All About Google Featured Snippets & How To Earn Them

For the last 3 years, I’ve written for brands all over the world. Literally, from Finland to the Philippines, I’ve written copy for everything from emails to social media ads to landing pages.

And one skill that’s helped me is SEO — especially when it comes to blogging. In fact, I still get organic traffic on my personal website that brings clients into my inbox with almost no effort. But my plate is already full, so 99% of the time I decline.

Now, SEO involves a LOT of complicated components. But one thing that far too many bloggers could be doing better is on-page SEO. So, today I wanted to share tips about the everyone’s favourite little feature: Google Featured Snippets.

What is a Google Featured Snippet?

A Google Featured Snippet is the preview readers will see on their search result page. Because it’s the information is pulled to the top of the results, it’s regarded as position zero.

This is only obtained through organic SEO strategies and cannot be bought using paid ads. As such, a website can only earn them if its content answers the query better than other competitors.

Why Are Featured Snippets Important?

A snippet box answers a user’s question quickly and allows them to skim the snippet instead of reading an entire article. Like social media websites, this is a tactic Google is using to keep users on their search engine. And that, of course, boosts Google’s own ad revenue as users continue searching for new queries.

Here are a few other benefits of featured snippets:

  • Improved click-through rate (CTR): The snippet gives users a simple answer to their query, but they might be looking for more in-depth information. That means your content is the most likely to be clicked on since Google suggested it.
  • Increased credibility: Featured snippets present your business as an authority on a subject. And in fact, to get them, your website has to be trustworthy or it won’t ever earn this spot.
  • Capitalizing on voice technology: Virtual assistants (Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, and Cortana) use featured snippets to answer vocal search queries. With millions of voice searches happening each day, it’s important to try and get these.

4 Types of Google’s Featured Snippets

Today, these are 4 types of Google snippets that highlight the answer to someone’s query. They are either paragraph answers, lists, tables, or even a video on the odd occasion.

1) Paragraph Snippets — Definitions, Answers, Etc

These are simple definitions of words or answers to a question written in a neutral manner. They should be no more than 40–60 words, or they will be cut off.

Here’s an example of the term “marketing” from Oxford Languages:

Screenshot by Author

2) List Snippets — Bulleted or Numbered

These can be either bullet points or numbered lists from an article. They are used to show the steps of a process. Other times, they serve as a list where the order doesn’t matter.

Here’s an example of a numbered list snippet:

Screenshot by Author

And an example of a bulleted list snippet:

Screenshot by Author

3) Table Snippets

These are tables pulled from an article, comparing things or even just showing a list to answer a more complex question. Now, a quick note here…

Google does not make it into a table — it scrapes existing tables and then simply pulls in that data. Basically, this means you need to format it as such on your website.

Screenshot by Author

4) Video Snippets

Finally, we have video snippets which are relatively new. These answer questions that might be visual. Google also uses them when someone adds keywords like “youtube” in their search since that implies they want a video answer.

Here is an example of that:

Screenshot by Author

(P.S. Hilariously, it’s actually not Google’s own Youtube Channel that they pulled! So it’s a great example of how anyone can earn a featured snippet.)

How to Write a Good Google Snippet

Now you know what they are and why they matter — so let’s get out your keyboard. Here are 7 tips to keep in mind while you write them.

  1. Write high-quality & easy to understand content.
  2. Use the right keywords throughout when it makes sense.
  3. Break up your articles with clear headlines and shorter paragraphs. This is because Google crawls + indexes articles in chunks.
  4. Add in tables, lists, and definitions.
  5. Write your secondary titles as if they are questions to increase the chance of capitalizing on voice searches. (Ex: “Why” is very common for featured snippets.)
  6. Write snippets for the general audience (no sass sorry!) Avoid using “I” or “we” in your answers. That’s why Wikipedia and Dictionary.com dominate snippets like this.
  7. Look at the current featured snippet, can you do better? And if not, maybe there are some other questions you can answer better instead.
Screenshot by Author

Pro Tip: You can find snippet opportunities easily by typing out your headline, scrolling down, and reading the “People also ask” section.

And that’s it! Everything you didn’t know you needed to know about Google Featured Snippets. And if you want more help full stuff about content marketing, copywriting, or even podcasting, then don’t forget to follow me here on Medium 🙂

About the Author

Victoria Fraser is a freelance copywriter from Vancouver, Canada who works in the gaming & tech space. She works with clients doing all things copywriting & content marketing (including making memes). Reach out to work with her or say hello on Twitter!

Published by Victoria A. Fraser

Freelance writer, podcast producer, and comic artist.

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