The top ranks of Google search results are self-explanatory coveted places in the rankings. The only thing above it is the Featured Snippets. Learn how to earn featured snippets for your top keywords with 9 simple actions.

What is a Featured Snippet?

A Featured Snippet (or Answer Box) is a highlighted search result that appears at the top of Google search results. It usually consists of two to three summary sentences, a clear list or table, and directly answers a user’s search query. This displays a small section of the website with the content relevant to the search query.

Because a featured snippet also stands out visually from the other organic search results and stands above them, it is often referred to as “position 0”. In fact, the Featured Snippet is the position 1 of the organic search results.

Types of Featured Snippets

This post will cover textual featured snippets. However, there are also video snippets.

Text snippet

Featured Snippet Beispiel Text Snippet

The text snippet is the most common featured snippet. It consists of two to three sentences taken from a paragraph [ <p> HTML Element].

Listen snippet

Featured Snippet Beispiel Listen Snippet 1

List snippet displays bulleted or numbered lists [ <ol> or <ul> HTML element ].

Table snippet

Featured Snippet Beispiel Tabellen Snippet

Table snippets are created from tables with information [ <table> HTML element ].

  • Often, next to the excerpt of the website is a sample image on the subject. However, this does not have to be from the website from which the content originated.

Do not confuse: Knowledge Graph Cards

Knowledge Graph Cards look just like Featured Snippets and also provide a direct answer to the user’s search query. But they are not the same.
Knowledge Graph Cards lack the reference to the URL, i.e. the source of information. This is because information from partner sites of Google or Wikipedia is used for this purpose.

Beispiel Knowledge Graph Card

What does a featured snippet do for Google?

With the Featured Snippets, Google wants to help its users get quick and direct answers to their search queries. For you, this means increasing your organic visibility. Because there is nothing above position 0 (except possibly ads).

If the Featured Snippet only shows a snippet of your content, users are highly likely to click on your website. Finally, you have already started reading your answer. This way you also generate more organic traffic.

Google writes in A reintroduction to Google’s featured snippets about it:

We display featured snippets in search when we believe this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description and when they click on the link to read the page itself. It’s especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.

How to get the featured snippets from Google

The first step in optimizing Google’s Featured Snippets should be to figure out which Featured Snippets to optimize. If you are in the top 10 for a Featured Snippet search result, you can optimize it.

This way you can optimize the content to get a featured snippet:

1. “What is” heading

Many search queries start with the words “What is …”. That is why you should use this phrase in the title of your definition, i.e. “What is [Keyword]”. This signals to Google that your text below provides the relevant answer to the search query – and could be helpful as a featured snippet.

The ideal place for the “What is” heading is below the introduction. Finally, the definition of a topic or keywords should always be at the beginning.

2. “is” sentence construction

It continues with the sentence structure of your content. The first sentence of your text that you want to optimize as a featured snippet should be structured as follows:

“[Keyword] is …”

This structure allows Google to easily find the relevant text for an AnswerBox. You have the best chance if the first sentence, for example the definition mentioned above, follows this structure.

3. complete information

for text snippets

Of course, an “is” sentence is not enough to define most subjects. As already explained in the introduction: Featured Snippets should provide users with all important information as quickly as possible.

So when optimizing your content, make it a point to summarize the most important information in two to three sentences. Nevertheless, you should formulate concise and short sentences. Overly convoluted and long sentences cause confusion and are not very helpful.

Here is a scheme you can follow:

1st sentence: Briefly define the topic with “is” wording.

2. and 3rd sentence: describe 2 to 3 more knowledgeable information about the topic.

Avoid using filler words and redundant phrases.

for list snippets

For bulleted lists, usually only a few words are used. So a concise introduction in the list snippet is important. For this, you can use trigger words and follow-up words, which play a role especially in instructions. Use the following phrases:

Trigger words:

  • Guide
  • (Step by step) guide
  • How to
  • Checklist
  • Methods / Measures
  • This is how it works
  • Let’s go
  • Let’s get started.

Follow-up words:

  • Learn
  • Use
  • Learning
  • Click
  • Find

These phrases work like a kind of prompt and lead the user to click on your URL to continue reading.

for table snippets

Table snippets are mostly used to compare information or prices. It makes sense to present the most important information in the first three lines of the table.

4. customize featured snippet format

Customize your content to match the format of the existing Featured Snippet. If the previous Featured Snippet was a table, you should also present your content in the form of a table.

Google obviously considers this format to be the most helpful representation to answer the user’s search query. This should be your guide.

5. no brand names

Of course, it is appealing to use your brand name in the content to draw attention to the fact that your company offers the best solution. However, brand names are unfavorable for featured snippets. More than that, you prevent Google from creating a featured snippet for your content.

But what is the reason for this? Google also uses Featured Snippets for voice search. Devices like Google Home read the Answer Box to users. In the process, it can be confusing for users when they suddenly hear a brand name. After all, he doesn’t see the URL and thus which website the information comes from.

In addition, he might wonder whether the information is now generally valid or relates only to this company or brand. That’s why Google doesn’t use this content for Featured Snippets.

6. no first person language

You should also refrain from using the first or third person singular, i.e. I or We. The reason for this is again the voice search.

The user who gets the Featured Snippet read aloud does not see the URL and does not know who is meant by We. In addition, the question arises again whether the information is generally valid or only on this product. So Google does not use content with this wording for Featured Snippets.

7. scale snippets

The content for list snippets is usually also displayed on your website as a list or bulleted list. However, this does not have to be mandatory.

Google also seems to use product listings within category pages for featured snippets. The selected text for the listing is then formatted as H2 or H3. Accordingly, it is possible to scale featured snippets by making adjustments in the HTML.

Check the existing list snippet to see if Google is using this option. Accordingly, you can optimize your content.

8. set priorities

The higher your rank in the Google SERPs, the higher the chance of claiming a featured snippet. First, focus on the keywords for which you are already in the top 5.

Once these are optimized into featured snippets, you can worry about rankings up to 10.

9. repeat your optimizations

Optimizations take time. So if you’ve already optimized a lot of content but it didn’t become featured snippets, don’t give up. Go back over the measures listed and consider where you can improve further.

Think about how you can define the topic more succinctly or illustrate it even better in lists and tables. The best way to do this is to make small adjustments and test to see if they worked.

Summary

No search result catches the eye of users during searches on Google like the Featured Snippet. Whoever gets the Featured Snippet literally has the competition under him.

Even if the presented optimization measures are easy to implement, they cost time and a basic SEO knowledge is required to implement them. Not every company has its own SEO department or a colleague who is an SEO expert on the side. An SEO agency will help you to work out a strategy and implement it successfully – also regarding the Featured Snippets.

Get advice to get better rankings, more customers and more sales.

Take-Aways for Featured Snippets on Google

  • Use a “what is” heading at the beginning.
  • Start your definition with an “XY is…”
  • Define the topic in 2 to 3 sentences.
  • Use trigger and follow up words.
  • Customize the format of the featured snippet.
  • Do not use your brand name.
  • Do not use the I/We formulation.
  • Scale Featured Snippets.
  • Prioritize if you are in the top 5.
  • Repeat your optimizations.
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