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Technology is always changing, if you haven’t learned that lesson by now, you will eventually. Search Engines also frequently change their parameters so it is understandable that you may not know what featured snippets are.

The Complete Featured Snippets Story

Staying ahead of the competition means understanding these new changes and how they apply to you and your online business. When you want to stay in business and stay on top of the pack, you always need to be a step ahead of the other guy.

Take a few minutes to read the complete featured snippet story so you can adjust your SEO strategies accordingly. The information in this article should help you understand featured snippets and how to use them wisely.

Featured Snippet Meaning

The best way to understand this phrase is to break it down into two parts. The word featured simply means highlighted, given a special place, and so on. Then the word snippet means- a bit, a scrap, a small part, or a small part snipped off.

When you put those words together, you get a small bit of information that was snipped off the content and given a place that is highlighted or easy to see. That is what you get with a featured snippet.

It is a small bit of information placed in a box that is placed at the top of the results page. Or they are highlighted pieces of information that are placed at #position zero.

Position zero is the place between the ads and the top search results. There are two other places where you will find these little bits of information. They can be found in the people also ask section as well as knowledge graph information category.

Although small, they can be an important part of your overall SEO strategy.

What Makes Featured Snippet Boxes So Important

As you have learned through using meta descriptions, placement of your website information is vital to getting clicks. It was always important to write a very good meta description so that you could rank better.

With featured snippets, the purpose is still the same. You should get more clicks than if you did not have one of these boxes highlighting your website. It has been said that searchers will click on those featured snippet boxes before they scroll down the list to see other results.

Those website owners who use these little snippets tend to get more click-throughs or views on their websites. In other words, you are first in line to get visitors to see your content and products.

Types Of Featured Snippets

Now that you understand what these little things are, it is important to know the types of snippets you can use. Knowing this helps you devise the best way to use these highlighted tidbits of information in the best way possible.

1. Paragraph Snippets

This style of tiny information is said to be the easiest of all three types. They are designed exactly as their label says. The search engine results page generates a small paragraph of information that is relevant to the search inquiry.

This information may just be in simple text format or it may come with an image to help better explain the information and show how relevant it is.

2. List Snippet

Again the label describes the snippet accurately. This type of snippet produces a nice list of items relevant to the search inquiry. The design makes reading the snippet a lot easier and it can use bullet points, numbers, or other list options.

One way the list helps you is if you type in a search inquiry asking for the best diet books to read, you normally would get a snippet of book titles all on diets and the best ones to follow.

3. Table Snippet

Instead of having to read a paragraph or go through a small list, this format offers you a table that displays the information in an organized manner. The table is easy to read or scan and gives you just enough information to help you decide if that website will be helpful to you or contain the right content.

These different types of featured snippets all have their good and bad points. You will have to decide which type is the best one to display that little tidbit of information you want searchers to see.

4. Video

These do appear and they are designed for those search inquiries that need a more visual response. These video snippets also can be found when the searcher is looking for a how-to guide, looking for a question, or trying to view a specific item.

The key for using videos would be to make sure that they are high quality and not blurry or hard to see.

5. Double Feature Snippets

These are new and relatively rare. At the moment Google is said to be still testing them out to see how well they will do and what type of user experience they will provide.

They are used by Google when the inquiry is full of nouns. Because they are full of nouns Google does not know what the searcher is looking for. Using a double feature snippet allows Google to explain as much information as possible.

Why Should You Use A Featured Snippet?

There are several benefits to having some of your content highlighted in the featured snippet box. here are some of those benefits:

  1. It Is Mobile Phone Friendly– More people use their cellphones to search the web. Having a featured snippet that appears properly on the screen helps you get more click-throughs from those mobile phone users.
  2. They Provide The Right Information– This makes them user-friendly as searchers do not have to go to your website to see if you have the best information. They can see it on their search results page without having to do more clicking. If it is the best, you should have another visitor to your website.
  3. They Are Said To Be Engaging– If you can attract the attention of the searcher, then you should get another visitor to your website.
  4. They Are Seen First– These snippet boxes are placed in what is called position zero. That position is above the #1 search result. The featured snippet gets you the first look by searchers which is highly important.
  5. They Boost Conversions– If you have answered their questions or solved a problem for your visitor, then those visitors are more inclined to buy your products.
  6. Builds Brand Awareness– Even if they do not buy the first time, that snippet can lodge in their memory and have the user remember your website, etc. They know you exist and could be a shopping possibility.

