Understanding the Various Kinds of Featured Snippets

Search engines continually refine the way they display search results. You have noticed that Google in particular makes use of what is known as a featured snippet. Snippets provide readers with a sense of what they will find if they navigate to one of the top ten results associated with their searches. Usually the snippet is created using information from one the sites occupying the second through the tenth result. Some information from the highest ranking result may also be included. For readers, this can make finding the right data all the easier.

As a business owner, you want your site to be included in the featured snippet. Here are some things you should know about the different types and why they matter.

Paragraph Snippets

This type of featured snippet is one that most will recognize immediately. Google lifts a paragraph directly from a relevant page on your site. That paragraph includes the most direct response to the query typed into the search engine.

One of the great things about this snippet type is that it often motivates readers to click through and see what else is on the page. As they read the answer, a related question comes to mind. Why conduct another search when there's a good chance clicking on the provided link will take the reader to a place where the answer is waiting? Of all the different featured snippets, this is the one that is most likely to promote more click-throughs.

Paragraph snippets are great for answering what some call the 5 W's: who, what, when, where, and why. They provide just enough information to pique the reader's interest and encourage the person to visit your site and learn more. It's no wonder the paragraph snippet is so popular with readers and site owners alike.

Numbered List Snippets

Sometimes the focus is less on who or what and more on how. That's where the numbered list snippet comes into play. This type of featured snipped includes list of steps that are to be followed in a specific order.

If you operate a recipe site, Google may generate a numbered list snippet that provides the first few lines of instruction on how to make whatever the reader is planning on preparing. The same approach can be used for do it yourself projects where Google displays several steps that allow the reader to know what to do with the materials needed.

Like paragraph snippets, the numbered list snippet makes it easier to see if the site does have the information desired. If so, that leads to a click-through.

Bullet List Snippets

Unlike numbered lists, this type of featured snippet provides a breakdown of line items that directly relate to the reader's search query. While the items can be ranked, they may also be provided in no particular order. That's fine, because it's not necessary to follow the list in any particular order.

A good example of a bulleted list would be a snippet Google generates when a reader wants a list of things to remember when preparing for a move. While not in a particular order, the list includes the more important tasks related to finding a mover, setting a date, transferring utilities,a and other essentials.

A bulleted list could also be something like the ten best songs by a musical act, with the songs listed in no particular order. You can see how this type of list would hold a lot of potential for SEO experts and content managers alike.

This is one where content managers and SEO pros can both rejoice.

Table Snippets

Tables are big hits with readers since they make it so easy to interpret a lot of information at a glance. This is one of the more popular Google-generated snippets. Currently, it accounts for just under 30% of the snippets Google creates.

The beauty is that this snippet doesn't replicate a chart or table you have on the site. Instead, the search engine creates a table that responds directly to the end user's query. The data in the table is on your site, but not necessarily in that format.

For example, if the reader wanted to know which neighborhoods in a given city experienced the most population growth between two specific years, Google would extrapolate that data from your page and display it as a table.

YouTube Snippets

This featured snippet displays videos that are directly related to the search query. This is great if you have videos related to your business currently placed on YouTube. The reader sees the video description and can click through to view it immediately.

Consider a reader who just bought a used vehicle and finds out that the battery is not under the hood. Out comes a smartphone and the reader types in a search question like "where is the battery on a 2015 Buick?" Google quickly finds a video about where to find and replace a battery in a 2015 Buick and provides it as a snippet at the top of the search results.

Two-For-One Snippets

Some featured snippets draw on more than one resource. That happens when an illustration or video matched with text provides the most relevant answer. Questions that are along the lines of a how-to are prime candidates for this kind of featured snippet.

Perhaps the query has to do with how to apply clown makeup. Google creates a snippet that includes a step-by-step process with a video that provides visualization to help the reader.

If you want to tailor your site pages so they are likely to result in featured snippets, work with a search engine optimization expert. Identify relevant keywords and phrases. Structure the content so Google is more likely to quickly pull data that speaks directly to the query. Just as you want to make your pages informative and scannable when readers click on links, you want Google to decide your #5 ranked page has what it takes to create a snippet and supply what the reader needs. Use this approach effectively and your traffic and reputation will increase.