Could Google’s Featured Snippets be Impacting Your Website Traffic?

When you search a term on Google, you’re presented with thousands of search results. Sometimes, even millions. The sheer number of available links might be intimidating. Except it’s not really, is it? Be honest – you’re not going to click on even 1% of them. You’re just going to scan the first couple of results and dive on in…

Which is precisely why ranking highly in search results is so darn important to everyone.

It used to be that you’d optimise your website such that you’d try and get to the very top organically. Then PPC meant you could buy your way to the top of results. Now, though? It’s all about something called ‘Featured Snippets’.

Excerpts from relevant web pages are now displayed at the top of results after a search is made. Well, they are on one third of all search queries at the moment anyway, but that number grows higher every day.

Here’s what we’re talking about:

featured snippet list formThe snippet may or may not tell you everything you need to know.

This example gives you a little information, but the topic is quite involved, so you’ll need to click on the link to find out more. Which is great news for Bose – just imagine the extra traffic. But it’s not so good news for Bose’s competitors who are not being featured in these snippets.

Now, just imagine that the searched-for term is far less complicated. There’s a very good chance that the featured snippet could explain everything the searcher needs to know. And no link is clicked at all. Then what? Well, no one gets the traffic.

That’s not as rare as you might think, either. Recent research suggests that just over half of all Google search terms now result in zero clicks. Meaning Google’s results – and the website snippets themselves – are answering people’s queries for them.

That said, the featured snippets do well. Traditionally, the highest ranked search result would garner a site 33% of the overall clicks. With snippets that number is now 50%.

Over a third of all search results now return results with a featured snippet. Certain words will trigger them. These are currently the words found in search queries that return snippets the most:

search queries that bring up featured snippets

Use terms like these to stand a better chance of being featured.

They can appear in three different formats:

  • Lists
  • Tables
  • Text

Here’s an example of text (the previous example above was in the ‘list’ format):

featured snippet text form

You’ll no doubt recognise the Featured Snippet from your experience searching with Google.

If you want to get your content featured in these snippets, there are plenty of online guides on how to do so. But do bear in mind, it’s no small task. But then again – keeping up with Google and their constant changes never is, is it?

A few quick tips:

  • Try to answer questions in your content
  • Consider setting up a ‘How To’ and/or Q&A section
  • Improve your image quality
  • Keep questions and answers brief. Over 50 words and Google won’t select you.
  • Do some extra keyword research to find out what your audience is currently searching for.

Of course, you don’t have to play ball at all if you don’t want to. If you’d rather opt out of the whole thing and never have to think about Google’s featured snippets again, you can do.

You can withdraw your website from being considered for featured snippets by using a special tag on each of your pages. Just add in the following:

This will ensure that Google doesn’t consider your content for any of their snippets.

Our advice though, would be to consider snippets when creating content. Don’t rewrite endless web content with only the idea of featured snippets dominating your thoughts, but do bear the idea in mind when writing for your website. It could just pay off.

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