Featured Snippets

A Featured Snippet answers a question directly after it is entered into the Google search box. The content of the answer is usually taken directly from a website. It is clear that this highlighted position is very attractive. That is why Featured Snippets are especially interesting for search engine optimization.

There is nothing better than the position 1 on Google. Right? When it comes to ranking, this wisdom is not quite true. Because there are the Featured Snippets. A Featured Snippet is position 0 on Google, a result that comes before the number 1 SERPs and before costly AdWords ads. It is clear that website owners therefore ask themselves how to get to position 0 on Google.

Featured Snippets are often confused with Rich Snippets

But both are different:

  • A Rich Snippet is the short text that describes the content of a page and is usually placed in the meta description of a page. It consists of about 150 characters.
  • A Featured Snippet provides the answer to a question “What is …?”. This answer can be a bit longer. 40 to 50 words are ideal.

A Featured Snippet appears as the first result only if the user has also directly typed a question and not just a keyword into the search field.

How do you get to position 0?

What distinguishes answers that are suitable for a Featured Snippet? The answer is given by Google itself in the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Answers are eligible for a Featured Snippet if they are

  • are correct and comprehensive,
  • answer the question in one or two sentences
  • and fit on the screen of a cell phone.

Short numbered lists or lists with bullet points are also very popular for Google Snippets. They are clearer than plain text and especially useful for instructions.

Trigger and follow-up words

Got a question? Then ask Google. Just type the question into the search box and you’ll get an answer. It will be especially convenient for the user if he gets the answers directly on Google’s result list. This saves clicks for calling pages where you have to search further for results. The secret of Featured Snippets is that Google itself does not generate these results, but takes content from other pages. Google recognizes the question-answer scheme by certain keywords that serve as trigger or follow-up words.

Trigger words belong to the question. Effective trigger words and trigger phrases include:

  • How do I …?”
  • “What is …?”
  • “How does … work?”

Follow-up words indicate a solution, for example, with:

  • “Use …”
  • “Click …”
  • “Write …”

So, when creating content for your website, it is important to use these trigger and follow up words in addition to the keyword. This way Google recognizes that this is about questions and answers.

What qualifies content for position 0?

The general SEO rules also apply to Featured Snippets. This is already evident from the fact that content for Featured Snippets is often taken from pages that are already in the top five positions on Google. It is therefore worth checking existing content (and possibly summarizing or shortening it) to see whether it is already suitable in its form as an answer to a question. A few tips have proven useful for this purpose:

  • When creating content, make sure that it answers questions.
  • Use lists and tables whenever possible.
  • Mark the content that answers the question as a separate section.
  • A text with 40 to 50 words is ideal.

Especially with featured snippets, there is a significant connection between the question and the form of the answer. Whether bullet points, numbered lists or tables are suitable as answers is determined by the search query:

When searching for instructions (“How does … work?”), numbered lists are often preferred.
When searching for properties of something (or, for example, the symptoms of a disease), unnumbered lists (bullet points) often appear.
Users also often search for product or price comparisons. Tables are ideal for this purpose.

Featured Snippets and SEO: Curse or Blessing?

Featured Snippets do not only have positive SEO effects. Because if the user sees a content that answers the question directly on the search result list, he has no more reason to visit the page. Are Featured Snippets therefore traffic killers? Clear answer: No. Because the visibility that one’s own page gains through a Featured Snippet at the top position causes a significant increase in the click rate in most cases.

The fact that qualifying content for a Featured Snippet has positive effects in the end is shown by two arguments:

The attention for a direct response on position 0 is at least 10 times higher than an entry in the organic search results list on page 1 at Google.
It is true that the number of clicks on the organic search result (if this is already on page 1 on Google) is reduced. However, this is more than compensated by clicks on the featured snippet.

The snippet box with the answer is relatively small. Often it is also accompanied by an image, but of course it can never provide all the information. It provides a short and relatively comprehensive answer. But if you want to know more, click on the sitelink – and the traffic increases.

Featured snippets are rightly a new SEO trend. The position 0 in search results guarantees attention and increases the visibility of a website. It provides plenty of traffic despite the comprehensive answer. Because Google also likes to use Featured Snippets in the increasingly popular voice search, their potential as a traffic booster is enormous. Anyone who creates the content of his page from time to time under the aspect of “short question – quick answer” is therefore operating SEO with a future.


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