Featured Snippets: Types of Featured Snippets and Why are they Important

Mohsin Khan is an engineer turned SEO professional. As an SEO Analyst at Infidigit, he is result driven and enjoys sharing knowledge through his conversational blogs.

Featured Snippets: Types of Featured Snippets and Why are they Important

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    With constantly evolving technology, search engines aim to provide a better user experience every day. Also, there is always a race amongst marketers to be in position one on search engine results pages or SERPs. However, this changed with the introduction of the ‘Featured Snippet‘ in January 2014, where Google added a new position and named it ‘position zero’ or ‘zero position.’ If you don’t know much about it, don’t worry we will give you a crash course on everything you need to know.

    What are Featured Snippets?

    A Featured Snippet is a concise result aiming to answer the user’s query without them having to click through to a specific result on the SERP. The answer is selected from the top-ranking pages on the SERP and is displayed in a block above the first organic result and below the paid ads. 

    Since it is found right above the first organic search results, it is also known as ‘position 0’ or ‘zero position’. Also, here is how Google defines Featured Snippets.

    What are the types of Featured Snippets?

    • The Paragraph or The Definition Box

    This answer or result appears in a paragraph format and is sometimes combined with a multimedia result. The Paragraph Featured Snippet is commonly used to answer what, when, why and who queries.

    Paragraph Featured Snippets

    • List Type Featured Snippet

    The List type Featured Snippet answers your query in a list or pointwise format. This is further classified as the ordered list and unordered list. 

    • Ordered List

    Here, a list of items or instructions are displayed in a particular order. An example of this would be a recipe for a specific dish. 

    Ordered List Featured Snippets

    • Unordered List

    Here, Google displays a list of items that are not necessarily in a specific order. 

    Unordered List Featured Snippets

    • Table Type Featured Snippet

    The Table type Featured Snippet will appear mostly for queries that show content containing multiple things like prices, rates, years, or any other data available in numerical format. Here, Google looks for readily available tabular data on the page and does not create a table of its own from the on-page data. 

    Table Featured Snippets

    • Video Featured Snippet

    There is no specific guideline yet on how Google selects a video for featured snippets. However, some research around the topic shows that the video needs to have a transcription that is readable by the NLP (Natural Language Processing) tool. You can also link a separate non-transcription article or a detailed description of the video on YouTube with it. Try using relevant keywords in the audio of the video clip and be loud and clear. Preferably, reiterate the user’s query at the beginning of the video. This will help Google understand the purpose of the video and match it with the user’s query to display the video.

    Video Featured Snippet

    Few other snippets like results:-

    Knowledge Panel

    Knowledge panels refer to the information blocks or boxes that appear on the right side of your screen when you search for people, places, brands, or things on Google. These knowledge panels are created automatically by Google and the information is inserted from various sources. You can get a knowledge panel for yourself or your brand and even suggest changes for an existing panel.

    Knowledge Card

    Knowledge cards similar to knowledge panels, the difference being that they are found on the top left of the Google search screen and offer only a single piece of information. They provide brief explanations to your Google search queries. Like knowledge panels, knowledge cards are also generated automatically by Google after pulling information from various sources.

    Entity Carousel

    Multiple Google cards are put together to form an Entity Carousel. The SERP uses a list of entities belonging to the same category and clubs them together as per their rankings to create entity carousels. For example, if you search for nearby restaurants, Google will search for the top restaurants in your locality and will place their cards side-by-side to display an entity carousel on the top of the SERP.

    Why are Featured Snippets Important?

    •  Appears reliable and adds credibility to the website

    Featured Snippets occupy a considerable amount of space on your device’s screen when compared to other results for your query. This result on the SERP looks more reliable or trustworthy and leads to brand awareness. Also, users tend to click more on this result, increasing your website credibility in Google’s ranking algorithm. 

    • Increase in CTR

    There was distress in the SEO industry that Featured Snippets would hurt their traffic and people wouldn’t click and visit their sites. However, this myth did not last long. The SEOs have noticed a considerable increase in the CTR of the website. 

    • Helping small websites compete with bigger competitors

    Featured Snippets are picked from the top 10 rankings on the SERP. This allows a small site featuring great content but placed at the bottom of the first page to jump to the top of the SERP (which accounts for 8% of the CTR).

    • They are answers to voice queries

    One of the important aspects of the Featured Snippet is that it is used to answer the voice search queries on mobile or other home assistance devices. Moreover, users are now getting comfortable with and using personal-assistance software like Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri more – hence, it is essential to aim to be featured in position 0.

    How to Optimize for Featured Snippets?

