How To Optimize for Google Featured Snippets [Research]

Google is one of the most powerful search engine in the world. It’s capable of pulling up results based on a wide variety of criteria, but it can also feature your site prominently and provide you with more traffic from that placement alone. The important thing to remember about Google Featured Snippets are that they’re not given immediately; instead, you need to work for them. Learn how!

The “how to optimize for featured snippets” is a process that can help you increase your visibility in Google search results. This article will cover the best practices for optimizing your site for Google’s Featured Snippets.

When the highlighted snippet originally debuted, it was considered a podium award. Google, being Google, didn’t provide much guidance on how to get a featured snippet, but SEOs, being SEOs, crunched the numbers to win the race.

For years, Webinomy and I have been doing just that in order to assist you understand featured snippets, how they function, and how you can win them.

Whether you’re a first-timer or a hall-of-famer, our new research provides the most extensive analysis ever, and you can use its findings and suggestions as your entire guide to making the most of your featured snippet possibilities.

The following are the parts of this article:

In the Organic Research database, Webinomy and Brado looked at what proportion of keywords result in highlighted snippets (covering 46.1 million keywords on mobile, and 160 million keywords on desktop in the U.S.).

We identified and investigated mobile data to concentrate the study for two key reasons:

  • Google is well aware that mobile search traffic is rapidly increasing; and

  • In this statistics, we discovered that 79 percent of SERPs contain the same sites in featured snippets on both desktop and mobile.

We then evaluated a sample of 1 million random SERPs with featured snippets to find trends and insights that will help us all generate better optimized content for winning featured snippets in the future.


Before we get down to business, here’s a short rundown of our main findings:

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A featured snippet is a segment of specially chosen information that appears at or near the top of a Google search results page. It includes text or video from a website that answers the search query directly. The reader may learn more on the website by clicking on the answer in the highlighted snippet.

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Featured snippets elevate your website to the top of the SERPs, making it far more clickable on mobile and desktop (91 percent of the keywords in our dataset had featured snippets on both). Their popularity on Google may be a sign of brand authority, which can help people see you positively.

Featured snippets, in particular, tend to take up 50% or more of the screen on mobile devices.

We put it through its paces on 10,000 SERPs with iPhone X and Google Pixel screen sizes. When you achieve a featured snippet, you are effectively moving rivals off the first screen, which may be a significant competitive advantage.

What’s more, our research discovered that:

Long-tail keywords, for example, are more likely to appear in featured snippets because they imply particular intent at a given stage in the sales funnel.

As a result, businesses may target visitors who are more likely to become customers.

For example, a dog food company may optimize content for the search query “what are the most essential components in puppy dog food?” and therefore attract interested visitors. They may easily encourage such a person towards conversion with the correct blend of helpful content, user experience, and calls-to-action, among other things. 

There are a few advantages to having highlighted snippets in addition to being at the top of SERPs:

  • Audience behavior insights: They may allow you to discover more about your visitors’ goals by showing you what they do when they arrive at your site.

  • Higher brand authority: Both Google and visitors may believe that your website has more relevant content authored by specialists.

  • Higher click-through rate (CTR): This varies depending on the content of the highlighted snippets, but in general, having more eyes on your SERP entry may help your CTR.


Around 19% of Google’s keywords have a highlighted snippet as a starting point. They appear far more often with long-tail inquiries or questions (examples may be seen in the “How to Earn Featured Snippets” section below), which is what most people use when typing a query into Google, thus the potential they bring are substantial.

The highlighted snippet is 99 percent of the time at the first organic position – literally. The excerpt has a 0.7 percent probability of coming in second, and an even less chance of coming in third through eighth.

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If the SERP includes more than one highlighted snippet, those values may alter. In our sample, 7.3 percent of SERPs include two highlighted snippets layered on top of each other, referred to as double featured snippets. Surprisingly, 99.9987 percent are in first place, while 0.0013 percent are in third.

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We discovered that highlighted snippets are more popular in certain sectors than others in our dataset:

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Roughly 62% of SERPs in Travel and Computer & Electonics have a featured snippet, whilst keywords about real estate only have them 11% of the time.

Keyword categories and domain categories, on the other hand, are not the same thing and must be examined in tandem. Health, for example, may have ranked 13th on the list above, but websites in the health category had the most highlighted snippets, as seen below.

Some of the most popular sites that received highlighted excerpts came as no surprise. Wikipedia, which is in the Reference category, was far and away the best of the bunch. It had 2.77 percent of the prominent snippets in our subset.

