What Are Featured Snippets
(and Why You Should Want Them)
According to Search Engine Land, 50.33% of searches ended without a click on a search result,
up from 43.9% in 2016. These “zero click searches” happen when a user’s search query is answered right on the search results page, making a click on one of the results unnecessary.
Featured Snippets are the biggest reason for the increase in zero-click searches.
What is a featured snippet?
Featured snippets are search results displayed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), sometimes referred to as position zero or an answer box. The snippets aim to answer the user’s search query without requiring a click through to the page. You’ve undoubtedly seen results like this before. They come in the form of a short paragraph, a bulleted list, a numbered list, or a table.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Let’s say you’re helping your kid with a project about space and you need to know when we landed on the moon:
With this Featured Snippet paragraph, you get your answer right away. And if you need to know more, you’re likely to click on this snippet for more in-depth information.
Maybe you’re a DIYer who wants to take a crack at changing the oil in your car:
This numbered list Featured Snippet gives you a quick step-by-step guide. As with the paragraph snippet, you will find a link to the original source content at the bottom of the snippet.
If you’re a novice camper getting ready to go on your first outing, you may need a list of must-have gear:
You’ll get a checklist of important items to bring for your trip. Checklists differ from numbered lists in that the order of the items doesn’t matter. Unlike a numbered list, this is not a step-by-step response.
Want to see how many iPhones Apple sells?
A Table featured snippet gives you a quick rundown of iPhone sales over the past four years. The exact number of rows in the table may vary from response to response and you are provided with the exact number of rows in the source table.
Why You Want to Gain Featured Snippets
If you want more traffic to your website, you want featured snippets.
A study by Ahrefs, a popular tool for SEO analysis, concluded that the first search result had a 26% click-through rate (CTR) when no featured snippet was present. When the search results included a featured snippet, the first result had a 19.6% CTR, with the featured snippet receiving 8.6% CTR. Featured snippets, in effect, “steal” clicks from the first search result. So, if your content happens to gain a featured snippet, you’ll get more people to your website.
How to Gain a Featured Snippet
Now that you know the immense value of featured snippets, it’s time to get some for your content positioned in a snippet.
Before you sit down to create content for a featured snippet, do some keyword research. Identify keywords that are related to your website that have relatively low competition.
Aim to answer mid- to long-tail keyword queries in your content. For example, if you have a blog that gives home improvement advice, you could create a step-by-step guide for fixing a leaky pipe. Then, when someone searches “how to fix a leaky pipe,” your content has a chance at gaining the featured snippet for that query.
Gaining a featured snippet relies heavily on the structure of your content. A short, concise two or three sentence explanation? This is perfect paragraph snippet “bait.” Important data in a nice, clean table? You just upped your chances of gaining a table snippet. The bottom line is, the structure of your content should conform to one of the four types of featured snippets, making it easy for Google to pull that information from your page and display it in the featured snippet.
Get More Information About Featured Snippets
As we develop content strategies for our clients in higher education, we are always vying for featured snippets.
While this high-level overview gives you the basics of obtaining featured snippets, there are many technical aspects that can help increase your chances of getting your content in a featured snippet, thus increasing traffic to your website.
If you would like to learn more about how we help our clients with featured snippets and search engine optimization, contact us today.