Featured Snippet Guide: How to Write the Content Google Loves
Updated: Mar 17
Are you looking for a way to pop to the top of search results? Consider Google's featured snippets.
These tiny bits of content answer a user's query quickly and completely. And each one contains a link back to your website.
SEO experts consider featured snippets golden opportunities. Since they appear above traditional search results, nailing one means landing in the top spot for searchers.
Here's everything you need to know to make the most of featured snippets.
What is a Featured Snippet, Anyway?
Head to Google, open up a search box, and tap out a request. You could see a list of ads and links. Or, you could see a box containing enticing data.
The box is a featured snippet. It summarizes the best response to the query, and at the bottom of that box, a link takes a curious searcher to the source page that contained the snippet.
Three main types of featured snippets exist:
Definitions. Short paragraphs (each containing no more than about 60 words) answer who, what, where, when questions.
Lists. Numbered or bulleted lists answer queries involving rankings, instructions, directions, and ingredients.
Tables. Charts and graphs display data that doesn't lend itself to lengthy paragraphs. Measurements and comparisons often appear in this format.
No matter what form they take, featured snippets are short. It's rare for any snippet to take up more than the top one-fourth of a search results page.
Find Your Topic in Three Steps
Land a featured snippet, and you have the chance to engage a reader long before that person has the option to interact with another page. Make the most of this opportunity by choosing your topic carefully.
Follow these three steps to find the perfect topic to cover:
Examine your keywords. A featured snippet will drive a visitor to your page. Hopefully, that person will stay and scout the rest of your site. Make that visit worthwhile by ensuring you're capturing the visitors you want. Don't optimize for a topic like "How long should a dog leash be?" if you don't sell dog leashes at all. Make your choice appropriate to your page and your business.
Seek out complicated questions. The best featured snippets can't answer a question completely. Think of them as robust hints. To get the full picture, a user simply must head to your website to find out more. For example, consider two similar queries: "How hot is the sun?" and "Why is the sun hot?" One requires a longer, more complex answer and a better opportunity.
Search the Google landscape. Google doesn't offer a featured snippet to every keyword. Don't put your hard work to waste by choosing a keyword Google ignores. Pick a term or phrase that seems right for your business, and see if a featured snippet already exists. If it does, make your content so good that you'll bump out the current placeholder.
It takes time and effort to find the perfect opportunity. But don't give up. When you land on the ideal question and keyword, you have the chance to nab significant search traffic.
Featured Snippet Writing Tips
Three important pieces go into featured snippet optimization opportunities: brevity, placement, and formatting.
The ideal featured snippets are:
Short. You've outlined your keyword and query. Answer that question as quickly as you can with a paragraph, list, or table. Imagine the Google bot crawling your site and looking for something to steal. Ensure that your content will fit within Google's allotted space.
High. Put your featured snippet as high on your page as you can. Ideally, your snippet will appear in the introduction of your piece, and you'll expand on it further down the page. Don't bury it below mountains of text.
Formatted. If you're hoping to grab a list or table featured snippet, ensure that your content appears as a list or table on your website. Don't assume that Google will format your text for you.
Your featured snippet is only one small element on a longer page. It's sandwiched between other content you've crafted with care. When people click over from the snippet, they have something wonderful to read.
But arguably, that tiny bit of content is the most important thing on the page. Write carefully and edit cautiously. Your hard work could pay off with visitors you just never captured before.
And if you're not a writer, don't worry. I can help you work up featured snippets. (Yes, I've landed a few in my career.) Let's talk about it!