In our research, the following were the top ten domains for highlighted snippets:

  1. Wikipedia

  2. Quora

  3. Pinterest

  4. Healthline

  5. Amazon

  6. YouTube

  7. Reddit

  8. WebMD

  9. NIH (National Institutes of Health) (The National Institutes of Health in the US)

  10. Fandom

Although these large domains may dominate the highlighted snippets landscape, any site may receive one. Here are the domain categories that produced the most highlighted snippets throughout our research:

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There were four types of highlighted snippets on average in our dataset: paragraphs, lists, tables, and movies. With 70% of the findings, graphs were the most popular, while videos accounted for just 4.6 percent. 

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Important Reminder: 

You may have noticed the averages mentioned above, such as 6 items per list and 5 rows each table, but keep in mind that this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Always prioritize quality above quantity in your field of expertise.

When Google cuts material short, it usually displays a blue ‘More Items’ link. This link informs the user that there is more information available, and it may enhance your CTR (versus including all of your information in the featured snippet).


It’s all about tactics in the highlighted snippet game. You must structure your website content to earn highlighted snippets in order to rank for them. Even if you produce content for a query that already has a featured snippet in its SERP, you still have the option of replacing it with one of your own.

Here’s an overview of the important on-page SEO factors you should consider in order to be in the running for (and win) a featured snippet, based on our research:

Assume you own a farm and want to educate your customers how to choose the greatest produce. You won’t have much success going after the keyword “apple” on its own, so you’ll need to be clever and choose your keywords carefully.

Featured snippets can assist you with this. According to our research, the more terms in the query, the more likely the SERP would return a highlighted snippet:

  • Only 4.3 percent of keywords with a single word got a highlighted snippet;

  • A highlighted snippet was found in 17% of keywords with 5 words; and

A highlighted snippet was found in 55.5 percent of keywords with ten words.

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Consider the queries your audience is asking about your goods and/or services to extend the length of your keywords. Longer questions, which are more particular than shorter ones, may frequently convey intent as well.

You can acquire a featured snippet for a less particular keyword like “ripe apple” (and someone has), but you’ll probably have greater results and get more traffic in a certain point of the sales funnel if you get one for a more specific phrase. 

For example, you may supply an authoritative response to the question “how do I pick a ripe apple?” and get a featured snippet as a consequence, which could lead to more value visits since the query’s implied purpose — they could be closer to the point of purchase — is implied.

Gone are the days when Google users would type in every possible term and hope for the best. Google and other search engines have evolved into one-stop shops for every query, and highlighted snippets appear often based on the kind of query.

In our study, a question-based word, such as “why,” “do,” or “can,” was used in 29 percent of the keywords that triggered a featured snippet. The following are the most popular searches that result in featured snippets:

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Snippets appeared the least often (18.6%) in questions starting with “where.” This is most likely owing to the fact that when the term “where” is used, Google defaults to another search tool, such as Local Pack or Map.

The Keyword Magic Tool from Webinomy handled a lot of the legwork here, since it found all of the pertinent queries and long-tail keywords.

It’s time to start building a content strategy after you have your questions based on your linked keywords. You may answer several questions in a single article or create a series of articles depending on the queries that surround a certain topic. However, bear in mind the user’s objective and avoid placing all your eggs in one basket.

Use Topic Research to help you expedite your content production process, and SEO Writing Assistant to assist you in creating optimized, search-engine-friendly material that is focused toward getting highlighted snippets when appropriate.

You’ll probably be able to figure out what kind of highlighted snippet you’ll get quite quickly. Your four highlighted snippet forms are paragraph, list, table, and video, as you remember from previously.

Consider the facts mentioned above for each kind when you create and utilize these formats in your material.

Try to be as concise as possible while staying within the range of 40-50 words (250-300 characters).

(However, this is not an infallible rule.)

Users benefit from writing with a featured snippet in mind, particularly if they are fast readers. Following the definition supplied for the highlighted snippet, your succeeding paragraphs may offer examples, comedy, or anything else you’d want to include for the readers that like additional information.

Featured Snippets images

When inserting photos, keep in mind that highlighted snippets don’t always include images from your material. It’s a crapshoot since Google utilizes the Images algorithm to load the picture individually, but there are certain things you can do to avoid it.

As an example,

A highlighted snippet’s average graphic is 159 pixels height by 197 pixels wide, or 160 x 200 pixels. Keep that ratio in mind while creating your own pictures.

If Google includes them in featured snippets, thumbnails will be created, which you may resize up to 960 x 1200px for higher quality.

Many websites avoid including dates on their postings in order to remain relevant for as long as possible, but this isn’t always user-friendly, especially if the reader need information for research reasons.

Featured snippets often include out-of-date material. Here are the percentages of highlighted snippets that contained a date among the various types:

  • 44 percent of the time

  • List: 47%

  • 19% of the population

  • 20 percent video

We looked at our subgroup to see whether the date made a difference, and it turned out that, although more current information was preferred, older articles that gave the greatest solution got the highlighted snippet. The content of around 1% of highlighted snippets was less than a week old, and in other cases, the information was just a few hours old.

