Google Featured Snippets 2020: All you need to know

By June 8, 2020August 5th, 2020SEO

What are featured snippets?

Defined by google: Featured snippets are special boxes where the format of regular listings is reversed, showing the descriptive snippet first. Earlier known and Rank 0.

Defined by Backlinko: Featured Snippets are short selections of text appearing at the top of Google’s search results that are designed to answer a searcher’s query. The content that appears inside of a Featured Snippet is automatically pulled from web pages in Google’s index.

Defined by Talking To Bots: Featured Snippets are short selections of text and or images that appear on top of Google’s search results page that answer the searcher’s query. These are placed before Rank 1 of listings and hence called Rank 0.

What do featured snippets look like?

featured snippet
Image pulled from knowledge graph for Rich Snippet Result
Rich snippet paragraph pulled from a website
PAA (People also asked) Snippet, but not a featured snippet

How can I mark specific pages to rank for featured snippets?

You can’t
Once you index your website on google, google pretty much has the right to crawl and show results from any and all indexed pages as a part of their user experience and or algorithm update testing.

*While performance-driven SEO’s will have an opinion on the PAA (People also ask) and Rich snippets addition to the search results page as it reduces the clicks to websites. We explore the reports and numbers from other sites to better understand what Google is really upto.

How can I opt-out of featured snippets?

This is straight from Google webmaster support blog:

Block both featured and regular search snippets

  • The nosnippet tag blocks all snippets (featured snippets and regular snippets) for the tagged page.
  • Text marked by the data-nosnippet tag won’t appear in featured snippets (or regular snippets either).
  • If both nosnippet and data-nosnippet appear in a page, nosnippet takes priority, and snippets won’t be shown for the page.

Block featured snippets only

Those who wish to retain snippets in regularly-formatted search results but not appear in featured snippets should experiment with setting the max-snippet tag to lower lengths. Featured snippets will only appear if enough text can be shown to generate a useful featured snippet.

Keep lowering the value if pages continue to show for featured snippets. In general, the shorter your max-snippet tag setting, the less likely the page will appear as a featured snippet.

Google does not provide an exact minimum length required to appear as a featured snippet. This is because the minimum length is variable based on a number of factors, including—but not limited to—the information in the snippet, the language, and the platform (mobile device, app, or desktop).

How to Optimize for Google’s Featured Snippets ?

While there is no checklist to rank for featured snippets/ rank o. If one purely thinks from a user point of view and the results Google will want to display to keep the user on google, there’s a real simple formula – dive deeper into insight and what the real intent is behind that search term or keyword.

Taking off from a quote by Matt Cutt’s that is second nature to all SEO’s, “Think about what a user is going to type” The answer to ranking for featured snippets / unlocking google, is really answering: “Think what the user wants to see” – Pushkarraj Mehta

We tested this out with a couple of websites and here are a few findings.

How to Rank for Featured Snippets/ Rank 0

1. Use Headings
2. Structure content for “Why”, “What” and “How” related questions.
3. Use listings and Bullets
4. Optimize questions for direct search queries
5. Ensure pages load lightning fast

Why Should you optimize for Featured Snippets?

Simple: Better Click-Through Rates (CTRs)

Hubspot did a superb detailed report and found ranking on snippets increased their CTR. Here’s a snippet of it 🙂

  • The x-axis relates to the monthly search volume for the search queries measured.
  • The y-axis shows the click-through rate (CTR) of the ranking HubSpot URL from within Google (i.e. how many people clicked on our search result versus the rest of the results in the search results page for a query).
  • The blue line plots the CTR from the SERPs for HubSpot URLs when we do not appear in the Featured Snippet, broken down by query search volume (x-axis).
  • The orange line plots the CTR from the SERPs for HubSpot URLs when we do appear in the Featured Snippet, broken down by query search volume (x-axis).

By and large, we get much more clicks through to our content when we appear in the Featured Snippet, but this becomes increasingly important as the search volume for a query increases.

What happens when a user clicks a featured snippet?

Clicking a featured snippet takes the user directly to the featured snippet text on the source web page. This happens automatically. There’s no markup needed by webmasters to enable a featured snippet. If a browser doesn’t support the underlying technology needed, or if our systems can’t confidently determine exactly where within a page to direct a click, clicking a featured snippet will take a user to the top of the source web page.

What are the different types of Featured Snippets?

There are various types of featured snippets you can optimize for. The most common ones are:
1. Paragraph snippets
2. List snippets
3. Table snippets &
4. Image snippets

SEJ:  Search Engine journal beautifully explains the different types of snippets and how to optimize for them in 2020 >> Click here

Google Featured Snippets 2020:
The June Update

Scroll To Text Fragment
This feature allows a user or author to link to a specific portion of a page, using a text snippet provided in the URL. When the page is loaded, the browser highlights the text and scrolls it into view. For example, the URL: [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat#:~:text=On islands, birds can contribute as much as 60% of a cat’s diet] This loads the page for Cat, highlights the specified text, and scrolls directly to it.

Navigating to a URL today will load the page scrolled to the top. On pages that provide element ids on appropriate section headings, users and other pages can link directly to those elements by providing the id in the “URL hash”. For example, navigating to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat#Senses will load the page for Cat, scrolled to the “Senses” section. However, the URL hash relies on authors annotating their page and correctly guessing all points that might be interesting to a user. This feature will allow the link-creator to specify which portion of the page is interesting, without relying on author annotations.
Basically, better tracking for clicks from featured snippets.

Clients we’ve helped rank on featured Snippets or Rank 0.

If you’re looking for a consultant/ agency to help you dominate google, give us a shout. Here’s some of our work.

1. Client: Wedevelopment
Link: https://search.app.goo.gl/uTM1VnJ

pros and cons of self redevelopment | rich snippets | pushkarraj mehta, TTB.001
Desktop >> Featured Snippet (Rank 0): Pro and Cons of self redevelopment
Desktop >> Rank #1: What is self redevelopment
Mobile >> Featured Snippet (Rank 0): Pro and Cons of self redevelopment. (We used AMP here)
Mobile >> Rank #1: What is self redevelopment (We used AMP here)

2. Client: DY Works
Link: https://search.app.goo.gl/tEuvEdb

best design thinkers in mumbai - pushkarraj mehta
Desktop >> Featured Snippet (Rank 0): Best design thinkers in Mumbai
Desktop >> Rank #1: Workshops Page on website
Mobile >> Featured Snippet (Rank 0): Best design thinkers in Mumbai (Non AMP page)
Mobile >> Rank #1: Workshops Page on website (Non AMP page)

This campaign won the award for ‘Best use of SEO in a campaign’ at the Kamizaze B2B Business Summit and optimized for Voice search as well.

For all SEO related questions/ drop a comment or get in touch

Pushkarraj Mehta

Author Pushkarraj Mehta

Just a human talking to bots

More posts by Pushkarraj Mehta

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