Why Featured Snippets Matter for SEO

If you’ve done a search on Google within the past couple of years, chances are you have come across a Featured Snippet, or what some people call “the answer box.”

Located at or near the very top of a search results page, Featured Snippets provide short answers to search queries, inside of a small box. They can be presented as lists, tables, steps, videos, or simple definitions. 

Featured Snippets - Google Search

Source: Google Search

According to MOZ, 23% of all search results pages include these answer boxes—up more than 165% since 2016.

It’s clear that Google favors Featured Snippets, and that is only one reason why it matters for your SEO strategies.

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Here are a few other benefits to consider.

#1: The Top of the Search Results

Besides paid advertisements, Featured Snippets are the first listings people see on search results pages. Since the primary goal of SEO is to increase rankings in search results, grabbing one of these answer boxes certainly gives you an advantage.  

How much advantage? This study by Ahrefs shows keywords with Featured Snippets take 8.6% of all clicks. The organic search result ranking at number 1 gets 19.6% of all clicks; so, although the first organic listing gets a larger percentage of clicks, the Featured Snippet is still taking some of that traffic.

Average CTR of Featured Snippets

Source

And that brings us to our next reason…

#2: Drive More Traffic to Your Website

With their position at or near the top of the search results pages, Featured Snippets help drive more traffic to the websites associated with them.

In terms of SEO, more traffic gives your website page a vote of confidence in Google’s eyes. It adds weight and influence when it comes to search rankings, which can also lend influence to other pages in your topic clusters.   

#3: Enhance Your Great Results

If your page already ranks on the first page of Google search results, then you are more likely to be featured at the top of that page as well.

It’s a fact: Ahrefs tells us 99 percent of all Featured Snippets are from pages that already ranked on the first page.

So, for your high-ranking pages, it’s even more important to consider Featured Snippets as part of your SEO strategy…simply because they have a good chance of being selected for the answer box at the top.

For example, take a look at the snippet we featured earlier in this post, and you’ll notice it also has the number one spot in the organic search results:

Featured Snippets - Organic Search Results

Source: Google Search

It’s kind of like double-dipping, but it goes to show that you could end up with a Featured Snippet and the first listing on page one. Either way, clicks are more than likely going to your page with this scenario, and that is a great benefit for your SEO performance.

#4: Even Better on Mobile

Mobile devices inherently offer less screen space, so the answer boxes at the top of the page become even more important real estate.

If you can get a Featured Snippet, then your information is likely to show up without the user even scrolling down the page. Instead, they could click-through to your page without ever seeing the other listings.

What about Your Organic Listings?

Of course, these valuable answer boxes steal traffic away from pages in the organic listings. However, it doesn’t have to impact your SEO in a negative way.

Instead, you can use Featured Snippets to create even more traffic to your website, more than making up for the loss you experience in your organic search results.

How do you do it?

Write helpful, valuable answers to questions your audience is asking, in a way that makes them want to click-through to your website from the answer box and learn more.

To learn more about writing Featured Snippets, check out MOZ’s Cheat Sheet.

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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