However, the large majority of prominent snippets came from material published within the last 2-3 years; our subgroup included 70% of featured snippets from 2018, 2019, and 2020. 

The debate over whether or not to date material isn’t going away anytime soon, but the reasons in favor are compelling:

  • The reader will benefit from your material being dated since it will eliminate misunderstanding and annoyance.

  • Dated material establishes credibility, particularly when it demonstrates that it has been updated with recent information.

  • Fresh information may be prioritized by algorithms; and

  • The click-through rate may be skewed due to recent events.

My recommendation is to keep your material up to date. Monitor pages that are doing well — whether by click-throughs, engagement, conversions, or another statistic — and refresh them if they become stagnant. 

Refresh and re-optimize your material as needed, and keep your statistics up to date. Let readers know when it was first published and when it was last updated. You may get a highlighted snippet and improve your analytics without having to create whole fresh material.

Following the forward slashes in the URL, subfolders are displayed as follows:

  • The root domain is domain.com. There are no subfolders in this folder.

  • There is just one subfolder at domain.com/subfolder. and

  • There are two subfolders at domain.com/subfolder1/subfolder2.

A really lengthy URL is less likely to obtain a featured snippet, according to our study, thus 1-3 subfolders is the sweet spot.

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Consider having all of your material printed. Perhaps you have a hundred separate pieces of material that you’d want to keep organized. You wouldn’t simply toss everything into a folder labeled “blog” to locate certain parts easily. To keep things organized, you’d make folders for various terms, right?

A simple, straightforward subfolder structure organizes your site’s content and prepares you for highlighted snippets, such as:

  • domain.com/main-topic/subtopic-a/
  • domain.com/main-topic/subtopic-b/
  • domain.com/main-topic/subtopic-c/

When you utilize subfolders to arrange your pages by certain keywords, you establish a content center. You may have a marketing content hub, a sales hub, a customer support hub, and more if you’re a software firm that provides platforms for many departments.

The goal is to make one piece of material (text or video) from a certain subfolder into a featured snippet hub, which is defined as any URL or video with 10 or more highlighted snippets. 

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You may make a featured snippet hub by answering many questions in one piece of content and presenting the information in as many different ways as possible, such as brief paragraphs, lists, tables, videos, and more. This method has three primary advantages: you can:

  • Obtain a number of featured excerpts;

  • Make the material scannable; and

  • Keep the reader engaged by providing information that is simple to understand (and not walls of text).

On average, featured snippet hubs have 1,100 words or more and take around 5 minutes to read. Featured snippet hubs contain an average of 14.5 headlines, which include H1, H2, and H3 tags, to help readers get the most out of an article fast.

They include pictures as well, with the typical highlighted snippet hub featuring 8 photos strewn throughout the page. The best part is that all of these photos contain alt tags for even more optimization.

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Content must be smart to receive a highlighted snippet. It begins with search-intent keywords, grows with material your audience considers useful, and develops traction after it’s optimized for search engines.

This takes time and work, but there are a few tools that may make the process go more smoothly:

  • Webinomy’s position monitoring offers a useful highlighted snippet report. This report tells you how many featured snippets you’ve earned, how many you’ve lost, and which keywords in your area began or ceased triggering highlighted snippets.

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  • Webinomy’s Organic Research reports can assist you in identifying featured snippet possibilities, regardless of whether a featured snippet currently exists on that SERP. You may already rank highly for certain keywords, and with a few modifications and improvements, you may be able to get the highlighted snippet for them as well. If a rival already has the highlighted snippet, this study will teach you how to examine their material and strive to outperform them.

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Here’s a step-by-step guide to earning featured snippets, as well as a link to the extended Featured Snippet Stats (below) that you can use as a cheat sheet when creating featured snippet-worthy content:

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Are you looking for more useful hints? Take a look at some of the following resources:

Featured snippets will continue to change, just like practically every other Google feature. Researching and discovering new methods to utilize them to enhance the SERPs for everyone can be both fascinating and rewarding.

I’d love to hear from you on Twitter if you have any thoughts on the highlighted snippets, or if you have anything to say about the Webinomy and Brado study. I’ll also provide additional details about the next webinar; please join us in our conversation!

Opportunities for Featured Snippets

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Google has a feature called “Featured Snippets” which allows users to see the most popular content on Google. It is important for your website to rank for these features, but it can be difficult. This article will teach you how to optimize your site for featured snippets. Reference: how to rank for featured snippets.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you optimize Googles featured snippets in 2020?

How do you optimize your content for Googles featured snippet box?

A: You should wait until your content is ready to be published before you start optimizing it.

How do you win featured snippets?

A: Featured snippets are randomly given to users for a specific period of time. If you want more featured snippets, then you can share the snippet on social media and mention ____ (insert name) in your post.

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