A Featured Snippet is a highlighted search result that provides Google users with the answer to their search query in the search results.
For this purpose, a section of the website content is displayed in the search results. The featured snippet occurs mainly as a text section, less often as a list or table, and even less often as a video.
The snippet is often supplemented by one or more images, whereby the images do not necessarily have to come from the same website as the text excerpt.
The featured snippet is always displayed at the top of the search results in position 1. This means that the result receives a lot of attention and is particularly eye-catching on mobile devices.
Only the paid search ads are still above the featured snippet if ads are displayed for a search result.
When are Featured Snippets Displayed?
Featured snippets are not displayed in all search queries. This is heavily dependent on the keyword entered and the associated search intention of the user.
As a rule, the highlighted snippets appear mainly for informational search queries, i.e. for queries that aim to find specific information. They tend not to appear in transactional, navigational, or local search queries.
It is possible to optimize content for search engines in such a way that it is displayed, but there is no guarantee that this will be the case.
What are the Benefits of Optimising your Content for Featured Snippets?
The reasons for optimizing for featured snippets are obvious. Position 1 guarantees your website a higher level of attention than the regular organic search results.
In most cases, this leads to an increase in the CTR (click rate) and thus to more organic traffic. In addition, the perception of your brand is strengthened, which in turn has a positive influence on your branding.
Even if the featured snippet ranks above all other organic search results, this does not necessarily mean that Google rates this website better overall than the other results on page 1.
At least this is suggested by the previous handling of featured snippets. With a good and simple structure of the content, websites can position themselves in front of competitors who are rated better overall and who rank above them in the organic search results.
Smaller and younger websites in particular, which otherwise rank behind the big players, have the opportunity to be competitive thanks to good content.
Loss of Traffic Due to Featured Snippets?
Nevertheless, there is of course the risk that part of the traffic will be lost if users receive the answer to their search query directly in the search results. Whether the fear of it is justified depends heavily on the content offered on your website.
In most cases, the danger only arises with very general questions that can be answered in two to three sentences.
For the majority of website operators, users who are looking for answers to more complex questions are usually more attractive.
Here, the answer in the featured snippet serves more as an introduction to a topic. Clicking on the search result to get further information is then almost guaranteed.
If you still want to prevent a featured snippet from being played for your website, you can insert the following meta tag in the head section of your website:
<meta name=”Googlebot” content= “no snippet”>
In this case, however, no text snippet is displayed for the URL concerned. This means that a description is no longer displayed in the regular search result.
This in turn can lead to significantly fewer users clicking on the result. So from my point of view, this is not an option.
Also, I mind that the featured snippet can then be filled by one of your competitors and you will also lose traffic in this case.