The SERP results have advanced quite a bit over the past few years. Google has several different types of SERP features to attract customers at different stages of the buying journey. With so many types of SERP features on Google, it has become difficult for brands to get noticed on the SERP. Fortunately, one of the best ways to get noticed on the SERP is featured snippets. Today, we will go over what featured snippets are, why they are important, some of their benefits, the types of featured snippets on Google, and how to optimize for them to take the coveted real estate. Table of Contents: ShowHide \t \tWhat are Featured Snippets? \t How do Featured Snippets work? \tAre featured Snippets Paid? \tWhat is the importance of Featured Snippets? \tBenefits of appearing on Featured Snippets \tAchieve SERP Position “Zero” Rank \tTarget Users at the top of the Keyword Funnel \tGet More Traffic for Mobile Text and Voice Queries \tTarget Four Different Feature Snippets \tEasy to Target PAA SERP Features \tWhat are the types of Featured Snippets? \tText or Definition \tVideo \tLists \tTable \tHow to Optimize for Featured Snippets and Outrank your Competitors \tProvide Definitive Answers and information \tGive Exact Lists (either ordered or unordered lists) \tCreate Better content than your competitor \tOptimize your Content Hierarchy and Structures \tAdd Questions in Heading Tags \tMake Videos \tWhy are my featured snippets disappearing \tConclusion What are Featured Snippets? Featured Snippets are special search results with concise but descriptive text (paragraph), video, list, or table taken from a Google indexed webpage that appears at the top of the Google SERP (Search Engine Result Pages). It is a descriptive box where Google shows additional information according to search queries. Featured Snippets appear at the top of the Google SERP, also known as “Position ZERO”. Since featured snippets are shown on the top of the SERPs, the chance of getting clicks increases. Google does not create the content that is shown on a featured snippet. It is content that Google extracts from existing content from a Google indexed webpage. For example, GrowByData was recently ranked on a featured snippet for the search query “What is SEO Intelligence Tool” The search box shows the precise answer by highlighting specific texts that Google deems reflective of what the search query is looking for in bold as shown in the image above. This helps users find the exact answer to their queries and meet their required needs. How do featured snippets work? When users search for specific queries in “what, how, top ten, recipes,” format, Google pulls texts from any content from any section that answers the queries. Google analyzes the millions and billions of contents in their database to best match the result with the intent of the user to enhance the product experience for the user. Are featured Snippets paid? No, featured snippets are purely organic results where Google uses text from specific content found in any webpage that is in their index. What is the importance of Featured Snippets? A featured snippet allows the user to find the information they are looking for more easily without scrolling. Many times, the user doesn’t even have to click on any links since the information is available on the snippet. If the information on the snippet is insufficient, the user can click on the link available on the featured snippet to dive deeper into the subject matter. For marketers and SEO managers, the featured snippet is very important because it directs most of the attention of the user to it and the chance of a user clicking on the first organic result is high. Thus, it greatly increases your odds of getting more visitors to your website. Benefits of Appearing on Featured Snippets The Featured Snippet is the first result a user sees on the SERP, which comes with several benefits mentioned below. 1. Achieve SERP Position “Zero” Rank With Featured Snippet’s Position ZERO ranking, you can easily get ranked above the fold and get high impressions with a good probability of getting clicks to increase the traffic to your website. Also, the featured snippet is very eye-catching as it takes up an extremely sought-after real estate in the Google SERP (Search Engine Result Page). 2. Target Users at the top of the Keyword Funnel Normally users search for queries with an intent to find answers, definitions, meanings, steps, or even videos. They are typically looking for products or services to learn more about or to make a purchase. However, users at the top of the funnel are generally gathering information while being aware of any brands and businesses. Thus, Google featured snippets are the perfect SERP features to target such users with simple and direct answers with the option to delve deeper. 3. Get More Traffic for Mobile Text and Voice Queries In 2022, searching is getting even easier with various voice assistant apps such as Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, Cortana, etc. According to Voice Search trends, an increasing number of mobile users use these AI apps to make various queries these days. The most interesting things about these AI apps is that they tend to use Featured Snippets results to answer users’ voice and text queries. This can help brands and businesses increase their leads from organic traffic on Mobile devices. 4. Target Four Different Feature Snippets There are four types of featured snippets (discussed in detail below). This means brands can target 4 different types of featured snippets according to search intents. You can target video, text (paragraph), listicles, and tabular featured snippets to answer your user’s search queries. This allows you to target customers at different keyword funnel stages according to the search intent. 5. Easy to Target PAA SERP Features People Also Ask (PAA) is another SERP feature on Google gaining in popularity. Normally, People Also Ask shows informational results. Optimizing your content for featured snippets also increases your chances of being ranked in “People Also Ask”, even if you do not show up for the featured snippet. What are the types of Featured Snippets? Google automatically selects a piece of content from its indexed web pages as per the type and intent of a search query. Knowing what type of featured snippet best fits your topic allows you to create optimized content that has the best chance of winning the featured snippet SERP feature. Below, we will go over the 4 types of featured snippets in the Google SERP. \tText or Definition (Short Paragraph) \tVideo \tLists \tTable 1. Text or Definition The textual or definition featured snippets in the form of a short paragraph show textual information or exact definition of any search query. Such results only show a paragraph related to the query that is only around 2-3 sentences long. In the above image, Google shows the full form of SEO in bold text and shows the definition of SEO in textual or paragraph form. It is the most commonly occurring featured snippet on Google, with about 82% of the snippets being of this type. This type of results shows mostly on “What”, “Who”, “When”, or “Why” type of search queries. 