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Featured Snippets FAQ

By 10.05.20 No Comments

In previous blog posts we’ve covered how you can drive more traffic to your site by winning a featured snippet result on Google. In this week’s post I’m going to cover some frequently asked questions about featured snippets.

Can any page rank for a featured snippet?

Google pulls featured snippets results from content that is already ranking in the first page of search results for that query. A study by Ahrefs found that 99.58% of featured snippets came from content that was already ranking in page one (results #1 to #10). So while not impossible, it’s going to be harder to rank for a featured snippet if you’re not already ranking in page one for the search query.

Can I promote my content as a featured snippet?

Unlike Google Ads, you can’t pay for a featured snippet result. Google has stated that: “Google systems determine whether a page would make a good featured snippet for a user’s search request, and if so, elevates it”. The only way to increase your chances of your content being picked up as a snippet is to provide a better answer for the user’s query than your competition.

Do featured snippets always show as the top search result?

Not necessarily, it seems. Google is constantly changing its features, and on 6 April this year, Search Engine Land reported that there is a new type of featured snippet that can appear in various positions on the first page of Google. It could be that since this type of featured snippet is unlikely to be triggered as a response to a question-based query, placement lower down the page is acceptable for this feature.

Do you have to use structured data to rank for a featured snippet?

A while back, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller confirmed that having a clear structure can help a page rank for a featured snippet, although it is not necessary to use any kind of structured data to win the coveted position 0 result. Clear structure in this case refers more to how well planned and organised the content is including the logical use of subheaders. He also specifically mentioned tables as a great way to organise content to help Google pull out the answer easier.

What is the difference between a featured snippet and a rich snippet?

Rich snippets (also known as rich results) are organic results (regular snippets) that display additional data. Examples of rich snippets include reviews, recipes and product data, such as prices and stock availability. Google gets this information from structured data in the website’s HTML code. Whereas, a featured snippet is a direct answer to a specific search query that (usually) appears directly below the search bar, usually in the form of a paragraph or a list.

Can you opt out of featured snippets?

If for some reason, you don’t want your content to be picked up as a featured snippet, you have a few different options using page-level meta-tags:

  1. You can add the nosnippet tag on your page. This will block featured snippets as well as regular snippets (meta descriptions) for the tagged page.
  2. Mark your text with the data-nosnippet tag to prevent your text from appearing as a featured or regular snippet.
  3. If you want to block only featured snippets but keep snippets in regular search results, you can try setting the max-snippet tag to a low value. This new meta-tag lets you specify a maximum character length of a snippet. The shorter the tag setting, the less chance there is of your text appearing as a featured snippet.