Everything to Know About Featured Snippets

There are some terms that are thrown around among SEOs that can be loosely understood through context clues, but are easy to confuse. A good example of one of these is featured snippets and their siblings, knowledge panels. We’re going to be talking about featured snippets today.


What are Featured Snippets?

Featured snippets show up at the top of the organic search results and quickly answer questions while linking to a site. 

This is different from a knowledge panel, which appears on the side of the search results. You’ve seen them if you’ve ever searched for an actor, writer, or city. 


Why are SEOs Obsessed with Featured Snippets?

As with everything SEO, featured snippets provide an opportunity for users to see their site as an authority and will increase organic traffic. When it comes to Google rankings, snippets count as a rank of zero; as good as it gets. As far as things SEOs obsess over, Google rankings are pretty high up there.


SEOs have recently been focused on snippets because Google has been going back and forth about whether to remove the website from the first page of organic search results. Until the recent uncertainty, if a page both ranked highly and got a featured snippet, they would appear twice in the search results. This increases the chances of driving traffic. If Google follows through on the change, the page will only rank once: for the snippet.


Obviously, ranking twice is doubly as great as ranking once, so the idea of Google de-duplicating the results aren’t making people very happy.


How to Get a Featured Snippet

Ready to go down a spiral? No one can guarantee to rank for a featured snippet. There are clearly ways to improve your chances, and things you can do that will make it incredibly unlikely for you to get the slot, but beyond that, it’s up to Google. If you want to learn more about the nitty-gritty technical side, I recommend Brodie Clark’s article on MozBlog on the featured snippet algorithm


For a reference on what our snippet page looks like, here it is:

If you want to know the basics on how to set up a page to be snippet-ized, here are a few simple steps:

  1. Write informative content that is in demand. If you can answer a common question in an accessible way, that just might be snippet-material.
  2. Format it for Google. Organize your page with bulleted lists and headers. This helps Google know exactly what’s on your page.
  3. Follow Google’s best practices. There are some types of content that are banned from being in Snippets. There are pieces of content that include material that is:
    • Sexually explicit;
    • Hateful;
    • Violent;
    • Dangerous/harmful; and
    • Topics without public consensus
  4. Improve your domain authority. One of the highest factors in Google’s ranking decisions is how trustworthy your site is. This means improving your link building networks and getting some referring sites with some authority.


While none of these things can guarantee a featured snippet, they all help your chances of getting one.