    • Good SEO and knowledge

    Remember that the Featured Snippet is selected from the top 10 ranking websites. So, you first need to optimize your website to be displayed in the top 10 results for a search query. Also, a good understanding of the various types of Featured Snippets is required to know how to feature in them. 

    • Use Structured Data Markup

    Using Structured Data Markup helps the search engine understand your website better. This can boost your chances to rank on the Featured Snippet. However, this does not guarantee the same.

    Here is what John Mueller said about the use of structured markup:

    “Independently, you’re always welcome to use structured data to provide better machine-readable context for your pages. Which may not always result in visible changes, but can still help our systems to show your pages for relevant queries.”

    • Use a Question-Answer format

    We have noticed that a majority of searches that rank in position zero are framed as questions. Using this format helps Google understand the relevance of your content with regard to the user’s query and can help you rank in the Featured Snippet.

    • Use simple and precise language while answering

    Always use simple language when you are trying to answer a user’s query. Remember to stick to the point and condense your answer into 50-60 words. Avoid adding your personal opinion to the answer and be unbiased. 

    • Use H2 or H3 tags in your content

    Using H2 or H3 tags can help Google understand your content better, including the order of items in a list or steps of a process that you may be describing, and get you featured in the zero position for a particular query. This is especially important when you want to rank in a list type featured snippet for a query. 

    Example: A food recipe or a process to do a task.

    • Optimize your content for long-tail keywords

    As it is now known that featured snippets do appear for questions type of queries and long-tail keywords, we suggest you target keywords with questions. Moreover, SEMRush says, prepositions, comparisons, and other keywords also help to get featured in a Featured Snippet. You can use AHREFs tool to identify opportunities for a featured snippet. Target your keywords with questions like “what”, “why”, etc. You can refer to the ‘People also ask’ section on a SERP to find relevant long-tail queries. 

    • Use of High-Quality Images

    According to a study by SEMrush, Featured Snippets use high-quality images with appropriate alt text. So, do not forget to optimize your alt texts for the images.

    • Competitor Analysis Always Helps

    Do a thorough competitor analysis for your keywords and check which of your competitors is ranking in the Featured Snippet. Do a detailed analysis of their content, on-page SEO, technical SEO and backlinks and optimize your website to replace them.

    How Frequently Are Featured Snippets?

    While featured snippets can make things easier and better for your website in terms of SEO, it is important to understand how common they are. Not all search results will provide users with featured snippets. Also, featured snippets appear more for certain sectors and are less likely to occur when the content is related to the e-commerce industry.

    Also, the frequency of featured snippets depends on search patterns in different countries.

    For instance: The frequency of featured snippets displayed in the search results of:

    • Google.com is 9.7% of all US search queries
    • Google.co.uk is 8.4% of all UK search queries
    • Google.de is 6.5% of all German search queries

    FAQ

    Do I need to pay for featured snippets?

    Featured snippets are not an ad. Hence, you do not have to pay for featured snippets. Google chooses the most relevant source as a featured snippet from the Web.

    Are featured snippets and structured data the same thing?

    No, featured snippets and structured data are not the same thing. In simple words, featured snippets are a portion of text that Google determines from relevant and any random website, and it appears at the top of a Google search result page.

    Also, the system determines the length and the choice of a paragraph that will be picked from a relevant web page based on the search query.

    On the other hand, structured data is a standard format that Google or search engines use to provide information about the page. It makes the search results more engaging and gives users an overall outline of the page.

    For instance, on a recipe page, the structured data will also focus on the ingredients, cooking time, temperature, calories, and so on. 

    This leads to what Google terms ‘rich results’ encouraging users to interact with your website.

    Conclusion

    Featured Snippets can be a jackpot of free traffic if you optimize your website for them after adequately understanding what the user is looking for. And the best part is, you don’t have to be in the first position on a SERP. Although, Google does not keep the same result in position zero for long, optimizing your content is definitely worth the effort if you rank in the top 10 positions of the SERP.

    Go ahead and implement the recommendations above to see how it works for you and let us know in the comment section below.

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    9 thoughts on “Featured Snippets: Types of Featured Snippets and Why are they Important”

    1. Very nice post learn a lot from it. Actually today I understand how to get a featured snippet. It’s a detailed procedure for anyone like me. I never used this before. Thanks

      1. Thanks Bawal Rewari for appreciating our post on Featured Snippet. We are glad that our post helped you to understand the featured snippet. Kindly use this technique on your website and let us know your feedback. Also to learn more things in SEO, kindly subscribe to your blogs!

      1. There’s no such feature to get a featured snippet. Only you have to do is before writing content, do research & identify the need in your niche so that whenever the people are searching for their queries, it can be solved when they come on your post. Lastly, write content for users & not for bots.

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    Featured Snippets: Types of Featured Snippets and Why are they Important