Google Featured Snippets: The New #1 Ranking

Posted on August 19, 2020 by Gary Barnes

Have you ever run a Google search and had a result pop up at the top that not only answers your question but also provides actionable steps or a useful graphic? Whether you knew it or not, you were reading a featured snippet. These search results are selected by Google to answer searches quickly with expert content.

Getting your content to rank as a featured snippet will boost your website traffic, help establish your website as a trusted resource for expert content, and make your content stand out among your competitors. See below for an example from one of our clients, Strainsert, who designs and manufactures custom force sensors for research, control and testing applications used in the Aerospace, Military, Marine and Automotive industries. Strainsert not only has the featured snippet for the keyphrase “force sensing tension links”, but also the #1 ranking right below that. This search prime real estate positioning helps drive traffic to their site and lead opportunities for their business.

Definition of Featured Snippets

A featured snippet is defined as a search result that provides an answer to the search query with a short paragraph or list and may include a table, chart, or graphic. This information is usually displayed first at the top of the page of search results and typically takes up more space on the page compared to each of the remaining results.

Featured snippets were created by Google to provide what they consider the best source of information for the keyword search, giving the best source the most prominent and largest space on the results page. Featured snippets often gain more clicks than the #1 keyword result and are usually placed above the #1 ranking and below the paid ads on the page.

Different Types of Featured Snippets

Types of featured snippets are named for the format in which the information is displayed. The most common type of featured snippet is the paragraph, which offers an answer to the search in the form of a short block of text.

Paragraph featured snippets are usually between 40 and 50 words, as this is the sweet spot Google chooses. This length provides enough information to answer the question in a short, quickly read snippet. Paragraphs can include an image if there is one featured on the page.

List featured snippets offer an answer to the search in the form of a numbered or bulleted list. The list directly addresses the search with short, brief sentences that make up the steps of an answer. Lists may include an image, such as a recipe with a photo.

Table featured snippets offer an answer in the form of a chart or table displaying relevant information. This method provides an answer visually and should be easy to scan quickly for the important data. Tables are not as popular as paragraphs or lists but are useful in delivering specific numerical information.

Advantages of Featured Snippets

The biggest advantage to featured snippets is they drive traffic to your website for target keyphrase searches highly relevant to your business. Pages that are displayed in search results as featured snippets get almost twice the click-through rate compared to the search results that are not featured snippets. Increasing your website’s click through rate drives traffic to your website and keeps them away from your competitors.

Featured snippets also increase your exposure by ranking your page higher in the search results compared to your competitors. A featured snippet is at the top of the search results and takes up more space compared to other results. This means that your page will stand out by appearing larger and more enticing, as it delivers information immediately.

Another advantage of featured snippets is that they increase your credibility. Featured snippets are viewed as expert, quality content, as they appear first on the search results page and stand out in a larger box highlighting how the content answers the search question. This shows that your website delivers more useful information and expertise compared to the rest of the search results.

The SEO gold scenario includes having your paid ad, your featured snippet and a high organic result all show up together for your target keyword phrases. This trifecta gives your company a huge advantage by dominating the search engine results top-of-the-page “real estate” people look at and click on the most.

How to Research Competitors’ Featured Snippets

To rank higher and have more of your content considered for featured snippets, you have to research and learn from your search results competitors. The best way to do this is to utilize simple Google searches to compile information and then use that information to adjust your content for your target audience.

Using Google to research your competitors is straight forward. Run searches to see which queries your competitors are answering with their content or what products/services Google ranks them well on. Then consider ways to craft your content to beat them out of those spots. With insight into your competition, you can improve your content to match what your target audience is most interested in.

Keyword research is also essential to researching your competitors. Start by considering where your content ranks for specific keyphrases and look at which featured snippets Google is providing for these keyphrases. From there you can optimize your content in a tailored fashion to improve your chances of being chosen for featured snippets. This is a great way to polish the content you are already providing to increase your chances of being featured.

Lastly, you can work on answering potential search questions with your keyphrases. Doing research in this area, such as using the site Answer the Public, will allow you to explore how your current keyphrases are being used by searchers. This also helps you apply the keywords you’re ranking for in more content by answering more questions, which increases your chances of becoming a featured snippet.


Featured snippets are a great way to boost your traffic and be shown on Google’s search results as an established expert in your field. By researching your competition, exploring which content is being chosen as a featured snippet, and adjusting your content, you will increase your chances of landing featured snippets in future results. If you are already ranking high in search results, this is the best next step to continue increasing traffic and staying on top of the competition.

Please contact Blue Horseradish for help with gaining and retaining featured snippets for your company’s target keyphrases.

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