When iWeb visited IRX 2017 last month, we picked up on a wealth of exciting and upcoming trends that are predicted to emerge from the world of eCommerce in the immediate future. One speech that really stood out for us was from Nick Wilsdon, the Global SEO Lead at Vodafone Group and he talked in detail about the rise of the Google featured snippets.

With this information and our curiosity stoked, we decided to delve deeper into the wonderful world of featured snippets and what implications this has for SEO moving forwards.

So, What Are Featured Snippets?

In short, a featured snippet is a summary or an answer to a user query or question that is entered into a search engine. This answer is displayed at the top of Google search results. This result is found because it has been extracted from good on-page content that best responds to the search engine query.

The featured snippet is accompanied by information about where the snippet is sourced, such as the site’s URL, page title, and occasionally, a related image (as featured below).

What is a Featured Snippet and How Does it Affect SEO?

Types of Featured Snippets

  • Paragraph
  • List
  • Table

According to STAT, the most common form of featured snippet out there is the paragraph (no surprise there!), occupying 82% of snippets, with list snippets at 10.8% and table snippets even less, at 7.3%.

What is a Featured Snippet and How Does it Affect SEO?

Why Snippets Matter

1. Proving yourself

Featured snippets help you to prove to Google and to users that your content is relevant, useful and can help people find quality information, fast!

2. Pick of the Bunch

If some of your content is being generated at a Google featured snippet, you’re pretty much at the top of the search engine tree.

When Google chooses your site to be the ‘quick’ answer, the result is displayed above organic results, which means beating all the competition, including a site that may rank #1 for that particular search topic.

3. Increased Traffic

In the fast paced, information world we live in, it’s no surprise that featured snippets are a hit with users. They provide them with answers, fast, and this benefits the chosen site with an increase in traffic, which could be upwards of 20-30%.

How Can You Earn A Featured Snippet?


Use a keyword research tool to find a niche or less popular keywords that are ideal for your site. The Moz Keyword Explorer tool is very handy.

Strategic Content

When it comes to creating your content it’s important to always keep in mind the featured snippet – but equally, ensure your content isn’t repeating the same words or phrases so often that it sounds unnatural – that’s keywords stuffing and Google doesn’t like it.

What is a Featured Snippet and How Does it Affect SEO?

Consider the viewpoint, tone and approach of the user and produce content that would appeal to you as much as a user.

QA Formatting

It’s worth devoting a complete landing page to a single question, as well as attempting to incorporate actual FAQ’s or even ”FAQ-style” content onto your pages. With the growing rise of voice search, people are no longer searching with isolated keywords, but in complete sentences.

Slice It Up

Make it easier for Google by slicing up your copy with subheadings, listings and tables. These content strategies form part of a basic understanding of on-page optimisation techniques that are crucial in today’s world.

From an analysis made by STAT, where they analysed one million high-CPC queries for its latest study, they discovered that 70% of the featured snippets didn’t come from the very first organic result.

What is a Featured Snippet and How Does it Affect SEO?

Featured Snippets and Images

Importing images alongside copy as part of a featured snippet is clearly on the rise. This is supported when we analysing the statistics, it shows that Google is showing way more images in the featured snippets block than they did before, an impressive 27.58% of the time.

What is a Featured Snippet and How Does it Affect SEO?

However, there have been many reports of Google featuring snippets from site A and pulling accompanying images from a different B site, cross-featuring content and causing some understandable frustration for online business owners.

The Featured Snippet, What is it and How Does it Affect SEO?

What is a Featured Snippet and How Does it Affect SEO?

In this image above, the featured snippet has been taken from a website with the URL www.thekitchn.com, but the image is from a different source, greatideas.people.com, which is problematic.

However, featured snippets are largely a good thing. They mean you don’t have to come first in search to increase your authority and drive traffic to your site, provided that you start creating strategic content that may lead to well-earned featured snippets.

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