How to Optimize Your Content for Featured Snippets in Search

If you want to drive more traffic to your website and get more users to click on your content, showing up as featured snippets in search can help. But how do you land your content in this coveted spot in search results?

In this post, we’ll review:

  • What is a featured snippet?
  • Types of featured snippets
  • How to create featured snippets

You’ll walk away knowing how to optimize your content to give it the best chance of showing up in that prominent position.

What is a Featured Snippet?

Featured snippets are rich search results that appear as a box of content on search engine results pages (SERPs). They are fields of information that attempt to provide answers related to a user’s query. Featured snippets are usually positioned at the top of SERPs below the paid ads and above other organic search results.

featured snippet in search

Research has found that featured snippets in search can drastically increase click-through-rates (CTR) for search results
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. A study by HubSpot found that the CTR for their high-volume keywords increased by over 114% when the results appeared as featured snippets.

Types of Featured Snippets

Featured snippets in search show up in a variety of ways. Here are a few featured snippet examples.

Paragraph Featured Snippet

A paragraph featured snippet includes a blurb of copy. These snippets usually appear when a user has searched for a question, and includes information that attempts to answer that question.

paragraph featured snippet in search

List Featured Snippet

Like a paragraph featured snippet, a list featured snippet also attempts to provide an answer to a question. It differs in that it positions the copy in a summarized list instead of a paragraph.

list featured snippet examples

Table Featured Snippet

A table featured snippet shares information in a structured format that makes data easy to read directly from the SERPs.

table types of featured snippets

Answer Boxes

Answer boxes are similar to featured snippets in that they appear in a box on SERPs, and they attempt to answer a question. The difference between answer boxes and featured snippets is that boxes answer the question without including a link to a URL for more information. When people talk about featured snippets, they usually don’t include these types of answer boxes.

answer box featured snippet in search

How to Optimize Content for Featured Snippets in Search

Unfortunately, there is no exact process for how to create featured snippets. Google chooses which results end up as featured snippets, and they don’t explicitly say how to get your pages to appear as these rich results. But there are some best practices you can follow to increase your chances of showing in these featured boxes.

Target long-tail keywords that are questions. Most featured snippets in search include information that provides an answer to a question. So create evergreen content that targets long-tail keyword phrases that start with:

  • What is
  • Why is
  • How does/do
  • How to

Clearly answer questions in your content. Make sure the answer to the question is clear on your page of content. Present the question in a subheading (with

markup), and answer it in the text below (with

markup). Then use the rest of the article to provide supporting information. Find related keywords and incorporate them into your content to reinforce the question it is answering.

Format information in a list. To increase your chances of showing as a list featured snippet, outline your content in a list format. Use subheading tags (

) for items in the list to help search engines read and understand the content.

Use a table structure. To increase your chances of showing as a table feature snippet, structure your content in a table format. Create charts in your content using appropriate table tags (


Utilize strong on-page SEO. Content that shows as featured snippets in search is typically pulled from pages that already have a high organic search ranking. So use on-page keyword optimization and best practices for SEO to boost the page’s natural rankings.

Show that the page is authoritative. Another way to improve a page’s organic search ranking is by acquiring high-quality backlinks that send authority signals to Google and show that the page is a valuable search result.

Fill the page with high-quality images. Featured snippets often include an image in the content box. There is no way to tell Google which image should appear here, so aim to use high-quality images on your page to give Google the best graphics options for a featured snippet. Your readers will appreciate it too!

Don’t worry about schema markup. There is often a misconception that featured snippets in search are tied to schema markup
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. But research shows that the two do not impact each other. So don’t stress about implementing a schema strategy if your goal is to show as a featured snippet.

Aim for Featured Snippets and Support a Strong SEO Strategy

When your web pages appear as featured snippets in search, it can drastically increase click-through-rates and send more people to your website
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. If you want to drive more traffic to your website through organic search, use the tips in this post to optimize your content for featured snippets. Even if you don’t land your content in one of these spots, you will have created super shareable content that should produce long-term SEO results.

To build a strong SEO strategy that gives you the best performance in search, sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan. You’ll get all the tools you need for keyword research, on-page SEO optimization, link building, and more.

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