Google: how we choose pages for featured snippets

In a webmaster hangout on YouTube, Google’s John Mueller shared useful information about the content Google uses for featured snippets.

What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are also called ‘position zero’ results. Featured snippets are listed at the top of the search results pages.

These special search results include a summary of the answer, extracted from a webpage, plus a link to the page, the page title and URL:

Google featured snippet example

According to Google, featured snippets are normal search results, emphasized with special layout. Google shows featured snippets when they recognize that a query asks a question. Google’s algorithm programmatically detects pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.

Google’s John Mueller commented on featured snippets

In the webmaster hangout, John Mueller said that high EAT factors (expertise, authority, trustworthiness) that are used in Google Search Quality Evaluators guidelines do not guarantee featured snippets for your website:

“Generally speaking it’s not the case because you have an important website that we’re automatically including everything that you write as a featured snippet.”

He added that the relevance of a web page to the query is important:

“We look at a number of factors when it comes to featured snippets. Part of that is really relevance to understand what makes sense to show to users for individual queries.”

You can view the video here:

So what do you have to do to get listed with a featured snippet?

Unfortunately, John Mueller did not share more details. Our analysis of many featured snippets show that the following things work.

If you want to be listed with a featured snippet, the corresponding web page on your website should answer a question. The easier the solution is to find on the web page, the better.

Use descriptive images and mark them with structured data. The better your web page answers a concrete question, the more likely it is that the web page will be chosen for a featured snippet:

  • Repeat the search term or the question in the title and in the headline of your page.
  • Answer the question directly below the headline. The answer should be short, clear, and precise. Bullets often help.
  • Add additional information (images, videos, etc.) to make sure that the question has been answered as completely as possible.

How to find out if your website is listed with a featured snippet

The Ranking Monitor in SEOprofiler does not only track the position of your web pages in the search results. It also tracks the result type with which your web pages are listed. For example, a monitored keyword will be marked with a star in the list, if your website is listed with a featured snippet:

featured snippet rankings

The Ranking Monitor also tracks other results types, such as local results, Sitelinks, news results, video results, etc. Details on how to improve your chances of being listed with a featured snippet can be found here.

If your website is listed with a featured snippet on Google’s result pages, chances are that your website will get more visitors. The tools in SEOprofiler help you to improve the rankings of your web pages on Google and other search engines. You can create your free SEOprofiler account here:

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Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".