Featured snippets are shown by Google when a user asks a question.
Google does not manually picks which site to show in the featured snippets. Instead, it is done in the backend by algorithms.
Google can pick any website from any positions to be displayed as featured snippet. However, in most of the cases, it comes from websites ranking on the first page especially in position 1,2 and 3.
Some example search queries when Featured Snippets might get displayed are:
- How to buy a car?
- how do birds fly?
- what is the name of our galaxy?
- why do we celebrate Christmas?
- can I buy Google? (This one is tricky! haha) etc. etc. etc.
Questions are unlimited and every time a user enters a question, the specialised Featured Snippets algorithms get into play to find the most accurate answer and display it in the form of search snippets.
Here is a sample search snippet displayed for the query "how to lose weight":
What Does the Featured Snippet Block Includes?
- Summary of the answer extracted from a webpage which can be in the form of lists along with images and videos.
- The page title and URL.
- A link to the page.
Featured Snippet Ranking Factors
Below are the top ranking factors to maximize your site’s chances of getting picked up by the featured snippets algorithm.
- The accuracy and relevancy of the content with respect to the search query.
- High engagement metrics like high CTR, positive comments, high social metrics etc.
- The content has a direct answer to the question asked by the searcher.
- The content has some extra value apart from the direct answer like examples, videos, images, transcripts etc.
- The time on site is high and the bounce rate is low.
- The language/sites that are locally relevant to the searcher.
- The semantic relevance of the content to the main topic in question.
- The presence of the main search query in sections like H1, H2, H3 etc.
- The answer provided should not be too long. A small para of answer is sufficient to rank on featured snippets. (This is the text that ranks on featured snippet. Remember, the exact amount of content on the page can differ. Here we are only talking about the answer that appears on the featured snippets).
- Answer is started logically without any fluff. For example, instead of writing “In order to prepare milk chocolates, you need cocoa powder….”, write “take cocoa powder, mix milk…” start the answer!
- High DA, trusted domain has better chances of ranking. If your site is already ranking on page 1 of Google then it has much better chances of getting displayed in a featured snippet as opposed to if you are not ranking.
- Images have alt text.
Last but not the least, have a look at this video from Neil Patel and Eric Su to learn more about getting your content into Google's Featured Snippet:
How to Check If Your Website is Ranking Under Featured Snippets?
You can check that with the help of SEMrush tool.
How do search engines work
Google search tips and tricks
Getting listed on search engines
Stop Words in Seo