What is Google's Featured Snippet Box?

Google's Snippet box

Over the last number of years Google has been tweaking their search engine to display results in a more relevant way to the user. We’ve seen the emergence of the coveted Snippet Box and we’re going to learn how to get this box and put a little “umph” behind your Google traffic.

Firstly, what is a Featured Snippet?

A Featured Snippet is shown in some Search Engine Results Pages (or SERPs), usually when a specific question is entered into the Google search bar. The snippet displays content from within one of the pages ranking on page one that directly answers the question searched for. It is designed to provide a short cut to receive an answer to the question Googled – as it shows you the answer without pushing you to take another click more.

Here’s an example for the question, “how to make pizza”

Google Snippet box example


The Featured Snippet is the box at the top that displays the direct instructions that have been pulled from the webpage. You may have heard these referred to as ‘answer boxes’ in the past.

Is the Featured Snippets box worth getting?

When it was first introduced, SEO experts recoiled. They were afraid that it would stop traffic dead as they would get the answer to their question before visiting the target website. What actually happened, is that it increased average traffic by 110%, even when the same website ranked number 1 for the same keywords.

Let’s say you rank number 1 (the first post below the snippet) on the page one of Google for keywords that’s searched 10,000 times. From the data we’ve seen, you could expect roughly 1,700 visits, compared to the 3,700 you might see if you landed the Featured Snippet spot – can you see where we’re heading with our advice?

How do you get your hands on the Featured Snippet Section?

There is plenty of conflicting advice out there regarding the Featured Snippet box. There were rumours that only websites which use Schema.org made it to the Featured box – unfortunately only 80% of the websites which make it into the box use this. Also, one of Googles trusted employees has outright said that structured data (including schema.org) has nothing to do with the Snippet Box.

So, what does get you into the Featured Snippet box?

1.     There be an area of the website where the search query appears in a header (h2,H3).

2.     The backlinks matter much less for ranking in the Featured Snippet when you already rank on page one.

3.     Google won’t always pull through a whole paragraph of text into the Featured Snippet. If you have an answer broken into steps, then Google will sometimes just pull through the subheadings and list them chronologically.

4.     Ensure the content you want to appear in the Featured Snippet (the answer to the searched query) should be placed in a <p> tag directly below the header. The answer should be between 54-58 words long.

5.     For a question-orientated keyword that display a Featured Snippet (eg. Inbound Sales), it’s much more likely that Google will simply pull in a single paragraph of text.

6.     Google tends to give preference to answers that begin logically as an answer would.  Eg. Start by highlighting the column….

One you’ve got a list of keywords your website ranks well for, you can decide how many of those are potential answers to Googled questions. You can include the potential question within headers (h2, h3, h4) and your well ranking keyword answers within <p> tags and you should see this pop up into the Featured Snippet boxes.

This does depend on how well your content is structured in general and what the current rank of your website is against these keywords but you may want to optimise your website to take into consideration these tips. You may end up with answering some very high ranking questions which are searched for every few seconds.


To find out how your small business can leverage SEO to grow your business, talk to one of our Growth Architects today.