2. Video Video snippets are another type of featured snippets displayed by the Google Search engine. Video snippets are usually displayed on search terms that begin with “how to” questions. The videos are mainly pulled from the largest video site in the world, YouTube. The video is displayed with a ready-to-play time stamp that starts at a specific section of the video relevant to the user’s search query. 3. Lists Listicle Featured Results is another form of Featured snippets displayed on the Google Search Engine. Such results are displayed to rank things, steps to acquire some things, or lists of any search queries. These results are shown to provide a quick and simple answer without having to read large paragraphs. It is the second most displayed featured snippet type by Google. For example, search queries such as “how to optimize for internal linking” show ordered listicles with steps as shown below. The lists can be ranked if the search query is something like “top 10 romantic movies of 2020”. But it can also just be an unordered list as shown in the image above. 4. Table Table types of featured snippets are displayed for comparison queries. Google extracts data from existing content on their web pages and shows them in a tabular format. Tables are shown in rows and columns. Some examples where you might see table featured snippets are prices of a menu, sizes of clothing available at a store, or a comparison of revenues as shown in the image below. How to Optimize for Featured Snippets and outrank your competitors? As one of the most displayed SERP features, Featured Snippets are very important to marketers. However, Google doesn’t provide the exact ways to rank on Featured snippets. It is totally up to Google’s search engine algorithm to determine whether your content is fit to be shown as a featured snippet for a particular search query. Fortunately, there are various ways and best practices that you can work on to improve your chances of winning this coveted SERP position. But here are some of the best practices you can use to optimize and rank in Featured Snippets. \tProvide Definitive Answers and information This step is essential if you want to target textual or definition featured snippets in the form of a paragraph. This is a simple step in your optimization process. All you have to do is give a definitive answer to any questions related to the search terms or keywords you are focusing on. \t \tGive simple answers in 40-60 words or around 250 characters. \tDon’t beat around the bush in your answers with background, statistics, or details. Here’s an example: If we look at the above image, the number of words displayed in Featured Snippets is about 40 words and it gives a concise but informative definition for the search query - “what is an ad intelligence tool”. \tGive Exact Lists (either ordered or unordered lists) An essential step to optimizing your campaigns for featured snippets is to figure out the intent of the searcher. For example, if the intent of the user is finding out the steps to improve SEO, or list of Search Intelligence tools in the market, or how to rank on Walmart (image below), etc. then you should have your content in the form of a list to get featured in this SERP feature. Therefore, try to answer queries in ordered or unordered lists especially for “how”, “top ten”, “best movies/tools”, “benefits”, etc. These lists are used to break up dense contents into smaller chunks to make it easier for the user to understand. Also, try to use HTML code for ordered or unordered lists. \tCreate Better content than your competitor One of the major Google featured snippet ranking factors is content. If your competitor is ranking on a featured snippet, try to create better content that provides more precise answers, definitions, steps, video content, etc. that solves or answers the search query. Always try to create content that provides value to the user. Since users are constantly searching for better content and the Google algorithm is trying to provide the best possible customer experience, it is always best to continuously optimize and update your content regularly. But keep in mind that featured snippets only show your results if you rank on the first page of search engine result pages. \tOptimize your Content Hierarchy and Structures Clearly use a content hierarchy for a better arrangement of information on your web pages. The paragraph should be formatted with proper headings like H2s, H3s, and H4s in appropriate sections. Creating an excellent content hierarchy and structure allows the reader to skim through the content easily and it also lets the search engine scan your content easily. \tAdd Questions in Heading Tags Try to add questions on your heading tags in your content. Here are some examples. \t \t“What are featured snippets?” \t“How to optimize your content?” \t“How to conduct pricing analysis?” Try to use heading tags i.e., H2s, H3s for such questions. If you look at some of the results of GrowByData, most of these featured snippets extract text after questions. \tMake Videos If your targeted audience is video consumers or if they are mostly on YouTube, then make simple videos explaining step-to-step processes and optimize your description on YouTube. Why are my featured snippets disappearing? There are many reasons why your snippets are disappearing. First, if your competitor has better content, and provides a better answer to questions then your competitor can steal position zero from you. Thus, regular optimization, competitor analysis, and content update are very essential. Secondly, Google ceases to display featured snippets from search terms that you are previously ranking for. This case usually occurs when Google deems it unnecessary to show such results for that keyword or search query based on the search intent. Conclusion Featured Snippets can be a great tool to increase the traffic to your website. Because even though this SERP feature is designed by Google to give the user the information without having to click or scroll; it is not always possible to provide all the necessary information in 2-3 sentences or 40-60 words. Use this guide to optimize your content for featured snippets and enhance your authority, credibility, and traffic on Google. A SERP Monitoring tool can be extremely helpful to monitor you and your competitors trying to win the featured snippet real estate. It can tell you who is currently winning the SERP feature on each of your important keywords so you can create better contents to strategically usurp the competitor.