name and URL.

Are featured snippets good or bad for SEO? The final answer: It depends. It completely and totally depends on the query. If a searcher’s answer is completely represented in the snippet, then there isn’t really a reason to click on your result. If it’s the kind of query where the searcher is likely going to want to know more about the topic, then being the featured snippet can be lucrative, grabbing you lots of clicks because you’re in the No. 1 slot.

Are featured snippets good or bad for SEO? The final answer: It depends. It completely and totally depends on the query. #featuredsnippets #SEO #contentstrategy Click To Tweet

How to create featured snippet-worthy content

Here’s a very basic, quick and dirty list of featured snippet optimization:

  • Answer snippet-worthy questions
  • Go in-depth
  • Use descriptive headings
  • Use lists
  • Get great backlinks


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About the author

Jolissa Skow

An English degree gives me writing skills, 6 years of SEO agency experience gives me digital marketing knowledge, and my content strategy experience rolls all those things together to make one pretty knowledgeable and skilled marketing writer. I'm published on UpCity, Salesforce, G2, and more. I'm also an avid reader and run a book blog in my spare time.