What is a Featured Snippet?
Featured snippets are the boxes that appear at the top of your search results in Google. They’re Google’s way of answering a user’s query in the easiest and quickest way possible. They’re also a powerful indication that your content is well-made, informative and useful.
The two most popular formats for a featured snippet are:
- Paragraphs – when it is more suitable to answer the user’s question in long form. Generally, who, what, why and similar types of questions will result in this format.
- Lists – appear when the user wants step-by-step instructions, such as a recipe or directions.
Other types of featured snippet include videos, tables and single sentences.
Having our content be chosen by Google for a featured snippet comes with a tonne of benefits. We’ll take a look at some of them here.
An Increase in Organic Traffic and Clicks
When you appear above the number one spot for a search, you’re naturally going to garner a lot more traffic and clicks for your content. In fact, Adrefs suggests that you’ll get 31% more traffic if you have a featured snippet.
A third more traffic may seem too good to be true, but it makes complete sense. Mobile users – well, everyone actually – are after quick results, and clicking the first page will give them the quickest solution to their problem. They won’t even need to scroll down the SERP!
Furthermore, it’s worth considering the visual appeal of your featured snippet. When a user sees content that’s boxed off, with their search terms in bold, it suggests that the content is bespoke to them. Featured snippets benefit both parties; the user receives a great experience and you get a massive spike in traffic.
You may be asking something along the lines of ‘if the user has their query answered on the SERP, why would they bother clicking through to my content?’ That’s a good question, with an even better answer.
According to Moz, the type of people who query the who, what, why style questions are generally more curious by nature and thus more likely to click on your content to know more. They don’t just want the answer; they want context too. This leads to what Moz calls a ‘scent trail’. If a user clicks your featured snippet and likes what they see, they’re likely to explore more content on your site. Therefore, not only do featured snippets increase clicks to one piece of content, but they can also increase traffic for multiple posts and pages!
Making Your Voice More Authoritative
When Google ranks your content above the #1 spot (we refer to featured snippets as being #0 on their SERP), it shows the user that the content is worth its salt. For the majority of searches in Google, there are likely millions of potential results that match the user’s query. In a vast sea of results, a featured snippet is a clear indication of that piece of content being a cut above the rest.
Having a featured snippet implies to the user that you are the leading authority on a particular area, subject or issue. It may make them more likely to Google you directly for a similar issue in the future, or share a piece of content with their colleagues, friends and family because they know it can be trusted. Similarly, if other writers find your featured snippet when conducting research, they may link to your content, further increasing your website’s authority.
It’s not just the user that appreciates reliable, authoritative content; Google loves to gobble it up as well. A part of Google’s algorithm called E.A.T (which stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness) siphons out low quality content in favour of the content users want to read. Knowing how to use E.A.T to your advantage is vital to securing a featured snippet.
Ultimately, having a featured snippet makes the quality of your content stand out from the competition.
Taking Advantage of Growing Trends
With new, innovative technologies like Alexa and Google Nest, more and more people are using voice search every month. Recent statistics tell us that 41% of adults use Google’s voice search feature at least once per day. Similarly, some projections show that 50% or more online searches will be conducted using voice search in 2020. As a result, it’s essential for us to take advantage of growing trends such as this whenever possible.
When someone uses voice search, the device will read out the most relevant response to the user’s queries. If the device is using Google’s search engine, the majority of these relevant responses will be pulled directly from a featured snippet. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s extremely likely.
When a user conducts a voice search, chances are they’re doing so because they can’t
be bothered to use their screen. Some devices with voice search functionality don’t even have a screen. Because of this, your featured snippet appearing on voice search isn’t as beneficial at the moment as the other points we listed above, as users won’t necessarily know the content is from you. The key words there were at the moment; remember that voice search is a growing trend. We recommend keeping in mind the relationship between featured snippets and voice search to stay one step ahead of the competition.
As you can see, there’s a real value of having your content be chosen to be a featured snippet, both in the present and in preparation for the future. Our writers here at Active Internet Marketing (UK) are always considering new, innovative ways to get our clients’ content appearing in those coveted #0 spots.