There is one drawback to this system though. You cannot pay money or apply to get your website featured in position zero. Keep reading to find out why this drawback exists.

How To Get In A Featured Snippet

Google has not made it easy for website owners to be featured at position zero. There is no rule that you must meet in order for Google to feature your content and website. What that means is that to get into that highlighted area, you should do some or all of the following SEO options

1. Identify The Search Inquiry

This is not going to be easy to do as you have to figure out which search inquiry will trigger the featured snippet. Then once you figure you have made the correct identification, you have to provide a detailed answer or content.

This can be done manually or you can use some tools to do this task for you. In addition, you must also identify the type of snippet the search inquiry is ranking. These tasks will help you target the type of featured snippet and optimize your content better.

2. Create Better Content

Once you have identified the type of inquiries that will trigger those snippet boxes, you now have to create better content based on that type of snippet, or you can optimize your content using the same foundation. This will increase your chances of getting to position zero and be highlighted in the featured snippet box.

One tip to do this is to match your competitor who is already featured in these little snippet boxes. Then enhance your content in the best way possible. There are two ways to accomplish this task:

  1. Put more content in bullet points or numbered format
  2. Create headers and subheadings in a Q & A format

The latter helps make sure your users get the relevant information they are looking for.

3. Keywords Are Still Important

They have been vital to websites and online businesses ever since the internet was made available to the public. That importance is not going to change with this search engine change.

You have to do good keyword research using a focus on evergreen content that targets long-tail keywords. Those long-tailed keywords should begin with the following words- ‘what is’, ‘how to’, and ‘why is’.

4. SEO Strategies Are Also Still Important

Featured snippets seem to favour those websites that rank high organically. There is no real replacement for those top SEO strategies that helped you rank before featured snippets became the thing.

Do some more research to make sure you are using the right SEO strategies and using them to their fullest extent. That will help you get into those snippet boxes and be the first website users click on.

5. Use Strong Backlinks

These still play a role in how search engines look at your website. There are 2 important criteria you should use when placing backlinks in your content. One is they need to be relevant to your content and website. The other is they need to be authoritative websites.

These two items will show the search engine that your content is relevant to the search inquiry and help you rank a lot higher.

6. Use Images

These images may be used in the snippet but even if they are not, they do provide a great user experience. Plus, as long as the photos are relevant to the keywords and content they provide great visuals to help describe what you are trying to say or sell.

Images work and can help your website be selected for one of those coveted position zero boxes. You can even try using videos but make sure both the images and the video are not amateurish but as close to professional as possible.

This strategy will help hold your visitors on your website and also help convert them into paying customers.

Being In A Featured Snippet Is Not Permanent

While being in a featured snippet box may be a very good achievement, it may not last. Google still applies its rules to these snippet features and you have to be careful not to violate their rules.

Google will remove featured snippets from time to time but unlike being included, your removal does have some hard and fast rules that cause your snippet presence to disappear. here are some of those violations that will remove your featured snippet:

1. Your Website Or Content Violated Google’s Featured Snippet Policy

This policy is based on Google’s Search and Search features policies. That means your snippet can be removed for doing one of the following

  • Your content is deemed dangerous
  • Your website has violence and gore in its content or approves of it
  • There is terrorist content included in your content or web pages
  • You are harassing someone through your content
  • The content you post contains hateful comments or information
  • The content on your website contains vulgar language and profanity
  • There is sexually explicit content on your website
  • There is medical advice or content on your website
  • You are using deceptive practices to get purchases, etc.
  • You are publishing misinformation or manipulating your audience in some way

Google also will remove snippets if the information contained within it contradicts consensus opinions on civic, medical, scientific, and historical issues.

