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What are Featured Snippets in Google Search Results?

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Google featured snippets in search results are a way for Google to keep its visitors. They also offer better rankings and click throughs.

Featured snippets in Google search results are a way for Google to keep its visitors. They also offer better rankings and click throughs. But they also are a way for websites to get better rankings and click throughs from Google.

“Google’s search results sometimes show listings where the snippet describing a page comes before a link to a page, not after as with our standard format. Results displayed this way are called featured snippets,” Google says.

Google featured snippet

Google featured snippet example.

The example above has 277 characters. Note that it also has bold keywords related to the search query. Text from the site appears first, then the address path and finally the clickable title / headline.

With a featured snippet, Google takes the meta description or part of an article and displays it at the top of search results for a keyword or keyword phrase.

The snippet appears either directly above all other search results or on the right of them. In both locations, the snippet may or may not appear with one or more related images.

Google wants searchers to read the content and fulfill their question rather than click on the link below it. That way, searchers stay on Google rather than leave the site.

It begs the question: Doesn’t that hurt websites that count on visitors from Google? The answer is yes in one way and no in another.

The answer is yes for searchers who stay on Google. The answer is no for searchers who still click on the link below the content. It also is no because a site that provides content good enough for a snippet may get lucky and shoot to the top of Google search results.

How to Get a Google Featured Snippet

How to get a featured snippet depends on the right effort and a fair amount of luck. Some sites get the snippets without even trying. In those situations, Google has grabbed existing content.

But sites also improve their odds of getting snippets by writing informative meta descriptions or blocks of content within an article. Snippets are as long as 300 characters and often contain hard facts.

“Google systems determine whether a page would make a good featured snippet for a user’s search request, and if so, elevates it,” Google says.

Either way, website publishers will find that regularly updating content for the sake of Google featured snippets may also find that their content improves for their readers too.

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