How do you write a Featured Snippet?


Featured Snippets

How do you write a Featured Snippet?

(Well, this headline’s a good start!)


Let's start at the beginning: what is a Featured Snippet (FS)?

If you're not an SEO or Voice Search specialist - and most of us aren’t - I imagine you've never heard of an FS. An FS is the search result that gives the best answer to a question someone wants answered by googling. Google puts this FS answer above the organic search results. That is why an FS is also called "position 0". Google pulls the snippet content from your site / blog page. Which means that, if you optimize your current web content for FS or write new site content from scratch using the tips that I share with you in this article, the chance of your site ‘hitting’ an FS is considerably higher.

Example of a Featured Snippet. Search question: "What is the best bicycle navigation". In this case, the FS is an unnumbered list from Of course, large online retailers of cycling navigation such as Garmin would be more than happy to claim this FS.

Does a Featured Snippet have a certain tone of voice and text structure?

Often it’s a short (45-55 words), wikipedialike, descriptive text, which takes Google queries as a starting point. Example: people search for "What’s the best cycling navigation?” And you’re Garmin. Then you’d literally place this question as a heading above a paragraph on your site and your paragraph would start with this search query. Next, you would explain what variables are important when choosing the best cycling navigation for your bike and abilities. That would significantly improve Garmin’s odds of being scraped as an FS. Especially when you also know how to process the most common keywords / tags in the paragraph, which you will of course obtain through a keyword analysis. The structure also depends on the type of FS you choose. Hence the next question ...

What Types of Featured Snippet are there?

  1. Paragraph: descriptive, factual copy that’s based on WhoWhatWhereWhyWhenHow questions. Example:

  1. List: a list of usually 5-10 elements, points for attention or steps; in particular, step-by-step instructions and recipes are often presented as FS. Example:

Important side note: the use of question such as "How", "What", "Why" significantly increase chances of getting the FS, because Google recognizes them as a key elements in queries submitted.

  1. Table: often used for tables with comparisons on, for example, 3 dimensions / variables; such as a cost comparison between two health insurance policies. Example:

Why would you want to create a Featured Snippet?  

Brands that understand how to optimize content for FS win the search battle with their "zero" result! Next, four main benefits of getting an FS:

  1. Because you're highlighted above the organic search results. This is ultimately user-friendly. "This is exactly the question I asked. And this is exactly the answer I was looking for."

  2. It’s a quick and relatively easy way to get from search result # 5 (for example) to search result # 1 (or actually: # 0). However, if you currently score lower than 10th place on a certain search question or term, chances are quite slim that Google will select your content as an FS. Building your authority on certain topics is therefore key.

  3. Of course, an FS also radiates very positively on your brand; an FS evokes associations such as "this is an authority", "this is an expert", "this brand is trustworthy". There are studies showing convincingly, that you can make brands up to 80% more top-of-mind by increasing their FS power.

  4. If your brand nails the FS, you’re also immediately the only search result when people ask a question to their Google Assistant or Alexa. Voice search only has one search result and that one is the FS! As more and more people use voice search, writing FS is essential for the findability / awareness of your brand.

How do you find popular Featured Snippets? 

You can find the right topics, terms and search queries by using tools like SEMrush, Moz or Ahrefs, with which you can see exactly on which FS topics your site already ranks high, but where you haven't caught the FS yet. And: which FS you do have in your pocket (but maybe you can improve by using more popular search terms). You can also immediately see how many times a month a certain keyword is used in Google.

How do you create content optimized for Featured Snippets?

  1. Write the way people google: As you know, an FS is the answer to a literal / verbatim question asked by the consumer. Include that question in your copy, include the words used by the consumer (not your own terminology, or not primarily).

  2. Look carefully at the “People also ask…” box. And you will find terms, phrases that are popular, but not yet used in your content.

  3. Write the core of the answer first, details later. You start with the WhoWhatWhereWhenWhyHow, after which you provide important in-depth info or details, and only after all of this do you provide background information.

  4. Ideal length is 40-50 words or 300 characters including spaces. This was proven by Ahrefs’ analysis of tens of millions of search topics.

  5. Write descriptive headlines and subheadings instead of triggering ones. And tag those headlines with "h1", "h2", ...

  6. Write short, powerful sentences with directly worded answers.

  7. Be as detailed as possible and divide the answer into different question / answer combinations, so chances of multiple FS from the same page increase.

  8. As mentioned, use lists, tables and graphs.

  9. Include images relevant to the search query.

  10. Add Q&A to your site / content. It is simply because of the demand-driven way in which these Q & As are constructed that you are more likely to be presented as FS by Google. And: the more concrete the better, so illustrate explanations with figures and statistics where possible.

What does the webmaster / webcare employee need to know about Featured Snippets?

  1. Use the correct HTML for each type of Featured Snippet. So, if you want your content to appear as a response presented as a paragraph, bulleted list, numbered list, or table, include that in your HTML:

    • Paragraph Snippets:


    • Bulleted List Snippets:


      • Numbered List Snippets:


        Are there any disadvantages to Featured Snippets?

        Research by Ahrefs shows that the CTR on an FS is slightly lower than a regular (organic or paid) search result. But it differs only slightly and it is only logical: a well-written FS will provide a complete answer to a query, leaving the user with no reason to click through. On the upside: the fact that users don’t have to click, works miracles for your brand likeability. 

        Are the agency's clients going to be massively asking for Featured Snippets now?

        No, if they've paid attention they won't. But if they sometimes ask their agency for a 'viral', they just might 

        1. Table snippets:
        2. Make it easy for Google to index and scrape FS text from your page. You do this by clearly dividing your text into paragraphs that provide a completed answer to a (partial) question. Also adding a relevant image, a video or GIF. It also makes sense to add structured data to the website. With this you "tell" Google which part is the question, and which is the answer.