2. Your Website Or Snippet Are Reported

A lot of power has been given to users to remove content or snippets they do not want to see. If your users or searchers complain about your snippet, Google will investigate. If your snippet is found to be in violation of its policy on snippets then yours will disappear.

Google relies on users to report violators as well as their own algorithms in order to implement its policies. This does open up a snippet user to some improper reporting tactics but so far there is nothing in place to stop that from taking place.

3. How To Report A Snippet Violation

This process is far easier to do than it is to get your content into a featured snippet. There are a few short steps to follow to report a snippet you know is violating the rules or Google’s policies:

  • Go to the featured snippet you want to report
  • Click on the term ‘Feedback’- this should be next to the snippet
  • Select the reason you have for reporting that specific snippet
  • Or click on optional if you want to provide more details or information
  • when you are done, click send, and Google will get the message and investigate

Of course, any final decision is up to Google’s discretion and they may not agree with your reasoning. Also, you can send Google a compliment about a featured snippet you liked or was helpful to you.

On the same feedback form, there is a place for you to provide some positive feedback. All you have to do is select the ‘this is helpful’ category and then click send.

Do All Snippets Provide More Traffic?

While it may seem so, this is not always the case. When the searcher asks a question and the snippet provides the answer then chances are, that searcher will not click through and go to your website.

There is no need for them to do so because they received their answer. So do not think that your traffic is going to balloon up simply because your content was featured in a snippet. There will be occasions where the snippet content will provide too much information removing the need for the searcher to go on to your website.

This should not discourage you from providing a very detailed set of information in your snippets. You should still provide that information but word it in such a way that the searcher will still click through to your website.

As we said in the beginning, search engine protocols change. prior to January 2020, Google used to place the snippet in position zero, then it would rank those featured websites at #1 on the first page of results. This gave that website a terrific traffic boost.

However, January 2020 saw Google change that policy and lowered the rank of the website featured in a snippet. It may not be on page one but it will be at or near the top of page 2.

If your website is given a featured snippet, then do not expect to be on the first page of rankings. Look for it on the following page. The change did not affect the importance of the snippet, it just spread the traffic around a little bit more.

Featured Snippets FAQs

1. Should You Put Your Efforts Into Featured Snippets?

Yes, these little search tool items can be very helpful in driving traffic to your website. But analyze their usefulness and see if they are bringing more traffic to your door. The traffic increase will depend on how you word the snippet

2. How Do You Get Featured Snippets?

Keep your content and web pages well organized and then write that content in a format that Google understands. The key is to have your answer match the search inquiry.

3. Does Bing Have Featured Snippets?

Yes, that search engine uses featured snippets as well. There seems to be little originality when it comes to different search engines as Bing seems to follow Google’s lead in how information is approved for snippet highlighting.

4. How Do You Optimize For Youtube Featured Snippets?

To get a YouTube snippet, your video must first rank at the top of the search engine. However, Google still has rules for using videos in snippets and they favour tutorial keywords. Even if you achieve these objectives, Google still may not select your video over a numbered list snippet.

5. Why Are Featured Snippets Disappearing?

It seems that Google likes to play kingmaker and they play around with different snippets to see how their users react to them. Sometimes a snippet will be there one day, gone the next, and then return the day after that.

6. What Is The Best Tool To Find Featured Snippet Keywords?

Two of the better tools are SEMrush‘s and Ahrefskeyword research tools. These options help you find your competitor’s keywords for their snippets. There are other tools you can use but they may not have this feature. or you can just look at their #1 ranking and figure out their keywords yourself.

7. How Can I Get Featured Snippet Keyword Ideas?

There are many regular keyword tools you can use for this purpose. You just have to be ready to pay for their use. Or you can go to answerthepublic.com and type in a keyword. The website will provide you with questions related to those keywords.

Some Final Words

Optimizing your website for inclusion in Google’s featured snippets may be a good SEO strategy to try out and see how it works for you. Just remember that there are no guarantees that all your hard work will pay off with your website being featured in a snippet.

Also, you have to watch the rules and policies. If you violate them, you will lose that advantage you worked so hard to obtain. Watch your content to ensure you do not violate those rules.

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Last Updated in January 2022 by Lukasz Zelezny