Google has a long history of making major changes to its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). With each change they make, they aim to bring users information more relevant to their search query – and help them find their answers faster.

One such change, designed to help users find answers faster, is Featured Snippets.

What are featured snippets?

A featured snippet is when Google displays the answer to a user’s query directly in SERPs. They’re often referred to as “Position 0” results, as the snippet will typically display above all organic listings.

They’re particularly common for question-based searches, such as “why” or “how” searches.

 

How many types of featured snippets are there?

In short, quite a few. It depends largely on how the content on your website is structured. Your content may appear in SERPs as a:

  • Paragraph featured snippet
  • Numbered list featured snippet
  • Bullet-list featured snippet
  • Table featured snippet
  • YouTube featured snippet.

Say your content is structured in a simple FAQ format with questions followed by brief answers. In this case, your content is more likely to be featured in a paragraph featured snippet. But if your content is structured in a step-by-step format like a recipe, you’re more likely to be featured in a numbered list featured snippet.

Google has recently announced an update to some featured snippets, allowing additional useful information to be included in drop-down accordions on mobile devices.

For example, a comparison search for “quartz vs. granite” offers users on mobile a featured snippet with drop-down accordions – giving users more information on cost, benefits and weight.

 

Image credit: Search Engine Land

 

What is the benefit of being shown in a featured snippet?

It’s all about digital real estate. A featured snippet appears at the top of the SERP, and often occupies more space than your average organic listing. This will boost your click-through rate while providing all-important visibility for you (and not your competitors).

An Ahrefs study shows that when a featured snippet is present, 8.6% of clicks will go to the featured snippet, and another 19.6% to the listing below the snippet. So, if you occupy both the featured snippet and the following position, you have the potential to receive around 28.2% of clicks.

This effect is even greater on mobile than on desktop. On a smaller screen, it’s highly likely the featured snippet will occupy the entire page above the fold. So for a visitor to even see a competing listing, they’ll need to scroll down.

 

 

Image credit: Search Engine Journal.

 

How do I appear in a featured snippet?

The first step in appearing in a featured snippet is keyword research. First, you need to identify what types of keywords a featured snippet is appearing for. Typically, you’ll want to stick with information or question-based searches – such as “how to” or “what is” search terms.

Once you’ve identified the keywords relevant to you (and the keywords already generating featured snippets), you’ll need to create content targeting that keyword. You’ll also need to make sure your content is structured according to the featured snippet you’re trying to appear for.

For example, if you’re trying to appear in a featured snippet for “how to update an iPhone”, you’ll want to make sure you structure your content in a simple step-by-step guide, just as Apple has done.

Google’s SERP

Apple’s content

It can take a lot of time performing keyword research and ensuring your content is optimised correctly. But once you’ve cracked the code of appearing in featured snippets, the extra traffic reaching your website will make it all worthwhile.

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Ben Zanki

Ben Zanki is a Senior SEO Manager at iProspect Brisbane. Ben leads SEO strategies across key clients to drive organic performance.